Recently in FAQ's Category

August 3, 2014

Gun Trust and ATF 5320.1 Form 1 Approval in 35 days

I recently published an article on Gun Trusts and an amazing 1 day approval. I felt that this was an unusual circumstance and decided to submit an electronic ATF Form 1 back on July 26th using my personal Gun Trust to test out the current time for approvals on using a Trust from a Gun Trust Lawyer®.

While I was not surprised to have not received an approval on July 27th, I have been checking the status regularly. I was surprised to receive an approval early Saturday morning August 2, 2014. This approval was not anywhere as quick as our clients 1 day approval, but only took 35 days to get approved which is amazing considering that many are reporting 9-14 months for a paper approvals. Not only was the approval quick, but the email notification came with an attachment which contained a copy of my Form 1. The process for printing the approval was more complex than it needed to be and I guess that the ATF decided they could cut down on the amount of communication and support by just sending a copy. A wise move by the ATF.

Please let us know about your approval times so we can see if others are experiencing similar results.

July 6, 2014

What to do if your ATF eForm is rejected.

One of the benefits in using a Gun Trust is that you are able to submit electronic applications with the new ATF website. This is possible because a Gun Trust does not require a CLEO signature nor fingerprints. Currently only Form1s can be submitted electronically, but Form 4s should be back online soon. It is important to fill out the application correctly as there is not a way to correct mistakes that are made like with the paper forms. A mistake in the past would have put your application in the back of the line, but not any more.

If you make a mistake on an ATF eform (http://www.atfonline.gov) there is a way to submit a correction without going to the end of the line.

Once you receive the notice that your eForm has been rejected, you will receive a refund of the application fee in around 10 days. You do not have to wait for the refund to be processed to resubmit a corrected application. You can pay the fee again while waiting for your refund or wait for the refund and them resubmit the application.

Once you submit your new application send an email to Ted.clutter@atf.gov and include the control number of the rejected application and the control number of the new corrected eForm and the application will be reprocessed. This should decrease the time for the approval process on the corrected eForm.

June 26, 2014

ATF eForms Approval for Gun Trust in only 1 Day

1daydates.jpgOne of our clients submitted an application to build a Form 1 on June 24, 2014 and was surprised when they checked their email the next morning and found that the ATF had approved the application to build the SBR.

When I first received the call, I thought it was a mistake, but then I walked the client through the Atfonline website and the process of printing the electronic Form 1. I have provided a copy for those who are as skeptical as I was about a 1 day approval process on a Form 1 from the ATF.

Not sure if this was a mistake or the ATF had just cleared out the backlog of Form 1's but if you considering creating a Gun Trust to build an SBR, you may want to do it sooner than later.

Here is a copy of the full Form 1 for those who would like to review it.1dayForm1.pdf

To check out the current time for approvals, I submitted a electronic Form 1 on June 26 and it was approved on August 2, 2014. While 35 days is not bad, it is not overnight.

June 24, 2014

ATF eForms adds Form 1 for Gun Trusts and time to process applications reduced.

Today I received an announcement and verified that you can now process Form 1s online again. For those with a Gun Trust, you can now process these electronically again. Still no word on when Form 4s will be available to process online.

There are currently 15 legal examiners in the background investigation phase of hiring. ATF has been authorized to use overtime funding to process NFA applications and they reduced their outstanding applications by 23%. They are currently processing around 6000 applications a week and have a backlog of 62,000. This means that we might be looking at as little as 10 weeks to process applications and even quicker for electronic applications. This is a substantial decrease from the 9 -15 months we have been seeing in the past few months.

In the last 4 weeks they received 17,800 applications and processed more than 22,400 applications.

June 24, 2014

Can a Gun Trust own or Possess an SBR in IL?

As of January 1, 2013 it became legal persons with a C&R license to purchase, transfer, make, possess, and use an SBR in IL.

The Law is poorly written and only indicates that it restricts possession. While it has been clear that a trust could not purchase an SBR in IL, there has been a question about whether an SBR purchased legally in another state by a trust could then be in the possession of a Trustee, authorized by the trust to possess the firearms in the state of IL when that person had their own C&R license.

ATF has recently rejected such a request stating that a trust may not have an SBR in IL. This does not appear to be entirely correct, but until someone is willing to challenge the decision by the ATF it will not be possible to use an ATF 5320.20 to bring an SBR to IL. Here is a copy of a rejected form.

This appears to be another example of the ATF not understanding trusts and how they work. The restriction in IL is on possession and not ownership, the trust owns the firearm, the trustee possesses the items in the Gun Trust.

Options in IL?

The Gun Control Act defines a "person" is as "Any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company." While this definition does not include a person, it does include a partnership, corporation, company, or firm. We have had clients create business entities that were owned by a trust or where a trust was one of the members, directors, officers, or shareholders. By creating a business entity that is owned by a Gun Trust, you should be able to have the business entity obtain a C&R license, then have the business entity apply for approval to purchase or make an SBR using a Form 4 or Form 1.

I am sure many people will ask, why would I incorporate a Gun Trust when I could just use the business entity itself. The answer to this deals with the many benefits that a Gun Trust provides in the management and succession planning (the beneficiary designations) that are not available with a business entity. While it would be possible to create business documents that incorporated some of the protections found in a Gun Trust, the cost to do so would be far more expensive than just using a Gun Trust.

In Summary, SBRs are legal to possess in IL as of January 1, 2013 if the person in possession has a C&R. It appears based on documents rejected by the ATF that a Trust or Gun Trust may not bring an SBR to IL when it was purchased legally in another state even when the trustee has a valid C&R license.

May 27, 2014

ATF Updates 41P Final Action Date: No Changes for Gun Trusts Before 2015

Late in 2013, the ATF published a notice that they intended to seek to revise the regulations regarding the documentation that is required for a Gun Trust and for a business. After the ATF received more than 9500 comments on the proposed changes, the ATF had originally announced that a decision was set to be published in June of this year. As the June date has approached, we have reported that it was unlikely that the ATF would actually be able to review and respond to the comments by the June date and that the ATF was not likely to be able to respond until 2015.

In the latest publication of the Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda, ATF updated the date of the projected date to show that ATF does not expect to publish a final rule until 2015.

DOJ/ATF RIN: 1140-AA43 Publication ID: Spring 2014

Title: Machine Guns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Corporation, Trust, or Other Legal Entity With Respect to Making or Transferring a Firearm

Abstract: The Department of Justice is planning to finalize a proposed rule to amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regarding the making or transferring of a firearm under the National Firearms Act. As proposed, the rule would; (1) add a definition for the term "responsible person"; (2) require each responsible person of a corporation, trust or legal entity to complete a specified form, and to submit photographs and fingerprints; and (3) modify the requirements regarding the certificate of the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO).

Final Action 01/00/2015

This is great news for those who are wanting to get a Gun Trust from a Gun Trust Lawyer® and have the opportunity to file electronically. As you may know, the ATF has removed the ability to file a Form 1 and Form 4 electronically, but expects to have it back up in the short term as they make changes to the system to handle the huge number of electronic submissions.

May 20, 2014

Engraving Requirements including City and State Clarification

Recently, I had an electronic version of a Form 1 approved by the ATF for my Gun Trust and wanted to clarify what is required for engraving.

ATF 5300.4

In 27 CFR 479.102 (page 92) describes what is necessary to engrave on a SBR or SBS when one is manufacturing. This is not necessary if you purchase one that is already manufactured as it will have been done for you.

1) On the Frame or Receiver the Serial number;
2) on the frame, receiver, or barrel the following additional information;
A)The model;
B)The caliber or gage;
C)Your name or name of the Trust in the case of a Trust (no abbreviations are permitted for the Trust name);
D)The city and state (you can abbreviate the state with the official 2 digit state code)
The above mentioned information must be engraved, casted, stamped (impressing) or otherwise conspicuously placed or caused to be engraved, cast, stamped (impressed) or placed to a minimum depth of .003 inch and in a print size of the Serial number shall be no smaller than 1/16 inch.

As an interesting side note, my gun was manufactured in Jacksonville, FL so the city and state were already engraved. When I asked ATF, if I needed to engrave Jacksonville, FL, they said yes and pointed me to an ATF Ruling on adopting identification of FIrearms from 2013.

May 5, 2014

Does a Trust need a NICS check under the NFA and GCA?

One of the most common questions Class 3 SOT Dealers ask has finally been addressed by the ATF and should help clear the inconsistent answers given by local ATF offices.
Is a NICS check required when a Gun Trust is used to purchase firearms that are subject to the NFA?

Short Answer: Yes.

Below we explain why we believe that a NICS and 4473 were previously required even if local ATF agents told dealers otherwise. We raised this issue in our Comment to 41P. Perhaps ATF is paying attention to some of the comments that were filed in response to 41P.

ATF's letter seems to be an interesting admission that appears to contradict their statements as to why the suggested changes mentioned in 41P are necessary.

We have always thought that the 4473 and NICS check should be done when a Gun Trust is used to purchase NFA firearms. Unfortunate there have been many who have reported that dealers were not required to do a NICS check (background check) and only required to complete a 4473 for Gun Trusts. Much of the medias outrage over background checks not being completed for Gun Trusts was over this very issue.

The confusion comes from the instructions on the back of the 4473 form where it states that no NICS check is required for a "person" when purchasing a NFA firearm.

A "person" under the GCA is not defined to include a trust. Under the GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(1), a "person" is defined to include "any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company." This is different than how a person is defined under the National Firearms Act - "an individual, business entity, or trust". ATF states in their letter that:

ATF has interpreted the GCA exception in sections 922(t)(3)(B) and 478.102(d)(2) to mean that firearms transfers are exempt from a NICS check when they have been approved under the NFA to the person receiving the firearm. Unlike individuals, corporations, partnerships, and associations; unincorporated trusts do not fall within the definition of "person" in the GCA.

Because unincorporated trusts are not "persons" under the GCA, a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) cannot transfer firearms to them without complying with the GCA. Thus, when an FFL transfers an NFA firearm to a trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust, the transfer is made to this person as an individual (i.e., not as a trust). As the trustee or other person acting on behalf of the trust is not the approved transferee under the NFA, 18 U.S.C. 5812, the trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust must undergo a NICS check. The individual must also be a resident of the same State as the FFL when receiving the firearm.

When purchasing an NFA firearm, the person acting on behalf of the trust will complete the ATF Form 4473, items 1 through 10b with his or her personal information. Item 11a "Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?" should be answered "YES". The transferor will conduct the NICS check and complete Items 21a though 21c and Item 21d, if applicable. Item 22 will be left blank, as the transaction is not exempt from the NICS check.


As confusing this may seem, it is really quite simple, an individual does not need the NICS check because of the CLEO signature, and the FBI background check that is run on the fingerprints that are submitted with the ATF Form 4 or Form 1. A Trust, on the other hand, does not need fingerprints or the CLEO and thus the NICS check is required because it is the modern equivalent of the CLEO and fingerprints.

In summary, here is what is ATF is stating is required when a Gun Trust or an individual uses an ATF Form 4 to purchase a NFA Firearm:

Gun Trusts - 4473 and NICS
Individuals - CLEO, Fingerprints, photographs, 4473, no NICS
(As of May 6th 2014)

If your Class III SOT is not doing a NICS check along with the 4473 when a Gun Trust purchases a NFA firearm you might let them know about the ATF letter below. I am sure ATF will starting looking at these records with inspections in the future.

If you would like a full copy of their letter to Dakota Silencer it can be downloaded here ATF NICS & 4473 Trust Response Letter.pdf

April 25, 2014

Suppressors Legal for Hunting in GA as of July 1, 2014

This week the Governor of Georgia signed a NRA and ASA backed House Bill into law. It is one of the most comprehensive gun bills to pass in the state of Georgia. Included in the bill is a provision to legalize suppressor use while hunting. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

Once the law goes into effect, Georgia will become the 32nd state in which civilians can use suppressors while hunting. Of those states, only Louisiana and Montana do not allow the use of suppressors while hunting game animals.

asa_edu_map_0416141.jpg
(Map from American Silencer Association's website

The primary role of a suppressor is to reduce the overall sound signature of the host firearm to hearing safe levels. They do so by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle and allowing them to slowly cool, in a similar fashion to car mufflers. Their muffling capabilities intrinsically make them a hearing protection device for both the shooter and those around them.

April 25, 2014

ATF eForms Back online Today and how to obtain a copy of your electronic Form 1

Today I decided to check ATF eForms and it was back online for Form 6's. The good news is it does show the status of previously submitted eForms. I was able to to see that a Form 1 I submitted at the end of November of 2013 was approved today. When ATF emails you confirmation of the approval it does not send you a copy of the form at the same time. If you want one or to make a electronic copy of the approved form, you can click on the approved forms section, then select the form by clicking on the one you want to view.

approved.jpg

Next click the eye all the way at the right of the listing one you want.

Eye.jpg

Then you can select the View Form and PDF of the approved form will show in your browser or it will be downloaded.

View Form.jpg

While this may seem complicated, its not that hard and will allow you to make an electronic copy of your Form 1 and let you start shooting on the day you get the confirmation from the ATF

We also heard that ATF may have all functionality to eForms restored within 20 days which would be great news for those with Gun Trusts wanting to submit electronically.

April 17, 2014

ATF eForms back online within the week

Today Marvin G. Richardson, Deputy Assistant Director of the ATF Enforcement Programs and Services sent a letter stating that ATF eForms is expected online this week.

  • The ATF has reduced the backlog of applications from 80,000 to 73,000.
  • Adding 15 additional staff to help process NFA applications
  • Cross training an additional 15 staff to assist in NFA processing
  • Prioritizing Form 3 and Form 4 paper application processing while eForms is being bolstered
  • Hired a private company to assist in enhancing the functionality of eForms
  • Will limit maintenance to Wednesdays
  • Will bring eForms back online for Form 6 and 6A.
  • Will allow Forms 1,2,5,9,5300.11 and 10 online over the next few weeks
  • Allow Form 4 and Form 1 processing in a new and improved eForms in the short-term
In the letter he states that electronic submission saves over 3 month in processing time, but I have personally seen that it can save a year in some cases. He further states that NFA applications re up over 380 percent in the last few years from 41,600 in 2005 to 199,900 in 2013. Many of these new applications have been because of new laws in many states legalizing suppressors and short barrel riffles. Gun Trusts have made these items available to many who live in areas where the CLEO will not sign a Form 4 or Form 1. To find out more about how a Gun Trust can help you protect your family and friends from violations of Gun Laws contact us.

This is good news and it looks like ATF is interested in maintaining eForms into the future.

April 17, 2014

Status Update on 41P

The Americans Opposed to ATF 41P reported today that the American Silencer Association has talks with the ATF during the Shot Show where the ATF stated that they never anticipated the number of comments to 41P that they received and only had one person working part-time on addressing the comments. At that time ATF anticipated that it would take a year or two before they were able to determine whether they were going to move forward and if so to what extent they would try to implement any changes.
There were several major comments to 41P including ours that can be reviewed at http://www.GunTrustLawyer.com/41p.html which should be able to challenge the ATF if the ATF should try to implement the changes because of the numerous violations of the Administrative Procedures Act.

So what does this mean?
We are still recommending purchasing what you think you may way sooner rather than later in case changes are made. While a challenge to the changes may be successful, there is no guarantee that it would be. The good news is that the June 1st date that everyone has been anticipating may come and go with no announcement or just a new self imposed deadline. On the other hand, the ATF may have devoted more resources since the SHOT show and may try to make an announcement in June. We are about 6 weeks away from knowing more and as we find out more or see others reporting on this issue we will keep you updated. We have been hearing that there has been a substantial increase in the number of NFA firearms that are being sold and supplies within the dealers are starting to become constrained. With the ATF removing access to the electronic filing of ATF forms, the time to replenish the supply, get permission to manufacture more, and time to obtain approval of Form 4s and Form 1s will probably increase. There is a chance that the ATF will resolve the issues with the electronic filing and this could create an opportunity for a faster processing time. To check on the status of the ATF eForms portal visit https://www.atfonline.gov/EForms/.

April 6, 2014

ATF takes down eForms "until further notice"

eforms_logo.jpgIf you were planning on submitting a form electronically to save time, you may not be able to use eForms. I logged onto the ATF eForms website yesterday and saw the following message:

The eForms software is not performing to our expectations. As a result, we are taking the eForms system down until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work with our industry partners to deliver a quality product. Any eForm submitted will continue to be processed. The finalized forms will be sent to the user via email.

Until the eForms system is returned to service for the industry, all imports forms (Forms 6 Part I and 6A), NFA forms (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10), and AFMER reports (Form 5300.11) must be submitted via paper, including any eForms in draft status.

Copy of submitted or finalized eForm
Direct a request to eForms.Request@atf.gov
Status queries
Contact the NFA Branch at (304) 616-4550
Contact the Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch at (304) 616-4550
Other eForms questions
Direct the question to eForms.admin@atf.gov

April 6, 2014

ATF Says it is OK to fire SB-15 Pistol from the Shoulder

sig_arm_brace_sb15.jpgIn a response to a recent letter the the ATF, the ATF stated:

FTB has previously determined (see FTB #99146) that the firing of a weapon from a particular position, such as placing the receiver extension of an AR-15 type pistol on the user's shoulder, does not change the classification of a weapon. Further, certain firearm accessories such as the SIG stability brace have not been classified by the FTB as shoulder stocks and, therefore, using the brace improperly does not constitute a design change. Using an accessory improperly would not change the classification of a weapon under Federal law. However, the FTB cannot recommend using a weapon (or weapon accessory) in a manner not intended by the manufacturer.

The Letter that Sig sends with the SB-15 states that it is ok to use the brace as intended and does not create a firearm subject to the NFA. Previously this left many concerned that if someone was to use the brace not as intended an SBR would be created. This letter from the ATF clears up the issue and states that just because an accessory was not used as intended, the firearms is not reclassified by ATF.

If you would like a copy of the letter from the ATF for your records it can be downloaded.

March 10, 2014

Straw Purchases and Gun Trusts

In the last 3 weeks we have received more calls about arrests or seizures involving the ATF and straw purchases than in the previous 7 years. (NOTE: none of these calls were from people using our gun trusts) We felt it important for individuals and those involved with Gun Trusts to understand the concept and how to make sure they are not involved in a straw purchase.
If you are in Florida and have been arrested for a straw purchase or have had firearms seized regarding a straw purchase, contact an attorney who is familiar with straw purchases and firearms. If you are in another state you should look for someone who deals with criminal law and is familiar with firearms. This type of representation can be a very expensive as it is typically a federal charge and most criminal lawyers do not practice in the federal courts.

A straw purchase is any purchase wherein an agent agrees to acquire a good or service for someone who is able or unable or unwilling to purchase the good or service himself, and the agent transfers the goods/services to that person after purchasing them.

Several sources incorrectly state that "Straw purchases are legal except in cases where the ultimate receiver of goods or services uses those goods or services in the commission of a crime with the prior knowledge of the straw purchaser, or if the ultimate possessor is not legally able to purchase the goods/services." While the above statement may be correct in some cases, it is not correct when dealing with firearms.

If the straw purchaser of the firearm lies about the identity of the ultimate possessor of the gun, he or she can be charged with making false statements on a Federal Firearms Transaction Record. If a firearm is purchased as a gift, the transaction is not a straw purchase, and the person buying the gift is considered the end user.

There is currently a supreme court case on this topic where a family member bought a gun for a relative so that he could get a "police discount" and then was arrested for making a straw purchase because he lied on the 4473 where he stated that he was the intended purchaser. Both parties were legally able to purchase the item and neither was a prohibited person.

If you have a gun trust you should be very careful not to do straw purchases where the trust purchases something for someone not associated with the trust or a person associated with your gun trust purchased items for someone else. We generally see people make mistakes when transactions across state lines are involved or someone is under the age of 21 wants to purchase an NFA firearm. The instructions which came with your gun trust should cover these issues. It is important that you not add someone on to your trust only for the purpose of buying a gun or NFA firearms that you could not otherwise purchase.