What to Do with Inherited Guns: A Descendants Guide to Gun Ownership

Estate Collections

Inherit a firearm collection can be exciting and confusing. You may know nothing about firearm ownership, or you might be an…

Inherit a firearm collection can be exciting and confusing. You may know nothing about firearm ownership, or you might be an avid shooter. Either way, you have to decide what to do with inherited guns.

On top of that, you may or may not be comfortable with firearms in general. Each State has different laws and regulations on the transfer of firearms. Connecticut is among the most strict States for gun transfers in New England. 

This article guides you through deciding what to do with inherited guns. Learn about how you can honor the memory of your loved one in the safest and most appropriate way. And, learn what the law says about inherited guns in Connecticut. 

What to Do with Inherited Guns in Connecticut 

The first way to figure out what to do with inherited guns is to identify the collection. Start by looking for the markings on each gun and researching it online. This is an easy way to get all the important information about each weapon.

Consider using a spreadsheet to inventory the collection. That spreadsheet should include the make, model, serial number, barrel length, caliber, and any unusual or noteworthy features. 

Figure Out the Value 

You can typically find the value of a gun by figuring out the manufacturer and model number of the firearm. Once you identify the gun, assess the condition of the gun. Condition is key – your average gun could be worth between $200 to $2,000, with the condition being the sole difference between each example. 

Take your list of firearms with the make and model and compare against reputable gun value books. Some inherited firearms must have an appraisal to assess the value. 

Antique guns and old firearms often have difficult to read markings or several different models that appear to be identical. A gun appraiser provides an estimate of a gun’ prospective sale price or fair market value. Whether you plan to keep the guns or sell them, it is important to know the value of your inheritance

In Connecticut, firearms transferred through inheritance must go through an executor of will. The executor analyzes the value of an estate and transfers inheritances to beneficiaries. 

NOTE: Transporting Firearms in Connecticut 

Finding the value of your inherited firearms can be tricky for the executor or administrator of an estate. Executors of estates could have some exemptions to common possession laws however if they do not have a state-issued firearms permit, there may be limitations on returning possession to executors.

For example, If you don’t have a permit and you hand over the firearms to a licensed dealer for appraisal, they may not be able to return them. The dealer is not typically allowed to return the gun to an unlicensed owner. Thus, you have to find the value of your guns by having an appraiser come to you. Or, you can send pictures to an appraiser for an estimate. 

If the inheritance comes from out-of-state, it must go through a licensed dealer. The only way to ship firearms into or out of Connecticut is through a Federal Firearms Licensee. An out-of-state dealer must ship it to a licensed dealer in Connecticut. 

Dump, Sell, or Keep? 

Once you receive the inherited guns and have identified each piece in the collection, it is time to decide what to do with them. For the recipient of inherited guns, the question is whether to dump, sell, or keep them. The best option is completely dependent on which you are most comfortable. 

Your options are to… 

Turn the Guns into Local Law Enforcement 

Some people are not interested or comfortable with guns, in any capacity. Sometimes, a loss can cause so much grief and pain that you would rather be rid of the responsibility. Whatever the reason–your local law enforcement will take the guns off your hands.

If you are not comfortable transporting guns, you can request an officer collect them. The downside of turning guns into the police is that you lose any monetary value or inheritance. And, most police departments do not have any “buy back” program. 

Sell to a Licensed Dealer 

If you don’t want to keep them, there are plenty of Licensed Dealers to buy the guns. Selling to a gun shop or pawn shop is the quickest way to get some money for your guns. But, you sacrifice the majority of the value of the guns and will settle for something well below market value. 

The dealer is looking to give you as little as possible. Then, they turn around and sell it for the highest possible price. Negotiating a selling price may or may not be one of your strong points.

It never hurts to see what you can get, as long as you don’t mind haggling. But, rarely can you trust the broker to give you a fair appraisal who is conflicted with also purchasing the gun. Bottom line–make sure you know the value of your gun before entering negotiations. 

Consign for Sale at a Gun Auction 

Auctions are the best place to sell inherited firearms. Gun collectors come to auctions, looking for rare, interesting, and valuable firearms. Many of the pieces sold at auction are part of an inheritance or personal collection. 

Firearm auctions enable sellers to get the best price for their guns. Instead of haggling with the retail dealer, auction houses appraise the value for a starting bid. From there, it is worth whatever a collector is willing to pay. Auction houses take a simple commission, beware of hidden fees. 

Start Your Own Firearm Collection 

Inheriting firearms from a family member is a great reason to start your own gun collection. Gun collections are unique to each collector. You can choose to collect any genre or niche of guns you wish, be it antique/contemporary, Military/non-military, etc. 

What better way to honor a loved one than to carry on the collection which they pass to you. Firearms have many stories to tell, and collectors keep safe the history of these heirlooms. 

Final Thoughts

Firearm collections tell the stories of family, frontiers, and nations. What to do with inherited guns is up to you, as long as respect is paid to the collection. If you want your inherited guns to be cherished and respected, sell to a collector at auction. 

And, there is no better way to honor the memory of your loved one than to take on the ownership of their collection. 

If you like this article on what to do with inherited guns, share it with a friend on social media. And be sure to check out the blog for information on upcoming gun auctions. Thanks for reading!