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Gifted with a firearm – are you in trouble?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

As any trained police officer or military serviceperson would tell you, firearms are incredibly dangerous and should always be treated as loaded. But while they’re undoubtedly hazardous items, that hasn’t stopped people from giving them as gifts to others like they’re toy pellet guns.

If you receive a firearm as a gift, will you be in trouble with the law?

Ensure the gun’s legality

Whether you received the gun as a gift or a relative passed it down to you as an heirloom, the first thing you should ensure is that the weapon was initially obtained legally. You should take the gun to a licensed retail firearm dealer and ask to have the weapon transferred under your name after the required federal and state paperwork is accomplished. The dealer will also have to complete a criminal background check on you as part of the process.

Once the gun transfers to your name, you will need a license to carry the firearm. You’ll have to apply to your local police department, bringing your application requirements, such as proof of identification, proof of qualification from a firearms instructor, and so on.

Pistol protocols

If you received a handgun/pistol, you’d also need a valid Permit to Purchase a Handgun before the gun can be transferred to your name, as per New Jersey’s laws. The permit has to be accomplished by both you and the dealer.

Getting rid of it

If you don’t want the gun, you can also have it destroyed. Contact your local police station and inform them that you have a firearm that you wish to dispose of. You’ll have to provide written notice of surrendering the firearm, including the date you’ll turn the gun over, to the chief of police. Alternatively, you can ask a licensed gun dealer if they’d like to purchase the weapon from you.

Being gifted a gun won’t get you into trouble immediately, but you’ll want to register the firearm to your name as soon as possible – or dispose of it. The possession of a firearm without a permit in New Jersey is a third-degree crime punishable by up to five years in prison. If you are caught in possession of a gifted gun you didn’t want in the first place, you might want to call upon an attorney that can help you get out of such a hairy situation.