The following is a video transcript.

I want to talk about what to do this holiday season if you are given a firearm as a gift, or if you are thinking about giving a firearm as a gift. While some people might think a firearm is not a normal gift, it is actually a very conventional gift; a lot of people give family heirlooms during the holiday season, and firearms certainly fit that category.

Background Checks

Before we get into how to do this, let us go through background checks. A background check should be in the forefront of your mind any time you are thinking about giving, receiving, or transferring a firearm. In Colorado, you must undergo a background check any time you are transferring a firearm from one person to another.


There are a few exceptions. One exception is a transfer between immediate family members. So, between spouses, between siblings, or from a parent to a child would all qualify as immediate family members and you would not need to visit an FFL to make the transfer. However, if anyone outside of the immediate family circle gives you a firearm, you need to find an FFL to conduct the transfer.

Now, there is another exception you might be reading about: the 72-hour rule. In Colorado, this rule allows you to do a temporary transfer of a firearm to another person without using an FFL to do the transfer. However, during the 72-hour period, the person temporarily handing over or loaning the firearm can be liable for anything that goes wrong, or any damage or injuries that are inflicted during this 72-hour period.

Therefore, I do not recommend you take advantage of this exception. If you were in a situation where you were making a transfer—either because you were receiving or giving the firearm—I think you need to go to an FFL rather than use the 72-hour rule.

What to Do if You are Gifted a Gun?

So, imagine you are at a party, the gifts are being exchanged, and somebody hands you a firearm. What do you do? I recommend you leave the firearm at the party or with the gifter for a couple of reasons:

  1. You and the gifter can go to a local gun range, have an FFL do the background check, and you will be clear and good to go.
  2. At a holiday party, you have to remember a lot of people are drinking. If you have had anything to drink, you should not be in possession, handling, or leaving the holiday party with a firearm. You could catch a criminal case very quickly.

This is why you should leave the firearm at the place where you received it until you and the gifter have the opportunity to go through an FFL and do the background check.

Other Options

If you are thinking about giving a firearm to somebody, or if somebody wants to give you a gun and asks what kind of gun you want, the better option may be to purchase a gift card from the gun shop for the amount of the firearm and give them the gift card. You can even prepay for the gun, enabling the person to go to the gun shop and pick up the gun. In either case, they won’t have to worry about taking the firearm home or dragging the gifter all the way to the gun shop to do a background check.

One final note: in Colorado, there is no requirement to register a firearm, so we are not talking about registration. We are only talking about background checks.

If you have any questions about gifting or receiving a firearm, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with an Independent Program Attorney.

Interested in knowing more? Check out our previous articles “Can I Gift a Gun?,” “Can I Go to Jail for Gifting a Gun?,” and “Giving Guns as Gifts: Doing It Right.”