What’s the Law: Personal firearms inventory is imperative

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

TOPIC: Personal firearms inventory is imperative

Question: I have a fairly large collection of firearms and am nearing retirement age. What should I have in place today in case something should happen to me?

Answer: Hawaii law requires all of your firearms to be registered to new owners upon your death [Sec.134-2 HRS]. To accomplish this, your family must first determine what is in your collection and locate each firearm.

Regardless of your age or health, the most fundamental thing every gun collector should have is an inventory of all firearms. The collector must record basic information such as make, model, type, action, caliber, barrel length, and serial number. This central list should designate whether or not the firearm was acquired before July 1, 1994, and thus duly registered with the police department. Handguns were required to be registered well before July 1, 1994. (You can use the sample form below or use Excel or any other format.) All police registration papers should be placed in one envelope and stored with the master record of firearms. Keep all of these with your will. Your family should be aware of it and where it is.

All of your firearms should preferably be stored in a single location; i.e., a safe or locked closet. Your family should have access via combination or key.

Unfortunately, for a majority of gun owners, all the needed information is lacking at the time of their death, thus creating an enormous burden on the family. The information is essential for the proper transfer and sale of firearms. The post death process is seriously hampered by poor recordkeeping, lack of a written inventory, lack of a set place to store firearms, and loosely kept registration papers. It is often common for a widow and surviving family members to simply have HPD confiscate and destroy the firearms owned by the deceased rather than deal with the complicated post-death process of legalities due to irresponsible ownership management.

Firearms ownership has responsibilities. An inventory record is just one… but an imperative one.

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