Can You Give a Gun as a Gift?

Buying a firearm to give as a gift can be complicated. That’s not to say it can never be done, but there are a few more things to keep in mind before you head out to the local sportsman’s supply store to make your purchase. No matter how much your honey might be hinting, if you’re thinking about giving a gun as a gift this holiday season, it’s important to be prepared so everything is done legally and as easily as possible. So, before you rush out to buy a gun for a friend who lives in another state, here are a few things you’ll need to know:


Know Local Laws

First and foremost, it is illegal to purchase a gun on behalf of anyone who cannot legally own a gun. That may sound like a “duh” statement, but it still needs to be said. Basically, if the gift recipient could not walk into their local firearms dealer’s store and purchase a gun themselves, you shouldn’t think that giving a gun as a gift will somehow make that okay. That means that, for example, if your 16 year old kid wants a rifle for Christmas, you’ll want to give it a couple of years—until they’re no longer a juvenile—to fulfill that particular wishlist item. Be sure to keep in mind that we’re talking about legality where the recipient lives. Just because the purchase may be legal if the recipient lived in your area, those same laws may not carry over to another city, county, or state. If you’re purchasing a gun as a gift, start with the ATF website (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to check what’s legal versus not in their area, rather than yours.


Transferring Ownership

Buying a firearm for someone as a gift is difficult enough. Buying for someone who lives in an entirely different region will be a great deal more complex. If you’re purchasing a gun to give as a gift, be sure you’re going through all the proper legal channels, including ensuring the recipient can legally own the firearm. A secondary step to purchasing a gun for someone else is to think about how you’ll get that gun to them and transfer the registration legally to their name. If the firearm has to cross state lines, things get complicated. Even if the firearm is being gifted/transferred to someone within the same home, there may still be hoops to jump through. Some states will require that all firearms transfers go through a local firearms dealer, to ensure a background check is performed and all legalities are met—yes, even when the recipient lives in the same house. And no, this does not include only new purchases. Even many antique or collectors firearm gifts will need to be transferred according to your state’s legal processes.

Gun Gift Alternatives

There are thousands of firearm-related laws, and many of them vary from state to state. Of course, there is an entirely separate set of laws that regulate transferring firearms to those who hold residency in another state as well as the actual physical transfer of the firearm. Stay tuned for part 2 of our blog series, where we’ll dig deeper into whether it’s possible to purchase a firearm as a gift for someone in another state, and how to get it to them if it is.


If you’re unsure at any step along the way, the best bet is to hold off on purchasing that firearm as a gift. Instead, we suggest either a gift card to a licensed dealer or to purchase custom AR parts or accessories instead. Some firearms, the AR 15 in particular, can be easily customized with parts that can be purchased legally and with minimal hassle from specialized manufacturers like Bootleg, Inc. and those components make for excellent gifts for the firearms aficionado in your life. Whether your loved one is looking for a new carrier group or they want to tweak their direct impingement system, you can shop our specially designed and produced custom AR parts and accessories. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about what we do, and shop Bootleg, Inc. online to find the best gifts for your AR-owning loved one this holiday season.

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