Can Mark borrow my gun?

Published 8:26 pm Sunday, March 4, 2018

Jason Swindle
Senior partner, criminal defense attorney at Swindle Law Group

I have borrowed and loaned firearms all my life. People forget their shotguns on dove hunts, their rifle jams on deer hunts and sometimes a friend just wants to borrow a gun.  So, it’s common in America to let someone borrow, use, try or otherwise handle a firearm. Hunters do it in the woods, shooters at the range, purchasers at trade shows and kids at summer camps and in the woods. While those scenarios happen all the time, there are other instances when people can get in trouble.

So, what’s the law on letting someone borrow your gun?  When should you do it?

Conflicting State Gun Laws

Where do you live? Buying, selling, or transferring ownership of a gun might be regulated in your state. Almost all states, including Georgia, prohibit possessing a gun near a school. Big cities and urban areas almost always have more restrictive laws than other areas.

States have vastly different gun laws. You don’t have to read this to know that Alabama and New York have passed vastly different gun legislation.

Federal Gun Laws

Federal law (and Georgia law) prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms. What many people are surprised to learn is that federal law also prohibits people who have been convicted of family violence offenses, even misdemeanors, from possessing a firearm. So, loaning your shotgun to your neighbor down the street who you saw in court the other day should give you pause. Possession of firearms by convicted felons are one of the more common criminal prosecutions today.

It’s also illegal to ship a firearm out of state without a license.

The overwhelming majority of gun owners are responsible law-abiding citizens. Responsibility and safety must be on the mind of the gun owner always.

Part of being safe and responsible is using your intuition and knowledge before handing over that hunting rifle to Mark to use for the weekend.