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Estate Owned or "Found" Weapons

What to do with family owned guns including NFA weapons

So a family member or close friend recently passed away in Pennsylvania and the executor or another family member found a gun. Whether expected or unexpected, guns can create headaches for the family and the estate attorney. Guns are treated as property but special conditions exist for who they can be transferred to and the method to transfer those weapons. There is no registry of firearms in Pennsylvania. Such a registry would be illegal under our Commonwealth's constitution. This does not mean that there are no laws regarding the transfer of firearms between individuals and entities. The estate is an entity which currently owns the firearm. The firearm must be transferred according to the laws governing firearms in Pennsylvania. If you have found a firearm in an Estate and are unsure what the laws regarding its transfer are, consult your attorney and give them my number. I have assisted many estates with the lawful transfer of firearms to the correct owners and have done so affordably for the estate. 

Special Note on NFA Weapons


So you found what you think is a machine gun, short barrel shotgun, short barrel rifle, pen gun, wallet gun, suitcase gun, etc. in the attic. Family legend says that it was brought back from WWII or that it was purchased for a great deal of money in the 80's. 

The short answer is that you need to call a lawyer right away and explain what you have found and what makes you think it is an NFA weapon. NFA weapons are strictly controlled, are registered, and the improper transfer, handling or operation of an NFA weapon is a mandatory federal felony. In short, this is not something to take lightly and is something that you should act upon immediately. 

Keep in mind that a properly papered, recorded and transferred NFA weapon can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. As a large estate asset, it is the duty of the executor to ensure that it is properly handled and that the proper methods are taken to preserve the asset and determine what its status is. This requires a lawyer, at a minimum, to assist you in this process. If your lawyer is uncomfortable with NFA or firearms in general, have them call my office and I can assist with the process to ensure that it is correctly done. 

Found a firearm?

Contact Benjamin Scott Johns, Esq.

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