Recently in New York - Gun Trust Lawyer Category

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.

October 24, 2012

Police Officer Pleads Guilty to having Silencer in NY

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.

March 17, 2009

How to Explain a Gun Trust to Family or Friends who are not Pro Firearms Rights

Father-swinging-baby.jpgRecently my wife was in New York visiting some family when they attempted to convince her that I, her husband, was helping criminals avoid background checks and arming them with machine guns, assault weapons, and other "illegal" firearms.  Additionally, the opined that my NFA Gun Trust Lawyer® website was a radical Gun Rights forum. 

While I would not find this hard to believe coming from people who live in the Northeast, I did find it hard to believe from transplanted New Yorkers who live in Texas and been surrounded by individual gun owners and guns being a part of the culture.  In trying to explain what I do to some family members including my wife, I found that there were some basic misunderstandings of the process, and the state of the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution as the Supreme Court interpreted it last year.  I decided that this would be valuable for many of my clients who are often dealing with similar issues.  Many people have family members or friends who are uneducated on the current status and interpretation of the Second Amendment.  As a result many people feel that there is an interpretation issue surrounding what the Second Amendment means.  While the Supreme court in a divided court found in favor of the individuals right to own a firearm, they unanimously found that the Second Amendment applied to an individuals right to keep and bear arms and not to that of a state.   We are at a time in history, when many of our rights involved in gun ownership are at risk.  Even though our current administration states that they support the Second Amendment, the do not support it as it has recently been interpreted and have an agenda posted on their website under urban plans to ban assault weapons.  They are currently trying to define an assault weapon as any firearm that have a removable cartridge.

statue_of_liberty.jpgWhile some people are not "pro-firearms," they still may believe in the ability for others to exercise their 2nd amendment right if they so choose.  This is similar to people that are "pro-choice" on abortion issues, but do not impose their beliefs on others. In the United States, women have the right to choose (within limitations) and Americans have the right to own firearms (within limitations), without unnecessary burdens or restrictions from the State government.  Whether or not you choose to possess the firearm is a decision that should be up to you just as other individual rights that are guaranteed to us in the US constitution.  

A person cannot purchase a machine gun without a background check just by using my trust.  The Gun or Firearms Trust merely prevents the local CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) from arbitrarily denying fully qualified individuals the ability to exercise their constitutional right to purchase a firearm.  A NFA or Gun trust does not make it easier for a criminal to purchase a firearm because criminals do not purchase legal machine guns, silencers, and SBR's because of the ease in which these items can be tracked back to the purchaser.

A person that intends to commit a crime with an firearm does not pay $20,000 - $250,000 for a legal machine gun and notify ATF of this purchase.  If a person wants to commit a crime with a machine gun, he or she is more likely to purchase it illegally on the street, without paperwork, and for a fraction of the price (around $1200).


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Besides allowing individuals to protect their right to purchase firearms, my trust provides protections for the families and friends of gun owners that are not available with individual ownership.  Through the traditional purchase route, many individuals would be at risk of criminal activity and prosecution for permitting a friend, spouse, parent, or child use or have access to the items.  In addition, individual ownership does not deal with important issues, such as incapacity or death of the firearm owner.  Likewise, a gun trust addresses the transfer of these firearms to heirs that may not be eligible to receive them, such as children or people living in a state where Title II firearms are not permitted.  As a Gun Trust Lawyer®, I have seen many individuals that were forming corporations, trusts, and LLCs that were generic in nature and did not address their needs.  Due to these errors, they placed their families, friends, and children at unnecessary risk.  A risk that can be avoided with a adequate NFA gun trust.

In 1934, the government enacted the National Firearms Act as an effort to stop the gangster activity.  In particular, the government used its taxing arm to arrest them for being in possession of improperly registered or transferred weapons.  Since then, there has only been one illegal use of a legal machine gun for criminal activity, which was committed by a police officer.

I believe that Americans should be proud to exercise their rights to own firearms and help others understand the flaws in their logic.  Remember Guns don't kill people, criminals kill people.  If you look at most firearm legislation, it only seeks to restrict lawful ownership of firearms.  It does not offer an answer to the question, "how to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," which should be the focus of any gun control.

February 9, 2009

Where are Assault Weapons Banned Today

AR15sbrsilencer.jpgWith the recent discussions about the potential federal ban on assault weapons being reinstated,  I thought it would be interesting to see which states already have bans on Assault Weapons

California bans "assault weapons", .50BMG caliber firearms, some .50 caliber ammunition and "unsafe handguns."

Connecticut  Bans "assault weapons" as well as select fire machine guns.

District of Columbia prohibits new acquisition of handguns and any semi-automatic firearm capable of using a detachable ammunition magazine of more than 12 rounds capacity and any handgun not registered after February 5, 1977  (parts recently ruled unconstitutional).

Hawaii prohibits "assault pistols."  Assault rifles and shotguns are restricted the same regular rifles and shotguns

Illinois: Chicago, Evanston, Oak Park, Morton Grove, Winnetka, Wilmette, and Highland Park prohibit handguns; some cities prohibit other kinds of firearms.  Firearms identification card is required.

Maryland prohibits "assault pistols"; the sale or manufacture of any handgun manufactured after Jan. 1, 1985, that does not appear on the Handgun Roster; and the sale of any handgun manufactured after January 1, 2003 that is not equipped with an "integrated mechanical safety device."

Massachusetts: It is unlawful to sell, transfer or possess "any assault weapon or large capacity feeding device" [more than 10 rounds] that was not legally possessed on September 13, 1994 and the sale of handguns not on the Firearms Roster. The City of Boston has a separate "assault weapons" law.

Michigan: Certain folding stock carbines are restricted.

New Jersey  bans "assault weapons" and high capacity magazines.

New York  bans "assault weapons" unless lawfully possessed or manufactured prior to September 13, 1994.

Ohio: Some local jurisdictions use to ban "assault weapons.", but because of a Ohio Supreme court case, all of these laws are unconstitutional under the preemption doctrine recognized by Ohio.

Virginia prohibits "Street Sweeper" shotguns.

The sunset of the federal assault weapons ban does not affect the validity of state and local "assault weapons" bans.

  NOTE  the picture above is an Assault weapon that is also a SBR and has a silencer.

July 8, 2008

Valid Reasons for NFA trust in other State

Generally when creating a NFA trust, one must look to the laws of their state and how they affect the right to own a class III firearm.

What happens if you live in New York or any state where some Class III firearms are banned but plan to use and keep them in another state where they are legal?  Can you a resident of a state where the item is banned purchase, store, and use the items in a state where its legal.

According to the ATF,  an individual can purchase an item restricted by the NFA that is not permitted in the state of residence of the trustee, when the trust will be located, and item will be only used and maintained in states where it is legal.

This means a NY resident can purchase a class III firearm in PA when it is under a PA trust and the firearm is kept and used in PA.

June 8, 2008

States Without Constitutional Rights to Bear Arms

STATES WITHOUT CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS:

Only a few states do not have a constitutional provision dealing withe the right to bear arms: California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.


Updated  10/14/11

April 9, 2008

New York (NY) What NFA Firearms can I own?

New York NFA Class 3 firearms
There are several type of Class 3 items that are restricted by the National Firearms Act.

Each state can impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, and transfer of class 3 firearms in addition to the compliance that is required with the national Firearms Act.

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

Machine Guns Limited to dealers only
In New York you cannot own the following NFA restricted items.
Silencers
Any Other Weapon (AOW)
Destructive Devices (DD)
Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS)
Short Barreled Rifles (SBR)

Follow this link to find out more about New York and NFA restrictions on Class 3 Firearms

NOTE: Police may also possess some Class 3 items