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How to Transfer a Firearm to a Family Member in Washington State

Whether as a college graduation present or a housewarming gift, the passing of a family heirloom down to the next generation or the transferring guns between family members for self-defense or hunting purposes is a common occurrence. Family gun transfers enjoy a special status under Washington State law that makes it much easier than a regular gun transfer or sale.

The Good News: Family Gun Transfers Are Extremely Easy

Ordinarily, to transfer or sell a firearm in Washington state, you must conduct the transaction through a federally licensed firearms dealer subject to the usual oversight requirements such as a background check.

However, in Washington State, transferring guns between family members requires no paperwork or government approval. You can give a gun to another family member and be done with it. There’s no paperwork, no paper trail, nothing -- How’s that for efficiency?

Okay, so it’s not quite that simple. There are some important conditions:

It Must Be a “Bona Fide Gift”

This means that you can’t sell your gun to a family member, barter for it, or exchange it for services. It has to be purely a gift.

If you’re selling or trading a firearm with another family member in exchange for something, then the gun transfer must be carried out through the usual legal channels.

Only “Immediate” Family Members Qualify

Washington law only allows unregulated family gun transfers between “immediate” family members. For this purpose, the law defines immediate family members as:

  • Spouses and Domestic Partners
  • Children
  • Parents and Parents-in-Law
  • Siblings and Siblings-in-Law
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Nieces, Nephews, and First Cousins
  • Aunts and Uncles

For more distant family members, you’ll have to go through the standard legal channels.

The Recipient Must Be Allowed to Possess a Gun

Most importantly, however, a family gun transfer is illegal if the recipient is not permitted to possess a firearm. Many people have lost their firearm rights for one reason or another due to an old criminal conviction, a previously recorded mental health condition, documentable drug addiction, or any of several other fairly common occurrences.

Before transferring a gun between family members, make sure the recipient is allowed to possess a firearm in the first place. If they cannot, consider speaking to a gun rights attorney about expunging their record and restoring their firearm rights in Washington state.

Restore Lost Firearm Rights with Findley & Rogers

If you’d like to arrange a family gun transfer to someone within your family who does not currently have their right to bear arms, Findley & Rogers can help. Many people aren’t aware that, in most situations, lost gun rights can eventually be restored. We value our individual liberties, especially firearm rights, which is why we can help with:

If you do have a prior conviction stopping you from transferring a gun between family members, our attorneys can help you. Contact Findley & Rogers today for a free consultation to discuss your family’s situation and goals. We are here to help!