Can/should I let a friend borrow a rifle of mine????


Tim Currie
August 4, 2004, 01:47 AM
This could be a real dumb question but I dont know the answer so I need to ask and would like your opinion as well.

I have a friend, best friend of mine, that is going camping (normally I'd be going too, but cant this time) and asked if they could take one of my rifles because we always go shooting while camping.

As far as trusting him with it and knowing he is competent and responsible with it...that is not a concern.

As far as if this is even legal or if there is any type of liability issue, thats where I have no clue.

So is it even legal? And is there a liability issue? And would YOU do it it, assuming the first two are ok?

Thanks guys,

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August 4, 2004, 01:59 AM
First off, how old are you? Second, does this person even own a firearm himself? If not, why not? Is it legal for this friend to own a firearm?

I would say that we need a little more information to give advice, and even then, advice on the internet is worth what you pay for it........nothing.


Seriously though, if you have enough of an issue with the idea to raise the question here on THR, I would say that it is usually pretty smart to listen to those little, nagging doubts.

August 4, 2004, 02:49 AM
Since you're in Cali, if it's a "assault weapon", you can't lend those out to people unless you are physically present.

But for non-assault weapon long as it's legal for him to be able to own firearms it shouldn't be a problem. I'd certainly make sure your friend knows how to transport these guns legally and follows all the rules...locked case, seperate ammo in the trunk etc etc.

I have lent my guns out on rare occasions but only to those I trusted implicitedly.

BTW, if you want to know the law the Cal DOJ firearms division, ask em about it, they'll give you the straight answer.

Tim Currie
August 4, 2004, 02:50 AM
24. Yes, and yes.

Just asking 'cause like I said I didnt even know about the legality of it.

August 4, 2004, 04:01 AM
Yes you can loan out a rifle. By law it can not be on loan for more than thirty days.

August 4, 2004, 06:53 AM
>Yes you can loan out a rifle. By law it can not be on loan for more than >thirty days.

There is no such law... please cite the statute...

August 4, 2004, 07:10 AM
As someone has already said, advice you get on the internet is worth exactly what you pay for it.....nothing.

However, if you feel that you must ask about this, then it probably indicates that you have your doubts. So, my free advice is this: Don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, even if it is legal.

August 4, 2004, 07:24 AM
Can he not afford one of his own? Or what? Why does he want to use yours, rather than one of his own?

August 4, 2004, 08:26 AM
Back in RI in the early 80's, a friend of a friend encountered legal troubles and jail concerning a rifle he loaned out, which was subsequently used in a crime. I got the story 3rd hand, so a shaker of salt is called for. IIRC, the pivot of legal liability wasn't that the rifle was loaned, it's that it was loaned LOADED :what: . Apparently, loading the rifle, even well before the fact of the crime, had legal significance. (Even if it wasn't on the books, the DA was able to convince a jury.) I've always been under the impression that the dictum not to pass a loaded firearm to another was related to this, not to mention common sense. If the borrower can't load the firearm, he probably shouldn't be messing with it.

August 4, 2004, 08:31 AM
The rule of thumb I follow is that should anything at all happen involving that firearm, the police are going to follow its trail to your doorstep. Therefore, I try not to do anything to give that gun a chance to get out of my hands and into something. I don't loan guns out to anyone other than letting them shoot it while I'm around. Nothing personal against anyone, just not taking chances.

Brian Williams
August 4, 2004, 09:09 AM
What are you loaning him???

Is it a high powered hunting gun or a little 22 plinker.

If it is a 22 Think long and hard as to how good a friend he is.

A friend will help you move,:D

A good friend will carry your casket

A really GREAT Friend will help you hide the bodies.:D :D :D

Seriously would you trust your life to him???

August 4, 2004, 09:30 AM
Even though you fully trust your friend, is anyone else going on this camping trip? You have to have full faith in them also as they may have opportunites to get their hands on your rifle.

August 4, 2004, 09:38 AM
If you want to remain friends, no. Three things I don't lend are money, guns, wives. And oh yes, hand tools. :uhoh:

August 4, 2004, 09:47 AM
My friends are guaranteed to lose/break my tools.My friends never offer to replace what they break/lose.My friends don't even ask to borrow my tools anymore.
If you trust your friends to be responsible with your tools-both for there care & use-then go ahead.Assuming that it's legal to do so.
Just don't lend stuff to my friends.:uhoh: ;)

August 4, 2004, 10:03 AM
Tim, some friendly advice to you: invest a measley $20 on a book called How to Own a Gun and Stay Out of Jail in California and you won't have to rely on shaky info you hear on the 'net. The book will answer this and all those other questions you might have, and backs up its answers with examples from actual CA cases.

August 4, 2004, 10:22 AM
Not a good Idea.

My dad asked me to loan him a pistol so he could go shooting with a friend and determine whether that friend should buy one.

I trust my dad implicitly but he befriends people too easily so I told him
my pistol was at the gunsmith.

Turns out the guy was looking for a suicide weapon and ended up killing himself shortly afterward with another borrowed gun.

Any firearm out of your sight risks damage, loss, theft or worse.

Tim Currie
August 4, 2004, 10:23 AM
Thanks for the input guys. Yeah I know of that book, guess I should pick it up. However, they are camping this weekend...

The only reason they want to borrow it is to plink while camping, which is what we usually do and I'm there with the gun. He does have his own pistol he is taking and a 22 rifle, but he likes my sks and wants to have fun with that as well.

So I guess it is ok legally its just a matter of should I?

Thanks again, if anyone else has anything to add I 'll check back later.


August 4, 2004, 10:38 AM
My step father had an alligator in his pond eating his ducks and geese. He had tried shooting it with 20ga #6 which is all he has.
I loaned him an SKS in excellant condition.2wks later I got back an SKS with a rusted dust cover, rust on the barrel and a stoxk that was whiskered and completely discolored.
And to top it off he never shot it cause he couldn't figure out how to work the trigger.
What had been a collector grade SKS is now just a beater, nobody will ever care as much about your stuff as you do

August 4, 2004, 10:54 AM
Just be careful who you loan it to. Last year I loaned a .303 British to a kid at church to deer hunt with, with his dad's permission. I've shot with him, he's safe, and takes care of his own guns. But, he didn't have a deer rifle, or the money for one, and he needed one. The .303 really wasn't worth a lot, but it is a fine deer rifle. I got it back at the end of deer season in the same condition I loaned it, along with the extra rounds he'd bought. It's a judgment call, and realize that the gun could be damaged by circumstances beyond his control.

August 4, 2004, 11:16 AM
It's a personal thing... I have one friend that has a single shot sawed off (still legal) 12Ga. of mine for homeprotection... (her hubby was in Iraq for a year)

I got another friend with keys to the house, gunroom, and safe, and the only things I ask is that he leave a note as to what he has taken, and to replace any of MY ammo he uses... I recently had to add another rule to his list... DO NOT EVER CLEAN THE BORE OF MY .22 RIFLES...

you see, HE will oil and polish a stock, detail strip, clean, re-assemble, oil, buff, fluff, and otherwise care for ANY gun he borrows... going so far as to borrow MY SKS once for 2 months, at which time it came back freshly blued, and with a HELLUVA lot better piece of wood than it left with... (he SWEARS it is the same stock, with the varnish gone, and tung oil in it's place... but I dunno...

most other friends don't get NEAR my firearms unless I'm present...

like I said, it is your call...

August 4, 2004, 01:47 PM
Let me give you something to think about before you loan your friend a gun. I am 67 years old and have been shooting and around guns for as long as I can remember.

As you can see by the many different responses in this thread the issue of loaning guns (to anyone not just friends) has a lot of different facets. It is really not a simple question legally or otherwise. I used to loan out my guns (many, many years ago) but I just won't do it any more. I have had a lot of guns simply ruined by "friends" and most of these "friends" did not want to stand the cost of an adequate repair job. They said sorry and left the costs to me. I have all my guns insured and when I tried to get my insurance company to pay for repair they all asked whether or not I was the one who caused the damage. The bottom line here is that if you opted to lend out your gun they (the insurance company) would not pay. I can see their point.

Some of the "friends" did really stupid stuff when they had my gun. I just could not assure that they were careful and competent gun users. Which raises the issue of my judgement in lending them the gun in the first place. My personal liability is increased when I lend the gun and someone does something stupid. While my friends may be my friends they are not all brilliant and responsible.

I have come to the conclusion over the years that letting people borrow my guns was really not a good decision on my part. So, as a matter of personal policy, I just do not do it any more. All my friends know and understand my policy. If they don't then they probably are not my friends. So, I offer these words for you to consider. Good shooting;)

August 4, 2004, 03:02 PM
I got my information from Turners. My friend wanted to buy a shotgun I had. I was told by Turners that I could loan him the long gun for up to 30 days. Personaly I wouldn't loan a gun to ANYBODY.

August 4, 2004, 03:53 PM
I would have to recommend NOT loaning a gun. It is something I have never done or will do.

1. Even if it is technically legal to "loan" a gun in your state (or at least not illegal) there is still a good chance you being held liable for any thing that happens while your friend is in possession of it. At the very least you could be question as to why you gun was involved in someone else's shooting.

2. Stuff loaned out never comes back in the condition it was given. This seems to be some law of the universe. I hear so many horror stories about how whatever object was loaned out of course comes back messed up in one way or another. And of course said friend does not know what the problem is and/or is unwilling to pay for damage. I can't even get a ^#%$ CD or DVD returned without being scratched all to hell.

Having said all that I am more than happy to let someone shoot my guns at the range. But it is still under my supervision.

If he is a good friend he will understand. We tend to judge friendship by what someone is willing to do for someone else. Sometimes friends need to be judge by what they won't ask someone to do.


Fred Fuller
August 4, 2004, 06:02 PM
If you have to ask this question- the answer is no, you shouldn't loan your stuff.

Not that I don't loan firearms- one of my best friends sold practically everything he had to go to med school, he has one of my government model .45s and a short barreled pump gun on loan, I wouldn't let him leave without having protection for him and his family. And I gave him ammo and locking cases for all of the above as well. He had sold his Rolex too, and so I gave (not loaned) him my spare Seiko dive watch, last time I saw him before he left he was using a castoff Timex digital with the band broken off. The Seiko was big step down from a Rolex, but that arms room type 1911 was a big step down from the SIG he had sold, too. Offered him his choce of a Glock 19, a Browning HiPower or the 1911, he wanted the old warhorse. Offered him a choice of long guns too, he got what he asked for.

And BTW,if I don't get 'em back, I don't care. If you can't take that attitude and MEAN IT, don't loan things.

Yeah, he used to be in Special Forces- he was an 18D, a medic. The Rolex should be a clue :^).


August 4, 2004, 06:33 PM
Never loaned out a gun that left my sight. Let a few people try out my guns while I was present, but that's it.

My hunting partner has offered to let me use one of his rifles for our upcoming deer hunt. Although I appreciate it, I will make every effort to not need to take him up on it. I'll be hunting with an old mil-surp Mauser that I'm going to put Mojo sights onto. Only way I could see borrowing his gun is if the light is marginal and I can't see the target well enough without a scope. If that happens, he'll hand me his rifle, I'll aim and squeeze, and then hand it right back.

In general I don't like using other people's stuff (unless it's to try it out to see if I like it), and consequently I don't like other people using my stuff (unless it's to try it out to see if they like it).

If you trust your friend enough to loan him money, then you can probably trust him enough to loan him your gun. But, even the few people I trust enough to loan money to still won't get my guns except in an unusual circumstance.

FWIW - I loaned my best man the money to cover his hotel and clothing expense at my wedding. It's been over 2 years now, and I haven't seen a dime of the money (a little under $300) and he won't return my calls (in spite of the fact that I basically told him I'd written off the loan and to not worry about it). I thought I could trust him. He was a good enough friend to be my best man. Just goes to show you how little a friendship can mean to some people. Keep that in mind.

Standing Wolf
August 4, 2004, 07:02 PM
...invest a measley $20 on a book called How to Own a Gun and Stay Out of Jail in California...

Bingo. That's the right answer. Anywhere else in the country, lending a rifle to a friend is probably a matter of common sense; the People's Republic of California, however, has passed innumerable laws against common sense in the last twenty years or so.

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