J. Patrick Quillian, P.C.

J. Patrick Quillian Attorney At Law

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Can I gift a gun to someone?

In Oklahoma you can gift someone a gun in most situations. However, if you gift a gun in the wrong situation, you could be committing a felony. This is why it is important to understand the laws surrounding the transaction.

Recipient must be able to legally own a gun

One of the first aspects to consider before gifting a gun is if the recipient is legally able to own one. If you know someone should not own a gun and you give him or her one anyway, you are breaking the law.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the people who are unable to own a gun under federal law include anyone who:

  • Has been convicted of a crime punishable by over a year in prison
  • Is a fugitive
  • Is illegally taking drugs or is addicted to drugs
  • Is mentally defective or has been committed to a mental institution
  • Is illegally in the United States
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Has renounced his or her citizenship
  • Has a restraining order prohibiting him or her from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner
  • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime

Oklahoma law adds that others who cannot own guns include anyone who is mentally incompetent, of an unsound mind, convicted of a felony, an adjudicated delinquent or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In most instances it is also illegal to gift a gun to someone under 18 years old. In Oklahoma, the exception is if you are a parent or legal guardian of the child, or if you have the permission of the parent or legal guardian. In that circumstance, the gun must be for hunting, hunter safety classes, education, training, target shooting, skeet, trap or other sporting events. Even when meeting both of those requirements, you must be sure the child does not present a risk of using the weapon to commit a crime, is not an adjudicated delinquent and was not convicted for a crime that involved violence or the threat of violence.

Consider where the recipient lives

Another consideration before gifting a gun is if the recipient also lives in Oklahoma or if the recipient lives in another state. If both you and the recipient live in Oklahoma and the recipient can legally own a gun, you can simply hand the gun over.

If the recipient lives in a different state, you must make sure the laws of both states are being met. According to ATF, you will then have to gift the gun to him or her through a firearms retailer, also called a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), from the state that the recipient lives in. This will involve shipping the gun to the retailer. Then an ATF Form 4473 will have to be filled out, and the recipient will have to undergo a background check before picking up the gun from the retailer.

Avoiding a straw purchase

A straw purchase is when someone asks another person to purchase a gun for him or her and provides that person the money to do so. This violates federal law when the purchaser falsely lists himself or herself as the actual buyer of the gun when filling out the ATF Form 4473. Straw purchases are often how people who legally cannot own guns end up possessing guns.

According to ATF, gifting a gun is not the same as a straw purchase. If you buy a gun with your own money with the intention of gifting it, you own the gun until it is gifted, so you are lawfully able to list yourself as the actual buyer of the gun when filling out the ATF Form 4473.

Gifting a gun includes a legal responsibility and should not be taken lightly. To avoid federal charges, you should be sure the recipient can legally own a gun, the hand-off is arranged legally and no straw purchase is occurring. Once you know all the legal requirements have been met, you can pick out your gift with confidence. If meeting the legal requirements seems daunting, consider giving a gift card for a licensed retailer instead.

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