My grandfather recently died and I was asked by my dad and his siblings if I wanted my grandfather's .22 rifle. I agreed, but have no idea what to do to legally take possession of the gun.

My assumption is that it's registered with the state of Florida (where my grandfather lived) and I will need to get it registered in Virginia (where I currently live). Are there any other steps I need to take to ensure it's legally in my possession?

  • 4
    The answers will depend widely based on the state of origin, the state of the recipient, the type of gun, and in some cases the age of the gun. Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


Conventional guns are not generally "registered" in America. (Only a few jurisdictions like NYC, DC, and maybe still Chicago, have laws requiring licensing of gun owners and registration of firearms.)

The interstate transfer of guns between individuals/owners is regulated by federal law and must be conducted by Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs). Many states also regulate certain intrastate transfer of guns (e.g., handguns, or transfers to individuals who are not immediate family members). For a fee any FFL local to you can ensure that any transfer is compliant with local, state, and federal law.

In general inheritance and transfer between family members is not restricted, so long as the receiver is not a "prohibited person" ineligible to possess firearms. 18 USC §922(a)(3)(A) explicitly allows for the interstate transportation of firearms acquired "by bequest or intestate succession."

In the situation described, if you are not a prohibited person, you could "inherit" the gun in Florida without any paperwork and simply mail it to yourself in Virginia (ref ATF FAQ #6). If you are uncertain or want to ensure that no laws are broken in that process, have the gun mailed to an FFL local to where you live, and pay the FFL to "transfer" it to you.

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