One of the benefits in using a Gun Trust is that you are able to submit electronic applications with the new ATF website. This is possible because a Gun Trust does not require a CLEO signature nor fingerprints. Currently only Form1s can be submitted electronically, but Form 4s should be back online soon. It is important to fill out the application correctly as there is not a way to correct mistakes that are made like with the paper forms. A mistake in the past would have put your application in the back of the line, but not any more.

If you make a mistake on an ATF eform (http://www.atfonline.gov) there is a way to submit a correction without going to the end of the line.

Once you receive the notice that your eForm has been rejected, you will receive a refund of the application fee in around 10 days. You do not have to wait for the refund to be processed to resubmit a corrected application. You can pay the fee again while waiting for your refund or wait for the refund and them resubmit the application.

Once you submit your new application send an email to Ted.clutter@atf.gov and include the control number of the rejected application and the control number of the new corrected eForm and the application will be reprocessed. This should decrease the time for the approval process on the corrected eForm.

1daydates.jpgOne of our clients submitted an application to build a Form 1 on June 24, 2014 and was surprised when they checked their email the next morning and found that the ATF had approved the application to build the SBR.

When I first received the call, I thought it was a mistake, but then I walked the client through the Atfonline website and the process of printing the electronic Form 1. I have provided a copy for those who are as skeptical as I was about a 1 day approval process on a Form 1 from the ATF.

Not sure if this was a mistake or the ATF had just cleared out the backlog of Form 1’s but if you considering creating a Gun Trust to build an SBR, you may want to do it sooner than later.

Here is a copy of the full Form 1 for those who would like to review it.1dayForm1.pdf

To check out the current time for approvals, I submitted a electronic Form 1 on June 26 and it was approved on August 2, 2014. While 35 days is not bad, it is not overnight.

Today I received an announcement and verified that you can now process Form 1s online again. For those with a Gun Trust, you can now process these electronically again. Still no word on when Form 4s will be available to process online.

There are currently 15 legal examiners in the background investigation phase of hiring. ATF has been authorized to use overtime funding to process NFA applications and they reduced their outstanding applications by 23%. They are currently processing around 6000 applications a week and have a backlog of 62,000. This means that we might be looking at as little as 10 weeks to process applications and even quicker for electronic applications. This is a substantial decrease from the 9 -15 months we have been seeing in the past few months.

In the last 4 weeks they received 17,800 applications and processed more than 22,400 applications.

As of January 1, 2013 it became legal persons with a C&R license to purchase, transfer, make, possess, and use an SBR in IL.

The Law is poorly written and only indicates that it restricts possession. While it has been clear that a trust could not purchase an SBR in IL, there has been a question about whether an SBR purchased legally in another state by a trust could then be in the possession of a Trustee, authorized by the trust to possess the firearms in the state of IL when that person had their own C&R license.

ATF has recently rejected such a request stating that a trust may not have an SBR in IL. This does not appear to be entirely correct, but until someone is willing to challenge the decision by the ATF it will not be possible to use an ATF 5320.20 to bring an SBR to IL. Here is a copy of a rejected form.

This appears to be another example of the ATF not understanding trusts and how they work. The restriction in IL is on possession and not ownership, the trust owns the firearm, the trustee possesses the items in the Gun Trust.

Options in IL?

The Gun Control Act defines a “person” is as “Any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company.” While this definition does not include a person, it does include a partnership, corporation, company, or firm. We have had clients create business entities that were owned by a trust or where a trust was one of the members, directors, officers, or shareholders. By creating a business entity that is owned by a Gun Trust, you should be able to have the business entity obtain a C&R license, then have the business entity apply for approval to purchase or make an SBR using a Form 4 or Form 1.

I am sure many people will ask, why would I incorporate a Gun Trust when I could just use the business entity itself. The answer to this deals with the many benefits that a Gun Trust provides in the management and succession planning (the beneficiary designations) that are not available with a business entity. While it would be possible to create business documents that incorporated some of the protections found in a Gun Trust, the cost to do so would be far more expensive than just using a Gun Trust.

In Summary, SBRs are legal to possess in IL as of January 1, 2013 if the person in possession has a C&R. It appears based on documents rejected by the ATF that a Trust or Gun Trust may not bring an SBR to IL when it was purchased legally in another state even when the trustee has a valid C&R license.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving a Virginia man who could legally purchase a firearm and did so for an uncle from Pennsylvania. Even though the Pennsylvania man who ultimately bought the gun was not legally prohibited from owning a firearm and passed a background check, the Court, in a 5-4 decision, said the transfer violated federal “straw purchase” law.

The ruling has resulted in confusion among federal firearm licensees (FFLs), particularly relating to gift purchases of firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been asked to provide clarification on the Supreme Court’s decision for its firearms retailer members.

Meanwhile, it is our understanding that the Supreme Court ruling does not make it illegal for a consumer to purchase firearms as gifts.

As noted in the instructions on the Form 4473 for Section 11.a.
Actual Transferee/Buyer: For purposes of this form, you are the actual transferee/buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (e.g., redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment, firearm raffle winner). You are also the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party.

In the case Abramski v. United States, the Court ruled that the Virginia man, a former police officer purchasing the firearm at a discounted price, was acting as agent for the true buyer, his uncle. By declaring he was the “actual buyer” on the Form 4473, the Virginia man violated straw purchase law, because in effect he was acting as an agent for his uncle who had provided the funds for the purchase.

The difference seems to come down to the fact that it was not a gift because his uncle paid the buyer for the item.

Remember, if you are using a gun trust to purchase NFA firearms, not to simply add someone to make a purchase you would not be able to make to avoid the potential problems associated with a Straw Purchase.

I received an email regarding a clarification of the previous version of this blog.
The email I received was to clarify what was happening and stated that there will be discussions with their Commissioners to let them know that they are taking a look at the issue of hunting GAME animals with a suppressor in Florida and plans to bring a draft rule change for the Commissions consideration at the September Commission meeting.

At that time, the proposal would be to allow the use of suppressors for hunting Game animals. The hunting of Game animals in is permitted in a majority of states and Florida, which usually leads the nation in gun legislation, is clearly in the minority.

No action or decision on the issue will take place next week and it would likily be many months before such a rule change could become effective.

Remember that no action or decision requested from Commissioners on this issue next week, it is only to let the Commission know that the FFW, Division of Hunting and Game Management is thinking of making such a proposal in September.

Currently it is not legal to hunt Game animals with suppressors in Florida, but some hunting with suppressors is permitted in Florida. If you would like to know what is permitted, please see this article on Hunting in Florida with a Suppressor.

On July 19 2014, Chief Counsel Joshua Prince and Attorney Eric Winter of Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG), a division of Prince Law Offices, P.C., in conjunction with The Sportsman’s Shop, will offer a four (4) hour seminar on state and federal firearms law at the Welsh Mountain Community Center, 564 Sandmine Road, New Holland PA 17557.

The cost is $10 and you must register by July 12, 2014. You can download a copy of the registration form, here. All registrations are to be mailed or dropped off at The Sportsman’s Shop, 101 West Main Street, New Holland PA 17557. If you have questions, please feel free to contact The Sportsman’s Shop at 717-354-4311 .

We work with lawyers in Alaska who accept most legal benefit plans offered to many state employees in Alaska. Many of these plans pay for trust work which would include the creation of a NFA Trust, Gun Trust, or Multi Generational Gun Trust. Some of these legal plans have a maximum amount of coverage. Each legal plan is structured differently and the use of the legal plan can significantly reduce the cost of a Gun Trust in Alaska. If you live in Alaska, work for the government, and participate in a legal benefit plan, let us know and we can put you in touch with an Alaska Gun Trust Lawyer® who may be able to provide a free or discounted Alaska Gun Trust to you or your family.

To answer this question you must look a the Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative code. While Florida Law does not specifically grant the right to use a suppressor while hunting in certain conditions, you must remember that laws do not grant rights they restrict them so by interpreting what rights you do not have, you can determine what is left.

In Florida there are four classifications of land:

  1. Wildlife Management Areas;
  2. Wildlife and Environmental Areas;
  3. Public land that are not classified as Wildlife Management Areas or Wildlife and Environmental Areas ; and
  4. Private land.

You may not take GAME animals (mammals or birds) or Crows with a suppressor or machine gun on any type of land. Per FAC 68A-12.002
You may not take wild hogs on Wildlife Management Areas and Wildlife Environmental Areas (per FAC 68A-15.004 and 68A-17.004), but can use a suppressor to take other non game animals such as furbearers unless prohibited to be hunted the area brochure or the area brochure prohibits the use of suppressors.

Game animals include Resident Game Birds, Resident Game mammals, Migratory Game Birds and Protected Mammals.

See http://myfwc.com/hunting/regulations/taking-game/

Neither Florida Law nor Florida Administrative Code restricts the use of suppressors (silencers), on private land, to take varmint, furbearers, non native game animals. In addition, suppressors can be used to take wild hogs on public land that is not classified as a Wildlife Management Area or Wildlife and Environmental Area.

Here are some definitions that will help make sense of these two statements.

  • Game birds –Wild turkey, quail, rails, snipe, woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, dove, coot, common moorhen, and non-native species generally considered game such as pheasant, chukar partridge, and coturnix quail.
  • Resident game mammals –deer, gray squirrels and rabbits
  • Furbearers –bobcats, otters, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, beavers, skunks and nutrias
  • Migratory game birds –ducks, geese, common moorhens, coots, snipe, rails, woodcocks, mourning doves and white-winged doves
  • Protected mammals –Florida black bears, fox squirrels and Florida panthers cannot be taken or pursued.

Suppressors can be used on private land in Florida to take some animals as indicated above. Suppressors (silencers) should not be used to take any Game animal (mammal or bird) crow, or wild pig in a Wildlife Management Area or Wildlife and Environmental Area and non game animals (wild pigs or furbearers), may be taken on other public land that is not classified as a Wildlife Management Area or Wildlife and Environmental Area.

Yesterday, the Governor of Louisiana signed House Bill 186 into law. This law will legalize the use of suppressors while hunting for all game and non-game animals in the state of Louisiana. The law is effective August 1, 2014. The current trend in the United States is to legalize the use of suppressors while hunting. Over 30 states now permit the use of a suppressors while hunting either game or non-game animals. This year, three states, including Georgia and Alabama have legalized hunting with suppressors and give hunters the ability to protect their hearing.

The ASA reports that a similar measure is in progress in Ohio. Louisiana statute even allows for the use of suppressors while hunting non-game animals.

Under the National Firearms Act, an individual, trust, or business entity may purchase a suppressor. A Gun Trust is designed to allow for multiple people to be in possession of the suppressor which is not allowed with an individual purchase. In addition, a purchase by a Gun Trust can speed up the process by removing the necessity to obtain a CLEO sign-off and when the ATF brings back electronic filing, a Trust application for a Form 4 purchase from an FFL can be filed electronically which can reduce the time for approval.

A Gun Trust can be designed and used to purchase and own all types of firearms, even those not restricted by the NFA. To find out more about how a Gun Trust can help you, contact a Gun Trust Lawyer®

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