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Don't Forget These Facts if You Give Someone a Gun This Holiday Season


Before you give someone a gun for Christmas, make sure you know the rules and regulations.

If you plan to give someone a gun, whether for Christmas or any other time of year, there are a few things to be aware of. We all know gun ownership comes with a certain level of responsibility, as well as ethical and legal obligations. Well, when you're buying a gun for someone else, these things become even more important.

Referred to as Straw Purchases, when you purchase a gun as a gift, there are certain legal regulations you must follow that go above and beyond the normal FBI background check. Even if you give someone a gun you already own, it may not be as easy as you think.

Here are some of the basic facts you need to know if this holiday, you give someone a gun as a gift.

Are they allowed to own a gun.

There are multiple reasons that certain individuals aren't allowed to own a gun. The most common reasons is if someone is on probation or has been convicted of a felony, but there are are things that people don't always think about. Like the fact that you must be 18 to legally own a gun or if you've been admitted into a psychiatric ward, you may not be allowed to own one.

With nine categories of "prohibited persons," you best be sure who you're buying it for is allowed to own a firearm because if you even have a "reasonable cause" to think they aren't allowed to own one, but you transfer it to them anyways, you've just committed a federal felony.

You must submit a background check.

Per United States legislation, any person that purchases a gun from a licensed gun dealer has to submit to a FBI background check, typically completed in store. Even if you plan to give someone a gun and not keep it for yourself, you are still the purchaser and must submit to the background check. Be prepared to do so.

And if you're shopping during the holiday seasons, especially the traditional shopping days like Black Friday, you may want to bring a book. If it's busy, it can take hours for the call center to verify the check.

Colorado background check law gun show

The received may need a background check, too.

Depending on what state you live in, the gun transfer may need to be completed by a licensed gun dealer. There is special documentation that must be completed and the new gun owner will need to complete and pass a background check. This holds true even if it's not a new gun and even if you're giving it to your son or daughter. Inter-family transfers are often treated like regular gun transfers and may have to go through a licensed dealer as well.

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Don't lie.

When you're filling out the paperwork to purchase a gun, you are given the option to say if it is intended for another person. If that's your intent, say yes. Don't lie because it can come back to bite you in the ass. Even if you plan to give someone a gun who's allowed to have one, it is still illegal if you lie on the paperwork. Just this year in the case of Abramsk vs. United States, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that it is a federal offense to lie on the background forms.

Ownership can't cross state lines.

It doesn't matter where you live, gun ownership is not allowed to cross state lines. So if you live in Texas, and your granddaughter lives in Pennsylvania, you can't just mail her your old 243 and think everything's going to be okay. Any time gun ownership crosses state lines, it must be processed through a Federal Firearms License.

Other options

Don't give up hope. If you're heart is set and you really want to give someone a gun this Christmas, but you don't want to go through all the hassle, you can always buy them a gift certificate. Even most privately owned gun dealers offer them, and you don't have to worry about anything, except what kind of card to put it in.

If you're unsure of your state's laws, you can talk to a licensed gun retailer or  look at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive's website to find out your state's specifics.

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Don't Forget These Facts if You Give Someone a Gun This Holiday Season