Please Help - Legalities of this situation.
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Thread: Please Help - Legalities of this situation.

  1. Please Help - Legalities of this situation.

    A friend of my fathers passed away in the 90's, leaving behind a storage unit full of stuff that sat unopened in our garage for the past decade.Finally decided to go through the stuff and hit the jackpot: a sig pistol, ruger .22 and a few rifles. Now they are in California, I am in Nevada. No paperwork whatsoever for them, also no family members to pass them onto. What, if anything is necessary could I do to legally take these?

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  3. #2
    I am not a lawyer, and I don't play one on TV either!!!

    I am assuming Nevada does NOT have a gun registration and there are no issues with YOU owning a gun in the state of Nevada (non-felon, etc). I'm also assuming your "friend" knows you found the guns and is OK with YOU having them (storage fees!!)

    1) IF you really want to dot all the I's and cross all the T's, I'd guess you would go back to the original Executor of the estate and get them to show the transfer from the estate to you (not sure how difficult it is legally to re-open an estate). At the end of all of the above, then proceed to step 2).

    2) IF you semi want to dot and cross, have your friend call a local gun store (local to you) and explain the situation and ask if they will do the official transfer to you (with the appropriate background check/waiting period, etc.) At least this way, there is documentation that you own the guns and have been background checked. (the Gun store will want to hold the guns during the background check and there will be a fee I'm sure)

    3) IF you just want to show ownership and because you live in Nevada (assuming a gun friendly state) AND your friend was the executor and NOT in Kalifornia at the time (or the person who died was NOT in Kalifornia), I'd probably just have them write a letter stating that they were the executor of the estate of "john smith" and the guns were discovered after being stored for and extended time and the guns are being transferred to you as part of the settlement of the estate.. If your friend was NOT the executor, you would do the same thing, but have the original executor write the letter.

    Now if Nevada has gun registrations, etc. etc. things will be more complicated and you, for sure, should talk to a lawyer that understands Gun Laws.

    IMHO

    Gulf Coast, Floriduh
    Sccy is the limit

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Pitbull View Post
    A friend of my fathers passed away in the 90's, leaving behind a storage unit full of stuff that sat unopened in our garage for the past decade.Finally decided to go through the stuff and hit the jackpot: a sig pistol, ruger .22 and a few rifles. Now they are in California, I am in Nevada. No paperwork whatsoever for them, also no family members to pass them onto. What, if anything is necessary could I do to legally take these?
    The answer to the question at the end of your post is probably nothing. Technically, by the letter of the law, you've been illegally in possession of the guns for the past decade anyway.

    18 USC 922 (a)(3) and (a)(5) prohibit the transfer of firearms across state lines with exceptions for intestate succession or bequests.

    Intestate succession is when a person dies and their estate passes to their heirs without a will in accordance to state law. As this "friend of your father" is not related to you, I doubt California law would consider you to be the heirs of the estate.

    Bequest means there was a will and you would have to be named in the will to receive the guns.

    It does not appear as if you would meet either exception to the Federal law. You say there is no family left, so who could be considered to be the current legal owner of the guns for an FFL to receive them from in order to transfer them to you? The FFL must log guns in, and who they came from, in order to transfer them out.

    The reality of the situation is that at this point, nobody official cares - not the FBI, ATF, NCIS, CSI, SVU, etc. Keep the guns and do what you want with them.

    If you were named in a will to receive the estate, and the stuff in your garage was part of that estate, then you have already fulfilled all the legal requirements to obtain the guns.

  5. #4
    As long as there is no money, stocks, etc (intangible property) involved, and you are not being (or have been) paid to act as a storage facility, it sounds like this is abandoned property subject to the laws of your state (if any apply). Probably the only thing you really have to do is place a newspaper notice in the area where the person owning the property previously lived stating that the property is now considered abandoned unless claimed in XX days.

  6. #5
    Join Date
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    Might be Junk

    The OP states the firearms have been sitting in the garage for ten years.
    Unless the former owner of these firearms prepared them for long term storage (cosmoline) what you probably have are piles of rusted out junk.
    In addtion to taking care of the legal stuff, the OP, may want to consult a gunsmith about the condition of these firearms.
    If it were me, I would get the firearms out of the golden state. Unless they are desired by another family membere , document the serial numbers, then private party sell them in a more gun friendly state like Nevada.

    or, you can sell them to anyone in the USA if you use a FFL in your area.

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