This is a reprint of US Law Shield post, but it's important!
Firearms can make great gifts. However, before you buy a gun as a gift, there are a few legal matters to consider.
#1: MAKE SURE THE RECIPIENT IS ELIGIBLE TO POSSESS THE GUN
First and foremost, make sure the recipient is eligible to possess the gun. Some individuals, such as convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic abuse, or those subject to certain protective orders are prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.
#2: MAKE SURE YOU AND THE PERSON RECEIVING THE GUN ARE RESIDENTS OF THE SAME STATE
Second, make sure you and the person receiving the gun are residents of the same state. Generally, a private, unlicensed individual may transfer a gun to another private, unlicensed individual who is eligible to possess firearms, if both of you live in the same state. However, there may be additional legal hoops—which brings us to our next point.
#3: FOLLOW YOUR STATE’S LAWS ON PRIVATE TRANSACTIONS
Third, follow your state’s laws regarding private transactions. Some states may have specific requirements. For example, Colorado and Virginia requires a background check processed by a licensed firearm dealer before gifting a gun, unless the gift is to a member of your immediate family. Connecticut and California have even stricter laws, requiring background checks for all private transactions—including gifts—regardless of who is receiving the gift.
#4: NO STRAW MAN PURCHASES
Last but not least, no “straw man” purchases, which is buying a firearm when you’re not the actual buyer or transferee. One example of a straw man purchase is buying a gun for another person who is legally unable to purchase a gun with their money. Don’t worry though, the ATF and the Supreme Court have stated purchasing a firearm as a gift for a third party does not qualify as a straw man purchase. In this situation, the giver is considered the actual buyer or transferee of the firearm and not a straw man.
We all know it’s better to give than to receive, and if you have any questions regarding gifting a gun, get some solid legal advice!
HAVE A SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!