With a scant one week of shopping days left until the arrival of Christmas morning, we need to take a serious look at a couple of great ideas for that hard-to-buy-for sportsman on your gift-giving list. The ideas will include items that I have used and found to be highly useful and handy for any hunter, shooter, or outdoorsman. And, no, I am not endorsed or paid by any company I might mention!
Firearms: Yep, nothing quite says “I love you, dearest!” like a package unwrapped on Christmas morning that yields to the unsuspecting recipient a longed-for firearm that they have day-dreamed about for months and months! But there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you head out to shop for a firearm of any kind for your significant other, son or daughter or your best hunting buddy. There are some legal and ethical obligations that are applicable to firearms that are not attached to other consumer products that are given as gifts.
First and foremost, you need to make sure whether or not the intended recipient can legally own a firearm where they live. Are they old enough? In some states, there is a minimum age for owning a handgun. Might there be any type of criminal background that you are not aware of? During the actual purchase and registration process, a background check will be accomplished that will (should) uncover any such history that would prevent legal ownership of a firearm. Be careful — it is a federal felony to knowingly transfer ownership of a firearm to someone whom you know cannot legally own one.
There is no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. Pennsylvania does require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. It might be best to check with a local firearms dealer to verify that all requirements are properly met.
Consider giving a gift certificate from a local retailer rather than actually purchasing a gun and then going through a process of transferring ownership. That way, the receiver of your gift can pick out exactly what they want regarding maker, model, stock style, caliber and overall appearances. When they actually select what they want and they fill out the Federal Form 4473 to initiate the background check, they can properly identify themselves as “the actual buyer of the firearm.”
In the case of gifting a firearm, such as an old family heirloom or a favorite deer rifle of yours to a family member, there may be laws in place that require even inter-family transfers to be accomplished through a licensed retailer so that a background check may be completed. Antique firearms — those made before 1898 — are generally exempt from any such requirements, but be safe by checking with a local firearms retailer as to the proper procedure to follow.
Want a recommendation? Henry rifles are made right here in the USA. They have a nostalgic appearance, are highly prized by those who own them, are fun to shoot and are readily available in various models and calibers. Henry makes a quality product and the company is very supportive of the shooting sports. Everyone I have ever talked to who owns one of the Henry rifles is very happy with the workmanship, the accuracy and the joy of shooting it. Here again, perhaps a gift certificate that specifies a Henry rifle might be the wisest way to present the gift, allowing the recipient the final say in the exact specifications.
Looking for a “stocking-stuffer” to go along with that new firearm? A scope is usually a very welcome gift for the owner of a new rifle or even handgun, and Leupold boasts a lifetime guarantee for their made in the USA scopes. I have owned quite a few of their optics for many years and continue to be very satisfied with their clarity and rugged construction.
Finally, ammunition for the weapon you might be gifting can always be placed under the Christmas tree or in the stocking hanging on the mantle over the fireplace. It will be fun to watch someone open a box of ammunition and then see them wondering if there just might be a firearm to accompany the ammo!