Guest Editorial Week of 9/30/19

James King

Some advice for managing your firearms collection
I recently met with a firearms expert and federally licensed firearms dealer and asked him a simple question: “What would be the best way to settle an estate that had a firearms collection”. He mentioned a few ideas that I had not previously considered.
Here is what he told me:
First buy a thin, loose-leaf, three-ring binder. Next, get some transparent document protectors to place into the binder.”
Make a page for each firearm. On it, place the name of the weapon, and anything that makes it unique or more highly valued, and the serial number. You can also make an index for all the weapons. Mount a photograph of the firearm on the page in the transparent document protector in the binder. This will serve both as a locator for the firearm (you would not believe how many estate executors or people who are not familiar with firearms don’t know the difference between a revolver and a pistol) and also as proof that the firearm existed in good condition if you ever need to file an insurance claim. Also, if it is stolen in the future, it will help the police note its serial number and specifics.”
Finally, get some 3 by 5-inch file cards and place the date obtained, the price you paid for the gun, the serial number, and anything that makes it unique or more highly valued. Also, if you want to designate a future recipient for a weapon as a part of an estate, place that information on the card, i.e. ‘Give this to nephew Timmy. He always wanted it’. That will avoid hard feelings or confusion among heirs should an inheritance be an issue.
To set a price for the totality of the collection, Photostat or copy the individual pages (not the index cards that contain the price you paid for the weapon as that is your information that should not be shared widely) and give the copies to several firearms dealers and ask for an estimate of the worth of the collection.
While most firearms dealers are honest, a dishonest dealer could give a “low-ball” figure for the collection and offer to “take them off your hands” for a price well below their actual value. By going to several dealers, you can recognize and disregard any low-ball estimates. Also, some dealers might not recognize a unique firearm that has a higher-than-normal resale price, due to limited production or unique markings. When you get the estimates back from the dealers, you can see if they all had similar estimates. This might tip you off that some guns are “diamonds in the rough.”
In addition to the information the gun dealer gave me, who can be reached at, there is something else you can do. If you decide to sell a gun to someone, take note of that buyer’s identifying data (name, address, identifying data, i.e. driver’s license information, etc.), and obtain a dated, informal bill of sale for the weapon. Place this information into the transparent document protector and place it at the back of the binder.
Should your former weapon ever be used in a crime, you will have documentation that you no longer are responsible for it. That information can act as a “get out of jail card” and be well worth your while. Finally, some dealers will sell guns on consignment, many will not as the paperwork can be cumbersome.

Before retiring, James King spent around 30 years as a criminal investigator / special agent with the United States government. He is currently an officer with the Toledo Chapter (Ohio X) of the Blue Knight International Law Enforcement Motor Cycle Club and a member of the Association of Customs and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents. He lives in Martin, O.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association