To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA?

A person may transfer a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his or her State, provided the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. There may be State laws that regulate intrastate firearm transactions. A person considering transferring a firearm should contact his or her State Attorney General’s Office to inquire about the laws and possible State or local restrictions.

Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) within the transferee’s State of residence. The transferee may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check.

A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he or she or she does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by intestate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under the will of a decedent.

A person may transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

[18 U.S.C 922(a)(5) and 922(d); 27 CFR 478.30, 478.32]

Last Reviewed September 23, 2016