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Fri Jan 24, 2020, 04:59 PM

Inherited guns?

I have come into possession of several firearms previously owned by a now-deceased relative: a shotgun, three rifles, and two handguns.

The rifles are at least four or five decades old, the shotgun is likely about the same. Not sure about the handguns, but I remember seeing one of them at least 30 years ago.

To the best of my knowledge these were never registered, and in fact I believe my relative received them under circumstances similar to those in which I now find myself.

How to proceed?

I'd like to do this legally and safely, but I have no idea how to start and figured some here might have valuable insight.

At present the weapons are secured in a friend's safe.


Thanks for any advice you can offer.

28 replies, 4302 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Inherited guns? (Original post)
Orrex Jan 24 OP
PoindexterOglethorpe Jan 24 #1
Orrex Jan 24 #9
Abnredleg Jan 24 #2
Atticus Jan 24 #3
Abnredleg Jan 24 #6
Orrex Jan 24 #8
sarisataka Jan 24 #4
safeinOhio Jan 24 #5
Orrex Jan 24 #7
randr Jan 24 #10
JustABozoOnThisBus Jan 24 #11
Ferryboat Jan 24 #12
Orrex Jan 24 #13
applegrove Jan 24 #14
Orrex Jan 24 #15
applegrove Jan 24 #19
gejohnston Jan 24 #16
Orrex Jan 24 #17
gejohnston Jan 24 #18
Orrex Jan 25 #20
Straw Man Jan 25 #21
krispos42 Jan 25 #22
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jan 25 #24
krispos42 Jan 25 #25
oneshooter Jan 25 #23
Orrex Jan 25 #28
krispos42 Jan 25 #26
Bayard Jan 25 #27

Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:03 PM

1. Your state and perhaps local government will be the ones

who can tell you.

Perhaps call your local police department or sheriff's office.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:35 PM

9. Good idea.

I live in a small town, and I see cops all over. I might ask one of them, or I might stop in the local PD station.

Thanks!

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:03 PM

2. Check with your local law enforcement

And ask about the local gun laws. In most places you do not have to register weapons other than automatic fire arms.

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Response to Abnredleg (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:16 PM

3. One may not have to register the weapons, but may need to have a FOID card ( Firearm Owner's

ID card) in order to legally "possess" firearm or ammunition.

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Response to Atticus (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:33 PM

6. Correct

It will depend on the jurisdiction.

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Response to Abnredleg (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:34 PM

8. That's good to know.

I honestly can't imagine that the previous owner had such a card, but definitely worth looking into.

Thanks.

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:16 PM

4. What do you want to do

With them when all is said and done? Keep them? Sell them? Destroy them?

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:28 PM

5. I'd write down the models, caliber and

serial #. Take that to local or county or State LEO and talk to them. Ask what you need to do to be in legal possession. If not legal turn them over. If legal you can decide if and which ones you might wish to keep. You can take those to a local gun shop and check the values. Might be surprised at value. Best to check them. Most likely the long guns will be no problem. Each state have laws on hand guns. Should not be a big deal if you do that.
Good luck.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:33 PM

7. Great advice--thank you! (nt)

Last edited Fri Jan 24, 2020, 09:32 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 05:57 PM

10. I have long proposed all firearms be intered

with their deceased owners. Wrap their dead hands around them and be done with them forever

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Response to randr (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 06:03 PM

11. There would be a huge spike in grave robbing.

I don't want my relatives to have to be twice-buried.

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 06:50 PM

12. This is a problem many must face.

What to with the family guns that have been passed down over the years.

Unless you have a family member who hunts or one with a strong sense of the family history who is willing to be a caretaker for future generations, you will have to decide.

Guns manufactured prior to the 1960's can be very valuable to collectors. 10's of thousands.

Do careful research, be wary of those who would be glad to help. Get a second opinion.

This is what I did when going through that experience.

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Response to Ferryboat (Reply #12)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 08:30 PM

13. I appreciate your perspective

My fear is that there may be no record of them available. They're locked up at the moment, so I can't check for serial numbers, but I'm concerned about how to verify ownership.

First things first, I suppose. Check for the serials and go from there.

Thanks!

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 08:48 PM

14. My grandfather was given a german gun in WW2. He kept it in his attick.

Last edited Sat Jan 25, 2020, 01:16 AM - Edit history (1)

When my grandfather died my grandmother looked for someone who was a a collector or at least a history buff and gave it to them. I don't think it was ever registered. My aunt had some old, old shotgun that had been in the family for generations back when our people lived on farms. It had been painted at some point so it had no value as an antique (none of us are gun people). I think we turned it into the police. I know i felt good they would never be used again.

*i asked my sister and she said the woman who was hired to clean out my aunt's house was given the job of getting rid of all guns. Anyhow. I was relieved to not have responsibility for them i guess. People in that business have all the connections to get rid of stuff in the appropriate place. My parents moved twice with a senior moving company and they help people downsize and get rid of stuff. So call a senior movers business and ask them what they do with guns. I'm sure they come across like things often.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 09:38 PM

15. Now that you mention it...

Some time in the early 2000s my mother unexpectedly received an unsolicited crate which she quickly determined to have been shipped to her from overseas in error when she found an AK-47 inside.

At my urging she contacted the police, and they took possession of it, crate and all, and that's the last she heard of it as far as I know. We think it came from someone serving in Afghanistan.

She showed me a picture of it, open and on the floor of her living room, but I never saw they actual weapon.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 11:19 PM

19. Yuck. I actually can't remember the details of what happened with my aunt's

guns. I think it was the police. Anyhow i do know for sure my grandfathers WW2 gun went to a history buff in the neighbourhood.

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 10:35 PM

16. What state do you live in?

Most states don't have registration or permit for ownership.
Is it in the same state as the dead relative? (that might matter under federal law).

If you don't want them, I suggest consigning them through a licensed dealer who does those. That way you know the future owner passed a background check etc.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 10:44 PM

17. Pennsylvania, both of us

I might sell them, once I've heard back from other relatives who might want them.

My overall sense from the responses here is that I need to look into the legal requirements to make sure, so that's probably the best way to go.

Thanks for your answer!

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Response to Orrex (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 11:10 PM

18. In PA,

There is no registration or FOID. PA does require private handgun sales/transfers be brokered by a licensed dealer ($2 for background check.)
https://www.gunstocarry.com/gun-laws-state/pennsylvania-gun-laws/

If wanting relative is in another state, federal law (1968 Gun Control Act) requires that they be shipped to a licensed dealer (his FFL will fax a copy to your FFL. Federal law allows you to send it, but receiving dealer might not accept it. Best to do FFL to FFL. That is how online sales work. Federal law (1927 Miller Act) prohibits using USPS to send handguns. Best to use UPS.

Whoever sent your mom the AK, violated one or two federal gun control laws (Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act). If it came from a war zone, it was probably a select fire, a machine gun. Dumping on the cops or the feds was the smart thing to do.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #18)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 12:11 AM

20. That's excellent information. Thank you.

I would have to guess that these particular weapons haven't crossed state lines in at least 40 years!

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 03:17 AM

21. As others have said ...

... much depends on what state you live in. For example, if you lived in New York, you'd have to surrender the handguns to the police until such time as you could obtain a pistol permit and get them registered. All in all, it could take up to a year.

The long guns are a bit of a headscratcher. Logically, since registration isn't required you could just keep them, but the law does require a background check for all transfers. To be safe, you would probably need tp take them to a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), who would then to the background check and "transfer" them to you. (Actually from you to him, and then from him back to you. Sounds strange, but that's the way it is.)

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 12:24 PM

22. Where are are geographically would be useful to know.

If your state requires background checks even for private transfers then you might have to check out what the laws are for inheritance.

However, registration and background checks are not the same thing. Connecticut, my state, has a background check requirement but not registration. At least, not directly.

When I bought a handgun from a co-worker, he filled out a form that included all the usual information, plus make and model and serial#, plus our CCW permits. He called it in to the state police, it was approved, and that was it. But he had bought the gun before the state clamped down on gun owners after Sandy Hook.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 02:31 PM

24. The OP explained further up that he is in PA, my home state

https://www.democraticunderground.com/1172209192#post17

PA features state preemption so communities in general can't make further restrictions beyond state law.

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #24)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 02:54 PM

25. Ah, okay. I'm on mobile. it's harder to get a full view of a thread

😀

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 01:11 PM

23. I was known as the "gun guy" at a pipe fab shop I worked at.

Got a new welder in and a week later he asked me where he needed to go to register his pistol. He was from Illinois. I laughed out loud. "You do not need a permit, license, or ANY permission to posses a firearm or purchase ammunition in Texas" "However I would recommend that after 90 days you apply for your LTC."

Check with the local gun shop for information on what needs to be done.

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Response to oneshooter (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 06:23 PM

28. Thanks--we have several shops in my small town

I'll swing by and ask.

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 04:44 PM

26. This might be useful for you

Trigger warning: it goes to the NRA's political action site... BUT they do have a comprehensive section on gun laws by state. This link goes right to Pennsylvania's section so you can bypass all the shit on the front page.

https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state-gun-laws/pennsylvania/

It looks like there is no firearm registration or permitting of owners in your state. The have relevant sections of state law on there (click "More" as needed) so you can see the actual wording of the laws.

Was your late relative also in Pennsylvania? Because if so, then it's the same as his or her TV or armchair being passed to you. No extra paperwork or anything; it's just a physical object changing hands.

Also, if you can identify the make and model of the gun you can poke around on auction sites like GunBroker.com to see what the values are.

The way I see it, you have a couple of options here. You might want to keep them for yourself, or you might want to sell them. Either way, if they're reasonably old you should poke around a little bit and see if they're worth a few hundred each, or a few thousand each. Value depends on a lot of variables, including history, scarcity, embellishments, and physical condition.

For example, you might have a ordinary-looking Colt revolver, but then it turns out it's in a caliber that Colt only made 200 of and it's highly valued by collectors. Or at least worth twice what a regular-caliber version is. Or maybe Colt only made a few that were nickel-plated.

Probably the best thing to do would be to take each gun out, make sure it's clean AND UNLOADED (!!!), and take several high-quality photos of them. Maybe use a tripod to avoid blurriness. And maybe not use a flash (just strong indirect lighting) to avoid glare. Take a picture of all the markings you can find (like manufacturer's logo, serial number, caliber, etc.) as well as of the action, stock, grip, muzzle, breech, sights, etc. Pop open the cylinders of the revolvers and take pictures of each end of it. For the rifles and shotguns, take pictures of the actions both open and closed.

Poke around on the internet for a while to get a feel for how these things are valued. Then if you want to sell them you can go to a gun dealer and show him or her the pictures and see what kind of price is offered. Or, if you want to keep them, now you have a timestamped record of the guns and their serial numbers.

You can PM me if that helps you.

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Response to Orrex (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 04:54 PM

27. My understanding,

When I received my father's ancient shotgun, was that you don't need to worry about, "long guns", only handguns.

You should be able to google up the laws for your state.

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