Giving a Gun as a Gift Should Come With Training, Some Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Giving a Gun as a Gift Should Come With Training, Some Delaware Experts Say

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With record gun sales reported on Black Friday this holiday season, some people are purchasing firearms as gifts to family members, though some experts in safety and training say buyers should also consider giving the gift of training to the recipients.

Numerous reports this week said there were 185,713 background checks processed for buyers using the F.B.I.'s National Instant Criminal Background Check System on Black Friday. That total was higher than the previous year.

Beth Parsons, owner of Shooter's Choice in Kent County, said her store was busy on Friday. She said some people have been purchasing guns for their relatives this holiday season.

"Their husband or wife comes in to buy it for them, or, I had the case of a grandmother who bought for her grandkids," she said.

Although Delaware passed a law requiring background checks conducted for the sale or transfer of firearms between two private parties, the law exempts immediate family members making a transfer.

However, Tom Antonio, a gun safety and training expert with the United States Urban Tactical Institute, said people need to be careful about giving a firearm to a relative.

"If they have crimes on their record that prohibit or keeping that gun, you're committing a felony by giving it to them," he said.

A Delaware resident who wishes to transfer a firearm to someone who is not exempted as a family member or for other qualified reasons must use a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, who will conduct a background check.

Many people use firearms for hunting, a practice that often is passed on between generations. Mark Ostroski, the head of hunter education with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said the agency teaches some firearm training as part of its requirements for a hunting license.

Although someone may end up receiving their license, Ostroski said his division frequently emphasizes commonsense gun safety practices, like checking what lies in front of and behind a target, that could keep someone from getting seriously injured or killed. 

"There's a lot of work to do after you purchase a firearm but a lot of it depends on how much work someone is willing to do to be safe, and there are no exceptions," he said. "You have to be safe."

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