Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Cautionary Tale of Guns and Inheritance

A recent experience shows how problems can occur with guns and estates.  I was involved in this. My involvement occurred 27 years ago.

In 1990, an elderly relative wanted expert advice on obtaining a firearm. Her husband had recently died. She wanted to have a gun in the house, and wasn't comfortable with pistols. She was already frail and did not have much upper body strength.

I recommended a .22 semi-auto, which she could keep handy. She could keep the chamber unloaded. It would be easy to charge and put into firing condition. The Brazilian copy of the Remington Nylon 66, made on Remington tooling in Brazil, was being imported to the United States. It was inexpensive, lightweight, and had a sterling reputation for reliability.

She purchased it and, as I recall, we ran a few shots through it for familiarization.

Fast forward 25 years. The elderly relative dies at the ripe age of 93. She had been living with her daughter in her declining years. The daughter, in an emotional state of trying to deal with all the changes after being the principle caregiver, discovers the rifle, parked on top of some furniture for a decade.

The daughter was not a hoplophobe. She had been a competitive pistol shooter for a short time in college, 35 years ago. But the rifle, likely in its original box, and mint condition, presented another "problem" to be dealt with.

Her solution: turn it in to the police.

The officer gave her good advice. He told her it was worth money. She could sell it. He told her it would be destroyed.

She did not want to "mess" with it any further. "Just take it", she implored the officer. He reluctantly did so.

Her sister, on learning of the gun turn in, was appalled.  The daughter could have used the money, she said.

I have heard of much worse horror stories. They usually involve a woman who inherits guns and ammunition, knows little about them or simply dislikes them. I have seen guns worth thousands of dollars turned in to be destroyed, simply because the person turning them in has been propagandized that "guns are bad" and does not wish to take any time to extract the easily retrieved value.

A trip to the local gun store would usually result in 25-50 percent of the retail value. Gun stores will almost never buy ammunition. They fear liability for ammunition that has been out of their control. Gun shows are an alternative with a multitude of ready buyers.

For extensive collections, a gun auction may result in the best returns. Nearly the same result can be obtained with the gun action sites online, such as Auction Arms and Gun Broker. They reach a large potential customer base, but require a bit more work to execute. Armslist offers another way to reach large numbers of potential buyers.

Having a knowledgeable relative buy or sell the guns and ammo will be far better than turning them in to the police to be destroyed.

The best way to avoid these problems is for the owner to make a will before hand. Another good approach is to make the transfer(s) before death. Significant numbers of gun owners give away their guns as they enter a period of physical decline. Many states have exemptions for the transfers of guns from an estate.

If you have a relative or friend who is elderly and a gun owner, considering offering your help. You might do some good.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

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