What To Do With Guns After A Death In The Family

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Many people are planning a will or setting up a trust. Getting an estate in order can be a big job. For many people, it is unclear what will happen to their firearms after they die. For those left behind, they may be faced with many decisions, including what to do with guns after a death in the family.

Perhaps you have had a relative pass away recently and you are wondering what to do with the guns that they owned. Assets generally go to the people named in the trust or will, but when it comes to guns, it can get complicated.

The factors that play a role in what to do with the guns include:

  • What state you reside in
  • The types of guns
  • Which individuals or family members are named as beneficiaries

Categories of Guns

Guns generally fall into two categories: those that are subject to the c (NFA) and non-NFA firearms.

Those that are under the NFA include short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, fully automatic weapons, destructive devices and an odd variant, Any Other Weapon (AOW). They have serial numbers and are registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Firearms that are not covered through the NFA, but covered by the Gun Control Act of 1968 include shotguns, hunting rifles, and revolvers, pistols that are used for personal protection.

NFA Firearms that are unregistered are illegal and cannot be inherited or passed down to heirs. If they are discovered in the estate after a loved one’s death, they must be turned over to law enforcement for destruction.

To ensure that firearms are transferred to living heirs, the best way to do that is by working with a licensed gun dealer (FFL: Federal Firearms License) to transfer them appropriately.

The executor and the heir will fill out the appropriate paperwork, and the dealer will keep the guns while a background check is performed. Once the background check comes back clear, the beneficiary can pick up the firearms.

In some states, immediate family members can legally transfer firearms to each other without a background check. See WA-594 and OR-941.

Setting up a gun trust is another option that allows you to name multiple trustees who share the right to inherit your firearms after you are gone. Firearms will not need to go through probate, and the trust can be designed to last for multiple generations.

However, federal law and state gun laws will still need to be adhered to, so it’s important to work with an attorney who understands the various laws surrounding firearms.

Are you ready to purchase a firearm for yourself? Our friendly and knowledgeable team at Sporting Systems can help you find the type of gun that’s right for you and your specific needs.

We also offer gun trusts in-house to help with NFA purchases and allow trustees to inherit items when you pass.

We’ve helped many gun owners over the years. We have a full catalog of firearms and accessories. We also host events and provide support for our customers that continues long after a purchase has been made.

Contact us or visit our store today.


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