There will be those who disagree with me, but I believe a first shotgun is a wonderful Christmas gift. The uniquely shaped, elongated box under the tree generally won’t fool anybody for long, but as the recipient of many gift-wrapped guns over the years, I can tell you the thought of receiving a new gun for Christmas inspires many hours of happy anticipation and a lifetime of joy.

Should you elect to give a youthful hunter or budding shooter in your life a firearm (or even a BB gun) as a gift this Christmas, you must be aware the act involves a great deal of responsibility. The new gun owner is endowed with tremendous responsibility in owning a gun; that’s obvious. However, as the giver of a firearm, you are taking on great responsibility as well.

CloseRange_300x250First, it’s up to you to analyze if the recipient is truly ready for the responsibility of firearm ownership. Tradition and age should play little to no role in your decision. Sincere assessments of the would-be recipient’s maturity and readiness to own a firearm are what’s important. Does he or she exhibit the necessary level of responsibility in the rest of his or her life? Is there clearly evident understanding of the difference between tools and toys, fun-time and time to be serious?

You must also determine whether the recipient can legally “own” a firearm. Technically, minors can not. Depending on the state, jurisdiction, and type of firearm, the minimum age might even be 21 years. I’m all for youth having their “own” gun when they are truly ready for it, but you must obey the law. If you are not the parent or legal guardian, then you need to make arrangements with whoever is that they will legally “own” the firearm until the recipient comes of age.

No one should be given a firearm without safety training. An important part of a firearm gift—at least equal to the physical firearm itself—should be the giver’s commitment to teaching the recipient to own and use the gun safely and responsibly. This can be done by including a gift card for formal training or by committing to spending time together at the range learning how the firearms works, how to shoot it well and safely, and talking about responsible gun ownership.

campchef abmThere are also important considerations of storage of the firearm in the recipient’s home. Is the household ready for a gun? Is everyone on board for this, especially if it’s a first gun? The best case scenario involves a real safe in which to store the gun and to which a true newbie does not yet have access. If that’s not feasible, then at the very least trigger or action locks to which the responsible adult controls the keys. The motto of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafe  is ultimate common sense—“Own it? Respect it. Secure it.” That means every gun gets locked up, every time!

One final, practical tip: don’t put ammo under the tree with a new gun. My own dad learned this one long ago. “Santa” brought me my first BB gun. It was a Daisy, but not a Red Ryder. It was a model that looked like lever-action Winchester. The gift came with a tube of BBs wrapped right in the box. Despite multiple warnings about not loading the gun in the house, less than two hours after the last bow hit the floor next to the tree, there was a deep BB-sized dent in the ceiling of our family room, and the gun was already “put away” for a month!

A few years later, the next elongated box showed up under the tree with my name on it. This time it was my first shotgun—a Remington 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge. Dad made sure there was not a box of 20 gauge ammo anywhere in the house let alone under the tree. After a week, when the initial excitement waned a bit, he took me to the hardware store where we picked out a box of ammo together and it gave him the chance to teach me about shotshells and to stress again the magnitude of my responsibility as a gun owner. That was 40 years ago this Christmas, and I still remember and cherish that trip to the hardware store!

thermacell_logo_squarelow 150Tip of the Week

Another small, elongated box any hunter or shooter is excited to see under the Christmas tree contains a ThermaCELL Insect Repellant appliance. It’s a great gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who enjoys the outdoors—and that means pretty much everyone! Curious about how a ThermaCELL really works? Check out this new video!


These insights brought to you by Federal Premium Ammunition, ThermaCELL, Camp Chef, and the Quebec Outfitters Federation.

Image courtesy Bill Miller

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23 thoughts on “Want to Give Someone a Gun for Christmas? Read This First

    1. Sorry, only 2 states have registration of shotguns (California and Hawaii), and as long as the eventual owner is not ineligible to own a firearm, then it’s not a “straw sale”. In the other 48 states, you can purchase a shotgun from Wal-Mart and give it to an immediate family member as a gift without any background checks, including Colorado and Washington.

      1. really? can you reference that law with the statute please? I would like to read that. Even in Colorado with gun show background checks and the new “total background check” laws, you can still gift a firearm to an immediate family member.

      2. KY does not require registration. That is a background check not a registration. If you have a CDW permit it doesn’t ave to be called in and private transfers are legal.

    2. “Straw sales” were designed to sell a firearm to a legal buyer then they would give it to a “KNOWN” felon or person who could not legally own a firearm for what ever reason within the law…NOW, they want to make the term “Straw Sales” to anyone and make us all guilty until proven innocent….Not to mention Unconstitutional.

    3. Where do you live that any firearm you buy is registered to a person?

      You fill out a piece of paper, get your NICS check, pay the guy at the counter when you’ve been approved and walk out with your firearm.

      No police signature required for you to be granted a right by your superiors.

      1. In the USA commonwealth of Puerto Rico, each gun you buy has to be registered to the Owner, its purpose is registered by document and you have to go thru the process of Licensing (in front of a judge and approved by the Police Chief.) By the time you take your firearm home you’ve spent little over three Grand initially.
        (One of the reasons the Black market is so popular over there)

  1. Since buying a gun as a gift you are not the actual buyer (as it reads on the 4473 form), marking no means no sale, marking yes is a federal crime. Giving the person a gift card or money and taking them to the store for the friend/family to purchase it seems the safest, legally.

    1. I agree with you Dave. I am going to “gift” a firearm but to keep it legal I was already thinking of doing the gift card thing, There are signs and posters all around the shop I like to go to about straw purchase/sale. It makes more sense to follow the law.

    2. One way to look at it is you ARE the actual BUYER of the firearm. You just won’t be the actual OWNER of the firearm when the time comes to gift it.

      After you buy the firearm, what you do with it is no one’s business….unless you live in a communist state.

    3. “Actual buyer” means no one has given you money to buy it for them. It is completely legal to buy a gun as a gift. Even Sarah Brady has done it. 😉

      1. This was well documented when she, as the head of gun control inc. bought a rifle and gave it to her son. Totally legal.

  2. Where to start… My first rifle a 22 single shot was a Christmas present from good old St. Nick ((straw giver) look out Santa they are coming for you) which I still have and in a gun safe (not to keep my children from getting their hands on it as they know what I knew at age 7 that guns are not toys) but to protect myself from the gun grabbers saying I’m not a safe gun owner…Do you remember glass gun cabinets where guns were kept? Yes at age 7, I was given a rifle and now at age 56 Santa (best wife a man could have) will be bringing an American made Henry Rifle which is just as exciting today as it was Christmas 49 years ago. Do not let articles like this scare you from giving your children a gun for Christmas. Yes there is a responsibility as a parent to teach your children gun safety(which parents knew)! How times have changed, 40 years ago this article would have been placed on the gun grabbers side?

    P.S. From his wife…he does NOT have the rifle yet!!! LOL

  3. The question I ask to many who support these Unconstitutional back ground checks and or asking “permission” to carry concealed, “Why would the founders want us to ask permission to carry or own a firearm from the very people (the government) they were trying to protect us from?”……It makes no sense what so ever…Criminals don’t buy their gun from the chain stores and they don’t ask pernission to carry them ANYWHERE…And the government can deny our right of ALL of us anytime they want for anything…Plus, the Backgorund checks don’t even check 100% of what needs to be checked and many states still don’t comply with medical HIPPA, whch they shouldn’t….. where does that leave gun owners? At the mercy of the federal government..That’s not what the founding fathers ever wanted and they say it mutliple times in their writings besides the Constitution and the Declaration of Independents that our leaders and courts ignore……..

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be “infringed”.

    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves
    … and include all men capable of bearing arms.” – Richard Henry Lee

    I don’t see anywhere where it says after the Government give you permission ANYWHERE….help me out here?

  4. Good article. Safety is always #1

    Unfortunately, articles like this also give the impression that guns are unsafe, which is absurd.
    “Accidents” are rare.

    Shooting sports are safer than school sports. Guns in a home are related to less injuries than chemicals. How many people really lock up ALL chemicals and medicines?

    Be safe but don’t believe the anti-gunners “unsafe” lies.

  5. It’s a great idea, but, my Dad spent the time to give me the personal attention of the safety training himself and was my hunting buddy for 60 years. If at all possible give the gift to the youth and dedicate the time to them, that is a true GIFT.

  6. Amazing how the gun haters have created this crazy maze in order to “legally” own a firearm. They really are clueless when it comes to firearm, but their screaming lobbyists get what they want.

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