If You Like Your Rifle, You Can Keep Your Rifle

By January 9, 2017 October 25th, 2018 Estate Planning Blog, Robert Lamm
Robert J. Lamm

Robert J. Lamm

The Problem

There is an old saying, “you can’t take it with you.” You can’t necessarily give it away to your heirs either (if you live in the Golden State Of California), at least when it comes to certain firearms.

The Law

What am I talking about, you ask?  The newly enacted California Assault Weapons Ban that became law January 1, 2017, of course. Below, is one of the many highlights of the new law designed to protect the Citizenry of California from itself:

Any person who, from January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2016, inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine, as defined in Section 30515, including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool, shall register the firearm before January 1, 2018, but not before the effective date of the regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph (5), with the department pursuant to those procedures that the department may establish by regulation pursuant to paragraph (5).

What does the law actually mean?

If you are one of those bunker types that acquired an evil black rifle (also known as an AR-15 or AK-47 or something similar that looks very, very, scary), and you owned it before the end of 2016, you can keep it so long as you register such firearm with the California Department of Justice by January 1, 2018. This applies even if you bought the rifle with one of those nefarious bullet buttons attached that render it practically useless. Don’t worry, if you own something less evil, you don’t have to register…for now. You owners of Daisy Air Rifles should be concerned, though. I hear that they hold more than 10 rounds and are a blast to shoot. As a result, they are now in the cross-hairs of the State Legislature, so to speak.

By the way, once you register, you cannot simply give away, devise or bequeath that firearm to your heirs or the beneficiaries of your trust per California Penal Code sections 30915 and 30935. As soon as the rifle becomes an assault weapon, you automatically surrender your right to transfer it to a person residing in California in most circumstances.

So, how do you keep your rifle?

You can either…

  1. Configure it in such a way that it does not meet the definition of an assault weapon per the California Penal Code, or
  2. If it is registered as an assault weapon, convert it back into non assault weapon status prior to transfer.

For specific advice that fits your situation, email me at rlamm@cwlawyers.com.

For more information, check out 10 Things that Every California Gun Owner Needs to Know on January 1, 2017 .

 

 

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