Unlike most other states, for Alaskans, guns are not just for sport, they are a life-saving tool for protection and hunting. Naturally, you may wonder whether you can pass your gun collection and antiques down to your children when you pass away.
Alaska gun laws
We have some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States. We do not have any licensing or registration requirements for owning or carrying firearms in the state. Residents are also allowed to transfer guns to other residents that are not prohibited from possessing firearms without any type of paperwork, license, registration or a background check. As such, for your kids that live here, you can simply pass them in your will, trust or by gift now.
Federal gun laws
Nonetheless, some guns and gun parts must still be federally registered though because of the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968. These include silencers (a gun part), both short-barreled rifles and shotguns and fully automatic weapons (rifles and pistols). All must be registered with the ATF, and unregistered weapons and gun parts are illegal and cannot be passed to your heirs (even if they plan on registering them after).
Another option is a gun trust that will actually own your firearms. This is a special type of revocable living trust where you can name multiple trustees that have the right to possess and use the firearms during your lifetime and after you pass. Beneficiaries can also be named for when the trust terminates.
For one, gun trusts avoid probate, which would be required if you pass your firearms with a will. If they pass through probate, they are subject to creditor claims and to lawsuits. Plus, it protects your privacy.
The gun trust also protects your heirs from legal liability, should they receive from the trust illegal guns in their state of residence. This is because the gun trust allows them to transfer them to a licensed dealer to comply with both state and federal law.
If your family lives in Alaska, transferring your guns could be relatively easy, but a trust is still advisable, even if not a gun trust. However, if any of your heirs live outside of our state, then a gun trust may be vital to ensure your wishes do not accidentally get your family members in trouble.