We often get questions from people about using a regular trust or existing trust that they already have to purchase a suppressor. First a trust or Gun Trust is not required to purchase a suppressor. A suppressor is a Title II firearm, that is sold by a Class III FFL. It can be purchased by an individual, trust, or business entity. Currently, an individuals must obtain a CLEO signature as well as provide fingerprints with the application to purchase a suppressor. Any purchase from an individual, trust, Gun Trust, or business entity must pay a $200 tax stamp and complete an ATF Form 4.
That being said, a Trust or Gun Trust has many other benefits besides the CLEO and fingerprint submission.
- A Gun Trust may submit an application electronically and between 2-6 months in processing.
- The ability to tell your representatives how to properly transfer these firearms upon your death.
- 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.
- The ability for the Trustee to refuse assets transferred by will or other means if NFA and state requirements are not complied with.
- Requirement to comply with NFA and State laws for transfer of NFA related assets.
- The ability to make uneven distributions to heirs to conserve value of assets.
- The ability to purchase Title II firearms, without creating a violation of the duties of the trustee.
- The ability to use the firearms in the trust without creating liability to the beneficiaries.
- The instructions and formalities on how to: manufacture items under a Form 1, how to purchase items correctly under a Form 4, how to properly document and transport Title II firearms with a Form 20.
- Protection for yourself and your family from Constructive Possession – a violation of the NFA.
- The ability to add others to your trust at a later time and create additional authorized users of the firearms.
Some Gun Trusts can even be designed to include:
- The ability to have Trustees with different capabilities.
- The ability to protect the firearms from your creditors and the creditors of your beneficiaries.
- The ability to hold the firearms for multiple generations and in some cases forever.
- The ability to modify the terms of the trust to attempt to preserve privacy, ownership, avoid future transfers and loss of firearms due to future legislation.
- The ability to easily add users, remove users, change beneficiaries and create temporary users of the firearms.
- The your representatives how to properly transfer these firearms upon your death.
So while a regular revocable trust could be used to purchase NFA firearms, a regular trust is designed for financial assets and would often instruct those who survive you to dispose of the firearms in ways that could create legal issues for your family and friends. In addition, the firearms could be sold off to pay your bills or funeral expenses instead of using other cash or assets that may be available.
A Gun Trust is a very specific type of trust that is designed for NFA and non NFA firearms. Before hiring someone to create a Gun Trust or purchasing a NFA Gun Trust, you should check to understand what you are getting because not all gun trusts are the same. Many so called “Gun Trusts” or “NFA Trusts” are regular revocable trusts that are designed for bank account and land and have little to do with firearms.
If you have a trust that you would like reviewed for issues dealing with the NFA, we would be happy to do so at no charge. We will not be reviewing the state issues but federal issues.