Even an older person with not much family that doesn't need money would probably understand the value of the weapon.
You underestimate some peoples total lack of knowledge about guns. I had a friend who had to clear out a house after a death in the family. She found a gun, and took it to the police to get rid of it. I ask her what kind it was, and she said it was small. I was eventually able to get enough of a description to figure out it was a revolver. But she had no idea of even the difference between a revolver and a pistol, just "small" and "big", which was her terminology for handgun and long gun.
To me this points out two things. First, there may be situations where someone who knows nothing about guns has to handle one with no way of knowing how to tell if it's loaded, much less be able to make it safe. And second, I'll bet there are legislators voting on gun laws that do not know any more than she does about guns.