Can I Gift a Gun?-Pennsylvania

Do you have the question, can I gift a gun for the holidays? Watch Independent Program Attorney Justin McShane teach what you need to know before you buy.

Justin McShane: One of the things we want to do is talk about giving and receiving firearms in Pennsylvania. So the law is really simple. It doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays or what the situation is. But I will tell you the law in Pennsylvania is rather simple.

You may absolutely give a firearm to someone you know not to be prohibited in the case of a long gun. So what we are talking about is a shotgun and what we are talking about is a rifle. You may literally give it to someone as long as they are of age and you have no reason to know that they should be prohibited.

Now, when it comes to handguns it’s a little bit different, and we’ll talk about an exception to that. When it comes to handguns, and I’m talking about modern pistols and revolvers. The law in Pennsylvania is if you are going to give it to someone then you have to go through the background check type of situation when it comes to 4473 and the state police form. It has to go through the sheriff’s office or an FFL, up to you which one. There is a major exception to that.

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The major exception to that has to do with what we call the first line of sanguinity. Meaning your family members. Your immediate family members. So father to son, a ok you don’t have to do a background check. Provided that you have no reason to know the person is a prohibited person because of either age or the fact that they have some sort of background. Also is true when it comes to husband and wife. So you can be like that most awesome wife on planet Earth and can gift that gun to your husband.

That’s the basic breakdown in Pennsylvania. So it has to be immediate basic family members that you can give a handgun to without going through the background check. So if it is not an immediate family member, such as your cousin or else your best friend, they have to go through the 4473 and the state police form background check through the FFL or the sheriff’s office of the local county.

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7 comments on “Can I Gift a Gun?-Pennsylvania

  1. What about grandparents to grandchildren

    • Hi David. Thank you for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Pennsylvania.

      “Yes, provided that they are all in Pennsylvania and no one is a person not to possess. It is a specific exception under the law.”

  2. Can I gift a gun to my father who lives in North Carolina? If I live in Pennsylvania

  3. We just had a shooting in our area of 15 year olds killing another boy. During a discussion, I said that the gun owner should be held as accessory to murder because his gun was in the hands of a child. Gun Ownership Responsibilty……..another Father proudly stated that his 15 and 16 year old had taken safety training and were allowed to keep their guns in thier rooms !! Is this part of the law to gifting a gun……….these are minor children who I think are not mature enough to have such access. I understand it’s to protect their home and surroundings…………but what happens if one of these children gets so angry at someone else that he uses this gun to kill another child ! I am not for gun control……….but I am for Responsibility of the Gun Owner. I think if a child gets access to a gun owned by a Parent, Grandparent or whatever……..and they use it to commit suicide or kill another child then the gun owner should be responsible for this act also !! Anyone under 18 should not be able to own a gun !!!

  4. My father in law lives in PA. He wants to give me his shotgun but I live in NJ. Would I need to obtain a firearm purchasers ID card before that transaction takes place? Additionally what if any paperwork would need to be involved? Thank you for your time, it is much appreciated.

  5. Can I gift a gun to my sister? The term basic family member….does that only mean parent to child, grandparent to children or grandchildren? What about between siblings?

    • Hello Keisha,

      Please see an answer to your question below from an Independent Program Attorney:

      The family exception applies to transfers between parents and their children, grandparents and their grandchildren, or between spouses. This all presumes that each party is a Pennsylvania resident and the recipient is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law.

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