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Old June 7, 2006, 01:05 PM   #1
James K
Senior Member
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,383
It will happen...

Even though we hate to think about it, it will happen. Death, that is. In spite of our best efforts, the time will come for all of us. And for those of us who own registered NFA firearms, that can mean the start of a trying and confusing time for our heirs and loved ones. So here are some suggestions.

1. Make a will. Dispose of your guns and other property as you see fit.

2. Inform your executor and your spouse/heir (if he/she is not the executor) that you own registered NFA weapons and that there are laws that must be followed in handling them after you pass on.

3. Go to the BATFE web site and read their instructions about that situation and how to handle it.

4. Obtain BATFE Form 5's, one for each item and fill in the gun/item information from the Form 4 or Form 4467. Obtain fingerprint cards (2) at the same time, but don't fill those in. Don't fill in any other information, as things may change. (Should anything on the registration forms differ from the markings on the gun, write BATFE immediately to correct the situation. There is no problem doing this; it happens all the time.)

5. Then leave the Form 5's, fingerprint cards, a copy of the BATFE instructions, and a letter with detailed instructions in a safe-deposit box, with your attorney, or in some other safe place. Don't simply stick it in a desk drawer; it is a valuable document.

I wish you a very long life. But the NFA will likely be around longer and you can do a lot to help your survivors over the hurdles so they don't have to surrender the gun(s) or possibly even wind up in trouble by taking or failing to take some action concerning them.

Now a word on an even touchier situation. If you own unregistered NFA items, you are placing your executor and heirs in a very bad position. They will have no legal alternative to surrendering the guns to BATFE or the police. None. No matter what you have been told, or believe, or want to believe, there is no legal alternative. If in doubt, call BATFE. My recommendation is to get rid of the illegal stuff yourself, now. Your only legal choice is the same - giving them up, and that itself could get you in trouble. An alternative is a deep lake, but strictly speaking that is not legal. If you choose to keep them, at least have the decency to tell your spouse or heirs that they will be stuck with illegal items and that they will be at risk of a prison term due to your actions.

Jim K
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