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Can I Gift a Firearm?

Can I Gift a Firearm?

Christmas has come and gone. 2014 proved to be an unprecedented year for gun sales. 1,803,397 firearms were purchased in November alone, according to the number of firearm background checks initiated through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Whether you bought a gun for someone else or you were given one from Santa, many of you have the same questions…what are the rules and regulations of gifting a firearm?

NOTE: The information contained in this blog is not legal advice and should not be considered as such. Guns laws vary from State to State and it is your responsibility to check with your State Police Unit or the Office of your State Attorney General.

Row of handguns

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

Can I gift a firearm to my child? Yes; however, generally you cannot gift a handgun to anyone under the age of 18 years old. Juveniles may only receive and possess handguns, with the written permission of a parent or guardian, for limited purposes, e.g., employment, ranching, farming, target practice or hunting.

Do I need a valid State-issued firearms license to gift a firearm? No. As long as both parties reside within the same State and the person gifting the firearm does not have reasonable cause to believe the person receiving the firearm is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal law.

Is there anything extra I am required to do to gift a firearm to someone in my own State? While there is no Federal law that prohibits a private person from gifting a firearm directly to another private person who resides within the same State, some State laws require all transfers of firearms to be done through a local FFL dealer. Contact your State Police unit of the Office of your State Attorney General for information on any such requirements.


Can I ship a firearm? If you are shipping a firearm to someone in another State, it is mandatory to do this through a FFL, residing in the State you are shipping to. You can ship a handgun by common carrier (like UPS or FedEx) but not U.S. Mail. You must declare, by Federal law, that your package contains an unloaded firearm. You can ship a long gun (rifle, shotgun, etc.) by U.S. Mail or common carrier. There should not be any marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms. Some UPS and FedEx storefronts won’t ship firearms, always consult your carrier on its regulations for shipping firearms.

Can I buy a firearm for someone that doesn’t think they can pass the background check? It is of extreme importance to understanding that gifting or buying a firearm for someone you know, or have reasonable cause to believe, legally can’t own one is a Federal felony. Best rule of thumb is that if the gun isn’t for you or a law-abiding member of your family, don’t do it.

When buying a new gun as a gift, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) and Explosives, Federal Form 4473, requires you to list the actual “buyer” of the firearm. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation to avoid this issue the ATF recommends purchasing a gift certificate from the gun retailer rather than the gun itself.

Giving a gun as a gift is only the first step of your obligation to the new gun owner. Education and safety is a MUST.

Texas Caliber has many different training courses to meet these needs or contact us at

Texas Caliber offers women-taught courses to meet the increasing demand of female gun owners. Contact us at for more details.

Check the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws.

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  1. Giving a gun as a gift is like giving someone the power over life and death if you do not provide training to the person especially if they are first-time owners. So if you give one make sure you throw in a training program for them.

    • Absolutely! Thank you for pointing that out. Proper firearms training, in our eyes, goes without saying, but needs to be mentioned to those that might not necessarily think about it.

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