MA-Gun Laws (Fed & MA) and Inheritance

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
I was discussing this issue with an attorney over the weekend and sent him the following text that I was able to find. Not being an attorney myself, there are areas of Fed and MA law on this topic that are open to interpretation that seriously impact our ability to transfer older handguns. Consider this as a "work in progress", if I get additional information on this subject, I will add it as a reply to this "sticky".

The discussion we had were with regard to "do the guns have to be explicitly willed or can they be part of the decedent's unnamed property which the executor has authority to dispose of according to their own wishes and desires" (within, of course, whatever guidance was left by the decedent).

Here are cut 'n paste directly from the USC, cites provided:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000922----000-.html

18 USC 922(a)(3)(A)

(3) for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State, except that this paragraph (A) shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State,


18 USC 922(a)(5)(A)

(5) for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides; except that this paragraph shall not apply to

(A) the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest of a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence, and


27 CFR 478.29(a)

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...v8&view=text&node=27:2.0.1.2.3.3.1.10&idno=27

§ 478.29 Out-of-State acquisition of firearms by nonlicensees.
No person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, shall transport into or receive in the State where the person resides (or if a corporation or other business entity, where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State: Provided, That the provisions of this section:

(a) Shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State,


27 CFR 478.30(a)

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...v8&view=text&node=27:2.0.1.2.3.3.1.12&idno=27

§ 478.30 Out-of-State disposition of firearms by nonlicensees.
No nonlicensee shall transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any other nonlicensee, who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides: Provided, That the provisions of this section:

(a) shall not apply to the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest of a firearm to, or any acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence; and


MGL Ch. 140 S. 129C(n)

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/140-129c.htm

Chapter 140: Section 129C. Application of Sec. 129B; ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition; transfers; report to executive director; exemptions; exhibiting license to carry, etc. on demand

Section 129C. No person, other than a licensed dealer or one who has been issued a license to carry a pistol or revolver or an exempt person as hereinafter described, shall own or possess any firearm, rifle, shotgun or ammunition unless he has been issued a firearm identification card by the licensing authority pursuant to the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine B.

No person shall sell, give away, loan or otherwise transfer a rifle or shotgun or ammunition other than (a) by operation of law, or (b) to an exempt person as hereinafter described, or (c) to a licensed dealer, or (d) to a person who displays his firearm identification card, or license to carry a pistol or revolver.

A seller shall, within seven days, report all such transfers to the executive director of the criminal history systems board according to the provisions set forth in section one hundred and twenty-eight A, and in the case of loss, theft or recovery of any firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun, a similar report shall be made forthwith to both the executive director of the criminal history systems board and the licensing authority in the city or town where the owner resides. Failure to so report shall be cause for suspension or permanent revocation of such person’s firearm identification card or license to carry firearms, or both, and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for a first offense and by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for a second offense.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following exempted persons and uses:

. . .

(n) The transfer of a firearm, rifle or shotgun upon the death of an owner to his heir or legatee shall be subject to the provisions of this section, provided that said heir or legatee shall within one hundred and eighty days of such transfer, obtain a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms if not otherwise an exempt person who is qualified to receive such or apply to the licensing authority for such further limited period as may be necessary for the disposition of such firearm, rifle or shotgun;

MGL Ch. 140 S. 128A

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/140-129c.htm

Chapter 140: Section 128A. Application of Sec. 128

Section 128A. The provisions of section one hundred and twenty-eight shall not apply to any person who, without being licensed as provided in section one hundred and twenty-two, sells or transfers a firearm, rifle or shotgun to a person licensed under said section one hundred and twenty-two, or to a federally licensed firearms dealer or to a federal, state or local historical society, museum or institutional collection open to the public. The provisions of section one hundred and twenty-eight shall not apply to any resident of the commonwealth who, without being licensed as provided in section one hundred and twenty-two, sells or transfers to other than a federally licensed firearms dealer or organization named above not more than four firearms, including rifles and shotguns in any one calendar year; provided, however, that the seller has a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms, is an exempt person under the conditions of clauses (n), (o), (r) and (s) of the fourth paragraph of section one hundred and twenty-nine C, or is permitted to transfer ownership under the conditions of section one hundred and twenty-nine D and the purchaser has, in the case of sale or transfer of a firearm, a permit to purchase issued under the provisions of section one hundred and thirty-one A and a firearm identification card issued under section one hundred and twenty-nine B, or has such permit to purchase and is an exempt person under the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine C, or has been issued a license to carry firearms under the provisions of section one hundred and thirty, or in the case of sale or transfer of a rifle or shotgun, the purchaser has a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms or is an exempt person as hereinbefore stated; and provided, further, that such resident reports within seven days, in writing to the executive director of the criminal history systems board on forms furnished by said executive director, the names and addresses of the seller and the purchaser of any such large capacity feeding device, firearm, rifle or shotgun, together with a complete description of the firearm, rifle or shotgun, including its designation as a large capacity weapon, if applicable, the caliber, make and serial number and the purchaser’s license to carry firearms number, permit to purchase number and identifying number of such documentation as is used to establish exempt person status in the case of a firearm or the purchaser’s license to carry number or firearm identification card number or said document identity number, in the case of a rifle or shotgun.

[MORE TO FOLLOW IN REPLY - FORUM SW HAS A LIMIT ON POST LENGTH]

Next Reply will "muddy the waters" with Ron Glidden's interpretation.
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Continued!

Now to appropriately “muddy the waters”, I talked with Ron Glidden on this matter this morning. Here’s Ron’s interpretation (to the best of my recollection) about the ability to dispose of a decedent’s guns WITHIN the state of MA . . . and he admits that it is subject to interpretation!
• Ch. 140 S. 129C(n) is the only place that specifically addresses inheritance in MGL regarding firearms. And that is strictly regarding the licensing of the heir/legatee. [NOTE: I found a passing reference to 129C(n) in 128A (copy above).]

• Per Ron’s interpretation, if a married gun owner dies WITHOUT specifying that the guns go to a specific person, the surviving spouse automatically inherits the guns and is NOT the Executor/Executrix (for the legal status regarding disposition of guns under the exemptions), therefore can not extend the exemption to give the guns (unlimited quantity) to a third party en masse. [i.e. private transfer is restricted to 4/year without having a MA Dealer’s License inside MA, thus could not give 20 guns to “Cousin Johnny”, would have to do it at the rate of 4/year (in state or could ship all guns to an FFL in “Cousin Johnny” state if not a MA Resident) to avoid the EOPS List and AG approved guns restriction.] Per Ron, he believes that the only way to bypass the 4/year restriction (or the issues of “approved handguns”) is by specifying what is to be done with the guns in the will.

• If the surviving spouse/Executor/Executrix turns ANY handguns over to a MA FFL, MGLs apply (if not on EOPS List AND not AG-compliant, they can NOT be resold to anyone in MA unless proof of “in-state” status on/before 10/21/98 can be provided).​

The particular areas open for interpretation are whether or not a surviving spouse is an Executor/Executrix and thus benefits from the exemption in disposing of unlimited guns as s/he wishes to dispose of the decedent’s assets, vs. the exemption stopping at the surviving spouse and any further disposition being impacted by the EOPS List/AG-compliant or 4 guns/year transfer issues.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
1,400
Likes
127
Location
Bourne,MA.
Is there a limit to the quantity of firearms that can be filed with FA-10 forms at one time? My father has been in intensive care for the last month and due to his wishes, he'll be removed from the machines that are keeping him alive, he'll be dead by tuesday. His firearms are the furthest thing from my mind but he has quite a few that he's leaving to my brother and I.

I understand the FA-10 forms have to be filed within 7 days of transfer. The next few days will be very tough for my family but I can't ignore this issue. God Bless.
Jeff
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Jeff, I'm very sorry to hear this! My thoughts and prayers will be with your Father, You and your Family!

No limit on filing FA-10 forms. Might be a problem rounding up a large number of forms (hit up lots of PDs and/or call CHSB and request what you need by explaining the situation).

Hang in there!
 

JonJ

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Feb 27, 2005
Messages
13,068
Likes
349
Location
Plymouth, MA
LenS said:
Jeff, I'm very sorry to hear this! My thoughts and prayers will be with your Father, You and your Family!

No limit on filing FA-10 forms. Might be a problem rounding up a large number of forms (hit up lots of PDs and/or call CHSB and request what you need by explaining the situation).

Hang in there!
Jeff very sorry to hear that. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We got a pile of FA10's in a few weeks ago. If you want, I can put some aside for you.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
1,400
Likes
127
Location
Bourne,MA.
Thank you all for your kind words, we'll be saying our goodbyes this morning, I can't think of anything tougher to do. JonJ, I might take you up on the offer.

Flotter, my fathers name is also Fred, and he's a current member at MBSC. Take care all.
 

Admin

Staff Member
Administrator
Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
18   0   0
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
41,036
Likes
27,206
Location
Monadnock area, NH
Jeff,

I am sorry for what you are going through. Please remember we are here for you. If there is anything we can do to help please don't hesitate to ask.


Derek
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
1,400
Likes
127
Location
Bourne,MA.
He passed away last night with all of us at his side, I'll miss him a lot. He really loved shooting and has done it his whole life.
 

JonJ

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Feb 27, 2005
Messages
13,068
Likes
349
Location
Plymouth, MA
Savage110FP said:
He passed away last night with all of us at his side, I'll miss him a lot. He really loved shooting and has done it his whole life.
Sorry to hear Jeff. Very nice that you were all there and to his wishes.
Thoughts and prayers.
 

dixidawg

NES Member
Rating - 100%
26   0   0
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
4,144
Likes
994
Location
Georgetown, Ma
Unfortunately I find myself in a similar situation as Jeff. Dad passed away a week ago. Mom does not want the guns in the house and wants me to have them. What do I need to do to get them legally transferred to me? Is the FA 10 all that is needed? Are they downloadable anywhere, or do I need to go to the local PD? Can Mom sign it?

If there is a 4 gun limit, should I hurry to get some done before year end, and then do more after the first of the year?

Thanks,
Bob
 
Last edited:

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Unfortunately I find myself in a similar situation as Jeff. Dad passed away a week ago. Mom does not want the guns in the house and wants me to have them. What do I need to do to get them legally transferred to me? Is the FA 10 all that is needed? Are they downloadable anywhere, or do I need to go to the local PD? Can Mom sign it?

If there is a 4 gun limit, should I hurry to get some done before year end, and then do more after the first of the year?

Thanks,
Bob

Bob, my sympathies to you and your Family!

FA-10s are required for each one.

See my prior posts on how to do this - suggestions by Chief Ron Glidden a few years ago (using your late Father's name/LTC #/etc. with your Mother signing for him and noting her role as Executrix), and any others noted above. Just a word of CAUTION: Handguns will likely NOT BE TRANSFERABLE IF YOU INVOLVE AN FFL, so following intent of law on inheritance (NO FFL required) is the wise way to go (not to mention saving money on unnecessary transfer fees).

Yes there is a 4 transfers/calendar year max limit. It's "silent" on the limit applying or not upon death/disposition of an estate. Safest way is to transfer 4 this week (go to ANY PD to try to get the "firearms transfer" forms) and 4 after the 1st of the year. If there are more guns involved, a decision needs to be made as to how to proceed and a lawyer would be wise for a purely legal opinion.

The FA-10 is a multi-part form, NOT downloadable and the ONLY two places to get them is ANY PD and CHSB directly (although you probably won't get them in time to do transfers this year). You can NOT get them from a dealer and you do NOT have to buy them from a printer (both are mis-information frequently told to those that request the forms).
 

Scrivener

Banned
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
10,156
Likes
517
Yes there is a 4 transfers/calendar year max limit. It's "silent" on the limit applying or not upon death/disposition of an estate. Safest way is to transfer 4 this week (go to ANY PD to try to get the "firearms transfer" forms) and 4 after the 1st of the year. If there are more guns involved, a decision needs to be made as to how to proceed and a lawyer would be wise for a purely legal opinion.

Superfluous quotation marks aside, there is no silence about transfers. It is four per calendar year for a licensee.

Corpses are not licensees. Neither are their estates. [rolleyes] Ergo, the statute controlling such transfers is wholly irrelevant in such instances.

The executor/trix of an estate can transfer guns from the estate per the terms of the will directly to the named beneficiary, who owns the guns automatically as a matter of law. Even the BATFE recognizes this and allows interstate transfers w/o an FFL. This presupposes the will has been submitted and the executor/trix approved by the court.

The beneficiaries receiving such firearm bequests must be duly licensed, of course; either at the time of the bequest or within 180 days of receiving the bequest.

Filing the FA-10s all together, with the transferor identified as the executor/trix of the estate, together with the name and probate court docket number of the estate, has always sufficed for me. I have never even had the transfers questioned, still less challenged.
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Thanks for the answer. That's what I was looking for . . . an exception to the limit of 4 wrt an estate.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
163
Likes
1
Location
Virginia
I have a similar problem, though not as current, fortunately. My father passed a few years ago in California (my home state), and in his will he gave each of his children several of his guns. I was bequethed four of them, two long, two handguns. Of the handguns, both are not on the Massachusetts approved gun roster, and they aren't quite old enough for a C&R FFL to help much. Can guns from out of state, gained through inheritence, not on the MA lists, be imported to this state? I'd love to have them, but for the moment they are languishing at my sister's house in California.

Eventually, I'll run this by an attorney here, but until then I was wondering if anyone here has run across a situation like this.

Norm
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Please see Scrivener's post 3 above this. He answers the question as I'm sure that I did earlier here.

No attornies or FFLs required.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
163
Likes
1
Location
Virginia
Len,

I did read Scrivener's post and yours. Great information about transfers, more than most attorneys seem to know. I knew that the transfers can be done without an FFL from the executor of my father's estate to me, but my question was more about limitations on types of guns. If I file a FA-10 form, and it contains handguns that are not on the Massachusetts list, would that present a problem?

I haven't wanted to bring them in only to lose them because they aren't on the state lists. It's not that they're worth all that much in the marketplace, but in terms of sentimental value, they are priceless to me.

Norm.
 

KMaurer

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Mar 9, 2005
Messages
8,653
Likes
344
Location
Litchfield, NH
1) "The list" only limits the guns that can be legally transferred by dealers in Massachusetts, not what an properly licensed individual can own or transfer to another licensed individual.
2) The guns became yours the instant the estate was settled. If you decide to bring them into this state, there's no transfer involved.
3) When you read a statement by Scrivner on what the law allows, you're getting legal advice from a very knowledable attorney who specializes in firearm law; the only difference is that you pay for it personal abuse rather than cash.

Ken
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
3) When you read a statement by Scrivner on what the law allows, you're getting legal advice from a very knowledable attorney who specializes in firearm law; the only difference is that you pay for it personal abuse rather than cash.

Ken

That is so precious and true!! [laugh] [rofl] [laugh2]

To add . . .

- You are "REGISTERING" the guns when you file the FA-10. The instructions for this are on the front cover sheet of every FA-10. You do NOT put down the source of the guns, just gun description and your info. Scriv has suggested including info on the inheritance (nothing in the laws require this), and some of us don't see it as required (feeding our enemies with less info is better than too much) . . . this is a legitimate matter of disagreement.

- Since NOTHING prohibits private transfers of guns not on the EOPS List and blessed by the AG (which past AG has refused to do anyway), the FA-10 is not going to stand out and be a red flag.
 
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
163
Likes
1
Location
Virginia
Thank you everyone for the excellent answers. Sorry that so far all I'm doing is asking questions, but one day I'm sure I'll find something of value to contribute here.

Now, all I have to do is convince the executrix of the estate, who happens to be a lawyer and my sister, that this is okay to do. So far, she is unconvinced without reference to applicable BATFE regulations, but I have her looking for it. It will be nice to finally get those guns into the state.

Norm.
 

Len-2A Training

Instructor
Instructor
NES Life Member
NES Member
Rating - 98.6%
71   1   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
55,068
Likes
16,087
Location
NH
Check the posts here, pretty sure that at one time or another I posted the chapter and verse of BATFE Regs on inheritance. It's also very findable off the BATFE website.
 
Top Bottom