Thumbnail image for silencer_map.gifIt appears that a former deputy in NY had some firearms that had been previously seized by the police in his personal possession even though they were suppose to be destroyed. One of the items in his possession was a silencer. While it appears that active duty police are permitted to have silencers, once they are no longer a police officer they cannot possess them. The specific details on how he received the silencer are not know, but even if he legally possessed it, once he was no longer a police officer his possession in NY would be in violation of the law.

We are often contacted by NY police officers wanting to set up gun trusts to buy silencers in NY and generally advise against it because of the risks of separation from the police and the consequences. Some police officers form trusts and buy and keep NFA firearms in other states where they are legal but it is risky to bring them to NY.

Aliens who are legally in the United States can purchase NFA firearms as long as they are not a prohibited person. When doing so they often have confusion over how to fill out a 5330.20 when it asks if they are a non-immigrant Alien in question 5. The following definition may help answer the question in your particular circumstances.

Under 8 USCS § 1101 a non-immigrant alien is defined as “an alien having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning who is coming temporarily to the United States to perform temporary services or labor, if unemployed persons capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in this country.” Rowland v. Marshall, 650 F.2d 28, 29 (4th Cir. Va. 1981)

Today we received another copy of a Gun Store Generic NFA Trust that was provided to a customer of the shop. Not only was it a generic trust and did nothing to advise or protect the client from issues regarding the transfer, ownership, possession or use of TItle II firearms (sold by Class 3 dealers) but the trust itself was invalid as it did not comply with the requirements to create a valid trust in the State. While it may have been a valid trust in another state, each state has its own requirements for creating a valid trust. These requirements change and a trust that may have been valid a few years ago may not be valid under the current laws of the state. It is important to make sure your trust complies with the state’s requirements for creation of a valid trust. What is disturbing is that ATF approved transfers to this invalid trust.

Remember just because ATF approves a transfer, the agency is not stating that your trust is valid nor that you are legally able to be in possession of the firearms. If you have a free trust or a gun shop trust it is important to have it reviewed for legality as well as compliance with the ATF to make sure your document is valid and that your document does not instruct you or others to break the law in regards to regular firearms or those restricted by the NFA.

One of the benefits of a gun trust is that it can be created by a Gun Trust Lawyer® to last throughout your life or in some cases can be designed to last for generations. Trusts are subject to the Rule Against perpetuity (RAP) which may limit how long the trust can last.

The common law RAP was designed to keep people from controlling from their grave. Today the modern trend it to extend or eliminate this restriction and many states like Alaska, Idaho, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and South Dakota have abolished the RAP by statutes.

In addition, 26 States (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia), the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is currently under consideration in New York) have enacted the Uniform Statutory Rule Against perpetuity which extends the time your trust can control from 21 years after the death of a life in being at the time it was created to 90 years of creation if it actually vests.

In addition other states have made additional changes to extend the vesting period for Trusts. Two such examples are Florida at 360 years and Arizona at 500 years.

So even if you live in a state that has a short RAP there may be a benefit in extending the life of the trust by changing the jurisdiction of your trust to another state.

This is a common technique used with our Multi Generational Asset Protection Gun Trust to allow children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond to use and have access to the firearms without risking their loss to creditors.

While the Bill would legalize hunting with silencers, the bill also includes stiffer penalties for poaching while using a silencer. Most legislation regarding silencers has been based on anti-poaching concepts. The NRA and the American Silencer Association have done a good job at helping to pass similar bills in other states over the past few years. Anyone who has used a silencer knows that a suppressor is a better name and that unlike they are shown in the movies, a suppressor does not make a firearm silent.

The modern trend is to make silencers legal to use while hunting.

Starting January 1, 2013 you will be able to purchase, transfer, make, possess, and use a SBR in IL. At first glance it appears to be very limited and only apply those with a valid and active military re-enacting group membership to use them for military re-enacting. But there is an interesting exception, those with a Valid C & R license can also own them.

The Law is poorly written and leaves many questions unanswered. A Gun Trust cannot have a C&R license, but a Trustee of a Gun Trust Can have a C&R license. The question is will ATF allow a Trust to purchase a SBR if all Illinois based Trustee’s (the authorized users) have a C & R License as required under IL law. If not you will still need a CLEO sign off because you can’t have a C&R within a Trust.  ATF has stated that a Trust cannot own an SBR in IL (2014). 

Also, once you modify a C&R firearm it no longer retains its C&R status, but the Illinois law is different than similar laws in CA because if you have a C&R license, you can buy any SBR not just a C&R SBR.

In Summary, SBR’s are legal in IL if you have a C&R regardless of whether the SBR is an SBR. It appears based on Documents received by the ATF that a Trust or Gun Trust may not own an SBR in IL.

Silencer-map.jpgWhile a Gun Trust or other forms of ownership can allow you to purchase Silencers or other Title II firearms in states where they are legal, it is important to realize that just because you or a trust own a Silencer or other Title II firearm, you do not have the ability to take those items to states where they are illegal to possess.

For example silencers are not legal to purchase, own, transfer, or use in Illinois. Recently an individual was arrested for threatening police and possession of an illegal silencer. The silencer may have been legally purchased but its presence in Illinois is a crime and will make the silencer illegal.

While it sounds like Gali, the individual with the illegal silencer, is in a lot of trouble, the additional penalties for possession of a silencer could add up to more than 10 years in jail and a $250,000 penalty plus seizure of the vessel (his car) that the illegal silencer was found in.

While most states have legalized the possession and use of silencers there are a few states where they are not legal. This silencer may have belonged to someone else or purchased without paying the required transfer fee of $200. Because all silencers are registered with the BATFE, the legal owner of the silencer could also find himself in trouble for the improper transfer of a silencer which has the same penalties discussed above.

One of the big downsides to purchasing a silencer as an individual is that you are the only one who can have access to and use the silencer. A Gun Trust can help you by allowing people to use or be in possession of the silencer without breaking the law. It is important to remember that a Gun Trust does not allow you or others to bring otherwise legal firearms into a state where they are not permitted.

One way to protect yourself from the actions of others in regards to using a Gun Trust to purchase NFA firearms is to make sure that the other authorized users do not have the ability to make purchases without your permission. Many traditional trusts and some Gun Trusts are not designed to help with the potential unknown violations by others involved with your Gun Trust. If your gun trust contains the Gun Trust Lawyer registered trademark then your trust will have been setup to deal with these issues by giving you the flexibility to create users who cannot purchase and users that can purchase Title II firearms.

atf-logo.jpgThe ATF told attendees at the NSSF Import/Export conference that they had hired 12 temporary research assistants and a supervisor to review Form 4 and Form 1 applications for mistakes before the examiner gets them. (Reported by Joshua Prince at the Prince Law Firm a PA Gun Trust Attorney)

Back in April the backlog on Form 1 and Form 4 transfers was around 43000. The additional staff has almost doubled the number of transfers per month that the agency can handle. The ATF is also asking Congress to use part of the revenue generated to help update their antiquated systems as currently the taxes collected from the Form 4 and Form 1 applications is deposited into the Treasury’s account where the ATF has no access.

Apparently if a FFL submits a Form 1 or Form 4, their applications are put in a special folder for special processing because the background of the FFL has already been checked.

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