Firearms Ownership Requires Careful Estate Planning
Gun owners often have a strong affinity for their collections. Because of this, they often want to see
those firearms passed on to friends and family who will properly care for and appreciate them.
Leaving your firearms to those who know nothing about or have no interest in them really makes no
sense. In such cases, the guns sit around on display or collecting dust in storage, or, in some cases, the
heir winds up selling the inherited collection for a bit of pocket money. Few collectors truly want to see
this happen either.
To whom you bequeath your firearms will determine the fate of your beloved collection. While this
may sound simple enough, the matter is a bit more complicated than that. Gun regulations are fairly
strict all across the country, and with recent talk about the NRA and gun laws in the aftermath of the
Newtown, CT school shooting, there is a possibility that legislators will tighten the reigns even more.
There is much red tape involved in the transference of gun ownership. In addition, depending on the
distance the firearms must travel, the red tape can increase depending on the jurisdiction and its
This does not mean you should not pass your guns on to an heir; you and your heir(s) simply must be
prepared to handle the red tape in order to ensure a legal and smooth transfer.
In other words, the inheriting party cannot just grab the guns and take them home after your death. The
penalties for illegal ownership are just too steep for such a risk.
If you have a nice collection of firearms and want a specific person or persons to have them, ensure this
is outlined in your will during the estate planning process. You should also discuss the matter with the
heir(s) so that everyone is on the same page and is aware of the steps necessary to complete the
transfer. Of course, there is also another estate planning option worth considering.
A special purpose revocable living trust designates you as both owner and beneficiary. At the time of
your death, successor trustees will pass on your guns to beneficiaries.
While this can streamline the process, keep in mind that because of the laws, which can vary somewhat
from state to state, this living trust does not negate the need to comply with the National Firearms Act.
All laws, rules, and regulations must still be followed; however, the trust guarantees that your specific
wishes for the disposition of your firearms will be carried out.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Redlands CA of the Elder and Disability Law Firm offers estate
planning and business planning resources to residents of Redlands CA. To learn more about these free
resources, please visit www.san-bernardino-elder-law.com/ today.