We fiercely value our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in Texas, which is why we enjoy some of the least invasive gun laws in the country. However, the sale, purchase, and possession of guns are still tightly regulated. It’s easy to run into trouble if you don’t know and follow the rules. Keep reading to learn more about how to gift a gun to someone in the Lone Star State.
Is Gifting a Gun in Texas Legal?
Yes, it is legal to give someone a gun as a gift in Texas. However, if you plan to purchase a gun as a gift, you must do so carefully to avoid violating federal law.
Title 18 of the U.S. Code, § 932, prohibits “straw purchasing,” which means knowingly purchasing a firearm on behalf of someone else. This law is meant to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of those with felony convictions, domestic abuse convictions, restraining orders, or other federally disqualifying characteristics.
Importantly, this law does not prohibit you from lawfully purchasing a firearm as a gift, but you will need to follow proper procedures if you choose to do so.
Can You Gift Someone a Gun? Do’s and Don’ts in Gifting a Gun in Texas
Here are some key do’s and don’ts to keep in mind if you’re planning to gift someone a gun in Texas:
- DO make sure the recipient is legally eligible to possess the gun. You could face criminal charges if you gift a gun to someone who cannot have it.
- DON’T mail the gun to the recipient. You can only mail guns to licensed retailers, not private citizens. Mailing a gun across state lines is a federal crime.
- DO ask the gun retailer for a gift certificate. You can simplify matters by sending the recipient a certificate so they can pick up their gift from a local shop.
- DON’T gift a gun to someone in another state by yourself. You must have a licensed firearms dealer conduct a background check before you can do so.
Texas Gun Purchase Background Check
Texas has no law requiring private sellers to conduct background checks to transfer firearms to other individuals. However, if you plan to give a gun to someone as a gift and they live in another state, the transfer is subject to the federal background check requirement. You will need to find a federally licensed firearms dealer to conduct a background check on the recipient before you can legally transfer the gun to them.
Firearm Charges in Texas
Under § 46.06 of the Texas Penal Code, it is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly sell, rent, lease, loan, or give a firearm to a recipient who cannot lawfully possess it. Texas punishes Class A misdemeanors with up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.