While Second Amendment guarantees the right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, there are limits to Second Amendment protections. States can, for example, limit the type of weapons people can buy, regulate the licenses and background checks required to buy and carry firearms, and may even disqualify certain people from gun ownership. And the White House just tightened restrictions on who can sell guns.
But what about a gun that has already been purchased legally, then given as a gift or shared between spouses? Can a wife buy her husband a gun as a Christmas present? Can a husband lend his wife a gun for protection? Can a husband carry his husband’s gun? Let’s take a look.
State of Gun Control
The first and probably most important thing to know about gun control laws is that they can vary from state to state. From concealed carry restrictions to assault weapon bans, the gun control laws in your state may differ from those in the next state over. So before you buy a gun as a gift for your spouse, or carry your spouse’s gun, you should do your research or ask an expert to find out what is allowed where you live.
One common misconception that people have about gun purchases is that there is a state- or nation-wide gun registry of every purchase that links a person with the serial number of the gun and therefore “registers” the gun in their name. While this might be helpful to law enforcement, it does not exist at the national level and most states don’t register specific guns to specific people.
As long as a person is legally allowed to buy a gun and passes the background check, what happens to the gun after that is generally up to the person. There will normally be a record of the gun sale listing the buyer and the serial number of the gun, and if a gun is reported lost or stolen the name of the owner and serial number will be reported to police. But other than that, the purchaser is free to give the gun as a gift or lend the gun to someone without repercussions.
There is one caveat, however. Whoever is receiving the gun must also be legally permitted to own a firearm, and have the proper license to carry it. And you both must follow state laws on gun storage before and after the gift or transfer.
Your best source of information on state gun control laws is an experienced attorney who lives in the area. Contact one today, before getting in trouble over a gun transfer.