Shipping Inherited Guns

Discussion in 'Legal' started by James K2020, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    I've legally inherited a couple of small handguns through a family estate that are presently in St. Louis, MO. My quick research shows that MO does not require any registration for purchased handguns so I'm sure these are not. One is a newer Derringer and the other is a 100 year old S&W Top-Break.
    I also read that inherited guns (as opposed to a family sale for $$) does not require shipment by an FFL. If that is true then I could have a family member send the guns directly to me through Fed Ex or UPS Priority and then to be totally legal I would register them in CA, where I live?
    If that is the case it sounds rather painless but if I have to go through an FFL on both sides, my family member in MO probably won't want to deal with it.
    Is this correct or do I have to go through an FFL?
     
  2. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    No federal law requires an FFL to ship a firearm, nonlicensees do it thousands of times every day.

    Oh heck no.
    One question.....by "inherited" was this specified in the will? Or a family member said "he would of wanted James K2020 to have these guns"?
    First, UPS and FedEx prohibit firearm shipments from a nonlicensee to a nonlicensee. USPS prohibits firearms other than rifles and shotguns unless you are a licensed dealer.
    Second, only the executor could ship the guns, and then only to an FFL. If you went to MO you could acquire them in person as long as CA law permits that. I know CA prohibits CA residents from buying guns outside of CA, but I'm not sure about bequests. But you are in California which has more restrictive requirements than Free America.



    It may be cheaper to use an FFL to ship. Both guns can go in a USPS Priority Mail flat rate box for less than half the cost of using UPS Next Day or FedEx Overnight.....which those carriers require for handguns.
     
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  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Theoretically, an inherited gun may be shipped to the heir.
    But the carriers won't take it.
    And California might not can stand it.
     
  4. Gelrir

    Gelrir Member

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    Californians can buy guns out of state, but if they bring them into California, "... California residents must have the weapons directly shipped to a licensed gun dealer. Then, before the dealer transfers the gun to the owner, it must follow the procedures for in-state gun transactions ..." However, there's some kind of exception for adults who've inherited a gun from an immediate family member (although they must have a valid safety certificate etc.). And all of California's rules on high-capacity magazines and "assault weapons" still apply in almost any case (though a derringer and an old revolver won't have a problem with that). I think you need to chat with a California attorney knowledgeable about firearms law -- or just go through a California FFL holder (it might be cheaper than hiring an attorney), even though maybe you'd have a case for direct shipping.
     
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  5. James K2020

    James K2020 Member

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    Yes it's a bit confusing and if I wanted to drive to MO and back it wouldn't be an issue. Think I'll talk with the local auction house here in CA I've used for internet purchases and get their answer.
    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    If there’s any real sentimental value to the guns, I’d just do a road trip.

    I just moved to Nevada. While doing a little inventory, I found one extra gun I need to return to a friend of mine and, one missing I need to get back from another friend in Dallas.

    Road trip time.
     
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  7. F-111 John

    F-111 John Member

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    18 USC 922(a)(5):

    (a) It shall be unlawful—
    (5) for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides; except that this paragraph shall not apply to (A) the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest of a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence, and (B) the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;
    The problem will be getting anybody to ship the firearms. It is illegal for a non-licensee to mail a handgun via USPS, and FedEx and UPS will refuse to take a handgun from a non-licensee to ship to another non-licensee. Your best bet is to either go get it in person, or have someone bring it to you.
     
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    YES, it definitely could be an issue.

    There are three ways it could be a problem.

    If the firearms didn't officially transfer to you via intestate succession then an FFL will need to be involved even if you want to pick them up in person. Official means the will says that "James K2020 gets my guns", or the law of the state where the person died says that you are the heir to all the person's possessions. Not just a deal where, say, no one wanted them, your brother ended up with them, then you asked if he would give them to you and he said yes.

    The second way it could be a problem is if they are illegal for you to possess in the state where you currently reside. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, but CA has some pretty restrictive laws about firearm ownership.

    The third way it could be a legal issue is if they are not legal to transfer into the state where you currently reside. Again, CA has some pretty restrictive laws about transferring firearms into the state.
     
  9. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    You didn't specify and it makes a big difference in CA as to how you are related to the deceased (my condolences to you)

    (This is a good source ingeneral for CA gun laws)
    According to this......

    http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php?title=Inheriting_firearms,_both_within_California_and_Interstate

    ..... you may not be able to drive there and bring them back

    Emphasis added by me.

    You should start by reading every word in that link. It gives the CA statutes to dig deeper too.

    Aside from the obvious talking to a lawyer advice, I'd get a hold of a local FFL to make sure they'll do it. Some FFL are finicky about anything besides a normal or instate private party transfer.

    Once you find a local FFL, search for one near the guns and have the same conversation about shipping to CA. Try to arrange for the guns to be dropped off there and you pay shipping etc.


    Personally, given how CA is about this, I would want them to go FFL to FFL to minimize any potential liability down the road.
     
  10. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    Actually, it would be an issue, and potentially a very major one. Driving to MO and bringing the weapon back could get you a prison term of up to three years.

    It's a violation of California state law for a California resident to personally import into the state a firearm lawfully acquired outside of the state. It is necessary to ship the firearm to a California FFL for transfer to the resident within California. Violation is a felony if the weapon is a handgun. The California "Safe Handgun Roster" governs such transfers (although your S+W Break-Top would likely be roster-exempt). Please refer to Penal Code sections 27585 and 27590.

    You, and previous posters, are correct that the federal law permits the transfer, but that don't affect the state law violation that would result from you personally bring the weapons into California.
     
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  11. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Here is my suggestion since you have to deal with California laws. Have the estate executor look into shipping the guns to a California FFL if that is what state laws says must be done. A non FFL can send handguns overnight to a FFL through UPS and FEDEX as long as the receiving FFL is willing to accept the shipment. I know overnighting the guns is not cheap. Or the cheaper route of having a FFL in the St Louis area send them to a receiving FFL close to where you live. Most estate executors are lawyers to begin with, make him/her earn their money.
     
  12. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    This would be the best thing for the S+W Break Top. It is likely exempt from the roster requirement as a C+R weapon. But unless there is an exemption for the Derringer, it's gonna have to be on the roster for this to work.
     
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  13. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    The Executor of the estate may ship them to the heir.
    They are considered the heirs property.
     
  14. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

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    Very bad advice here.

    The first point to take careful note of, it that it's completely irrelevant who owns the property. Both the federal law, and California law, address the transfer of possession of a firearm, not the transfer of ownership. That's a big distinction.

    The federal law does permit transfer (as opposed to ownership) of a firearm to an heir, without need of an FFL transfer (refer to 18USC922(a)(3)).

    But California law requires that a person obtaining a firearm from out of state to import that firearm using the services of a California licensed dealer, and imposes a felony penalty if person personally imports a handgun (Refer to California Penal Code section 27585 for the crime and section 27590 for the penalty).
     
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