ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

May a same-sex spouse of a deceased licensee (including a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer) carry on the licensed firearms (or explosives) business for the remainder of the term of the license?

Yes. ATF interprets the term “spouse” in 27 CFR 478.56 and 479.42 (as well as 555.59), to mean a same-sex or opposite sex spouse whose marriage is valid in the jurisdiction in which it was performed. A surviving spouse of a deceased licensee may carry on the licensed firearms or explosive business for the remainder of the term of the license as long as the state in which the real or personal property associated with the license is located, including the licensed business premises, recognizes the spouse as an individual with a legal right to the property of the licensed business. ATF regulations do not address the devolution of real or personal property. As provided by regulation, the successor must also furnish the license for that business to ATF for endorsement within 30 days from the date on which the successor begins to carry on the business.