Protecting Your Firearms in Bankruptcy

If you are a gun owner who is worried about losing your weapons when filing for bankruptcy, there is good news. Both Ohio and federal bankruptcy laws exempt certain property, so your guns may be part of the property you wind up keeping. Most of the time, the federal property exemption is large enough to protect your firearms; but what is even better is that Ohio is one of the states that specifically names firearms in its list of exemptions.

Even so, you need to be careful when filing for bankruptcy. If you file incorrectly, your mistakes can not only cost you your firearms, but you may wind up having your case dismissed without eliminating your debts.  To prevent problems, it makes sense to enlist the help of an experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorney.

The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves in financial trouble and that no one wants to have to file bankruptcy.  However, if you are at the point where you can’t meet your bills and find yourself drowning in debt, a correctly filed bankruptcy can eliminate many debts, provide protections from creditors and give you a fresh financial start.

Our compassionate debt-relief attorneys understand what you are going through.  We provide a free consultation to evaluate your individual situation to make sure you avoid costly problems before, during, and after your bankruptcy procedure, and ensure that you wind up keeping as much property as possible.

What the Law Says

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees people the right to “keep and bear arms,” and this affects the extent that firearms are protected from creditors under both federal and state laws. While there have been several attempts to get a bill through Congress that explicitly exempts firearms on a federal level, there is currently no such provision in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (title 11).   Firearms, however, are allowed to be included in the federal exemptions for household goods.

Ohio law is more favorable than the federal code to firearm owners.  Ohio bankruptcy exemptions are designed to make sure you are left with enough property to live on and function. If you live in Ohio, you benefit from the Ohio Revised Bankruptcy Code, which provides many Ohio Exemptions for property that you are allowed to keep, including firearms.

According to the Ohio code, every person domiciled in Ohio may hold property exempt from execution, garnishment, attachment, or sale to satisfy a judgment or order.  And Section (A) (4) (a) specifies:

“The person’s interest, not to exceed six hundred dollars in any particular item or twelve thousandsix hundred twentyfive dollars in aggregate value, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, musical instruments, firearms, and hunting and fishing equipment that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the person;”

Additional Reading:  Can Bankruptcy Stop Vehicle Repossessions and Lawsuits for Vehicle Debt?

Thus, Ohio law protects the above-listed exempt property from being seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a portion of your non-exempt property may be sold to pay down your debt. This can discharge (eliminate) most or all of your consumer and/or business debts so they no longer have to be paid.

While under Chapter 7 you might have to sell property to help pay off creditors, your listed exemptions cannot be sold and will not be liquidated.  And, if you do not own a great deal of property, your possessions may be all be exempt, qualifying you for a “no asset” case.

If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the situation is different.  Instead of liquidating your non-exempt property, you get to keep it and pay the amount it is worth as part of your monthly payment.  Your exempt property is figured in to help the bankruptcy trustee determine how much you can afford for this monthly payment.

How to Ensure Keeping Your Property

The best way to ensure keeping your assets is to have good pre-bankruptcy planning and communication with your bankruptcy attorney. Assets cannot be exempted unless you list them in your bankruptcy filing. This means you must openly disclose all your assets and not try to save them by giving them to a friend or family member just before filing.

Contact Us for Help and Guidance

The experienced Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know that bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, but you need to know what you are doing or you could wind up in a worse situation than before you started.  Proper legal assistance from our compassionate attorneys can help ensure that you avoid problems and actually wind up saving money in the long run.

We recognize that everyone’s individual situation is different, so we offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial picture. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and help you find the best path to a brighter financial future.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so take control of your financial future and learn more about how our firm can be of assistance today.  Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what solutions will work best for you.

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