The annual Christmas gift series

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Dennis Clay

This is the first of a three-part series about Christmas gifts for outdoor-minded people.

The questions began during my first year of writing this column and have continued every year for the past 27 years. They come from wives, husbands, sons, daughters, friends and others who are looking to give a gift to an outdoor-minded person.

The questions are varied, but center around these themes: “My husband has everything for the outdoors, so what can I give him?” “Our 12-year-old son/daughter has completed the hunter education course, so what firearm should we buy for him/her?” “What will help my wife and kids identify the birds and wildlife we see during our day trips?”

Also: “We just purchased a travel trailer, so next year will be our first year of trailer camping. What would be a useful gift we can give each other.” “My son and daughter-in-law are beginning tent campers. What gifts will be helpful to them?” These questions, and more, will be explored during the next three weeks.

Giving a firearm has become a sticky situation. Rarely is a law quoted more than a sentence or two in this column. However, the sensitivity of this matter requires citing some of this law or RCW, which stands for Revised Code of Washington.

RCW 9.41.113

Firearm sales or transfers—Background checks—Requirements—Exceptions.

(1) All firearm sales or transfers, in whole or part in this state including without limitation a sale or transfer where either the purchaser or seller or transferee or transferor is in Washington, shall be subject to background checks unless specifically exempted by state or federal law. The background check requirement applies to all sales or transfers including, but not limited to, sales and transfers through a licensed dealer, at gun shows, online, and between unlicensed persons.

(2) No person shall sell or transfer a firearm unless:

(a) The person is a licensed dealer;

(b) The purchaser or transferee is a licensed dealer; or

(c) The requirements of subsection (3) of this section are met.

(3) Where neither party to a prospective firearms transaction is a licensed dealer, the parties to the transaction shall complete the sale or transfer through a licensed dealer as follows:

Dennis note: There are many parts to Number 3. Reciting it all would fill all of the space in this column.

(4) This section does not apply to:

(a) A transfer between immediate family members, which for this subsection shall be limited to spouses, domestic partners, parents, parents-in-law, children, siblings, siblings-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles, that is a bona fide gift or loan.

Dennis note: There is also more to Number 4, but Part a is the meat of the RCW.

This is the way the law appears to me. A person can purchase, pickup and give a firearm to the people listed in 4, a above. However, if a person wanted to give a firearm to a friend/hunting buddy who is not one listed, a background check is needed.

The 12-year-old youngster wants to hunt deer. The parents could purchase the rifle, with the background check conducted in the father’s name. The rifle could be wrapped and placed under the tree for Christmas morning.

If giving a firearm to a friend, who is not a family member listed, there are a couple of way to present the gift. Number one: Print a photo of the firearm and place it in the gift box, along with a check for the amount of the purchase. The recipient can then decide to do what he/she wants to do with the money.

The method is mentioned because there is the possibility of considering this transition a straw purchase. This means purchasing a firearm for someone who is prohibited from possessing one. Don’t do this, don’t ever do this…You may end up in prison, if you do. If your son-in-law is not allowed to own a firearm, don’t buy him one.

Firearm scopes

There are as many firearm scopes these days as there are firearms. They are of different power and different reticles. Make sure you know the exact scope, power and reticle, before giving a firearm scope. Also, be aware some scopes cost $300 and others cost more than $1,000, some more than $2,000.

Compound bows

Bow hunting has never been an interest to me. However, bow hunters have my respect and admiration. Having the patients of an archer is not in my bones.

Again, make sure the person receiving this compound bow has let you know which bow she/he is seeking. There are many different styles and price points in the bow-hunting world. Check with your local sporting goods store for the proper bow for your recipient.

Next week: More Christmas-gift ideas for outdoor-minded people.

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