May 4, 2014

Alabama legalizes hunting with Suppressors Effective Immediately

On Friday May 3rd, Alabama voted unanimously to repeal the prohibition of the possession and use of suppressors or silencers while hunting for all game and non-game animals. As of Friday May 3rd 2014, it became legal to possess and use a suppressor while hunting.

The majority of states now allow hunting with a suppressor. Alabama will be the 32nd and on July 1st Georgia will become the 33nd.

It shall be unlawful to possess fully automatic firearms or silenced firearms while hunting any species of wildlife.

Louisiana and Ohio have similar changes to the law int he works and it may become legal to use suppressors while hunting in those states later this year. Watch this blog for updates to other states regarding the use and possession of suppressors.

If you are thinking about purchasing a suppressor it is important to remember that only individuals, business entities, and trusts can purchase them. Of these there are many benefits to using a Gun Trust which include the ability to have multiple authorized users and the ability to help protect your family and friends from accidental transfers through actual or constructive possession as well as the ability to give someone the ability to determine when and if family members who survive you would be appropriate to receive the firearms restricted by the NFA.

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.

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(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.

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

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

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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 9, 2014

Ohio Bill to allow Hunting with Suppressors

The Ohio House passed a bill to allow hunting for some game species. The legislation that would permit the use of suppressors while hunting white-tailed deer, rabbits, squirrels and other game. The suppressors would need to be legal and registered with the ATF. The ATF permits individuals, Trusts, and business entities to apply for a $200 Tax Stamp to purchase and be in possession of a suppressor or silencer. While a suppressor reduces the noise it does not make a gun silent.

The Ohio bill would require that hunters who want to use a suppressor must submit to a background check and complete an application. Once the bill is approved the Ohio Senate it can be sent to the Governor for his signature. We will update you with progress on this bill as we learn of its status.

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 28, 2014

Michigan (MI) What NFA Firearms can I own? Updated 3/28/14

Michigan NFA Class 3 firearms

There are several type of Title II firearms which are sold by Class 3 SOT dealers that are restricted by the National Firearms Act.

Each state can impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, and transfer of Title II firearms in addition to the compliance that is required with the National Firearms Act.

In Michigan you can own the following Title II Firearms that are regulated the the National Firearms Act:

Machine Guns
Suppressors
Any Other Weapon (AOW) (only some)
Destructive Devices (DD)
Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS)  (See Below but Legal as of 3/28/14)
Short Barreled Rifles (SBR)  (See Below but Legal as of 3/28/14)
In Michigan you cannot own the following NFA restricted items.
 some AOW's like Tasers or Stun Guns by private citizens whether or not they are class 3 items or the individual has a CCW permit
The Michigan State Police put together a legal update on SBR and SBS which describes the differences between those over 26 inches and those under 26 inches.

Continue reading "Michigan (MI) What NFA Firearms can I own? Updated 3/28/14" »

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.

March 8, 2014

NFA Firearms State Law Changes in Process

There are several states which are working on changes to firearms laws at the current time.

Alabama is in the process of legalizing hunting with suppressors
Georgia is in the process of legalizing hunting with suppressors
Iowa is in the process of legalizing suppressors
Washington State has both a house bill and senate bill legalizing the use of Short Barrel Riffles.

These new legislative initiatives should greatly increase the sales of suppressors and SBRs in the above states. If you are looking for a Gun Trust to create purchase, manage, and own NFA firearms contact us to find out more about a Gun Trust Lawyer® in your area and the benefits to using a real gun trust.

February 23, 2014

AAC M4-2000 Special

silencer_m42000-3.jpgGun Trust Lawyer® has arranged for a dealer to offer a $215 discount on the AAC M4-2000 Suppressor to our clients. If you have any of our trusts that contain the Gun Trust Lawyer® Copyright notices you are eligible to purchase this suppressor at a price that is $215 less than retail.

This is what AAC says about this 556 suppressor. The worlds most effective 5.56mm silencer just got better. AAC's new M4-2000 Mod 08 features the patent pending fast-attach Ratchet-Mount to provide precision accuracy with minimal and repeatable zero-shift. Users have the ability to install or remove the silencer from the Blackout™ flash hider/muzzle brake, or the BRAKEOUT compensator, in seconds. The compact size and light weight have minimal affect on maneuverability. The M4-2000 Mod 08s extreme durability is maximized by CNC automated fusion welding of every high-temperature aerospace alloy component used in its construction- making 100% suppressed full-auto fire possible on barrels as short as 10 inches. The back-pressure lowering design of the silencer aids in shooter comfort, reduces weapon fouling, and minimizes cyclic rate increase. As a final step, tapered-bore EDM technology is utilized to ensure precise bore alignment resulting in enhanced accuracy and maximum performance. By eliminating approximately 97% of the muzzle report, the M4-2000 Mod 08 preserves the hearing of the shooter and nearby support personnel. Eliminating muzzle flash in the harshest of environments.

Continue reading "AAC M4-2000 Special" »

February 13, 2014

ATF Forms Processing Time

Today the ATF released new processing times based upon December 2013. The are now reporting the the average times for processing an ATF Form 1 to make and register a firearms is 9 months and the average time on an ATF Form 4 to transfer and register a NFA firearm in 9 months. We have seen significantly reduced times when applying electronically. Below are the times for each type of transfer and or application as reported by the ATF. It is interesting to see that they are taking 3 months to approve / process a transfer on a Form 3 and 2 months on a form 2. That means, it is taking ATF 2 months to approve the manufacture and 3 months to approve the transfer to a dealer. More than 5 months are required just to make and send a suppressor to your dealer so that you can wait an additional 9 months to take it home. The ATF will update this information every 90 days so we can see the trend.

As more people file electronically, we could start to experience longer wait times but for now we are hearing that many electronic Form 4s and Form 1s are taking between 3-6 months instead of 9-12 months for the traditional forms.
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February 9, 2014

I think I want a Gun Trust for Title II firearms only.

While many people think they only want a Gun Trust to purchase NFA firearms, there are many reasons you should consider putting all of your firearms in a properly drafted Gun Trust.

Just this week, I wrote that NOLO had reported that you should not use their software to create a Gun Trust. This is something that we have been talking about for over 5 years and it was nice to see them realize the problems that could be created by the use of a traditional revocable trust.

A Gun Trust should be designed to hold all firearms including those restricted by the NFA. All of our Gun Trusts are designed for all of your firearms including Title II firearms (those regulated by the NFA).

You will find that owners of NFA firearms own other guns. The normal guns like a pistol and shotgun are called Title I firearms. As an owner of all types of guns, I designed our Gun Trust to deal with common issues gun owners face with pistols, revolvers, and hunting riffles as well as Title II firearms.

What most people do not realize regular firearms have many of the same issues regarding transfer upon death or incapacity that exist with NFA guns. It is for this reason that I would suggest putting all of your Guns in one a Gun Trust.

The real issue is that while we can pick beneficiaries while we are alive, we do not know who will survive us. Those that do survive may not be appropriate to receive the firearms upon our death.

We do not know where they will live. Many states restrict the purchase, transfer, or ownership of certain firearms regardless of how they are received. We do not know if the firearms we own will be legal where our beneficiaries will be living when we die. In addition, some states require special permits to be in possession or own some or all types of firearms. While some states give you a grace period to acquire the proper permits, other states do not.

Have our kids or friends done something silly that we do not know about that might have caused the beneficiaries to lose their rights to own, possess, or use a gun. Are they involved with drugs in a state where it is legal? While drug use may be legal in some states, it is still a federal crime and makes the person using illegal drugs a prohibited person.

Another issue might involve being charged with an act of domestic violence or child abuse even if not ultimately convicted of that charge. The Lautenberg Amendment is a federal statute that says that charges that are classified as domestic violence or child abuse can create a permanent loss of your firearms rights.

Most importantly, as much as we would like to believe that our beneficiaries will be the right age and have the right mental state when we die, we will not be there to make the decision. Our Gun Trust takes all of this into consideration and allows the Successor Trustee of the Gun Trust to look at the location of the beneficiary, the legal status of the beneficiary, as well as the age and maturity and responsibility of the beneficiary to make a proper decision on the disposition of the firearms.

Other trusts or so called gun trusts only require that someone is not determined to be legally incompetent and or reach a certain age. When it comes to guns, a traditional trust without good Gun Trust provisions or created without the help of a Gun Trust Lawyer® can create criminal liability for your family and friends to transfer and receive firearms. Remember that people change over time, and it is not always for the better.

The good news is that if you already have a trust that holds firearms, it can be usually be changed to properly deal with them. If you would like to find out more about creating a Gun Trust or changing your existing trust to properly deal with firearms and purchase NFA firearms contact a Gun Trust Lawyer®.

January 31, 2014

Nolo Says Don't Create A Gun Trust With Their Products

Today I ran across an entry on Nolo's website addressing the appropriateness of using their living trust software to make a Gun Trust. Thousands of people and many gun dealers have prepared gun trusts using Nolo's software. The problem is the software was never designed for Gun Trusts and their trust may cause legal problems for their family and friends.

Nolo states:

Can I use a Nolo living trust to make a gun trust?

No. If you want to create a gun trust, get personalized legal advice from an expert on gun laws. Nolo living trusts are designed for the people who simply want to pass on their assets while avoiding probate. Gun trusts are complicated because they:

-- may need to last for more than one generation
-- may have multiple trustees, and
-- must address both state and federal weapons laws.

Nolo's living trusts do not address these issues, and so you should not use Nolo living trusts to transfer weapons. If you want to make a gun trust, get help from a lawyer who has plenty of experience with these trusts and state and federal weapons laws.

While Nolo's webpage does not address many of the issues to use a real Gun Trust, they have finally addressed the issue clearly. NO you should not use Nolo's software to create a Gun Trust. We have been telling people this for years and now Nolo has addressed the issue to help people avoid the problems that using their product could create. If you have, we can help you modify your trust into a proper Gun Trust with the help of a Gun Trust Lawyer® licensed in your state.