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 23, 2014

ESTATE PLANNING FOR GUN OWNERS

Keeping Your Personal Representative or Executor Out of Jail

If you own firearms, you should reevaluate the trustees, successor trustees and beneficiaries in any estate planning documents. It is important to avoid people who are prohibited people from owning or being in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Many people do not even know that they may be a prohibited person. There is not an easy way to determine if someone named in your documents is a prohibited person or not without asking them a bunch of questions. In addition, certain items you may own may be illegal in some states and even if the person is not prohibited, it may be a crime for them to take these items to a location where they are prohibited.

If you own any firearms, you need to be careful to avoid potentially serious problems with your family and friends.

Under Federal Law the mere possession of any type of firearm or ammunition by a "prohibited person" is a crime. There is no exception for Executors, Personal Representatives, or Trustees. Upon accepting his or her appointment, an Executor, Personal Representative, or Trustee may become a criminal. The Federal Statutes contain a long list of things that make someone a prohibited person including: conviction in any court of a crime punishable by more than a year in prison; being an unlawful drug user (even if legal in the state); having been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions and having been convicted of a misdemeanor where the charge was one involving domestic violence.

NFA Firearms are sold by Class 3 SOT dealers and include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, Suppressors, AOWs and certain other items are subject to the National Firearms Act. Even deactivated war trophies can still be under the NFA. The mere possession of these items by anyone not having the appropriate documentation (not just convicted criminals) is a federal crime. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

Without proper authorization and documentation to be in possession of these items makes them contraband and is a crime. In many states possession of regular "Assault Weapons" is a crime and can subject you to criminal prosecution.

If you own firearms, it is important to review your estate planning documents with a Gun Trust Lawyer® to help ensure that they are dealt with properly in the event of your death or disability. Many traditional trusts or wills instruct your family and friends to take actions that are illegal when it comes to the possession and transfer of firearms.

January 23, 2014

Iowa considers legalizaing Suppressors (silencers)

House File 284 was recently introduced to lift the ban on owning or using a silencer or suppressor. Iowa is one of only eleven (11) states that ban the device for some individuals. The bill sponsor has stated that a suppressor is a usefull tool for preventing hearing damage. Currently the use of a suppressor in Iowa is a Class D felony. Lets hope Iowa changes this law and permits suppressors. If you have an Iowa Gun Trust and the law changes you will be permitted to purchase suppressors within the state. There are still many benefits for an Iowa Gun Trust or gun trust even if you do not own Title II firearms like suppressors. For more information on how a Gun Trust can help you please request our information by filling out the form on this page.

January 16, 2014

ATF Publisheds eForms 101 Instructions

ATF_Logo.jpgUsing an eForm to file your Form 1 or Form 4 can save several months processing time. We have seen that it can reduce the time from 9-12 months to 3-6 months. As we have outlined before, the ATFonline.gov website is not the easiest to use or understand and thus there have been many questions which ATF has attempted to address in this guide.

The Topics covered include:

How Do I Register To Use eForms?
FFL, EIN and AECA Associations
Password Complexity Rule Missing from eForms Registration Instructions
Navigating through eForms
Icons/Buttons/Symbols Used in eForms
Adding Attachments to eForms Submissions
Who Can Submit An eForm 1 Or eForm 4
eForm Down Everyday At NOON -1:00PM Eastern Time For Maintenance
Make Sure Your Submissions Are Correct
How to Identify the Applicant Maker or Transferee on an eForm 1, 4 or 5.
eForms Refund Processing
Identification of the maker or manufacturer of a firearm on Form 1
Payment of Making or Transfer Tax
Duplicate Applications in Your Draft Folder - Dont delete them
NFA - PDF issue with Form 4
Average Processing Times
What are those 'non eForms' records that appear in my folders?
Name Field Length Limitation Forms 1, 4 and 5
Use of P.O. Boxes

It's important to do electronic forms correctly the first time as there is not currently a way to fix a mistake or amend them like with the paper applications.