Firearms Law
Estate Planning
Equine Law

Successions Involving NFA Items or Other Firearms

Every family in Louisiana has that one person – sometimes more than one – who has an affinity for firearms. When that person passes away, many times the family does not know how to lawfully transfer those firearms to someone else. First, this article is merely an overview – it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced succession attorney with NFA and firearms experience to handle the specifics for you.

Any non-NFA guns ( can be transferred directly to the heir by simply handing them over. There is no need to register or file anything when transferring a gun from one Louisiana resident to another. If the heir is a resident of another state you will have to ship the gun to a gun store in that other state so that the recipient can undergo a federal background check. There is no age requirement for gun ownership in Louisiana, although it is usually a good idea to designate a responsible adult who will keep possession of the gun until the recipient can show he or she is responsible enough to handle a gun.

When the owner of an NFA weapon or device dies and the item is subject to succession procedures (probate) there are specific steps that must be followed so that the executor of the estate does not inadvertently break any federal laws. The executor is allowed a “reasonable” amount of time to properly transfer the NFA device to a lawful heir. Until the transfer is approved, the executor is authorized to take possession of the devise and store it in a safe location.

The NFA device may be transferred to any lawful heir without having to pay the $200 tax stamp fee. The executor needs to apply on ATF Form 5 (“Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm”), for a tax-exempt transfer to a lawful heir. A lawful heir is anyone named in the decedent’s will or, in the absence of a will, anyone entitled to inherit under the laws of the State in which the decedent last resided. When a firearm is being transferred to an individual heir, his or her fingerprints on FBI Forms FD-258 must accompany the transfer application. There is no need to obtain the signature of a Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the recipient’s parish.

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