While at the NRA Firearms Law Seminar in Nashville,  ATF ‘s attorney William Ryan made some interesting comments about the ATF, NFA, GCA and Gun Trusts:

  1. A trust can be a beneficiary of a will or other trust and obtain a tax free transfer using a Form 5 if the trust or will is drafted correctly.
  2. A Trust can be a beneficiary of a will if there is an order from the probate court directing the distribution to a trust, otherwise one might have to transfer to an individual on a Form 5 and then pay $200 to transfer items to a trust.
  3. ATF is still reviewing the 9500+ comments filed on 41P.
  4. ATF is not concerned about an executor being a prohibited person. (This seems to conflict with the original reason for 41P in the first place.)
  5. ATF likes lawyer drafted trusts, most trust problems are from gun store trusts, free trusts, or trust form that individuals try to create themselves.
  6. ATF examiners do not know the law, and have often made mistakes that can be cleared up by having your lawyer contact their legal department.
  7. ATF has seen many trusts which name the same individual as the beneficiary. It would appear that all of those people are just copying  the trust from someone else.  They believe that one day this random person could inherit thousands of NFA firearms.
  8. Between 2003 and 2012 trust applications increased 80,000 %.
  9. ATF stated that Gun Trusts can purchase and own both Title I and Title II firearms (those under the GCA and NFA).

With the recent increase in poorly written online trusts that have become available, ATF feels there will be a big business in fixing them down the road for those who have unknowingly received the free or fill in the blank trusts.

One of the worst examples of an online trust we have seen is the Easytrust being promoted by Silencerco.  According to them, there may be as many as 1000 people who have already received this trust which contains numerous problems. For a trust that is only 4.5 pages long, it appears to have even more problems than a Gun Trust drafted from Quicken.  The list of problems is huge, but the biggest problems include:

  • The trust permits NFA violations throughout the document.
  • The trust permits any trustee to sell your guns without your consent.
  • The Trust permits trustees to take away your gun rights if in their opinion you can’t handle your own affairs.
  • The trust directs distribution to beneficiaries upon your death without any written permission (a violation of the NFA)
  • The instructions incorrectly state that the trust needs to be registered in many states where it does not (seems to be similar to the problem we reported with the quicken trust)
  • Directs you to obtain an EIN number for their trust when it is not necessary, if requested from your bank. The instructions should state why an EIN number is not required and direct you on a proper response to provide the bank or how to deal with this common misunderstanding to tax law that many banks can initially make  (Updated 4/19/15 for a clarification).

I guess you get what you pay for.  Some people are only concerned about purchasing items and do not think about the consequences to themselves nor others.  It is wise to do a little research on Gun Trusts and learn why you would want a Gun trust for all your firearms and not one limited to NFA Guns like Easytrust or many other trusts which are not supported by lawyers.

Joshua Prince, a PA Gun Trust Lawyer, has written about the ATF statements on his blog Shocking Statements/Concessions by ATF at the NRA Firearms Law Seminar

We are often asked about people who are not U.S. Citizens and their ability to be involved with a gun trust, purchase NFA firearms, or use NFA firearms.

Those who are not citizens are separated into two categories: 1) resident aliens and 2) nonimmigrant aliens. A resident alien is a person who is not a citizen of the United States, but has become a permanent resident of the United States.   A nonimmigrant alien is generally a tourist, student, business traveler, or temporary worker who enters the U.S. for a fixed period of time. They are lawfully in the United States, but not lawfully a permanent resident.

Nonimmigrant aliens lawfully admitted to the United States without a visa are not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition, provided they meet State of residency requirements and are not otherwise a prohibited person. As such, they are qualified to be a Trustee of a Gun Trust and in possession of an NFA firearm as long as they are not prohibited and meet the State residency requirements.

Nonimmigrant aliens lawfully admitted to the United States with a visa may purchase or possess a firearm in the United States only if they meet one of the following qualifications: Continue reading

We often get asked questions about how and if a Gun Trust or another type of trust can own or obtain an FFL or C&R license.  A Trust is not a person under the GCA of 1968 and as such a Trust may not apply for or receive an FFL or C&R license.  That being said, a Trust may be the owner of a Corporation or LLC that holds an FFL.  That is the Stock of a Corporation can be owned by a trust or the membership interest in an LLC can be owned by a Trust.

In addition, some firearms manufacturers have used trusts to help permit individuals who may not be W2 employees to be in possession of certain items that they might not be able to be in possession of otherwise.  For example a suppressor manufacture may have independent sales reps that would not normally be able to be in possession of the suppressors.

 

On March 23rd, Ohio repealed the prohibition on the use of legally possessed suppressors while hunting.  Ohio has become the 35th state to permit hunters to use legally possessed suppressors while hunting.  IN 2014 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana all enacted legislation to permit the use of suppressors while hunting.  Ohio also enacted Shall Sign legislation.

Among the many benefits, to using suppressors are:

  1. HEARING PROTECTION: Noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are two of the most common afflictions for recreational shooters and hunters. Everyone knows that gunfire is loud, but very few people understand the repercussions that shooting can have on their hearing until it’s too late. Suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by an average of 20 – 35 dB, which is roughly the same as earplugs or earmuffs. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters, hunters, and hunting dogs around the world.
  2. SAFER HUNTING: Most hunters do not wear not wear hearing protection in the field because they want to hear their surroundings. The trouble is, exposure to even a single unsuppressed gunshot can, and often does, lead to permanent hearing damage. Suppressors allow hunters to maintain full situational awareness, while still protecting their hearing. The result is a safer hunting experience for the hunter, and for those nearby.
  3. NOISE COMPLAINTS: As urban developments advance into rural areas, shooting ranges and hunting preserves across the country are being closed due to noise complaints. Although it can still be heard, suppressed gunfire helps mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges and hunting land.
  4. ACCURACY: Suppressors reduce recoil, and help decrease muzzle flinch. These benefits lead to improved accuracy, better shot placement, and more humane hunts.

Most agree that the use of a Gun Trust is the best way to own a suppressor because of the ability to protect family and friends from issues of accidental and constructive possession. To find out more about the benefits of a gun trust use the form on this page to request information.

ATF has a history of approving Form 4 transfers to invalid trusts.  Today,  I received another example of an invalid trust that ATF had already approved a transfer for a suppressor.  As more people are learning about gun trust we are seeing more poorly written and in some cases invalid gun trusts.

Most invalid trusts are invalid because they do not name a beneficiary or someone lists themselves as the beneficiary. With the trust we received today, the trust did not meet the minimum signing requirements for the state where it was created.

I recently purchased a trust from a major suppressor manufacture, that had the same problem and while I live in Florida, the trust that was created online would would not be valid in Florida.  In addition, I made a typographical error entering the information and my repeated attempts to contact the company to fix the issue have been ignored.  For a company who prides themselves on customer service, this has been disappointing.   For the time being we would warn people to stay away from “easytrust” which is being advertised by a suppressor manufacture.  The trust  has many of the  problems associated with traditional trusts that can create liability for the trustees and beneficiaries of a poorly written gun trust and the one I received would not be valid in my state unlike their claims.

While talking with the client of the invalid trust, it turned out that he  had received the trust from a friend of his who told him it was prepared by a lawyer.  It would appear that the trust was not prepared by a licensed attorney or the lawyer was not familiar with trust law, gun law, or both.  A Gun Trust is very different than a revocable trust and one needs to consider each and every power and instruction in a trust and how they will interact with firearms owners and their desires to draft a well written gun trust.

With many online gun trusts popping up it is important to realize that a trust is not valid, nor is possession legal, just because the ATF approves a transfer.  If you have an invalid trust and are in possession of a firearm restricted by the NFA, you in violation of the NFA and could face both civil and criminal penalties.

A few benefits of a properly drafted Gun Trust include:

  1. The ability to tell your representatives how to properly transfer these firearms upon your death regardless of the state that they live in;
  2. The ability to move states and maintain a trust that is easily recognized as valid in other states;
  3. The ability to deal with co-trustees and beneficiaries in multiple states;
  4. The ability for your minor children to use the NFA firearms with adult supervision and parental consent;
  5. The ability to transfer assets to children, even below the age of 18, when they reach an appropriate age, while giving the someone the ability to make distribution decisions based on mental state,  physical location, legality of the transfer, and age;
  6. The ability to make unequal distributions so that firearms do not have to be liquidated to give equal distributions;
  7. The ability of the Trustee to refuse assets transferred by will or other means when  the NFA and state requirements are not complied with; Continue reading

What’s the Story Behind ATF “Banning” 5.56mm Ammo? (. . . and what can you do about it?)

By Glenn D. Bellamy, Armorer-at-Law®
March 5, 2015

There’s been no shortage of misinformation and hyperbole about an ATF memo released on February 13th reported to “ban AR15 ammo.”  The memo describes a “framework” by which ATF proposes it would consider requests for “sporting purpose” exemptions under the federal statute banning the manufacture, importation or sale (but not possession) of “armor piercing” projectiles.  I’ve searched and research the law and the facts behind it with passion over the last two weeks. I’m tempted to write a legal brief in opposition, or at least to give it a thorough fisking.  But that would bore you and be wasted on the ATF at this point.

Instead, I’ll give you the skinny on what’s going on and the most effective thing(s) you can do about it.

The Skinny

Continue reading

Today, the ATF stated that the time to process paper Form 1 and Form 4s – 6 months. Our feeling is that the backlog for paper forms is closer to 4 months when you consider that the eForms are only taking around 30 days and make up a substantial portion of the filings.

The ATF is continuing to hire more help, cross train more staff, and process more forms than they receive. In the last 11 months the ATF has reduced the backlog from 81,000 in Feb 2014 to 38,000 as of Jan 15, 2015.

There is still no update on eFiling of ATF Form 4, but hope to have it addressed by late 2015.
For those with Gun Trusts, there is a new update to the eForms 101 as of Jan 15, 2015.

The link to the update can be found here.
eFormsNews 1-15-15.pdf

In Florida, it is illegal for an individual to be on probation to own, possess, or use a firearm without permission of a Judge and his or her probation officer. While initially, this may sound reasonable because in our minds we tend to associate probation with criminals and felons, many of us do not realize that this also applies to those on probation for misdemeanor and driving offenses. Still don’t see a problem? What about a DUI or reckless driving charge? Did you know that you or your spouse could go to jail for owning, using, possessing, or having access to a firearm while on probation for a driving charge?

Most Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers may not know to ask their clients about firearms in these circumstances and may be advising their clients incorrectly when charged with a DUI or reckless driving charge. A Gun Trust can be designed to manage your firearms without risk of loss and criminal prosecution while an individual or family member is on probation.

If you live in another state, you may check to see if the terms of probation include restrictions on ownership, transfer, possession, and use of firearms or weapons.

The best time to do this transfer is before your probation states. In most cases, it is not illegal to be in possession or transfer the firearms correctly while charged, but you should contact a Gun Trust Lawyer®, create a gun trust, and transfer your firearms into the Gun trust prior to probation.

While some may consider just lending their guns to others during probation, this will not solve your problem as you still own them and could be considered to have constructive possession over the firearms.

If you own Title II firearms, this may not be possible if you purchased them as an individual as a personal transfer can take 6 months or more to complete.

Here is the latest letter from the ATF that we received at 4:36 PM EST today regarding the SB-15 and Stabilizing braces. It seems to deal with “intent” but also introduces a new concept of “redesign” in an attempt to bolster the concept that use of a firearm can change the classification of it.

Our recommendation remains the same, for a $200 tax stamp why take the legal and financial risk.

The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received inquiries from the public concerning the proper use of devices recently marketed as “stabilizing braces.” These devices are described as “a shooter’s aid that is designed to improve the single-handed shooting performance of buffer tube equipped pistols.” The device claims to enhance accuracy and reduce felt recoil when using an AR-style pistol.

These items are intended to improve accuracy by using the operator’s forearm to provide stable support for the AR-type pistol. ATF has previously determined that attaching the brace to a firearm does not alter the classification of the firearm or subject the firearm to National Firearms Act (NFA) control. However, this classification is based upon the use of the device as designed. When the device is redesigned for use as a shoulder stock on a handgun with a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length, the firearm is properly classified as a firearm under the NFA.

The NFA, 26 USCS § 5845, defines “firearm,” in relevant part, as “a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length” and “a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.” That section defines both “rifle” and “shotgun” as “a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder….” (Emphasis added).

Pursuant to the plain language of the statute, ATF and its predecessor agency have long held that a pistol with a barrel less than 16 inches in length and an attached shoulder stock is a NFA “firearm.” For example, inRevenue Ruling 61-45, Luger and Mauser pistols “having a barrel of less than 16 inches in length with an attachable shoulder stock affixed” were each classified as a “short barrel rifle…within the purview of the National Firearms Act.”
Continue reading

Thumbnail image for sig_arm_brace_sb15.jpgWe are all familiar with the inconsistency of the ATF. The ATF has changed their position on the Sib Brace (SB-15) with a pistol. While the ATF, still states that it is legal to use the SB-15 as intended (strapped to your wrist), they have reversed their position on using the SB-15 when shouldered.

You may remember that earlier this year, ATF stated that since the SB-15 is not intended to be fired from the shoulder, the misuse of an individual would not change the classification of the firearm. See the March ATF SB-15 letter

We believe that this is the correct decision and interpretation. The problem is that someone else recently asked the same question and got a very different answer. ATF has now stated that the misuse of the SB-15 (being fired from the shoulder) does create an SBR and make the pistol subject to the NFA.

sig brace letter 01.jpg
Continue reading

Contact Information