Sheriff will not sign Form 4's: Recommends using NFA Gun Trust

July 17, 2012
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St.johns_sheriff.jpgRecently I was interviewed by Sheldon Gardner of the St. Augustine Record regarding an article about the sheriff deciding not to sign Form 4's for TItle II transfers: Want to buy a silencer, sawed-off shotgun or explosives? Sheriff will no longer help.

While sheriffs all over the country are refusing to provide the CLEO sign off required for individual ownership of Title II firearms using ATF Form 4's and ATF Form 1's, the St. Johns Sheriff is one of the few who does not appear to be trying to stop ownership. The Sheriff's office is recommending using a NFA Gun Trust. Sgt. Chuck Mulligan stated that "In no way shape or form is the sheriff stopping them or hindering them from buying these items."

As Gun Trust Lawyers®, we have provided many residents of St. Johns count and residents of almost every state Gun Trusts to help them protect their privacy, avoid the CLEO and fingerprint requirements, and help manage their NFA and regular firearms during their life and upon their passing. Many police officers in these areas have also used our NFA Gun Trusts to acquire Title II firearms for personal and work related use.

Many initially appeared outraged by the Sheriff's position but if you read the full quote it is clear they are recommending a gun trust. Below is the full Facebook posting:

The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1936 has been the primary source of federal regulation for "class 3" weapons such as automatic firearms, silencers, short-barreled shotguns and explosives. While owning a firearm is a fundamental right for a United States citizen and is recognized by the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Sheriff will only participate in the application process when a St. Johns County resident is applying for ownership of an automatic weapon. While the Sheriff has participated in this process in the past, he will no longer consider an application for silencers, short-barreled shotguns, explosives, etc.

Alternatively, a citizen may create what is commonly referred to as a "NFA Gun Trust" where the possession of prohibited NFA weapons (class 3) may be obtained. Although this is a legal instrument which must be properly drafted to be valid, there is no requirement for the Sheriff to participate in the application process. While the Sheriff's Office cannot offer or provide any advice on creating such a trust, I would invite you to utilize the many associations and/or lawyers that specialize in 2nd Amendment issues.


There are many advantages to using a NFA Gun Trust and the CLEO signature is one of the least significant. A property prepared trust should be designed to hold all of your firearms and deal with issues in different states as well as guide you on the proper way to purchase and use the firearms.