A firearm as an anniversary gift is a popular choice. Before you buy, you have to consider how you are buying the firearm, how you will transport it and the legal status of the anniversary gift recipient, so that no one falls foul of the law. Never gift a firearm to someone you know, or have reasonable cause to believe, legally cannot own a firearm as this is a federal felony. Here is what else you need to know:
Buying the firearm
Once you know that your firearm gift is legal, some states insist you only buy a firearm through licensed trader (FFL). For your own security it is good practice to do so, even if it’s not the law. When completing Form 4473 at the time of purchase answer ‘Yes’ to the question asking if you are the “actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?”. This is because you are the person assuming responsibility for the gun and taking possession of the gun.
A gift within your own state
There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state, but some states require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check can be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website has an overview of local laws.
Anniversary gift interstate
If your are gifting guns to someone in a different state, a direct transfer of a firearm is not legal. You must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides.
Personally delivering the anniversary gift
When travelling interstate to personally deliver the firearm anniversary gift, check the laws in the states you are crossing. Carry the firearm unloaded and locked up. Carry any ammunition separately in the trunk. Check with your airline for the rules when flying.
Each state has their own rules. You may be able to use your local post office to mail long guns, but have to use a courier for handguns. Some courier stores will not take firearms. The gun must be sent to a federally licensed retailer in another state, not an unlicensed individual.
If you want to give your favorite hunting rifle as an anniversary gift to your child, some states require inter-family transfers to go through a licensed retailer, unless it’s a pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the retailer requirement. The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website has further information about how to transport your guns across state lines and in what establishments you can carry a concealed firearm.
If it’s very complicated for you, consider purchasing an anniversary gift certificate from your recipient’s local firearms retailer.