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‘Tis the season to give a gun as a gift. One thing to keep in mind: your choice of the right gun may not be the recipient’s idea of appropriate ballistic largesse. This is especially true for handguns, where the way a firearm fits the hand is critical to recoil management. But hey, you know your stuff, right? Do you know the two rules for gun gift giving you must follow to avoid falling afoul of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires)?

1. No money must be exchanged

It must be a gift and only a gift. No exchange of money or, um, services must occur. (Take that last part as you may.) It’s an excellent idea to provide documentation of the transfer from the giver to the recipient listing the firearm’s serial number. Or pay your FFL to do the transfer the traditional way.

2. The person receiving the gift must not be a prohibited person

The law is clear: you cannot knowingly lend, sell or give a gun to a prohibited person (someone under the legal age limit, a convicted felon or known drug user or someone who’s been committed to a mental institution). If in doubt, don’t.

If you want to avoid the possibility of a problem, you can always give a gift card from your local gun store to let the recipient choose their own firearm and jump through the necessary legal hoops. And, I dunno, include a picture. But where’s the fun in that?

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  1. Seriously, TTAG — you can’t even be bothered to proofread a TITLE? I mean, there’s always grammar and spelling errors in every. single. article…

    A good New Year’s Resolution for the TTAG staff might be to hire a proofreader, or at least proofread each others’ articles.

    • Ha Ha, I’m sure everyone knew what the title meant. Furthermore, cut TTAG a little slack here. These authors aren’t competing for any Pulitzer Prize winning articles, are they now?

      As a matter of fact, these aren’t really much of an article, in the true sense. More of a blog, or even less, they’re little more than email banter.

      When normal subscribers stop enjoying what others have to say about these things, I suspect these blogs will disappear altogether, along with the negative comments of certain readers.

    • This is hilariously pathetic.
      The title has been “corrected.”
      Now it reads, “Two Things You MUST Know Before a Gun as a Gift”

  2. It helps to ask your gun leading questions and pay attention to any possible hint-dropping when it comes to picking the perfect gift for it.

  3. If you are going to buy a gun for a minor, say that pretty pink ,22 rifle, buy it in your name and let it remains so. You need to maintain control of the gun and secure it anyway. Once the minor turns 18 you can transfer the gun according to the level of infringement you live under.

      • Illinois requires online verification of the recipient’s FOID card before any private transfer to an Illinois resident.

        When I bought a Henry Big Boy a few years ago and gave it to my wife for her birthday, I honestly went through this process and printed out the verification code.

        • Well, I guess there is more than two things you need to know if you are gifting a gun.
          All this sounds an awful lot like a registry…that doesn’t exist, wink wink nudge nudge.

        • “All this sounds an awful lot like a registry…that doesn’t exist, wink wink nudge nudge.”

          The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) forbids such a federal registry, but not any enacted by states.
          Such is life.

    • Even in Cuomostan, you can gift a gun to an immediate family member with no paperwork. If it’s a handgun they will have to add it to their permit. In NJ, no paperwork is required to gift a long gun. I am not up to date on handgun law, but I believe the same goes for them, too.

  4. If anyone wants to give a gun as a gift this X-Mas, I’ll be happy to give it a loving home, even if it’s a Hi-Point…


  5. Good lord, I deal with this all time I gun sales….
    I can’t stess it enough: if the intended recipient hasn’t made it VERY clear what gun (especially a handgun) they want, DON’T choose one for them! No matter what your level of expertise, just like trying to pick out their next pair of shoes, YOU WILL GET IT WRONG!
    Moreover, in some big box stores I could name, you cannot return or exchange a firearm. So they’re stuck with it unless they exchange it at a possible loss elsewhere.
    Easiest solution? Take them gun shopping as a gift (make a fun day of it!) and tell them their choice is on you! If price is a concern, make it clear to them (and the salesperson) beforehand. I’m sure they’ll understand.

    • If your beloved recipient has been verbally expressing a desire for a particular firearm, I see no harm in fulfilling such wishes.

      If it’s something as adjustable and customizable as an AR-15, there’s not going to be an issue with fit. Shotguns are another matter, of course, and a carry pistol is an intensely personal decision.

      My wife loves the Henry Big Boy .357 I bought for her a few years ago. I knew enough about what she enjoys to nail that decision.

      Worst case scenario, if the recipient is not pleased, is you have to sell the almost-new gun and lose a few bucks in the process.

      • My wife hates “black rifles”. She doesn’t have a rifle so I decided to give her a Mossberg MVP Predictor 5.56. It takes my AR mags and we already have plenty of ammo. I think she will enjoy working the bolt rather than just blasting away with a semi auto. It’s more “civilized”.
        This one has the threaded barrel too so when the HPA is passed, there will be a significant upgrade to her rifle that she will be thrilled about.
        At this point, I have gifted as many guns as I own. And after my son”s birthday early 2017, I will have gifted more guns than I own.

    • Very similar to what I used to do with different things I used to sell. I told the person to give the other person a card & write inside “Surprise, I am buying you a (item) & I want you to help me pick it out”. This approach was enormously successful; I had huge sales increases over previous managers with no returns.

  6. While realizing your mileage (or state residency) may vary and intent of the statement…

    Paying an FFL doesn’t seem like the “traditional” way, maybe the “official” way.

  7. As I understand the law, the person receiving the gift must be a resident of the state of the giver, regardless of family, etc. Individual transfers of a firearm to a resident of another state must go through a FFL unless you die and bequeath it to them in your will. As I understand the (federal) law. Not that such transfers have taken place, ever. 😉

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