Recently 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.
While 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).
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.