Episode 182-Everything You’re Dying to Know About Inheriting Guns

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Gun Lawyer Episode 182


guns, firearms, new jersey, gun, law, registration, jersey, inherited, federal law, son, state, lawyer, heir, evan, question, second amendment rights, inheritance, doctor, talk, license


Speaker 3, Evan Nappen

Evan Nappen 00:00
Hi. I’m Evan Nappen, and welcome to Gun Lawyer. So, you know, I get a lot of folks asking about inheriting guns and issues come up with gun inheritance. It’s an important topic because gun inheritance is actually one of the great loopholes that exist in both state and federal law. Under inheritance laws, even in the DPRNJ, you know, the Democratic People’s Republic of New Jersey, inheritance occurs, and firearms are transferred to the heirs or beneficiaries without any paperwork. No registration. No license is required. No dealer transfer is required. The firearms just pass to the heirs. So, this is really great to know, and you can see the law itself under N.J.S. 2C:58-3j. And what happens is, the inheritance ends the paper trail, if any existed of the guns. To inherit firearms, the person who is leaving their guns in a will or even by intestacy, for that matter, which means without a will, does not have to mention each specific gun. You don’t have to list them individually. The only time you would want to list a specific gun is if for some reason you wanted a specific gun to go to somebody specifically upon your demise. But you don’t need to do that. You simply say in your will the person you want to receive all your guns. You simply say that in your will, and the guns will pass with no fuss, no muss. No paperwork, no problem. This is really good. Many people have inherited guns, and they wonder, hey, do I have to register them? No, you don’t. If you inherited the gun, it’s yours. You don’t register it. No need to. You just keep it. If you inherit firearms, even outside New Jersey, under federal law, the guns pass to you without the need of a dealer. Even though you’re not a resident of the state of the deceased. You don’t have to be under federal law. You still can take the guns and bring them home to Jersey. No registration is needed for the inheritance of firearms. So, the inheritance law is very useful.

Evan Nappen 03:20
You should think about your firearms in your estate planning. Let me give you a good example of one of the issues that we have run into so you could avoid this, should you want to estate plan properly to preserve your legacy. So, you want to leave your guns, first of all, to somebody who’s going to appreciate your guns. Keep that in mind. You want that person to definitely be somebody who’s into guns, and when they receive those guns, they’re going to appreciate it greatly that all the guns, handguns, rifles, shotguns, transferred without any problem. No recordation of the transfer takes place. No registration of the transfer takes place. No dealer transfer is required for the transfer to take place. It avoids all of that. But you want to make sure it’s going to the person that appreciates it and who you want to have it.

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Evan Nappen 04:35
So, let me talk about a typical situation that often exists. Now, I don’t mean to be sexist here, but let’s just say in this example that there’s a husband, a wife, and a son. Now normally wills between married people are set up such that whoever dies first, the husband or the wife, the other spouse, the surviving spouse, receives the entire estate. They’re known as the residual beneficiary, or they just get everything that was left. Each person does a will leaving the other spouse the entire estate. And that’s pretty standard for married couples. But let’s say in this situation, the father and son loved guns, and shooting, and hunting and gun collecting. They just were, you know, gun buddies together. They lived and loved it, but mom could care less. She was glad that father and son had a good time with guns, but she doesn’t really have an interest in the firearms. She wants the son to get the guns, too.

Evan Nappen 05:56
But what happens is, the two spouses don’t estate plan properly. They never say in the will that the firearms shall pass to the son, and the remainder of the estate goes to the other living spouse. But they don’t say that in their wills. So, what happens is, statistically, the husband is the first to die. Let’s just say in this case, he dies first. Now, everyone knows that the son was supposed to get dad’s guns and mom even wants the son to get dad’s guns. But because dad didn’t have a will that said the son gets the guns, all of dad’s guns are transferred to mom, with no paper, no registration, no problem. Now for mom to give the guns to the son, he is going to have to get pistol purchase permits on every handgun. He needs a (New Jersey) Firearms Purchaser ID Card and a certificate of eligibility. The son is going to have to transfer all the firearms with paper. Get all the licenses and go through all that. Whereas, if they had simply said in the dad’s will that the son gets all the firearms, Dad would not have to list them, the remainder of the estate goes to the other spouse, and all the firearms would transfer instantly to the son with no registration, no transfer, no permits, no license, nothing. It ends the paper trail, and the son gets the legacy of the father’s guns. So, you want to estate plan properly and think about these things. If you do plan properly, you can avoid the nightmare of paperwork and registration and government interference with your Second Amendment rights and that of your son’s. It is important to keep this in mind. Even if the son lives in another state, the firearms will transfer under Jersey law and federal law with no paperwork. No dealer is required. Nothing like that. To the son, even in another state, under both the federal law and New Jersey state law.

Evan Nappen 08:33
Now there are certain firearms that cannot be inherited. Those firearms are guns that are deemed to be intrinsically evil for some reason by our dumb ass politicians. This includes so-called “assault firearms”, you know, modern sporting rifles, of course, or 50 caliber BMG rifles. The big 50 rifles that all the media hypes about. So, if you happen to have a registered assault firearm or a registered 50 Cal helicopter shooting gun, you know, one of those big guns that shoot down helicopters, one of those guns. Those guns cannot be inherited – registered assault firearms and registered 50 BMG rifles. They can’t be inherited. They end up going to be sold through the police, etc. It’s a whole big mess. The state has to get rid of them, and they can’t be inherited. So, registered guns of that type can’t be inherited.

Evan Nappen 09:53
However, unregistered guns of that type can be inherited. Now you might say, well, wait a minute, if they’re prohibited, how can I leave them to an heir so they can get them as unregistered guns? Well,

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that’s because if you’re otherwise prohibited assault firearm or 50 BMG is not registered but is stored outside of New Jersey, which is lawful to do, then the heir can take possession outside of New Jersey, without any paperwork, any fuss, no muss, no problem. That’s how the inheritance of those firearms can lawfully take place. So, any of those kinds of firearms should be stored, if possible, outside New Jersey. Interestingly, just so you know, Pennsylvania has a specific exemption for possession of firearms in a vacation home. That’s in Pennsylvania laws, an exemption. So, if you store your guns at your vacation home, for example, in Pennsylvania, then it can be inherited. Now, of course, the heir can’t bring the prohibited guns back to New Jersey, but it still is an ability to inherit.

Evan Nappen 11:26
Many of those firearms are rather expensive. I mean, you know, to get into a 50 BMG, semi-auto Barrett with the accoutrements, you’re probably talking 10 grand. So, these are expensive heirlooms, and this is a way to allow them to continue to be possessed for generations. This is important for you to know. It’s really good to plan in this way. There’s no requirement, as I said, for registration, nor should anyone who’s inheriting register them. If you look at registration in Jersey, the form for registration is the “voluntary form of registration”. What do you think the first word of it is – voluntary. Since it’s voluntary, don’t volunteer. No need to do it. So, there’s no need to do that. Why put yourself on a list so that guns can be readily confiscated when they come around to do that? Other places have already followed the path of legislation, from registration to confiscation. Of course, the fourth leg hasn’t dropped yet, but history shows it repeating all the time. And that’s extermination. Because every major holocaust that ever occurred has been preceded by those four steps. So, we want to avoid registration at all times when we can. Registration is simply an expedient for Government confiscation or worse, and inheritance is a great way to avoid that.

Evan Nappen 13:26
It does open up for the individual who has guns to possess guns that were inherited, and they can use them in the same way they use any other gun. You transport them under the same exemptions. You can go to the range. You can go hunting with it. It’s lawfully possessed. It’s the same as if it’s a gun that you acquired with paper, so to speak. Same idea, not a problem. Possession in your home is an exemption even if you inherited it. The same exemptions apply. (N.J.S. 2C:39-6e. and f.) If you have them possessed in your home, your possession is legal, and you can operate under the exemptions accordingly. You can also carry a gun that you’ve inherited, but I wouldn’t suggest that. Because to carry and inherited gun, you’re going to have to list the gun and its serial number. Now you’re going to de facto register a gun that’s unregistered. Why bother? I wouldn’t do that. Although it would be legal to do that. But why put that gun on any list anywhere? So, don’t do that. But keep this in mind. It is something that can be very helpful to preserve your legacy and be important to your heirs. Make sure that you leave them to folks that appreciate it.

Evan Nappen 14:55
Let me just say to you that I appreciate guns very much. If you want to leave your guns to me, feel free. Just kidding about that. Actually, you can leave guns to non-family members, like your best friend. If you want to leave them a gun or all your guns or whatever, you can do that and guess what? They transfer to your friend with no problem either. No paperwork, no nothing if you’re an heir. An heir doesn’t have to be a family member. So, that’s true. Now, if somebody is disqualified, like they’re a

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convicted felon, then they cannot inherit the guns. They would have to be held by the police and get sold. So, you don’t want to leave your firearms to somebody who might be a prohibited person. They don’t have to have a license, but they can’t be somebody who would be prohibited from possession. But that would be the limit on it.

Evan Nappen 15:49
I am very proud to say that one of the sponsors of our show, the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, is currently engaged in major litigation defending our rights. They are fighting, as we speak, to overturn the assault firearm ban and the large capacity magazine ban, which is really the standard capacity magazine ban. They’re looking to get those tossed as unconstitutional. I am cautiously optimistic given the power of the Supreme Court Bruen decision by St. Thomas. They’re just great, and they’re fighting this out as we speak. Plus, they keep challenging the carry killer bill, all the sensitive places, and all the other ridiculous crap that Murphy laid on us in their hissy fit after the Bruen decision. Plus, the Association is in Trenton with a full-time paid lobbyist, keeping an eye on the scoundrels and what they’re trying to do to take in our rights. So that you’ll be aware and can help fight. They send out email alerts, and you’re able to play a role there and help fight this attack on our rights. You also get a great newsletter. Look, you need to belong to the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol clubs, ANJRPC.org. Go there and join the group. It’s the top gun rights group in New Jersey, and I’m so proud to have them as a sponsor. There is a big ad for them right on the back of my book, and you see the big ad there for a reason. They are the group that you need to belong to. Be part of the solution by joining ANJRPC.org.

Evan Nappen 17:44
Speaking of my book, I would like to shamelessly promote it right now. It’s the bible of New Jersey gun law, and it is surprisingly called New Jersey Gun Law. This book is over 500 pages with 120 topics all in a question and answer format. I wrote it to be user friendly. It is used by New Jersey State Police Firearms Division, even. I know that for a fact. It’s used by many, many police agencies, judges, and lawyers. But most importantly, it’s used by gun owners every day. And that’s who I really wrote it for, to help you navigate through the treacherous waters of New Jersey gun law and not become a victim. So, you can stay legal as our fight continues for freedom as we knock these laws out. Boy, that day is coming and is going to be joyful. I mean, look, we already got “shall issue” carry permits. Who would have thought that would happen and here we are. More and more freedom will be coming our way. But until that day, you have to stay legal. You don’t want to become the test case. You don’t want to become my next GOFU that I’m talking about. Right? So, get the book, New Jersey Gun Law. You can get it at EvanNappen.com. Go to my website, EvanNappen.com. You’ll see the big orange book there. Just click on it, and you’ll have it in a matter of days. You’ll be glad that you got it. When you do get the book, scan the front cover QR code. It sends you right to my subscriber database and for free, you get to join for free. There’s no charge. You get to access all the archives of updates, and you’ll get email alerts from me if there are any law changes. This is my calling. I keep it current so that you know you have the current law at your fingertips to help guide you through what you need to know.

Evan Nappen 19:49
Let me also tell you about WeShoot. WeShoot is an indoor range in Lakewood, New Jersey. They are a super range. I know you’ve heard me talk about them before. They really are a great place, and you will

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love it, too. WeShoot is a great resource there, right in Lakewood, right off the Parkway. You need a great place to shoot, and there’s your great place to shoot. What a team they have there. They will treat you like family. Just mention my name and fuhgeddaboudit. You’ll think you’re royalty. They have great trainers, and they can set you up for any of the courses you need, including your CCARE course to get your carry. They have all kinds of cool events, too. They run different kinds of shooting fun. They have gun rentals and a wonderful range. WeShoot is an excellent place to shoot, and we all need a place to shoot. You definitely want to go to WeShoot. So many folks have listened to me and gone there and become members. They tell me, Evan, you weren’t kidding. Oh no, I’m not. This is what I’m talking about. I won’t let anyone be a sponsor if I don’t believe in them. So, it’s absolute truth. WeShoot and our great Association are great institutions in Jersey, and they’re solidly 2A, 100%. WeShoot has got your back, and they will train you and properly equip you. Check out weshootusa.com. Beautiful photography. Great website. weshootusa.com.

Evan Nappen 21:35
So, I have a letter that I received from the Ask Evan letters, and I want to share this letter with you and discuss it. It’s from Mark. Mark says regarding a podcast question. Hi Evan. Thank you for all you do for the community. I’ve listened to your show for about three years. I love it. Gun Lawyer and GFH radio, which is Gun For Hire, my good friend, Anthony Colandro has a great podcast as well, are my Sunday morning grass mowing entertainment. Well, I’m glad that I entertain you when you mow your grass. In the winter, it’s Monday morning drive to work entertainment. Okay, cool. Anyway, I have a question for you that a friend asked. Before asking, I looked it up in my New Jersey Gun Law book, but couldn’t find the answer. Well, we’ll get to why you didn’t find the answer. But here’s what the question is. What does the state think about ADHD medicines like Adderall and Ritalin based medicines? How do they impact FID and, of course, PTC applications? In this case, they are only used for Attention Deficit purposes. Thank you, Mark. Then he said, last, but definitely not least, proud owner of a book I will reference for others but will not lend out, “New Jersey Gun Law” by Evan Nappen. Thank you, Mark.

Evan Nappen 23:11
I’m glad you protect your book. Because if you do lend it out, you’ll never get it back. So, definitely keep it safe. Now, this is an important question that Mark raises. What about Ritalin? Adderall? What about any medicines that are prescribed for a psychological condition? The problem is that New Jersey questions on the application, have you ever been treated or observed for any mental or psychiatric condition? And if you’re getting Ritalin or Adderall, I just combined the two, that’s funny. If you’re getting either of them or any other medications for a psychiatric purpose, even, you know, Xanax or Zoloft, or any of these other things, serotonin medication, that kind of thing, any of that, you have to answer yes to that question. Then you’re going to have to provide a doctor’s report or letter that says you’re safe for handling firearms. The problem is that some doctors are chicken shits, and they’re afraid to say, at least many of them are, they’re afraid to say that somebody’s good for guns, even though they know they are because they’re afraid of the liability. Yet to get your gun rights in Jersey, you can’t lie on the form, and you’re going to need to get a doctor’s report.

Evan Nappen 24:48
So, New Jersey creates a problem for those that seek psychiatric help of any type. We’re not even talking here about a mental health commitment, voluntary or involuntary, where you actually have to go

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to a mental health facility, even when you volunteer to go there. That’s a separate disqualifier, and the only way to cure that one is with a mental health expungement. But just getting treatment immediately threatens your gun rights and makes it harder for you to get a firearm license in New Jersey. New Jersey has done its best to actually discourage gun owners from getting psychiatric help. They create such a problem that believe me, I know many people who say, I’m not going to go even though they might be able to go and get help, because they know that if they do, it’s going to potentially jeopardize their Second Amendment rights. So, it has the reverse effect of actually discouraging individuals from getting help. Then what? They arguably can get worse. It is as stupid as stupid gets. Yet, that’s New Jersey, of course.

Evan Nappen 26:06
So, they put these things in the law, unbelievably well intentioned, but nonetheless, a terrible idea. Federal law doesn’t ask whether you have been treated or observed. Federal law doesn’t even count voluntary commitments, only an involuntary commitment is a disqualifier under federal law. But Jersey goes so far as to even ask about treatment. Have you ever been treated or observed etc, any mental or psychiatric? They just want to know that. They ask it, and you have to answer truthfully. If you don’t answer truthfully and they find out, then you can face a denial of your license for falsification and a criminal charge for falsification, which is felony level offense, where you can look at serious state prison time for lying on the form. They will do that. They will criminally charge you with falsification. We get a lot of those falsification cases, even though the person didn’t intentionally do it. They forgot about it, or they didn’t understand the question. Next thing you know they’re facing felony level, indictable offenses for falsifying the application. So, the consequences can be serious if you don’t give the right answer. Yet, when you do, you’re put in a position of having to prove that you’re safe for firearms, even though the psychiatric treatment had nothing to do with you being a danger. It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. You still have to answer truthfully and get a doctor or psychiatrist to say that you are okay for guns. This is a very severe discouragement. I’ll be kind and call it a discouragement that is put into the gun laws in Jersey, and it is something that I’m afraid will probably catch on in other states. Jersey goes further than any other state that I know of. It’s intrusive madness into your private medical records and questioning about it. But nonetheless, there it is. I even know of a case where an individual, who knew that this was a problem, purposely went to a doctor for some psychological help. They weren’t a danger to anybody. They paid cash figuring well, I’ll pay cash. I won’t go through my insurance, and I can keep it private. Right? But then, unfortunately, foolishly got a prescription filled through their insurance that the doctor prescribed and that ended up coming to light. This person faced serious problems on a gun license denial and the potential criminal charges, etc. So, the thing is, you have to tell the truth on the application at all times. You just have to. If you’re prescribed these medications, you’re going to have to say so, and you’re going to have to overcome it by way of the mechanism in the law, which is not cheap to do. You know, these doctors, if we can even find one willing to say you’re okay, are not cheap. And yet, that’s what Jersey imposes for you to exercise your Second Amendment rights. So, beware of that. Mark, thanks for the great question. It’s something that we encounter a lot in the practice of New Jersey gun law.

Evan Nappen 30:41
So, what is this week’s GOFU? This week’s Gun Owner Fuck Up. Let me tell you, folks, what I’m going to explain to you today is something that I see frequently, and it is a GOFU that can become an

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expensive lesson for the person who commits it. But because you’re listening today, you can learn it on the cheap. That’s why we talk about the GOFU. So, here’s the scenario. Here’s how it goes. In the scenario I want to talk about today, there’s a person who has a child in school. The child in school does something stupid, you know, like draws a picture of a gun, or makes a list of people he wants to kill, even though he’s not going to do it, but it doesn’t matter. You know, kids do stupid stuff. That’s why they’re kids. They do stupid things because they are kids. It doesn’t mean they are a danger. It doesn’t mean they’re a problem. They’re just, you know, acting out and being dumb. And lo and behold, something like this comes to the attention of the school, and they overreact accordingly. The next thing, you know, well, they want your kid taken away and evaluated to make sure he’s not a danger and all that happy stuff. And what happens is, often, the kid is fine. They evaluate them, and it’s not a problem. It’s not dangerous. Not an issue, no problem.

Evan Nappen 32:28
But lo and behold, you know what happens. They come and take mom’s and dad’s guns. Now that particular GOFU here is a little twist on that. Because the GOFU here is the child was found to be fine. However, the police went to the parents and said, look, would you just surrender your guns right now? Because it’ll be better for you if you do. I’m not kidding. Better for you if you surrender your guns. Oh, really? Really? Let me make something clear, folks. The GOFU is, it’s never better for you if you surrender your guns, okay? No, no. You need due process. If they want to take your guns, then do it by way of the mechanisms if they can get it done under the mechanisms in law. So, if they’re going to get a TERPO, a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order, well, they better meet the standard in law to do it. The fact is that the child is fine and not a danger. So, what’s the basis for the TERPO? Or if they’re going to take them over domestic violence? Well, there’s no violence. There’s no domestic violence. So, that doesn’t kick in. What is their basis in terms of the due process mechanism?

Evan Nappen 34:05
But if you just surrender your guns because the police ask you to, and they claim it’s better for you if you do it? Well, I’ll tell you right now, what you’ve done is you surrendered your guns, and now there’s no formal mechanism to even get them back. Because even if they got the TERPO, we can go to court. There is a procedure. There’s the later due process. It should be up front, but it isn’t. At least there’s something we can get in there, and we can get your gun rights and your guns back. But if you just give them up, well, guess what? There’s no statutory mechanism for dealing with that. There’s no law in Jersey that says anyone who surrenders guns can seek their return by way of N.J.S. blah, blah, blah. No, it doesn’t exist. So, now what? Now you’re at the mercy of the police and the prosecutor to try to get them back. You may be forced into what’s called a replevin action, a civil action for return of property. Or trying to get something with the prosecutor to agree, and it’s all informal. There are no time limits, and there’s no due process.

Evan Nappen 34:10
So, the GOFU is giving up your guns because the police ask you to voluntarily surrender them. If the police ask you to voluntarily surrender your guns, what you say is the following. I’m going to call my lawyer, and my lawyer will call you. Always ask for your attorney. Have me, even, or whoever your attorney is, get in between you and the Government every time. Then you won’t make this GOFU. You let me talk to them, and we’re going to find out what’s what. We’re going to deal with that situation, and

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if there’s no justification, legally, to take your guns, then your guns aren’t going to be taken. This is an important lesson. Any time the Government wants to get involved in your life, you say, I want my attorney. I’ll have my attorney call you. You put your attorney between you and the Government every time. No matter what it is. Whether it’s guns or something else, get a lawyer and have them between you and the Government.

Evan Nappen 36:41
Remember, anything you say, can and will be used against you. There are all kinds of laws that you have no clue about. The one thing you can be certain of is that you have a right to ask for your lawyer. And that’s what you want to do. So that you can get the good advice and have the lawyer talk for you. If I’m speaking for you, I cannot become a witness against you. I can’t incriminate you. I’m your counsel. What we talk about is confidential. Then I can talk to the Government, and you stay protected. That is what smart people do. And I want you to be smart. Always ask for your lawyer. Put your lawyer between you and the Government. When any kind of consent is sought, particularly when any kind of consent is sought for you to waive your rights, to give up your rights, to give up your property by consent, then you want a lawyer to advise you.

Evan Nappen 37:52
Now, if the police come to your house with a warrant or they have court papers, they have process where they’re authorized to take your guns, well, that’s not consent. They’re just going to take your guns. You don’t resist it. You let them do their job. They have the court process, the due process, the legal authority. But if you’re consenting, then you’re giving up any of those rights that you may have otherwise had. Why are you giving up those rights? If you give up those rights, you gain nothing. Zero. You’ve gained nothing and lost a lot. So, why are you making a decision that gets you zero gain? Don’t do it! Ask for your lawyer. Then together through discussions with your attorney, you can make the right decision. This is Evan Nappen reminding you that gun laws don’t protect honest citizens from criminals. They protect criminals from honest citizens.

Speaker 3 39:02
Gun Lawyer is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York. Reach us by emailing Evan@gun.lawyer. The information and opinions in this broadcast do not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney in your state.

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About The Host

Evan Nappen, Esq.

Known as “America’s Gun Lawyer,” Evan Nappen is above all a tireless defender of justice. Author of eight bestselling books and countless articles on firearms, knives, and weapons history and the law, a certified Firearms Instructor, and avid weapons collector and historian with a vast collection that spans almost five decades — it’s no wonder he’s become the trusted, go-to expert for local, industry and national media outlets.

Regularly called on by radio, television and online news media for his commentary and expertise on breaking news Evan has appeared countless shows including Fox News – Judge Jeanine, CNN – Lou Dobbs, Court TV, Real Talk on WOR, It’s Your Call with Lyn Doyle, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk, and Cam & Company/NRA News.

As a creative arts consultant, he also lends his weapons law and historical expertise to an elite, discerning cadre of movie and television producers and directors, and novelists.

He also provides expert testimony and consultations for defense attorneys across America.

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