View Full Version : Walther P-38 and others inherited. What to do?

September 23, 2008, 02:11 PM
I have inhereted a bunch of older guns(Long guns and pistols) brought back from WWI and WWII from my deceased G-Pa and some were from my Great G-Pa and wondering what has to be done to make them legal to own. They were left in a will but were just picked up from his house and transfered back and put in a vault for safe keeping. They havnt crossed any state lines or owned by anyone buy himself or his father since the wars. Their are a couple that I know are rare and worth quite a bit and just want to make sure they legaly stay in the family and theres no hassle transporting the ones that may be used to and from the range. I live in N.J. and the gun laws here can be tough sometimes and I wouldnt want to forfit any of these to local authoritys to be destroyed because im sure thats what could happen. Thanks and any help would be greatly appreciated.:)
PS- We also have current NJ FID cards for purchasing long guns or transfers of them.

September 23, 2008, 02:59 PM
Are the guns already in NJ? You didn't say what state your G-Pa lived in and where the guns are stored. I started a thread a week or so ago about how to give a C&R gun to my father who is a Fl resident and I'm a VA resident. The answer was that either my dad needs to get a C&R FFL (like I have) or go through the transfer process with an FFL in his state. I quickly discovered that I would find no real answers on this forum, not because the people here didn't know what they were talking about, but because you really need advice from a source like the BATF and the peoples republic of NJ (my Mom's from NJ). There could be some inheritance laws in NJ that cover this sort of thing.

At any rate, you could adopt me and I'll keep them in the family for you (the Virginia branch of the family) :D

September 23, 2008, 03:10 PM
Yes, I stated they didnt cross state lines and they have always been in N.J. where we live. The guns dont have numbers and I hate to get them stamped because theirs no way to transfer because they were never registered because their from the war and were souveniers brought home. I will have to get in touch with State Police and see what they say because the locals are clueless half the time.
Where in NJ is your mom from?

September 23, 2008, 04:10 PM
The guns dont have numbers

Now, that's a puzzlement. The Europeans were meticulous about serializing weapons. The P 38 will have a serial number, for example. I have, and have had, beaucoup foreign military weapons; each and every one had or has a serial number.

If the serial numbers have been defaced or removed, now you have a really serious problem, as defacing or removing firearm serial numbers is a Federal felony. The BATFE knows darn well that the P 38, for example, had a serial number. You would have no way to prove it wasn't you, or a family member, that did the deed :eek:.



September 23, 2008, 05:11 PM
Serial number was taken off by the clerk who the weapon was surrendered to. Simple as that.

if any of them are automatic, and we are going to assume they arent, but if they are the BATF will de-mill them and destroy them if they ever find out about them. Beyond that Noefl is right, I am pretty sure I know, but not going to give out legal advice that could be wrong and put you in jail. Just remember, the any NFA guns have to be reported to the ATF so they can de-mill/destroy/ruin them.

September 23, 2008, 07:11 PM
My Mom was born and raised in Newark in the 40's and 50's. The area was called Vailsburg, near East Orange I think. I think my great grandfather was the postmaster of Elizabeth new Jersey back in the 30's/40's.

If you end up reporting the firearms and they have to be disabled, plead for them to let you keep them in their non-working form as heirlooms, or see if they can be donated to a war museum (in their working form preferably) in honor of your ancestors. Myself, I would try anything legal rather than have the government (ATF or local) mangle them in any way. Just a thought. I feel for ya bro! :(

September 23, 2008, 07:21 PM
It's a shame to have to register or give away firearms that aren't in the system. I'd move under cover of darkness.

September 23, 2008, 10:13 PM
I didnt say the didnt have numbers. Some dont and some do. What was meant is that if a guns number isnt on file, It has to be stamped with a new one in NJ bringing the value down lots. And yes, The P-38 has numbers and amazingly they all m atch and even have the original holster with the leg wrap still wound up like new.

September 23, 2008, 10:21 PM
You could just send the WW2 weapons to me. Doing a museum display on Veteran's day on weapons of WW2. Even have a German G-41 to put on display. I hope you can find a way to keep the guns from being altered in any way , or worse yet, destroyed. They are pieces of history and should be viewed as such. When I interview the vets I always ask if they brought anything back, as it always leads to an interesting story. Hope you have the stories of those weapons recorded as to where they came from and under what circumstances and pass them on to family members. Too bad it can be such a hassle to do it legally. Best of luck to you in trying to keep those family heirlooms intact.

September 23, 2008, 10:57 PM
Please forgive me...I do not mean to take over this thread but if the guns are inherited why would you need to report them? The reason I am asking is that my dad gave me his shotgun early...as an inheritance and why would I need to report this? It is from one individual to another and in the same state. The shotgun has been in the family for 50 years so there is no way the state would know? Also I have purchased guns from individuals in the past and it was my understanding that you did not need to do any paper work on these purchases either so I am just curious why you would need to do any now especially if they were transferred in the same state?


September 24, 2008, 07:07 AM
Deerhunter - Each state has different laws. Virginia laws are a lot like Texas. Resident to resident doesn't require any paperwork. Seems there are always some anti-gunners in my state trying to close "loopholes" (a misnomer) that allow personal sale of guns at gun shows and resident to resident sales without a paper trail. We defeat them every time (I'm a member of the VCDL and I go to Richmond to lobby against stupid gun laws any time I can). I'm not sure what the laws are in NJ, which is why I suggested he should get legal advice from his state (perhaps anonymously). I'm thinking the same way as you though. There "should" be no problem just acquiring his family heirlooms. They haven't been a problem for anyone in his state since they arrived after WWII. They shouldn't be a problem now either.

I'm also not trying to take over this thread either, but my problem is that my father is a Florida resident (I used to be) and I'm a Virginia Resident. My father has quite a few guns, mostly rifles, but several handguns as well. God forbid something happens to my father, I hope I never have to acquire his guns but eventually I know I will. Some of them are C&R so I'll have no problem with them, but the others will have to go through an FFL transfer process in order for me to get them into my state legally. What a hastle.

September 24, 2008, 07:58 AM
Bequests in a will are exempt from the usual interstate transfer regulations stipulated in Sec. 922: (3) for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State, except that this paragraph (A) shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State,
I'd make sure I had a notarized copy of the document. If I really valued the guns, I might go ahead and do an FFL transfer anyway, just to make everything doubleplus legal.

September 24, 2008, 08:49 AM
Please forgive me...I do not mean to take over this thread but if the guns are inherited why would you need to report them?

He wants to be legal. He's in New Jersey. NJ has some of the most godawful, onerous, harassing firearms laws in the country. When I in high school, I was at the Jersey shore and went to a 5&10 and asked to see an air rifle. The clerk asked for my NJ-FOID. I couldn't even touch it without a FOID card. That was 30 years ago and it hasn't gotten better. I don't even try to pretend to understand NJ gun laws, I just avoid ever crossing the Delaware to that state of gunowner misery. Contact a NJ lawyer and see if you're already a criminal for merely possessing guns that you didn't go through the permit process to acquire. Remember, Pennsylvania is only about 70 miles from anywhere in the state if you need to sell them to a dealer to avoid forfeiture.

Good luck to you.

September 24, 2008, 11:27 AM
Ok, Checked what to do and nothing is against the law because of an inheritance clause somewhere in the fine print and these were before registration requirements so I just have to file them with proper paperwork and all is good. They can also be sold(Their not going to be) with just a standard sales transfer sheet(Long guns only and pistold need a pistol permit) unless theirs no numbers in which they will have to be stamped with a NJ firearm serial number and I already found a place to do it. Thanks everyone and it worked out great so the heirlooms will stay in the family hopefully for many generations to come. And just an fyi, None of the guns have been defaced or anything altered in any way from the way they were as new and theirs no full auto's involved and I wouldnt even think about keeping them if their were. I love my freedom and want to keep it that way. Dont need to bunk with Bubba anytime soon so im doing it all legal with an firearms expert attorney:D. Thanks everyone for the help.

September 24, 2008, 12:54 PM
I'm glad it will work out for you.

September 24, 2008, 06:02 PM
there is no gun registration in Arizona.......

September 24, 2008, 10:10 PM
Sounds like a lot of trouble for the P-38...just sell it to me.;):p

September 26, 2008, 01:13 PM
LOL, Theres a few good ones in there also. Got a nice PPK in .25 auto thats mint.:p

September 26, 2008, 04:07 PM
If you get a chance, post some pics of the WWII bring backs.

September 26, 2008, 04:19 PM
Got a nice PPK in .25 auto thats mint Damn, are some winners there...nice pieces of history bro'. :cool:

September 26, 2008, 10:36 PM
noel, I am clueless witrh how to do pics but as soon as I can figure it out, I will post some pics of some nice eye candy.;)

September 26, 2008, 10:44 PM
This is about the same PPk as mine.
Its the 6th pic. down with wood grips. Mines also a pre-war model and check out the number produced:D:eek:.

September 27, 2008, 07:16 AM
Less than 500...sweet! :D

September 27, 2008, 01:04 PM
Awesome! The grips on the one in the pic look like a mottled brown Bakelite instead of wood. Does yours have wood grips?

September 28, 2008, 09:12 AM
I have both types of grips for it and the original set is checkered wood. The one in that pic is in worse shape then the one I have and I keep the bakelite ones on it and the wood grips stored in a nice padded container so their not damaged when its handled. It also has the original holster and 3 original clips for it that have never been used.