View Full Version : Legalities of "privately" obtaining a firearm?

June 13, 2012, 04:47 PM
So here's the story. An old friend of my grandpa's gave him a bolt-action .22WMR rifle. My grandpa could not legally own a gun, so that sounds kinda stupid on both their parts as the guy who gave it to him was a legitimate outdoors-man. Well anyway, about 6 years ago, he gave it to my mom, she can legitimately own guns, as a matter of fact, she got into buying guns because of me, not because she's so into them. :)

Well anyway, firearm in question is currently in a storage unit, in which it's been in for that 6 years. I want to know if us taking it out of the unit is legal. I know that someone can privately sell a gun to someone, etc, but the legalities of this always puzzled me... Can anyone help?

Brian Pfleuger
June 13, 2012, 04:54 PM
Your mom legally owns the gun, she can legally give it to you.

In most places, there is no paperwork/permits/procedure at all.

In some very large cities (NYC), there is some paperwork even for long guns. Virtually everywhere else, go get it, own it.

June 13, 2012, 06:44 PM
your grandfather illegally obtained the firearm but when your mother took possession of it, it did not transfer illegal ownership of it. if she gives it to you then there is nothing illegal about it. as not everyone knows how to do an NICS check, it is difficult a person to know for sure if the person buying that gun has the legal right to do so. as such I have made it a point to draw up a bill of sale when I do private party deals so that if there is ever a problem I have the proff of when ownership passed and that every REASONABLE attempt was made to verify that the buyer is legally allowed to own that firearm.

June 13, 2012, 07:03 PM
firearm in question is currently in a storage unit, in which it's been in for that 6 years. I want to know if us taking it out of the unit is legal.

It is legal for either you or your Mom to directly take posession of it from storage, provided neither of you are legally barred from owning or posessing a firearm.


James K
June 13, 2012, 07:39 PM
I am not sure it is that simple, but I cannot imagine anyone caring about a .22 bolt action rifle.


June 13, 2012, 08:31 PM
Thanks everyone, this info is greatly appreciated. Well the reason I was asking about my mom is because I'm underage, so I forced her into a hobby because of my love for that hobby :D

Anyway, it's good to know everything checks out here on the legal spectrum. Again, thanks!

June 13, 2012, 11:35 PM
A lot would depend on when the firearm was made, and if you are in possession whether or not you are a felon.

Brian Pfleuger
June 13, 2012, 11:53 PM

I had forgotten you are a minor. It is not actually legal for you to own the rifle yourself, I don't believe. You'll have to check the law and see what it says about your age. There are different rules for 12-16 and 16-18, iirc.

June 14, 2012, 12:08 AM
firearm in question is currently in a storage unit

You did not mention if your grandfather is deceased or not. Under whose name is the storage unit? Was there a will? Your grandfathers property might become a ward of the state if he is deceased. Property does not always automatically transfer to a second party without a will or trust. If giving it to your mother was a mere verbal jesture and he is now deceased, there is no proof of transfer. Check your state laws.
If your grandfather is still alive, your mother can take ownership of the rifle. JMO

June 14, 2012, 11:25 AM
^ I believe that it is his mothers storage unit. the OP stated that his grandfather gave the gun to his mother 6 years ago and that it has been sitting in a storage unit for 6 years so it's safe to assume that it is not the grandfathers storage unit.

June 14, 2012, 11:40 AM
Yeah, the unit was actually used by both my mom and grandpa, but the actual unit is my mom's. My grandpa is alive, but I don't think that matters because of the unit being my mom's. About the minor thing, your right, it can't be my firearm.

June 14, 2012, 12:30 PM
Yeah, the unit was actually used by both my mom and grandpa, but the actual unit is my mom's.

Then she's got the green light. Happy to hear your grandfather is still with us!
Good luck to all.......:)

June 14, 2012, 12:46 PM
Thanks a lot TPAW! :)

June 15, 2012, 09:03 AM
My pleasure.......;)

44 AMP
June 16, 2012, 12:33 AM
A couple of points...
first, the rifle is not illegal, unless your grandfather (who is prohibited) is posessing it. The gun does not carry any stigma of illegality, once it passed from his posession. He would be breaking the law (if he had it) not the gun.

Second, unless you are in a locality that requires registration (local) of rifles, like NYC, there is no paperwork required to transfer ownership. Most of New York state was like that when I lived there, but that was a long time ago.

Check state law, and any local laws. If you are of legal age to posess the rifle, and have no disqualifying legal issues (felony conviction, etc..) you mother can simply give it to you.

June 16, 2012, 02:10 PM
Asking strangers on an internet forum about legal issues is not in and of itself stupid, but if you follow that advice, it might well be. :D

............that said, the best advice I can give is that you contact an attorney that is familiar with gun laws in New York.

June 17, 2012, 01:41 PM
If your mother can legally own a firearm, then she can legally own and posses this firearm.

Since this is New York, I would make sure their aren't any local laws that require it to be registered.