Death awaits us all so gun owners should take steps

It may be a delicate subject but licensed firearms owners need to think ahead to life after death.

By this, it means having suitable measures already in place should you, as that licensed owner, pass away and leave your surviving loved ones in a complicated and awkward situation as to what happens to the items in your gun safe.

Without sounding fatalistic or morbid if, as a licensed firearms owner you don’t have a current will with appropriate clauses indicating the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your firearm(s), you could be responsible for handing down a potentially heartbreaking and stressful problem for your family or friends to deal with.

Imagine a scenario where a licensed firearms owner died having made no prior arrangements. If his or her family and friends did not also possess firearms licences, they would not be eligible to even touch the stored articles. And trying to enlist the help of a gun dealer would be strictly out of bounds.

While our mortal passing may seem a remote and unpalatable option to ponder, unexpected accidents or illness are always a possibility. To avoid any protracted fallout from such scenarios it’s prudent to think ahead and put into operation some effective estate planning via the provision of a prepared will. And, of course, this should have specific instructions as to who would take stock of your firearms.

Directing the safeguard of any firearms to the custody of a pre-ordained fellow licensed firearms owner would safeguard unlicensed and unknowing relatives from an unexpected and unwanted predicament at a highly-charged emotional time. So it seems judicious to ponder putting sensible and fitting arrangements in place.

There are provisions within the Firearms Act 1996 to allow the executor or administrator of a deceased estate to possess or transfer firearms registered to the deceased, without the authority of a licence or permit.

However, these guidelines and procedures for acquiring firearms from deceased estates will vary from state to state, so it would be necessary to make contact with the relevant authorities. An online search to your respective state would set things rolling.

It’s inevitable some level of planning and effort will be required to ensure the wishes of the licensed owner can be carried out with minimal disruption imposed on other beneficiaries. Such forward preparation revolving around a highly sensitive topic is an unfortunate necessity. In the long run, a modicum of foresight about the fate of firearms can avert undue trauma for others. So make those initiatives a priority.

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