You’ve Inherited a Gun? California’s Strict Gun Laws May Surprise You

You’ve Inherited a Gun? California’s Strict Gun Laws May Surprise You

When you create a Living Trust, you need to move your assets into the Trust. Besides real estate, bank and brokerage accounts, you may have other assets of value. When John and Isabelle came in to create their Trust, John’s grandfather had just died and left him a valuable collection of antique guns. John was busy assessing their value; Isabelle was more concerned about having a large cache of guns around their kids and she knew that California has strict laws regulating the passing of firearms from one generation to the next—so restrictive that some people move out of the state to avoid them. To start:

  • Assault weapons are for all practical purposes nontransferable.
  • If the relative you’re planning to bequeath a gun is a drug addict or ex-felon, that transfer is illegal.

An important part of creating a Living Trust is funding it—moving your assets into the Trust. What belongs in the Trust? Real estate, bank and brokerage accounts and tangible personal assets—things like art, jewelry and vehicles.

John inherited his grandfather’s collection of antique guns

When John and Isabelle came into our Walnut Creek office to create their Trust, John’s grandfather had recently died and left him his valuable collection of guns—some dating back to the Civil War. While John wondered about getting his gun collection appraised, his wife had bigger concerns. They had small children, and she didn’t want a big cache of guns around the house. Isabelle also knew that California has strict laws regulating the passing of firearms from one generation to the next. So restrictive are California’s regulations that some people have moved out of state to avoid them.

For Americans wondering how they will pass their guns to their heirs, there are some important things to keep in mind. Regulations vary not only by what weapon is to be inherited, but by who is in line to receive it.

  • Assault weapons are for all practical purposes nontransferable.
  • If the relative you’re planning to bequeath a gun is a drug addict or ex-felon, that transfer is illegal.

What happens to severely restricted firearms when their owner dies?

The weapons must be:

  • Removed from California
  • Sold to a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL)
  • Destroyed
  • Turned over to law enforcement

The safest and simplest way to transfer a firearm from one person to another, even in distribution of an estate, is through a Federal Firearms Licensee who also has the necessary California licenses to deal in firearms. Not only do such dealers know firearms, but they can carry out required background checks on intended recipients.

Antique firearms can be transferred with going through the FFL

  • Antiques—manufactured before 1899–curios and relics can legally be transferred without going through an FFL, but a qualified FFL should verify a firearm’s classification before transfer.
  • Since January of 2014, transfer of antiques, curios and relics can’t be made unless the recipient has both a California Certificate of Eligibility and a Federal Curio or Relics license. The firearm must be registered with the California Department of Justice.

Penalties for transferring guns to minors

In California, minors can’t own handguns, and they themselves can be prosecuted in juvenile court for possession. There are exceptions, such as having the written consent of parents or legal guardians if weapons are for target shooting or hunting. There’s more. You can’t transfer or bequeath shotguns or rifles to minors, and a minor who possesses such weapons cannot be prosecuted, but anyone who gives, sells, bequeaths or transfers a gun to someone under 18–including the executor of a Will–can be criminally liable for doing so.

About Guideway, assisting our clients in uncontested legal matters—including Living Trusts

At Guideway, we are Legal Document Assistants who assist our clients in the preparation of legal documents for uncontested legal matters–those in which parties are in agreement about the division of property. Our fees are significantly lower than those of attorneys. Why work with Guideway? One flat fee. There are never annoying add-on charges for copying, phone calls and other miscellany. Where appropriate, we also notarize documents and file them with the County Recorders’ Office.

We’re a single point of contact. You’ll work with a dedicated specialist who is available for questions and support throughout the process. We’ve been in business since 2003 and have expanded to three Bay Area offices–Dublin, Oakland and Walnut Creek. More than 60% of our business comes from referrals and repeat business.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

 

janet
jpeischel@top-mindmarketing.com