Do you have firearms? Do you know the legal way to transfer them in your estate? Should you gift them? What are the filing requirements? Are pistols and long guns treated the same or different?

Many of our clients are passionate about their Second Amendment rights. Whether you have a single firearm or an entire priceless collection, the New York State Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (or so-called “SAFE Act”) became law in early 2013, and dramatically changed the rules on the proper transfer of firearms when a person passes away.

The SAFE Act rules require that a decedent’s guns must be disposed of almost immediately after death, whether specifically bequeathed under a Decedent’s Will or even if there is no Will.

Also a new section was added to the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Section 2509 which requires any estate fiduciary to file an inventory of assets with the court and must also include a separate inventory of every “firearm”, “shotgun” and “rifle” owned by Decedent, with a carve out for antiques guns. The term “firearm,” “rifle” and “shotgun” are defined in Penal Law Section 265.00.

In addition to this firearms inventory being filed with the local Surrogate’s Court, a copy must also be sent to the Division of Criminal Justice Services in Albany.

Once filed with the Court, the firearms inventory is supposed to be kept in a secure location, separate from that part of the estate file available to the public. It is not supposed to be available for inspection except to persons legally interested in the estate proceeding itself or otherwise ordered by the Court. This rule was specifically designed with a policy concern for disallowing third party sales).

If you want to be certain your firearms are transferred to your loved ones upon death, and not taken away and destroyed, we can help properly plan every step of the way from the proper planning before death, and facilitating their legal transfer upon death. Let us help you ensure the Second Amendment is preserved long after you are gone.

Practice Areas

Estate Administration & Probate

Estate Planning


Estate Litigation

Business Law