If Santa Brings You a Gun… | Ohio

The following is a video transcript.

The holidays have arrived, and gift-giving season is upon us! But what happens when a person has been given a gun? And how can the receiver stay on the right side of the law? Before we get into the discussion of what to do after someone gifts you a gun, let’s quickly touch on the subject of straw man purchases.

Straw Man Purchases

I am generally not a big fan of adults buying firearms for other adults. If a parent is purchasing a hunting rifle or shotgun for their child, or if they are purchasing a pistol for competitive use by their child, that is one thing. But adults giving guns as gifts is not the best idea, in my opinion. I advise gift cards to the local gun store or an online retailer as a better alternative. Not only does it allow the gift receiver to choose the firearm they feel most comfortable with, but it also cleans up the transaction by taking you out as the middleman, avoiding any straw man purchase problems.

What if you Receive a Firearm as a Gift?

It is not illegal to gift a firearm in the State of Ohio, as long as the person receiving it is of legal age and has no other disqualifying factors preventing them from receiving and taking possession of a firearm. So, you just might be that person. If that is the case, besides being lucky to receive such a nice gift, what should you do? Well, the simple answer is you don’t have to do anything, officially. There is no registration requirement in Ohio, so you do not have to alert authorities you received a gun as a gift for Christmas. You do not have to fill out any forms identifying yourself with that particular firearm, nor is there any federal mandate to register the firearm.

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Easy enough, right?

As far as registration is concerned, yes, but you should immediately make record of the identification information about the gun, like the serial number, make, and model. File this information along with your other important documents and any papers which came with the firearm. I suggest photographing the gun as well. All of this will help you with insurance claims and reporting requirements under Ohio law should the gun get stolen or you lose it somehow. Remember, we must report promptly if this happens.

Transporting the Firearm Home

Now, where you received the firearm is also important. What if you are at your parents’ house for a holiday party and gifts are exchanged? You receive a beautiful new pistol and ammunition. How you transport the firearm home is important. If you have a CCW license, then you have little to worry about. You’re free to load it and carry it immediately. However, if you do not have one, then of course you should make sure the ammunition is separate and apart from the gun.

Do Not Drink and Carry

Furthermore, you need to consider alcohol consumption. Remember, when you went to the party, you didn’t have a firearm. You could take part in the festivities and, later in the event, receive the firearm as a gift. Do not make the mistake of carrying it home with you if you have been consuming alcohol. It is better to make other arrangements to get it the next day.

Be Responsible

Finally, once the gun has been given to you, it is yours. You are responsible for it. Make sure it is safely stored until you transport it home. Do not let others handle the firearm in an unsafe way, as I am sure there will be many who want to touch and hold it. This is a recipe for disaster, especially at a party with a lot of people.

Okay, enough about the legalities and concerns which go along with receiving a gun as a gift. If you have someone out there nice enough to do this for you, I think it is great. Enjoy and be safe!

If you have any questions, regarding being gifted a gun for the holidays, or giving a gun, please feel free to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.


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

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