May 13, 2010

Firearms Dealers Creating Trusts For Customers

Some dealers are currently providing trusts to their customers to avoid the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (the "CLEO") sign-off that is required for individual purchasers of Title II Firearms. When a non-lawyer dealer fills out or creates a trust for an individual they are violating their state's unauthorized practice of law ("UPL") statutes. Many dealers and manufactures are providing generic trusts that do not address the unique issues of the NFA and often do not comply with the state requirements for proper execution. In the past, the ATF has accepted many of these invalid trusts and approved the transfer of these firearms. Unfortunately for such individuals, if the trust is invalid, the possession that has been approved did not take place, and the individual or individuals who are in possession or using the items are in violation of the NFA. These dealers are taking a big risk in providing improper trusts to their customers. They are not only violating the state UPL statutes, but can also be liable for violating the NFA, in addition to civil liability for the bad advice which results in the consumers' property loss, civil penalties, and/or criminal prosecution.

Be careful when copying a form or getting a trust from someone who is not a licensed attorney. Many individuals ask why we work exclusively with local licensed attorneys in each state. We do this to maintain the quality of our documents and to make sure that a licensed attorney in your state reviews the documents and makes changes based upon your local state laws.

If you want to create your own Gun Trust without a lawyer, there is a real online Gun Trust that can be created in less than 10 minutes.

If you want to create a gun trust with the help of a Gun Trust Lawyer® Contact Us to begin the process.

May 10, 2010

Free NFA Gun Trusts or Revocable Trust For NFA Firearms: Are they safe?

Many individuals are using Quicken, LegalZoom, or traditional revocable trusts to purchase firearms regulated by the NFA. A traditional trust is not appropriate for the purchase, transfer, or use of NFA firearms because of the unique characteristics of these firearms. A typical revocable trust is created to protect an individual from others who might abuse their powers and detrimentally affect their interest in the property that is owned by the trust. These traditional trusts are problematic for holding assets regulated under the NFA because they do not consider the penalties and legal obligations of those involved with the trust in relation to state and federal laws. As lawyers we have a duty to become knowledgeable and competent in the areas in which we practice or associate with someone who can provide the knowledge necessary to provide the legal service we are offering. A lawyer who provides a traditional trust to a client with the intent of purchasing, holding, transferring, or using NFA firearms opens themselves up to a malpractice claim because the traditional trust instructs individuals to take actions which violate the NFA. While this may not be apparent during the grantor's life, the violations often come to light upon the death or incapacity of the grantor.

During the life of the grantor, while the problems may be minimized, there are still potential problems with a traditional revocable trust when used to hold NFA firearms. Most gun dealers and lawyers do not understand the importance of purchasing the items correctly or protecting others from constructive possession. While the ATF does not appear to be prosecuting individuals for the improper purchase or storage or sharing of these items at this time, there is no intent required in the NFA and a policy change could subject many individuals, their families, and friends to the penalties involved in a NFA or state violation.

If you want to create your own Gun Trust without a lawyer, there is a real online Gun Trust that can be created in less than 10 minutes.

If you want to create a gun trust with the help of a Gun Trust Lawyer® Contact Us to begin the process.

April 28, 2010

New Virginia Law has Schools teaching students Gun Safety

Here is a clip from Fox News about gun safety and Eddie the Eagle, the NRA mascot.

April 22, 2010

SBR / SBS will be legal in Alabama on 7/5/2010- AL NFA Gun Trust Update

Alabama Governor Riley signed a bill into law making Short Barreled Riffles and Shotguns legal to own. The law was signed on 4/14/2010 and becomes effective on 7/5/2010. If you have a NFA Gun Trust, there is nothing you need to do, to be able to purchase these items after 7/5/2010.

This also means if you are going to travel to Alabama, you can use a Form 20 to bring your SBR or SBS to Alabama after the law goes into effect.

April 21, 2010

Criminal Use of Silencers, Machine Gun, SBR, SBS, or DD

Paul Clark has written an article where he notes that if you use of most Title II firearms during a crime of violence or drug trafficking you are subject to a 30 year mandatory minimum sentence. It appears that the 30 year sentence applies to the possession and its use is not required. Note this applies even if you are legally in possession of the silencer by ownership in a NFA Trust, corporation, LLC, or individual ownership.

While the data appears to show that the use of a silencer or most other Title II firearms in a crime is a rare occurrence, individuals might take this into consideration when using silencers on personal firearms when there is a chance that they might be charged with a crime of violence, such as defending yourself.

While many states have stand your ground statutes or castle doctrines, its possible that overzealous self-defense can lead to criminal charges. If the charges are in the federal court, you could be looking at enhanced penalties like those described in 18. U.S.C. Section 924(c)(1).

April 21, 2010

Funding your NFA Gun Trust Properly

If a NFA Trust or Gun Trust is not funded, it does not exist. It's important to have a trust funded for it to exist. This is one of the reasons ATF requires an Schedule A or Assignment Sheet. This shows that there are assets in the trust. Many Trusts are rejected by ATF as invalid because of their appearance of being invalid by not having any assets. Many states do not have a requirement to include a list of assets with the trust or even proof that it has been funded but ATF has a checklist and will not approve a transfer to a trust without including a Schedule A or Assignment to the trust. If you trust was rejected by ATF and would like to know why, we and our network of over 100 lawyers can help you determine what needs to be done to your trust and if there are problems with the design of your trust in regards to NFA firearms.

April 11, 2010

Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot

For those of you who couldn't make it. Knob Creek is a machine gun shoot that should not be missed. Here is one of the video's I took with my camera.

And another short video

April 7, 2010

ATF Just Rejected My Dealer Prepared Quicken Trust and they Don't Know Why.

Lately we are seeing many people whose Trusts are being rejected by ATF. It appears that ATF has finally decided to try to determine if trusts are valid before allowing people to use a Form 1 or Form 4 transfer.

The bad news is many individuals are finding out that Quicken is not up to date in some states like Florida, and that copies of Quicken or trusts created by others may not be valid under current laws or the laws of other states.

There is a dealer is Jacksonville, who has been preparing invalid trusts for their clients. Not only is this the unauthorized practice of law, a crime in Florida and other states, but they do not understand the importance of understanding the individuals circumstances when preparing a trust. Quicken in general is a really bad tool to use in Florida because it does not comply with many of the 2007 Trust Code Revisions (Yes revisions that were made public more than 4 years ago). For more information on this you might read Using Quicken to Prepare a Trust: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

As I head out to Knob Creek for the Machine Gun Shoot, I am sure I will year many horror stories involving ATF and invalid trusts. If you need help fixing a problem with an invalid trust give us a call, click live chat, or send us an email and we will help you prepare a valid trust that deals with your unique issues and circumstances and your local states laws. We work with attorneys in most states and prepare NFA Firearms trusts. Generally we are providing information based on the NFA and the local attorney provides the state trust and firearms law expertise.

April 3, 2010

Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot is Next Weekend April 9-11 2010

Next weekend is the Bi-Annual Machine Gun Shoot at the Knob Creek Gun Range. Over 15,000 people and 800 vendors are expected to attend. If you are planning on attending let me know and perhaps we could meet at the show. Here is a link for some general information and here is the 2010 Machine Gun Shoot Schedule

Knob Creek Gun Range
690 Ritchey Lane
West Point, KY 40177 map.
Phone: 502-922-4457
April 1, 2010

LegalZoom Sued for Unauthorized Practice of Law

While its legal to give someone a form for a trust or will to fill out, its illegal for a non-lawyer to help them complete the form or fill it out for them. Gerry Beyer of the WIlls, Trust & Estate Prof Blog brought my attention to this issue. Many software manufactures, firearms manufactures, gun stores, and individuals do not understand that the act of helping someone create legal documents without a license to practice law is the Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) and a crime in every state. The reason these actions are prohibited by state law is that individuals without the proper legal knowledge and background tend to give wrong, inaccurate, and misleading advise to others who can be harmed by the misinformation.

Take for example the Silencer manufacture in the Midwest, who use to post a free trust for their clients. While a lawyer could have taken that trust and completed it correctly, it was missing some very important language which made the trust invalid in almost every state. The ATF was approving these trusts for a while, but as these individuals have been going back to make new purchases, they are being told that their trust is not valid.

Likewise, there are many examples of Quicken trusts that are posted on the INTERNET. Besides being inappropriate for NFA firearms, which a non-lawyer would not understand, many are not valid in other states. We have seen many people trying to use an Arizona trust in Florida. The problem is Florida has different requirements for a valid trust than Arizona and while if the trust was created in Arizona it might be valid, if it is created in Florida it will not comply with the Florida Trust Code. We see these issues all over the country and this is why we work with more than 100 lawyers in over 40 states to help individuals and their families prepare valid trusts that deal with the unique issues of NFA firearms ownership, transfer, possession, and use.

Apparently LegalZoom is the latest company to be sued for UPL because they were offering customized wills and information on how to modify their will and change payable on death accounts and joint property deal with estate planning issues.

If you are looking to prepare a trust for any purpose, you should have your individual circumstances and objectives reviewed by a lawyer who can then make suggestions and give you options based upon what makes sense for you and your family.

March 18, 2010

BATFE Engraving Requirements for Short-Barreled Rifle or Shotgun (SBS/SBR)


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.

March 16, 2010

How to deal with NFA and Non NFA Firearms in a Will

Recently I was asked by one of the attorneys I work with about provisions for a will to deal with the NFA firearms that an individual owns outside of their trust. I wrote something on this topic which can be found on my Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog in an article How to deal with NFA and Non NFA Firearms in a Will

March 8, 2010

Gun Trust Lawyer® sponsors 13th Annual National Firearms Law Seminar

lawseminar.jpgThe NRA foundation is having the 13th Annual National Firearms Law Seminar in Charlotte NC Friday may 14, 2010.

The Topics to be covered are

  • McDonald v. Chicago: From Heller to Chicagoland: Incorporation of the 2nd Amendment

  • Future Areas of Litigation

  • "Presumptively Lawful" Restrictions after Heller & McDonald

  • Concealed Carry Licenses & Licenses Required to Possess or Acquire a Firearm

  • Self-Defense Laws and Cases

  • International Arms Control Treaties and Agreements

  • Federal Laws Governing Firearms Possession

  • Domestic Protective Order and Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Convictions

  • The Restoration of Rights after Prohibition

  • NFA Trusts and Major Provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA)

  • Representing the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)

  • The Application of Environmental Case Law to Managing Outdoor Shooting Ranges

  • Mental Health Prohibitions and Processes: An Area of Growing Concern for Veterans

For more information on this seminar please visit the NRA Foundation Law Seminar Website

March 2, 2010

McDonald v. Chicago Oral Arguments heard by Supreme Court Today

Some are calling McDonald v. Chicago - Heller for the rest of us.

A few minutes ago, at 10 AM EST the Supreme Court of the United States began hearing the oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, a major Second Amendment case that is expected to determine if states and cities must comply with the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

February 23, 2010

Is it possible to change my Trust document to take advantage of the NFA Firearms Trust Provisions

We are often approached by individuals who have formed trusts and want to know if they can upgrade the language in their trust to take advantage of the provisions in our NFA Firearms trust.

This can be done by amending and restating your existing trust and is a simple process. The process involves a review or your trust as well as an interview to determine what you are trying to accomplish, your family situation, and ways to reduce future taxes as well as legislative changes involved with the transfer of NFA firearms in the future. Once a plan is made, we simply amend your trust to our new trust and the changes become effective upon execution of the new documents.

If you have pending transfers it is possible to contact ATF and let them replace the document in your application and when it is approved it will be under the new trust document. The lawyers we work with do not charge any extra for this process if the review is done at the time when the new trust is ordered. If you just would like your trust reviewed, the typical cost is $150. If you later decide to upgrade your trust, $100 of the fee is waived, but if you determine you want to upgrade your trust from the beginning there is no additional fee over the cost of the trust.