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Gifting a Gun? Do It Legally

The Christmas season is upon us and like many my favorite gifts are guns. I love guns and when someone gives me one I am more than psyched. A big question people have, especially new gun buyers have, is it legal to gift a gun?

The first question of the 4473 makes it seem like it’s illegal and seems quite serious about you being the owner of the firearm. Some folks may think gifting a gun is a straw purchase, but there is a big difference in buying someone a gun as a gift and buying a gun so someone can avoid a background check. In general, it’s perfectly fine for you to buy someone a gun as a gift.

In general, is a vague term, but I use it because some states make it impossible to gift a gun without jumping through hoops.

When It’s Illegal to Gift a Gun

If you are buying a gun for someone you know is a felon then even if its a gift it is illegal. You can’t give someone you know is a felon a firearm so that’s the first way gifting a gun can be illegal.

Does your state have universal background checks? If so it’s not necessarily illegal to gift someone a gun, they just have to undertake a background check to receive it.

With family often traveling across the country to visit it can be a pain to gift guns. An individual from state A cannot transfer a gun to a person from state B. In this case, you’ll need to transfer the gun to the receiver’s FFL.

Gifting a gun can be complicated legally. If you the person you are gifting the gun to isn’t a felon, lives in your state, and you don’t have universal background checks in your state you can legally give the gun as a gift.


The ATF agrees it’s legal to gift a gun, but suggests buying a gift card in the amount of the gun to the gun store or website your giftee prefers. This method is full proof, as is a prepaid gift card or cash. Admittedly it’s not as fun, but it’s legal if the above illegal situations apply.

Oh, also an 80% lower jig and lower of some kind is a quick and simple way to gift a non-gun that can become a gun. These are all options one can undertake to legally kinda gift a gun over state lines, or in states with UCBs.

An 80% Glock is a good choice

So gifting guns isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult if you meet a few unique situations. Just remember that gifting a gun isn’t worth losing your rights to own guns, so follow the law.

About the Author /

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. Today, Travis serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.

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