What hap­pens to my guns when I die?

Sporting Shooter - - Experts -

QI have of­ten won­dered what would hap­pen to my shot­guns in the event of my death. Ob­vi­ously they are locked in a cabi­net, which no one but me has ac­cess to. How would the guns be re­moved? Would they then be de­stroyed or sold? If so, would the money come back to my fam­ily?

Again, in the event of some­thing hap­pen­ing to me, how would it be brought to the at­ten­tion of the po­lice? Would a fam­ily mem­ber have to con­tact them?

ATHE EDI­TOR replies: Un­for­tu­nately, this is some­thing ev­ery gun owner has to think about – in fact, has a duty to think about, how­ever de­press­ing it may seem. It is dis­tress­ing enough for fam­ily mem­bers to lose a loved one, with­out the added worry of what to do with that per­son’s guns. But with a bit of for­ward plan­ning, you can make things eas­ier for them. The BASC web­site has some very use­ful ad­vice. Here are some of their sug­ges­tions:

Take a large en­ve­lope and mark up that it should only be opened af­ter your death. In­side, put: in­struc­tions to write to the firearms li­cens­ing de­part­ment in­form­ing them of your death and re­quest­ing a tem­po­rary per­mit un­der Sec­tion 7 of the Firearms Act 1968. This au­tho­rises your per­sonal rep­re­sen­ta­tives to be in law­ful pos­ses­sion of your guns un­til they de­cide what to do with them. A Sec­tion 7 is is­sued free of charge and for a lim­ited term. Three months is an ap­pro­pri­ate pe­riod to ask for; con­tact de­tails for the firearms li­cens­ing de­part­ment; what guns you own and what they are worth (in­clude re­ceipts if you have them); up-to-date copies of your firearm and shot­gun cer­tifi­cates and where the orig­i­nals are likely to be found; what your wishes are for the dis­posal of your guns if you have not in­cluded them in your will – if they are in your will, any in­for­mal in­struc­tions to your ex­ecu­tors; and the de­tails of any will­ing friend who would be pre­pared to look af­ter your guns un­til a de­ci­sion is made for their dis­posal – he/she will need to be the holder of the tem­po­rary per­mit. Guns may also be de­posited at a reg­is­tered firearms dealer or li­censed auc­tion­eer for sale if that is your wish.

As far as the cabi­net keys go, you will need to strike a bal­ance be­tween keep­ing the lo­ca­tion of the keys a se­cret dur­ing your life­time and hid­ing them some­where that isn’t too dif­fi­cult for them to be found af­ter a de­tailed search by your ex­ecu­tors when you have died.

Nor­mally, firearms li­cens­ing man­agers are very help­ful in th­ese cir­cum­stances. If you have planned ahead and left in­struc­tions for your fam­ily, there should be no prob­lems.

You can find more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion here: www.basc.org.uk

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