Passing Your Guns Upon Death

Passing Guns Upon DeathNew Jersey Law prohibits anyone from selling, giving, transferring, assigning or otherwise disposing of, nor receiving, purchasing or otherwise acquiring a firearm unless, the person receiving the firearm is a licensed dealer or possesses a valid Firearm Purchaser Identification Card (FID). However, there is an exception for firearms inherited provided the firearm is legal in New Jersey and the person receiving the firearm meets certain requirements.

The normal practice to obtain a firearm is to apply for a permit or FID. The application process includes providing general information about the purchaser and fingerprinting. The FID must be presented to the seller along with a written certification that the purchaser is not prohibited by New Jersey Law to own a firearm.

A person is prohibited from owning a firearm if:

(1)          Convicted of crime or domestic violence;
(2)          Drug dependent;
(3)          Suffers from a physical defect or disease making it unsafe to handle a firearm; was ever confined for a mental disorder; is an alcoholic; or knowingly falsifies information;
(4)          Under 21 years of age;
(5)          Not in the interest of public health, safety and welfare;
(6)          Subject to a restraining order;
(7)          Juvenile delinquent for an offense involving unlawful possession of a weapon;
(8)          Had a firearm seized pursuant to Domestic Violence Law.

Firearms passing upon death of an owner to an heir or legatee do not require the recipient to obtain a FID. An heir is a person inheriting under the intestacy laws and includes spouses, domestic partners and descendants. A legatee is a person inheriting pursuant to a Last Will and Testament. The person inheriting must still pass the eight restrictions set forth above. In the event that the inheritor is not able to qualify, he or she has 180 days to sell the firearm, provided the firearm is deposited with the municipal chief of police during that period.

Firearms transferred in accordance with the terms of a Revocable Trust do not share the exception of the FID requirement. Therefore, the preferred manner to bequeath a firearm is through a last will and testament.

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