July 1, 2013

Transferring firearms to a Gun Trust without Criminal Sanctions

As more lawyers begin to dabble with Gun Trusts we are seeing many who do not understand firearms and their unique nature which can often involve criminal penalties related to the improper transfer, possession, and use related to firearms or ammunition.

While it is fine to transfer a pair or sox, coins, most personal property to your trust without doing anything other than assigning it, the transfer of restricted items like firearms or ammunition is a different matter. If you can sell a gun to an individual in your state without going through a dealer you should be able to transfer a firearm to your trust without going through dealer. This is the case in most states.

In a few states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania where all personal transfers of some or all firearms must go through a background check, there may be no exception for transferring a firearm to a trust even if it is your own trust. Sure an argument could be made that there is no transfer and as such you should not have to go through a dealer, but why would one take the risk.

Several lawyers in California have recently been having discussions over such a topic. They even suggest that a transfer to a joint trust could be problematic because there are multiple owners. While a Gun Trust with multiple owners can be problematic, it is not for this reason.

In order to be valid, a Gun Trust must be funded, which involves transferring some property into the trust. The discussion between several California lawyers introduces an interesting question: Would it violate the California statute if you owned a firearm separately from you spouse, and then tried to transfer the firearm into a trust that named your spouse as a co-trustee or co-settlor?

While several of the lawyers point out, certain transfers are exempt under the statute. The exempt transfers in California include transfers between members of the same immediate family, including spouses. The transfer of a grantor's property to himself, as trustee of his own trust, is not considered a transfer. So, a couple that jointly owns a firearm, and transfers that firearm into a trust that names both parties as co-settlors, would not really be a "transfer." This is really just a declaration of trust.

On the other hand, as the discussion continues, a firearm owned separately by one spouse would have to be transmuted to community property before it could be transferred to a trust with co-settlors in order to comply with the statute.

While California may have such exemptions involving trusts it is not clear how they apply to firearms or if the legislative intent of the laws may change the interpretation of transfers to a trust when dealing with the transfer of firearms. This is why in jurisdictions where private transfers are required to go through a dealer, we always recommend doing so in order to comply with governing statutes. It is better to be safe than sorry.

One exception might be where someone owned a pre ban firearm as an individual and wants to put the pre ban firearm in their trust to maintain ownership and possession where it would not otherwise be permitted. This situation might justify the expense necessary for a proper determination on the subject. For most people, the relatively minor cost of using a dealer to transfer a firearm makes the decision easy.

Additionally experienced Gun Trust Lawyers® know that firearms rights are very important to our clients. They do not want others who may be involved with the trust to be able to take away the firearms or their ability to use them. It is for this reason that we draft our trusts with special powers for the Settlor. It is foreseeable that a multi-settlor trust could create a conflict of interest amongst your clients.

While we have stated many times that any valid trust can purchase or own firearms, it is issues like these that make it clear that a regular trust should not be used to purchase Title I or Title II firearms. If you are married, or live in a state that have many restrictions on firearms, legal support by a local Gun Trust Lawyer® is important. You will also find that the experience of the lawyer in dealing with Gun Trusts is important.

We have been drafting Gun Trusts for 6 years and have drafted over 5000 Gun Trusts across the United States. If you would like more information on a Gun Trust in your state, just fill out the contact us form on this website and we will send a free report on Gun Trusts.

June 10, 2013

Gun Trusts and Colorado's Large-Capacity Magazine Ban

In response to House Bill 13-1224 which prohibits the sale, transfer, and possession of "large-capacity ammunition magazines" John Suthers, Colorado's Attorney General, prepared a letter to Executive Director Davis at the Department of Public Safety. This letter does not discuss the issue of a person compared to a trust or other business entity that owns the magazines prior to 7/1/2013. It is still recommended that you use our special magazine assignment for Colorado to deal with the possibility that a trust may not be considered a "person" under the new statute. This conditional assignment becomes void if a trust is later determined not to be a proper owner under the law.

To read the text of the letter please continue reading this article.

Continue reading "Gun Trusts and Colorado's Large-Capacity Magazine Ban" »

May 29, 2013

Where can I hunt with Suppressors (Silencers): Updated List:

Thumbnail image for 50calsilencer.jpgWhile in some states, it is illegal to hunt with a Silencer, in the following states it is legal to hunt with a suppressor (often referred to as a "silencer").

In states where hunting with suppressors have been legalized, we have seen substantial increases in the sales of suppressors and the wait times for approval from the ATF has also increased. Many states that have legalized suppressors still have CLEOs who refuse to sign for individuals to purchase them. A NFA Gun Trust or a more flexible Gun trust can not only avoid the CLEO signature requirement in most states but can also provide many benefits to firearms owners and their families. To learn about the benefits please fill out the contact us form at the top of this page and request information on what a gun trust is and how they may benefit you.

Remember these laws change frequently, so please verify this with your state prior to hunting with a suppressor.

Alabama (as of 5/3/14)
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Georgia (as of 7/1/2014)
Idaho
Kansas
Kentucky
Maryland
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
Nevada
New Mexico
North Carolina as of 10/1/2013
North Dakota
Oregon
Oklahoma as of 11/1/2012
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming (as of 7/1/2013)

Many state restricted the use of suppressors in regards to anti poaching regulations. Some other states like Montana allow the use of Silencers for Varmint but not hunting. If you know of other states where it is legal to hunt with a silencer please let us know.

Disclaimer: This document represents a collection of published law and research on the topic of hunting with suppressors and regulations about the same. It should not be viewed as legal advise as these laws change frequently and the document you are looking at may not be up to date or an accurate representation of the laws at the time you read it. You should check with your Gun Trust Lawyer prior to hunting in any state with a suppressor as there may be other requirement and permits necessary to hunt with a suppressor in a state.

Updated 5/7/14

May 9, 2013

Gun Trust can be used to purchase Multi-Caliber Suppressors in most states.

New Silencer - SWR: Specwar 762; Multi-caliber Sound Test.

A Gun Trust can be used to purchase suppressors in most states like the Specwar 762 from SWR. The multi-caiiber suppressor had sound suppression to the 135-131 db range when looking at 10 shot averages. Most suppressors try to obtain results less than 140 db to create a hearing safe level.

May 2, 2013

Major Provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA)

Tomorrow Sarah Gervase, with the NRA is presenting a summary of the major provisions of the NFA just before my presentation of the use of Gun Trusts as we provide many lawyers with information on Gun Trusts I wanted to highlight some of the major points of her talk with some exerts from her paper.

This presentation will focus mostly on individual buyers and transferors, as many of those in attendance at the Firearms Law Seminar have more personal interest in and interaction with individuals who collect or own these arms for their own enjoyment. There will be some basic information for dealers, manufacturers, and importers, however, and a future Seminar presentation can focus on those areas if there is sufficient interest. In the meantime, readers of these materials who need more in-depth information for dealers, manufacturers, and importers are encouraged to review ATF's website at http://www.atf.gov for the latest relevant requirements.

A quick note about holding a client's property. Be very careful about holding any firearms owned by a client or about accepting firearms as payment for services. Here's a horror story. An attorney represented a man accused of bank robbery. The attorney took possession of the allegedly stolen money and a sawed-off shotgun. That attorney was suspended from the practice of law for 18 months for possessing a short-barreled shotgun used in a bank robbery. It was unprofessional conduct to take the fruits and instrumentalities of the crime. In re Richard R. Ryder, 381 F.2d 713 (4th Cir. 1967).

Continue reading "Major Provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA)" »

May 2, 2013

Can My Friends & I Use the same Gun Trust to Share Firearms.

Using a Gun Trust for multiple people is a common scenario that we discuss with people. Our general recommendation is that it is not a good idea to have several people contribute firearms to a single trust for the purpose of sharing ownership and use of the firearms.

While it is not such a bad idea, if people are going to be contributing firearms to your trust, most people want to use a trust like a company where each person will have equal rights. The equal rights scenario is a generally a bad idea because your gun do not necessarily go to who you want.

Imagine the following example. Adam, Burt, and Charlie want to form a trust so that they can each use all the firearms in a single Gun Trust. Adam is married and has children, Burt is single, and Charlie has a live in girlfriend. Each is planning on purchasing a silencer so that there will be three silencers to share. It would be important to add Adam's wife and Charlie's girlfriend on the trust to protect them from constructive possession and inadvertent transfers which are both violations of the NFA and have penalties that can include 10 years in jail and a 250,000 penalty.

Some of the problems in creating a trust like this are:

  1. If Adam gets a divorce, will his wife have a claim against the silencers contributed by Burt and Charlie?
  2. What if Adam, Burt, or Charlie no longer trust one or more of the others.
  3. Can Adam, his wife, and Burt override Charlie
  4. What if one moves or becomes a prohibited person?
  5. Will Adam's silencer go to his children or to someone else in the Gun Trust or the child or spouse of another person who is involved with the trust.
  6. Who will be responsible for the taxes if any are owed as a result of buying or selling Trust assets?
  7. While Adam may trust Burt does he trust who Burt will want to use the restricted items in the trust?
  8. What if any of the trustees has a financial problem, will the assets of the trust be subject to the claims of creditors of all three?
As you can see, there are many potential pitfalls in creating a trust like this. On the other hand if Adam sets up a trust and makes Burt and Charlie co-trustees and they each contribute property, Adam gets to control the use, possession, and eventual disposition of the property. This is not bad for Adam but may not be fair to Burt or Charlie.

If each of them setup their own trust, they can select the others as authorized users and then can each select what they would like to have happen to the property upon their death.

To solve these problems we would recomend a series of reciprocal trusts.

Adams Trust could name his wife, Burt, and Charlie as co-trustees.
Burt could name Adam and Charlie as co-trustees.
Charlie could name his girlfriend, Adam, and Burt as co-trustees.
Each could choose what they wanted to have happen to their properly upon their death or incapacity and make changes to the trust as they see fit regardless of what the others thought.

May 1, 2013

NRA Annual Show Special - $199 NFA Gun Trust Form

If you are interested in a real NFA Trust or Gun Trust and looking to implement it quickly and without the additional cost of a lawyer being involved we are offering a special on the Online version of the Gun Trust for only $199.

This is anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the normal price of the Gun Trust with legal support. The Online Gun Trust comes with a great manual which describes and give examples and hyperlinks to sample forms to purchase NFA firearms. It can deal with people who live in multiple states and allows you to add 3 additional authorized users. Additional authorized users can be added with an Amendment.

Many people are rushing to put their regular firearms in a Gun Trust in an attempt to protect their ability to allow children and grandchildren to use them when they are old enough and in an attempt to offer protections from pending legislation which would restrict the right to transfer firearms to future generations.

If you have a lot of firearms, you are looking for asset protection, or multi generational insulation from legislative change, you should consider the Professional Gun Trust.

To get this special price you must use the buy it now button at the bottom of the page.
You will receive a Gun Trust Code by email that will allow you to create a Gun Trust with 3 additional authorized users and purchase NFA firearms without the need for a CLEO signature, fingerprints, or a photographs.

This Gun Trust does not come with legal support. If you are looking for a Gun Trust with legal support, and local support from a lawyer licensed in your state, fill out the Contact Us Form and we will send you details on the options and pricing for your state.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, you must use the following link http://www.guntrust.com/create-trust/ to create your trust and pay for it with your credit card or PayPal account through PayPal.

April 25, 2013

New CT Gun restrictions limit future NFA purchases and cause registration of firearms

While Silencers themselves do not seem to have been made illegal in CT, it seems that almost anything that you can put them on has or will become illegal soon. In addition SBR, and most SBS are now illegal to buy, acquire, or possess but there is an exception for those which are registered prior to Jan 1, 2014 which were legally possessed prior to the bill's effective date.

Below are some of the highlights of CT's gun related legislation

Continue reading "New CT Gun restrictions limit future NFA purchases and cause registration of firearms" »

April 25, 2013

Does a Gun Trust prevent me from registering my firearms or magazines

We are getting many questions regarding recent laws but one of the most common is "Whether a Gun Trust can prevent me from having to register my firearms or magazines?"

If you live in a state where registration is required, a Gun Trust will not prevent you from having to register your firearms and or magazines that are located in that state. If you would have to register them as an individual, your trust or you will have the same obligation.

The only way to avoid a state required registration is if the items are no longer subject to the state's laws. e.g. if the firearms or magazines are located in another state.

Remember there are states like CO, CT, and MD along with others who have enacted statutes while will limit your ability to transfer firearms and/or magazines as of the date of enactment or some date in the future.

In Colorado transfers will be restricted or prohibited after 7/1/13
In CT most transfers of magazines are now prohibited.
In MD residents appear to still have sometime to transfer items.

If you live in a state where you are able to do so, it is more important than ever to put your regular firearms and magazines into a gun trust to allow for flexibility that can be obtained by a trust.

If you have a NFA trust that was not designed for regular firearms and magazines, Contact Us to upgrade your trust.

April 10, 2013

How to transfer Magazines to your Gun Trust

Yes that's right, in states where it is still legal, you should transfer your high-capacity magazines to your Gun Trust as soon as possible. Given that some states like Colorado, New York, and Maryland have recent passed legislation that will or has limited the ability to transfer certain firearms and magazines those of you who still have the opportunity to transfer your magazines should take advantage of it.

In most states you can simply list the number, brand (if known), caliber, and number of bullets they hold on one of our assignment sheets that come with the trust. There it does not matter if you do not have the make, model, and serial number of a magazine as many do not have this information at this time. Just list what you know e.g. ( 25 Magpul 30 round 556 magazines, 8 metal 30 round 556 magazines).

If you live in Colorado, please continue reading

Continue reading "How to transfer Magazines to your Gun Trust" »

April 9, 2013

Gun Trusts CLE: Gun Trusts Are for More Than Just NFA Firearms

On Friday May 3, 2013, the National Riffle Association is having The 16th Annual Firearms Law Seminar in Houston Texas. This seminar is primarily focused for lawyers who deal with firearms related issues in the practice. Over the past few years, the ATF has presented the panel on Trusts and ownership of Title II firearms. I have personally been to this presentation several times looking for guidance or changes in the law or its interpretation. Unfortunately the NFA portion of the seminars have been disappointing and have not offered any real guidance in dealing with the many issues that a Gun Trust should deal with. This year the NRA asked me to speak Gun Trusts. I plan on dealing with many of the ethical problems with traditional trusts as well as how to use Gun Trusts to protect your clients firearms from future legislative restrictions as well protecting the guns from loss due to confiscation that often surrounds criminal charges or claims of domestic violence and/or child abuse that often surround divorce.

Many people are still looking for NFA Trusts and have not realized the benefits of a Gun Trust over a trust that only deals with NFA Firearms. Look for more information on the NRA Firearms Law Seminar. For more information about the National Firearms Law Seminar, please call 1-877-NRF-LAWS

If you are a lawyer and plan on attending and would like more information on Gun Trusts or have a question you would like me to address at the seminar, use the contact form and I will try to incorporate it into the Gun Trust Presentation portion of the NRA Firearms Law Seminar.

April 8, 2013

Senate to Take Up Anti-Gun Legislation Soon!

The U.S. Senate has announced that anti-gun legislation will be heard on the floor next week. While that could change at any time, right now it means that your Second Amendment freedoms are on the chopping block, and you need to take immediate action to save them.

Senators are scheduled to vote on a so-called "universal background check" bill being pushed by lifelong anti-gun zealot, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y). Schumer's bill--S. 374, the "Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013"-- would criminalize virtually all private firearm sales, even temporary transfers, making you a criminal if you simply transfer a firearm to an aunt, uncle, cousin or lifelong friend without the federal government's approval. Even worse, President Barack Obama's Justice Department says that Schumer's bill will only be effective if it's coupled with mandatory gun registration.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) gun and magazine ban legislation will be allowed to offer her legislation as an amendment.

April 6, 2013

Obama Administration is expected to sign the treaty soon after it is opened for signature June 3

On April 2, the United Nations General Assembly voted 153-4 to pass the Arms Trade Treaty, with the United States voting in favor. The vote in the General Assembly was necessary to push the treaty process forward after negotiations twice failed to deliver on the goal of developing the treaty by unanimous consent. The Obama Administration is expected to sign the treaty soon after it is opened for signature June 3.

The text of the approved treaty is deeply problematic and threatens the rights and privacy of American gun owners. Signatories are encouraged to keep information on the "end users" of arms imported into their territory and supply such information to the exporting country. Exporting nations, nearly all of which have civilian firearm control regimes far harsher than the U.S., are encouraged to take the firearm control laws of an importing country into account before approving a transfer of arms. The treaty also encourages states to adopt domestic legislation to facilitate the treaty's onerous requirements.

To read more on this treaty and its problems see the full press release from the NRA-ILA

April 4, 2013

Rush to Pass Connecticut Legislation Creates Problems with Firearms Transfers

In a rush to pass legislation in CT, the new law which was passed and signed today creates some problems for individual transfers of firearms.

For example, the language in the new law specifies a procedure for licensed firearms retailers to perform mandatory "universal" background checks on private party transactions that is not permissible based on federal law and regulations governing the National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) system. As we read it, this mistake in lawmaking means that all private party transactions in the state now cannot be accomplished legally unless the individual sells the firearm to a dealer and a third-party buys it from the dealer which may not longer be permitted for some firearms that are now restricted.

Many of the new provisions in the law went into effect today. We will continue to update this information as more develops.

Here is a link to a summary of the bill http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/BA/2013SB-01160-R00-BA.htm

and a link to the full bill http://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/TOB/S/2013SB-01160-R00-SB.htm

April 4, 2013

Connecticut (CT): What NFA Firearms can I own? Updated

NOTE: BECAUSE OF LEGISLATION SIGNED IN TO LAW ON 4/4/2013 THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION MAY NOT BE UP TO DATE. ONCE THE CHANGES IN THE LAWS HAVE BEEN ANALYZED WE WILL UPDATE THIS PAGE.

Connecticut NFA Title II firearms
There are several types of Title II firearms 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 required compliance with the National Firearms Act.

In Connecticut you can own the following items that are regulated the National Firearms Act

Machine Guns
Silencers
Any Other Weapon (AOW)
Destructive Devices (DD)
Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS)
In Connecticut you cannot own the following NFA restricted items.
None

Follow this link to find out more about Connecticut and NFA restrictions on Class 3 Firearms
Short Barreled Rifles (SBR)
Note

1) While SBS do not appear to be specifically prohibited, most are under the 2013 gun law modifications that were passed in April 2013
2) Connecticut does not allow select fire machine guns. Only fully automatic machine guns are allowed under the Assault weapons ban. As of April 2013 all machine guns not previously owned will be considereded assault weapons and future transfers within the state to individuals or trusts are be banned.
3) While silencers appear to be permitted, most things you could use them on pistols and rifles will be classified as an assault weapon and banned. There does appear to be a process for registering your current pistols and rifles by January 1, 2014