Guns as Christmas gifts- What you need to know

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Sales are up across the board for the holiday season, and that's no surprise. While the "it gift" usually changes, there's one item that's popular year after year in the South-- guns.

When it gets close to Christmas, Larry Barnett owner of Larry's Pistol and Pawn says his business booms and that starts several months in advance of the holiday.

"In our business, in particular, Christmas is very brisk because we start Christmas layaways on the Fourth of July so we'll have vast numbers of guns on layaway that the people pick out in July through now. So our sales are really good," says Barnett.

He says the first priority for gun gift givers or receivers is always safety.

"We believe in total safety and we believe in showing people how things work and we really like it when someone buys a gun, especially someone that's never bought one before or even owned a gun before," said Barnett. "They can go into our range at no charge and let us show them the functions, loading, safety tips, how to old an automatic pistol, how to unload a firearm."

If going to a range or training classes isn't an option, its encouraged to learn the basics in a different way. Larry says to find someone you know someone with military or police experience to at least teach you the basics.

The seasonal sales boom comes at a good time for the industry, which has been stuck in a sales slump. The A.T.F. warns when you're purchasing a gun remember that it brings serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don't.

You are not allowed to purchase a firearm on behalf of someone else with their money – this is called a “straw purchase” and is illegal – but you may purchase a firearm for someone with your own money as a gift. It is also illegal to give a firearm to someone you know or believe unable to legally own one.

For more information on the legalities of buying someone a firearm this holiday season, visit the A.T.Fs website.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.