Guns as Gifts
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Ok, it may feel a little late for this one, but the lights are still twinkling on the tree in a number of homes and when it comes to being smarter about gun laws, is it ever really too late?

Everyone knows the plot line behind 1983’s A Christmas Story, where the main character Ralphie Parker wants nothing less than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. The whole “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid,” storyline aside, guns have always been an optimal gifting choice among shooting and hunting families in America. I still remember the Christmas my parents gave me a Remington 1100 12-ga. shotgun. Growing up hunting in Southampton County, Virginia, where deer hunting was limited to shotguns, and more often than not, shooting buckshot, the 1100 at the time was the shotgun to own. I was 16 then—it was a long, long time ago—but that shotgun remains one of the most memorable gifts I’ve ever received.

Even today, firearms remain a great gift idea, but there are some legal considerations you need to keep front of mine before giving such a gift for Christmas, a birthday, a wedding present (hey, it’s been done) or any other occasion that comes to mind.

  1. Make Sure the Recipient is Legally Eligible to Possess a Firearm

Some people, such as convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse or subject to protective orders are prohibited from possessing guns under federal law. If you don’t know the person well enough to know if they’re legally eligible to possess a gun, it’s probably not a good idea to consider one as a gift for them.

  1. Make Sure You Both Live in the Same State

Federal law also requires anyone you plan to give a firearm to as a gift live in the same state as you. Household family members or your child who lives down the street are fine. Want to give your brother who lives in North Carolina a new rifle for Christmas? You are both breaking federal law. Don’t do it unless you are willing to ship the gun to an FFL in his state and he is willing to do a background check and take possession of the gun only after completing the appropriate forms the same as if a sale is taking place.

  1. Gifting to Your Kids

Firearms can still legally be given to your children as gifts, however, handguns, typically may not be possessed by a child under the age of 18 unless in the presence of a parent or guardian or while used in during target practice at a range, hunting, etc. Long guns in many states do not have any such restrictions, though there should always be rules in the home of keeping them locked away from the minors accept when with the parent or guardian and during such activities as already mentioned. Because not doing that, well, that opens up a whole other can of legal worms that will need to be tackled in future articles.

For more details, click here.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. Hello neighbor, I live less than an hour away from Southampton County in Chesapeake.
    Thanks for posting this valuable information.

    • I’m actually a VB kid…well, was a kid, I’m much too old to be considered a kid in anyone’s book now…but grew up hunting Southampton County and still do. Drive through your fine city regularly. Good to meet a neighbor.

      • Heck, I’m an old kid, just 65 years experience at it.
        I have really enjoyed the discussion your article sparked!
        Sign of a great article!

  2. I’ve given several firearm as Christmas gifts over the last 5 years.
    I find out what they like, locate it at a retailer near the recipient or on Gun Broker, then have them purchase it. I wire them the funds at that point.
    This way the recipient has to go through ALL applicable laws wherever they live.
    Stupid trolls on TTAG swore this process was illegal a few years ago when I purchased my son a Steyr AUG using this method.
    The idiots thought it was a straw purchase. 🤪

    • Haha. No sir. Not even close. Just want to help everyone understand the law so they don’t get jammed up. What you choose to do with the information is always up to you my friend. Happy New Year.

  3. My son collects Mil-Surp weapons. His Christmas present this year was a S&W 1917 with the original tan half flap holster. I don’t know about other places, but Florida has an interstate agreement with Georgia and Alabama. We can buy, sell, trade long guns across state lines. Handguns are subject to the federal restrictions of in state residents only.

  4. a couple years ago i “gave” my kid a complete ar 15 lower from psa for Christmas
    he had been wanting an ar15 in 7.62×39 for a while
    so what i did is because he loves kraft mac n cheese so much and i never usually get it for him because the generic is 1/3 the cost and tastes 90 percent as good
    i put 4 boxes of the kraft inside the box from psa that said “complete psa ar15 lower” on it
    and let him open it as a gag gift
    he was all excited to get his lower
    then he opened the box and saw the 4 kraft and was visibly miffed
    then i walked out of the room and got the lower and just handed it to him unwrapped and said “merry Christmas son” and he looked back at me and said
    “thanks dad”

  5. Since any firearms I may have given or received were in person direct gifts, no laws were broken. Bent slightly perhaps, but not broken.
    I did pass on a couple antique collectors pieces to kids this year. Things they have coveted for years and I am thinning out some of the collection. Pass some of them along to the next generation to enjoy.

    • It is my understanding that you can Hand deliver ANY legal firearm ( including handguns) to someone in another state as long as they can LEGALLY possess it. You may not SHIP a handgun to someone in another state.

  6. I’m betting that, like most Americans, I commit at least one crime a day, and some of those are probably felonies. I doubt 2024 will be any different.

      • They have invented so many laws it’s difficult not to violate at least three a day. “Gun” laws violate your Second Amendment Right “to keep and bear arms”. How you choose to use them is another issue. You really think, “there ought to be a law”? Depends I guess…

      • Yup, there are rules to crime. Things like, “one crime at a time” and “keep the clean side clean” and “if you’re getting hemmed up make sure it’s federal so the time’s easier (state penns are rough)” that every man should have learned growing up.

    • If you’re not breaking at least one law a day you are not living, Most people probably get that done before they get out of bed in the morning…

    • If you possess a firearm or are of a Conservative or Constitutionalist bent then you certainly are breaking multiple laws of the swamp (show me the man and I will give you the case against him” – Beria a hero of the progs_

  7. Don’t think so, but is a nice buck with a glowing red nose legal game? I sure hope so. 😉

    • Exactly! What I did, I’ll never post on a website although it’s not that bad and is legal in other states. That said, Washington State can SUCK MY _________ <===== Fill in the blank.

  8. The federal entity on the Potomac river is only ceded certain specific powers by the States which created it when they ratified the Constitution. The regulation of firearms is not one of these powers.

  9. Doug,

    First, thanks for the information. I suspect MOST TTAG readers/commenters know the basics, but a reminder never hurts.

    Second, I will be DAMNED if I will obey some unconstitutional, bullshit restrictions (which are literally impossible to enforce) just ’cause my benevolent gummint says so. If I want to give a friend or family member a gun for Christmas (or a birthday, of just for shits and giggles), I damn well will, and the gummint is cordially invited to osculate my anal sphincter.

    I am fully aware of the legal requirements (and their absolute unconstitutionality), and the potential penalties my lawless gummint may choose to impose (despite their unconstitutionality), and aware of the potential consequences. I will continue to do what I damn well please in that regard. Sorry, not sorry.

  10. RE: “2. Make Sure You Both Live in the Same State.”

    My out of state sister acquired one of my AR builds so we drove to a FFL in her state for the transfer. I was surprised when the FFL said you really didn’t have to do this. Well not to debate the law with the FFL we did the NCIC anyway just in case something should happen once the firearm is out of my reach. And when we returned to my home I did a rule check and verified it is correct to transfer to out of state relatives by the book.

  11. Shall not be infringed. That’s the only law that matters. The folks hiding Ann Frank were breaking the law too…

    • And as the saying goes…everything Hitler did was legal according to the German law books. CA is on the same course.

      So when is a “law abiding citizen” doing the right thing by ignoring a law? Personal conscience decides this.

  12. It is my understanding that you can Hand deliver ANY legal firearm ( including handguns) to someone in another state as long as they can LEGALLY possess it. You may not SHIP a handgun to someone in another state without a BG check.

  13. It is my understanding that you can Hand deliver ANY legal firearm ( including handguns) to someone in another state as long as they can LEGALLY possess it. You may not SHIP a handgun to someone in another state without a BG check. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Unless things have changed you have to deliver the firearm in person to a FFL or ship to a FFL for transfer to anyone residing out of your state. In your state to anyone in your state you see fit no FFL required however check your state law. Nonetheless if you do not know an individual extremely well I suggest you transfer through a FFL.

      There are other wavers for let’s say a hunter coming in from out of state and you loaning them a gun to hunt with, etc. Again check your state laws, etc.

  14. A related incident, also in Virginia. So I wanted to buy a non relative a gun for a present. We were both present at the gun shop. I was under the impression that he would undergo the background check and fill out all the paperwork and I would pay for the gun. The shop owner refused and said that is a straw purchase. We decided I would do the paperwork, keep the new gun, and give him one I already owned. So we went back and did a transfer at the same FFL. None of this seemed correct. Thoughts?

  15. Nope, neither I nor the Old Woman broke any of MAN’S laws this holiday season.. fur as I know anyway.

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