Seniors and Widows: Don’t Be Quick on the Draw with Gun Amnesty Programs

Legal firearms auctions can be serious moneymaking affairs for people wishing to sell guns

It’s becoming an annual ritual for police stations across Canada: gun amnesty programs targeting seniors and widows.

It’s understandable and often necessary, particularly for elderly female widows whose husbands have passed away, and they’re left wondering what to do about a cache of firearms they discover at home. But here’s the rub: you can’t profit from voluntarily turning over your deceased husband’s firearms collection.

Regardless of your age and living arrangement, if you divest yourself of the firearms in your possession through a police amnesty program, you won’t recoup your family’s investment in them. Even if politicians propose local police forces should include a gun buy-back offer as part of gun amnesty programs, the police are not obliged to do so. And if they did, would you get the full market value of the firearms you wish to sell? Not likely, but if you’re lucky you might get transit fare in exchange for your guns that are worth hundreds of dollars. Depending on what items you’re in possession of, the value of your stockpile could easily run into the thousands.

A Viable Alternative to Giving Away Your Collection

We live in uncertain economic times. Unless it’s a charitable act, why would you give away any valuable possession for free?

Regarding firearms, you can’t simply give one to a trusted friend or family member even if they hold a valid Possession and Acquisition License (PAL). You are responsible for a lot of paperwork, and there are many steps you are required to take, including:

  • Whether you’re selling, trading, or giving away a non-restricted firearm to anyone and before transferring it to them, you must contact the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program to ensure the person you’re transferring the gun to holds a valid PAL
  • If the firearm you’re selling is classified as restricted or prohibited, you must first contact the Chief Firearms Officer in your province or territory who must approve the transfer of it
  • If the non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearm you’re wishing to sell or transfer to someone else isn’t registered, that adds another wrinkle because in the eyes of the law you’re in possession of an illegal firearm. Thus, you first must register the gun as per the Firearms Act
  • If the firearm you’re selling, trading, or giving away is registered and has been approved to be transferred, you may only transfer it to an individual with a valid PAL for the class of that firearm, a business or museum with a valid Firearms Business Licence, or a public service agency
  • If you wish to export firearms to another country, you will require an export permit from either the Export Control Division or Global Affairs Canada
  • There’s a better, more efficient, and less stressful way to deal with your unwanted firearms and related gear: hire a licensed, reputable firearms auctioneer and appraisal firm to take possession of them and sell them legally. It can be a potentially lucrative option. From restricted, non-restricted, and prohibited handguns and long guns such as pistols, hunting rifles, and shotguns to pellet guns and ammunition, utilizing gun auctions to sell your arms for seniors and widows who are downsizing is a financially wise venture. The same financial strategy holds true for estate executors who need to sell arms entrusted to them.

Get A Bigger Bang for Your Guns

It doesn’t matter if you have a single firearm or a complete collection to sell. It doesn’t matter how new or old or what make and model the guns are that you have. There is a large and enthusiastic community of hunters, collectors, and athletic shooters in Ontario, across Canada, and in the U.S. via live online auctions who are eager to add to their collections.

Whether you need to appraise firearms for insurance-related purposes or sell them on consignment through an auction, seeking compensation for your or your late spouse’s collection can yield a significant return that’s worth a lot more than a bus ticket or simple thanks.

Do you have a question about the firearms that are in your possession? Get in touch with us by phone, email, or through our online form. Our knowledgeable and courteous staff will be pleased to assist you.


November 7th, 2016