My father has mild dementia/alzheimer's. He has seen two physician's (Neurologist and Neuropsych) and they have both recommended that he doesn't drive. Also, he has always had a gun collection and they have advised that it would be okay to have the guns without ammunition. If my father would drive and/or purchase ammunition for his guns and something should happen would I be legally responsible for his actions? I would appreciate some direction in this matter. I am new to this as my Dad's wife passed away in May 2020.

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I would never ever take a chance with a gun in the house. Does he take the gun out at any time to look at it?

Would he notice if you removed it? Do you want the gun for protection? How is the gun registered? Is it in a locked area?

Does he know what bullets to buy? Does he talk about the gun?

Gosh, a million questions would go through my mind. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he had access to a gun.

There is too much potential for an accident and it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Does the gun have any sentimental value? Is it an antique?

Best wishes to you.
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I didn't read anyone else's comment, but I have to say that is rather irresponsible of those doctors to recommend letting him have the guns without ammo. If YOU don't have gun smarts, how do you know if there isn't a bullet in the chamber? I would NOT allow him to handle the guns, AT ALL. Hopefully he has a locking cabinet that you can lock them up in and keep the key where he won't find it.

On top of being concerned if he manages to get ammo and harm someone, YOU could be the one at the other end of that gun! Even unintentionally he could shoot you! If no gun cabinet, find a safe place to store them where he will NOT find them and go about planning to get rid of them:

Meanwhile, you can probably contact a local gun shop and see if they will buy them. If they will, ensure you find one who can come to the house and do the transaction. Unless you have a license for any/all of the guns, you don't want to be transporting them! Otherwise, call the non-emergency number at the PD and ask advice - they might be able to direct you to someone who can come to the house and buy the guns, or ask about how one can relinquish them. The one page I found talks about ensuring it isn't loaded, adding a trigger lock and transporting it - NO NO NO, unless you are proficient in guns and have a license! These guns will be checked, stored and destroyed - ammo can go with it.

Great the docs said no driving, but you need to ensure that he can't get into any car and start it. He won't remember he's been told not to drive, or will dismiss what they said and try anyway! If his car is still there, find a way to disable it or use the "club" to lock the steering wheel. If his car is gone, use the club on yours or have an ignition kill switch installed, just in case he manages to get his hands on your keys!

YB had the "talk" with mom and took her key. I had him disable the car (removed battery cable, but that likely won't deter your dad!) as I was sure there was another key. Next day she called ME and demanded her key back. I didn't touch it! Shor' nuff, she rummaged and found that key, then the next day called to demand I fix whatever I did to her car!!!
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First, if the doctors say he shouldn't drive then they should be the ones to inform DMV. In my grandson's case, Epileptic, his doctor reported him and he got a letter from DMV telling him to relinquish his license. It was all done thru the mail. He did need to go to the local DMV for his ID.

Second, the guns will have to go. You never know what they will do when they get paranoid. Like suggested call the Police to see how to go about it. Maybe your Dad will except them being gone if the Police take them.

Third, the car. Disable it. Tell him it needs to go to the shop. Then take it where he can't see it. Not sure about selling it. The title has to be signed and not sure if a POA can do that. Question for DMV. It needs to sell at Market Value if Dad will need Medicaid in next 5 yrs.
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Mild dementia and you having a medical and durable POA does not give you "control" over your father against his will, so at this juncture his level of cooperation is important. Also HIS decisions that he is free to make are not your legal responsibility.

I see your question asked here a lot, but I have yet to see a clear answer on when and how a person with dementia is deemed legally incompetent and a DPOA can be activated to enable control of decisions. I imagine that's because it varies depending on state and legal language. In my case I also have both, so I plan to speak to an elder attorney in the coming year and find out what it will take in my case.

In the meantime I agree with the others to get a lock so he can't load the guns and have them put in place. Hopefully his doctor will report him to the DMV and he will be forced to have a driving evaluation or lose his license. IF your dad's doctor has not done that you can file a report yourself.

Good luck.
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Talk to the police and see if something can be done to disable the guns.
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JHAD28277 Oct 2020
My best friend is currently going through this with her 92 yr old father. She has POA, DPOA, Healthcare POA, but does not have Guardianship. Her father's diagnosis is dementia. He was an angry man before his diagnosis. He has 4 loaded handguns he will not part with. His PCP of 25 yrs told his daughter to "get rid of the guns immediately" after he threatened suicide. Easier said than done.

The local police & sheriff depts both said they could not legally remove the guns.

Every time she tries to discuss even locking the guns up, her father becomes irrational and tells her she is not to touch his guns.

Two weeks ago, when he realized she'd removed 3 of his 4 hand guns, (he had the 4th gun in his trouser pocket) he threatened suicide and also threatened to shoot her if she called 911. I called 911 for her. The police told me they couldn't take the gun from him, but they would go check out the situation.

When the officer arrived, her father was agitated, tried to run out the back door, refused to hand over his gun, the officer called for backup. Her father refused to put his hands up & reached for his hand gun twice. He told the police to shoot him. They wrestled this 92 yr old man to the ground, handcuffed him and took him away, while he was making threats to his daughter (my friend).

The police took him to the ED and they also got the court order to involuntarily commit him to a Behavioral Health Facility three hours away, where he was an inpatient for 12 days. The facility initially gave limited information to his daughter. By day 2 they would not give her any more information because her father forbid them to. She is his POA, DPOA, and healthcare POA. All these documents were all faxed to the facility on her attorney's letterhead. It made no difference in communicating with the healthcare staff at the facility.

Yesterday (a Saturday) this 92 yr old man was released to "someone". She does not know to who. The BH Facility did not notify her. She suspects he's with his 85 yr old girlfriend who lives 2 hours away. His daughter has been dealing with attorneys trying to locate her father & also file for guardianship. Meanwhile, she believes he'll be changing his Will, eliminating her and taking away her legal authority.

His daughter is his only child. She's a nurse practitioner and has taken care of both her parents (her mother passed away 8 years ago from dementia/stroke). Her parents lived across the street from her. It's unbelievable this whole situation has been so out of her control. Everything is currently in limbo. Getting guardianship so she (or the court) can place him in a Geriatric Psych Facility is the next step.

Meanwhile, a neighbor has called Adult Protective Services on his daughter. It hard to imagine that things can spin out of control so quickly! Our Mental Health system and Elderly Care system needs change.
Consider that your job as POAs is to make decisions when your father can not do so for himself. You act as he would and in his interests - trying to aim for doing/deciding as he would for himself.

Since doctors have said dad shouldn't drive. Talk with him about how to get rid of his car: sell, donate, give to a family member or charity. Without a car, the nightmare scenario should not happen. Also, go through the house and remove all ammo. Either sell it (you can get great prices for it now) or keep it locked away.

When my grandfather got this place in his mentation, my family gave us his weapons since my hubby is a weapons enthusiast and would keep them in good condition and out of his hands.
Helpful Answer (1)

In a nutshell, you have the responsibilty and authority with both POAs to act on his behalf and in his best interest. Read your documents to see what you are authorized to do. You can disable the guns by purchasing locks that will prevent them from being loaded. You may or may not be responsible for his actions. If he is involved in an auto accident his insurance co may not pay once they see he has been diagnosed with dementia and told not to drive. The guns can be made inoperable and the driving has to be dealt with. Call your state's motor vehicle dept to see how you can remove his license.
Helpful Answer (2)

Can ammo be purchased online? I would never trust the guns in the household, quite honestly, with or without ammo. They could be unlocked, they could be stolen, they could fall into the hands of children. You should disable the car if Dad cannot be trusted not to use it, hide all keys and surrender his license with him there, getting the Senior ID card to replace it. As his POA you are responsible to act as he directs you when he is mentally capable of making decisions, and in his best interest when he is not. You should have access to his medical diagnosis and to updates on his condition as well. Read your POA document. It will tell you in black and white what you can do. You can go with him to the bank and can arrange to pay his bills; you will be responsible for careful records that would stand up in court as to what monies he gets in and what he pays out if you take over the financial power of attorney. This may be a great relief to him as it was to my bro. If you arrange the account to be under POA for payment you can also arrange for your Dad to have his own account for spending money if he is able to keep bills you pay seperate. I had all bills come to my address for my bro. The worst work is in the 1st year as entities will want a copy of the POA, and etc. Once all the legwork (more phonework) is done now it becomes easier. There are whole books out there about serving as trustee or POA, and indeed even the government has one but I forget how to order. It's free and was part of an Elizabeth Warren bill some years ago. Look on Amazon, or online for recommends on serving as POA in your State.
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It's smart to be cautious. I'd consult with an attorney to get details on your responsibility and tips on how to perform your duties, pursuant to the DPOA. Do the doctors not realize that your father might be able to procure new ammo for the guns, even if you remove the existing ammo from the house AND if your father displays an unloaded gun, even without any intent to harm, it could get HIM hurt, if police showed up?
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