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Shipping Dad's weapons to myself in Florida

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by eodspanky, Mar 22, 2011.

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  1. eodspanky

    eodspanky Member

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    Greetings! I'm new to this site and wanted to tap the collective braintrust.

    What are the current legalities in shipping or transporting privately owned weapons from California to Florida? Before you start typing, here's some background info.

    My Dad lived in California and passed away in '96. Since then, his collection of firearms resided with my step-mom in California and she is ready to let them go to my brother or I. My brother already has his weapon of choice so he's going to let me have Dad's collection, which includes several long guns, shotguns, and some handguns.

    My wife and I are flying to Vegas in May and will also drive a rental car into California to visit with stepmom and brother. We'll drive back to Vegas for our flight home to Florida.

    So, with all this info, is there a plan of attack I can use to ship/hand-carry this diverse collection of weapons legally back to Florida?

    I appreciate your help and anxiously await your thoughts and suggestions.
     
  2. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

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    I'm not a lawyer so you can take this as cautionary. Since it has been more than 10 years since he passed your mother may have to ship them to an FFL in your state (Florida) in order to remain legal. If it had been done within a year of his passing you might have been able to claim inheritance, however being more than 10 years that may not be an option. Check with an attorney before you accept them. With all the screwy laws today there is no need to commit a federal crime when you can avoid it. Good luck and sorry about your dad. I'm sure he would be satisfied with his sons getting their share of his collection.
     
  3. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    If the guns were left to your stepmom by your father, she needs to transfer them to you via a FFL in your home state. Depending on the receiving FFL, she may need to also go through a FFL on her end as well, since not all FFLs will receive shipments from non-licensees.
     
  4. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    Someone can give away a gun without doing a transfer. Let her give you the guns and then drive them back to florida. Any shipping will have to go through an FFL and a transfer.
     
  5. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Not if they're residents of different states they can't. In order for the OP to take possession of these guns, they MUST be transferred through a FFL.
     
  6. wgsigs

    wgsigs Member

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    I had a similar, but not exact situation recently. My father-in-law, who happened to live in Nevada, passed away 12 years ago and left his gun collection to his two sons, myself, and my son (his only grandson). We left them in his safe with my mother-in-law because none of us had the time or inclination to bring them back whenever we visited. However, my mother-in-law passed away a few months ago so we had to finally do something.

    When we were out settling her estate, I bought a heavy duty gun case and brought one of the rifles and several handguns back as checked luggage on our flight home. The rest we had "shipped" back with some of her mom's furniture and other items that my wife wanted, via an actual mover.

    If the guns were actually left to your step-mom, then my scenario probably doesn't apply. However, if they were left to you and just being stored at your step-mom's, then you have the options I had. I believe you can drive some of the guns back to Las Vegas and check them on your flight. Since you probably don't have the mover option, then the other guns will have to be shipped via a common carrier like Fed-Ex or UPS, subject to their policies. If the guns were bequeathed to you, then they are your guns and you should not have to involve an FFL during any of this. Sorry about being long-winded.
     
  7. deadin

    deadin Member

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    The key word here is "bequeathed". You will need the actual will showing that they were left to you by name. If there was no will, you will need the probate papers showing that they were awarded to you under the intestate succession rules of the State where your Father was resident. Just "Dad wanted me to have these guns" won't cut it in a court of law if the BATFE wants to make an issue of it.
     
  8. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Violates 18 USC 922 (a)(5), Federa law. We won't even start with California laws!

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000922----000-.html

    The only legal way to comply with Federal and California laws to transfer these guns is for them to be shipped to a Florida FFL for transfer.
     
  9. Larry E

    Larry E Member

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    You can't just have guns shipped from one state to another without going through an FFL to be perfectly legal. In fact I don't know of a shipper who will accept firearms to an out of state address without a copy of the receiving party's FFL.

    If you wanted to drive all the way to CA from FL you could pack them up haul them home with you. Not strictly legal I'm sure, but that's up to you. BATFE has NO sense of humor unless you happen to be a Mexican drug lord apparently. :fire:
     
  10. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    No, he couldn't.
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yeah, that's a painful situation. As the guns are currently hers, and you are residents of different states, the guns must be transferred through an FFL dealer.

    You could transfer the long guns at a dealer in CA while you're visiting. (IF CA LAW ALLOWS -- I don't know for sure, and I'm guessing NO, but the dealer would know for certain.) The handguns must be sent to a dealer in your home state where you can do the transfer.

    Not even close to legal, actually, because that would be an interstate transfer, requiring an FFL dealer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  12. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    California has the DROS system, Dealer Record or Report of Sale (not sure which). The buyer/recipient has to have a California driver's license for the DROS system, so California FFLs can't do transfers to out of state residents.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2011
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I thought there might be something like that but I was having a devil of a time getting any of the regular reference materials to load up on my machine.

    Thanks, and I guess that answers that.
     
  14. ET

    ET Member

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    deleted
     
  15. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Are these concerns a California thing? I'm asking because I was just in New Mexico in December when my dad died. He left behind two revolvers. I went to his property, picked them up from where I found them in his house, and brought them back with me in checked luggage.
    Technically, I guess they were the property of his wife, but she abandoned him in 2005. I spoke with her (for the first time since 2004) the day he died to tell her he had, and she told me she was unable to make the trip back from where she was currently residing in Delaware, and that she was unable to assist in the disposition of his remains. She told me I could do whatever I wanted with the property since I was taking care of the arrangements, so I did.
    Of course, if she were to ask me now about the guns, I would simply say I never found them; he must have sold them to pay bills or something (he did, in fact, leave a lot of debt behind.)
    So, in a nutshell, was I out of "legal line"?
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Please re-read the thread. I'm not sure how this was unclear, but we've been mostly sticking to FEDERAL law. CA law only came up in the last few posts.

    The legality of this entirely depends on what his will said -- or what the rules and procedures of intestate succession spelled out.

    If you are the lawful, sole heir of his estate, or the guns were bequeathed directly to you, then that is legal. If the guns were "technically" her property upon his passing, then you taking them -- even with her blessing -- was not legal at all.

    Others will be more able to explain the legal relationship between the heirs, the executor, and the state, but if the guns belonged to her upon his passing, she cannot legally just give them to you. That's an interstate transfer and would have to take place at an FFL. If they were handguns, they'd have to be transferred through an FFL in your state.

    Her being unable to travel presents some large difficulties as the guns cannot even be shipped to her (except to an FFL where she'd have to fill out 4473s for each).

    Tough to say, but it looks like it may be so.
     
  17. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    I think MedWheeler was within the law. Sounds like he was the rightful heir to the firearms and took possession of them immediately upon the death of his father.

    Completely different situation than attempting to claim being an heir to property that has been in the possession of another family member for 15 years.
     
  18. Centaur 1

    Centaur 1 Member

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    I think that everyone has been watching too much television and you're all unnecessarily scared. The OP's stepmother cannot legally mail the guns too him without using an FFL. When the OP arrives in CA the guns will legally be his when she hands them to him. It IS legal to mail a gun that belongs to you, to yourself at your residence. The problem arises when you follow the law and disclose to the shipper,(UPS, FedEx), that you are mailing a gun to yourself. Not many of the people who work at these places understand the law, and they will turn you away. My recomendation would be to find an FFL in CA who understands the law, and have him ship the guns to you at your home. He might charge you a small fee for his time, but no transfer is needed.
     
  19. deadin

    deadin Member

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    I'm not so sure this is true. New Mexico is a community property State, so if the guns were acquired during the marriage they are part of the estate that goes to the wife. (Or, at least half of them.;))
    Community property, separation, no divorce and no will "can" get real sticky and probably would have to be sorted out by a probate court.

    I'm sure that MedWheeler's solution is, by far and away, the most common way these things are handled when a parent dies, but that still doesn't make it legal under strict interpretation of the law.
     
  20. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    I'm guilty of watching more television than I should, but it does nothing to scare me. What DOES scare me is the threat of fines and Federal prison....and what you suggest below is punishable by fines and jail time.

    As has been posted (nearly daily) right here on THR, it is a Federal crime to illegally transfer a firearm to a nonresident. When she hands him the guns, they are both committing a Federal crime.


    Unless you are a dealer or manufacturer it is only legal to MAIL a rifle or shotgun. Handguns or other firearms cannot be mailed by anyone who is not a dealer or manufacturer. If you are not a dealer or manufacturer you must use a common carrier. Simply take a copy of the UPS Firearms Shipping Policy with you. (FedEx will not ship to any nonlicensee).


    What is clear is that you have no understanding of Federal law. A licensed dealer (FFL) can NEVER ship a firearm to a nonlicensee. what you propose abve will result in the dealer losing his license and both of you facing fines and jail time.

    i'm not entirely sure you understand what a "transfer" actually is. When you take a firearm to a dealer to have him ship it to another dealer....that IS a transfer.
     
  21. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    well i sure feel stupid.
     
  22. Centaur 1

    Centaur 1 Member

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    The laws are different for family members versus selling a gun to a non-family member. The stepmother can hand the guns over and say that your father wanted you to have these. If you want to be safe you could go to a local FFL and arrange for the guns to be shipped to him. Bring the local FFL's info to the CA FFL, and have him ship to your local FFL. No transfer paperwork is needed when you ship a gun to yourself, you already own it.
     
  23. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    No, I am afraid they aren't. Please show us in 18 USC 922 (a)(3) and (a)(5) where the family member exception exists?

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000922----000-.html

    The word family or relative appears nowhere in the exceptions to the prohibitive statutes above.

    Not after she has possessed those firearms for 15 years!

    Not only safe, but also the ONLY way that is legal!

    Completely inapplicable to this situation, because eodspanky does not already own these firearms. His stepmother has owned them for the past 15 years!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  24. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    No, they aren't. At all. The only difference is that if someone is DEAD and left firearms to you in their will, or they are granted to you via intestate succession, you may inherit them. But that doesn't have to be from a family member, necessarily.

    Nope. If they are legally hers via inheritance, then they transfer from her to someone else exactly the same as if she's selling them to a perfect stranger.

    Yes, the current owner can send them to your FFL -- or can take them to an FFL and have them send them to your FFL -- in your home state. That's the legal way.

    True, but ONLY YOU can ship it to you. And...as the OP cannot take transfer of these guns while in CA, that's a moot point.
     
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Look, we've answered this question in about three threads this week. It is sufficiently answered here, again.

    Time to call it done.
     
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