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What happens to a shotgun when the owner dies?

Two different questions. In the first, a nice Browning is found in the house of a recently deceased relative. In the second, a widowed gun owner is worried about what the police will do with his guns in the event of his death.

Miroku MK60

7Q: A friend of mine found a nice Browning shotgun when clearing the house of an uncle who died recently. It isn’t on a certificate, but my friend would like to keep it and wants to apply for a certificate in due course. In the meantime he has asked if I will put it on my ticket. I am not at all sure about this. What is the procedure here?

A: David says: Phone your Firearms Enquiry Officer and explain the situation. There is nothing to stop you from putting the gun on your own certificate and it is in the public interest that guns, which have previously been off ticket for whatever reason, are brought into the lawful mainstream. When you notify the police of the acquisition send in a covering letter explaining the circumstances.

Q: I am recently widowed and this has got me thinking. Now that I live alone nobody will know where my gun cabinet keys are when I pop off. I don’t want the police to come round and confiscate the guns, then dispose of them as they see fit. How do I stand on this legally and what arrangements should I put in place?


A: You’re obviously a careful man and I assume you have made a will.  If not you need to do so otherwise your money and possessions might not go to the people you would wish to receive them.
Your guns will be part of your estate and can either be sold or left to whomsoever you specify in your will. The police would have no right to confiscate them when you die. The best plan is to leave a sealed envelope with your will and address it to your executors with instructions to open it on your death.

Inside you can put details of the guns and how to access them. Your executors will need a temporary permit (Section 7 permit) from the police to enable them to hold the guns whilst they are disposed of in accordance with your wishes. The details of how to obtain one can be included in the envelope.