Articles Posted in FAQ’s

One of the great things about a well written gun trust is that it can be created to deal with multi state issues.  Many people move and even include co-trustees or authorized users who move or are in other states. If your gun trust is only written to deal with your state laws, the chance that it will provide incorrect or misleading advice to others involved with your trust is increasing.  We see these issues with many online trusts.

An ATF Form 20  is not required when you move states.  A Form 20 is only required for Title II firearms other than suppressors.  That being said, I recommend completing a Form 20 even for suppressors. For those of you who have our gun trusts, we include a section in our instructions that goes into detail on this topic.   Most police officers do not know that suppressors are legal (yes, I know this is hard to believe). Given that, I would much rather have a document from the federal government (the form 20) stating that I or other members of my trust are permitted to be in a state.  It is much easier and less expensive to have these issues resolved before you are detained than after your items are taken or you are detained.

With this in mind, you may also want to get a Form 20 approval for traveling to states and not just for a change of address to another state.  A Form 20 is not required if you are staying within the same state, even if you move within the state.  A well written gun trust will include information like this and on other common topics that come up over time.

If you would like to create a multi state gun trust or upgrade your current gun trust contact us using the form on this page and we will work with a Gun Trust Lawyer® in your state.

Can_Cannon_Production_2Many of our Gun Trust Clients have purchased a Can Cannon.  Previously the use of a Can Cannon was not regulated by the NFA, but recently the ATF determined that the use of the Can Cannon in conjunction with a receiver or a pistol creates an item regulated by the NFA.  This may be problematic if the NFA item is not legal in your state, but if they are legal there may be a relatively inexpensive way to solve the problem for those who already have an SBS.

X Products warned their customers that the ATF evaluated the Can Cannon and determined that it would be considered an SBR if placed on a rifle receiver, and an AOW if used on a pistol AR. See the ATF letter on the Can Cannon. The ATF has defined the Can Cannon as a shotgun. However, the device by itself is not a firearm and is perfectly legal to own. Attaching it to a firearm is illegal unless the user has the proper federal licenses.

If you have an SBS, you can add the Can Cannon as an additional configuration to your SBS by using this Additional Configuration Form we have prepared for use with our Gun Trusts, SBSs and multiple configurations.  Here is a link to using multiple configurations with a Form 1 for those not familiar with it

X Products claim to be working on a modification which may eliminate this need, but for now we would recommend that any of our clients using a Can Cannot by X products either use a Form 1 to build the appropriate NFA item or add it as an additional configuration to an existing SBR to be used with an SBR that has already been registered.  If you do not have a Gun Trust, contact us for more information on how forming a well drafted Gun Trust can permit you to legally use your Can Cannon and protect others from potential violations of the NFA.

David McCleary a Michigan Gun Trust Lawyer written about the problems he  has seen with the so called EasyTrust Gun Trust by Silencerco.  Today I received an email from him stating that in his opinion the trust is “horribly drafted” and “has many problems including improper legal advice”.  One example cited is the mistake that a Trust in Michigan must be registered.  This is simply not true and is misleading to consumers. A Gun Trust or other Michigan NFA Trust does not need to be registered  in Michigan.  While they can be, they do not need to be registered and Attorney McCleary recommends not registering them.  For those of you who have not heard about other problems with the Easy Trust, you may review them below or follow this link

Back in April after the NRA convention, the ATF was commenting about some of the poorly written trusts and the problems and opportunities they would create for lawyers in the future.  Here is an excerpt from the Article in April.

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.

In my opinion, 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 a trustee to easily violation the NFA  throughout the document by not clearly prohibiting these violations.
  • The trust permits any trustee to sell your guns without your consent.
  • The Trust permits trustees to take away your gun rights, (from within the trust) if in their opinion you can’t handle your own affairs. Of course, your legal gun rights under the 2nd Amendment will not be removed, but your ability to use and have access to the guns in your trust can.
  • 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). Continue reading

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have recently decided to re-classify parachute flares and 40mm chalk rounds as explosives and begun the confiscation process. Those in the gun industry feel this ruling could soon be expanded to include all ammunition bigger than ½ inch in diameter.

Many have recently reported being contacted by ATF to turn in any recently purchased flare rounds. Some of these inidivduals have gun trusts and others just own then individually. Previously, these rounds had been classified by the ATF as non-explosives, but the bureau has recently had a change of heart that coincides with the other recent declassifications. (Does this sound familiar?)

When questioned about these declassifications, ATF has responded the change was made because the 40mm rounds in question are not “small arms” ammunition, and have thus been classified as “low explosives.” In one response letter, the ATF stated that “devices or articles that contain small arms ammunition or components thereof, but are not small arms ammunition by themselves, are regulated explosives,” and thus are not exempt from the provisions in 27 CFR, Part 555. This language suggests firearms registered as a “destructive device” may also be given a similar classification by the ATF.

So the next questions is what should you do when the ATF asks you to surrender these firearms? Continue reading

As a gun trust attorney it is my duty to keep up with the latest gun laws throughout the country and clients are often surprised how different the laws can vary state to state.  I was recently asked by a client if someone with a valid CWL license is allowed to carry a gun inside a Florida Hospital and thought I would share my thoughts on the issue. Continue reading

With the recent church shooting in Charleston, our office has received many questions asking if it is legal to carry a concealed weapon to church with a CWL, or concealed weapons license. Currently, there are no laws in Florida that forbid carrying a concealed weapon inside or on the grounds of a religious institution except in portions which may constitute a  church school.

Studies have shown that mass murders often pick places to attack where the attacker believes they cannot be attacked in retaliation. These “Gun Free Zones” are usually churches, schools, and former places of employment. The next question then becomes can a church hire armed security guards to defend against the crazy shooters?

Each state has their own rules regarding when guns may be brought and you should investigate them.

Continue reading

We have been telling people for years that a properly drafted gun trust can help protect your firearms in the event that you become a prohibited person in the future.  Today the Supreme Court came to a Unanimous Decisions supporting our view that a trust can be used to hold firearms for a liquidating event or for the future beneficiaries of the trust without being lost.

The court held that “while a convicted felon is prohibited from “possessing” firearms pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(g), nothing strips the individual of his/her property interest in the firearms and the individual retains “the right merely to sell or otherwise dispose of their firearms,” provided the felon lacks all control over the firearms.  Our Gun Trusts already provide for this ability to just this type of purpose.

The Court also held that  “§ 922(g) does not bar such a transfer unless it would allow the felon to later control the guns, so that he could either use them or direct their use.”  This even permits an individual to create a gun trust after they lose their rights, assign the property to a trust as long as they do not have the ability to have direct or indirect use nor direct their use.  A properly drafted gun trust would remove all abilities of a felon or prohibited person from using or directing the use of all firearms and ammo within the trust.

Section 922(g) proscribes possession alone, but covers possession in every form. By its terms, §922 (g) does not prohibit a felon from owning firearms. Rather, it interferes with a single incident of ownership—one of the proverbial sticks in the bundle of property rights—by preventing the felon from knowingly possessing his (or another person’s) guns. But that stick is a thick one, encompassing what the criminal law recognizes as “actual” and “constructive” possession alike. (Emphasis in original)

The Court declared that nothing prohibits the individual’s “right merely to sell or otherwise dispose of that item.” In supporting the concept of a gun trust the Court stated  “A court may also grant a felon’s request to transfer his guns to a person who expects to maintain custody of them, so long as the recipient will not allow the felon to exert any influence over their use.”

If you have lost or are expecting to lose your gun rights, it is not too late to create a gun trust, contact us to create a secure gun trust as permitted by the Supreme Court to protect the value of your firearms or the firearms for your children and future generations.

We are often asked if you have to be 21 to build an SBR or Suppressor.  If you are manufacturing a firearm under the NFA using an ATF Form 5320.1  you only need to be 18 under federal law.  Likewise, if you are purchasing a firearm using an ATF Form 4 from an individual, trust, or non FFL you only need to be 18 years old.  If you are buying one from an FFL, you must be 21 years old under federal law.  Your state may impose stricter requirements.

Below is an excerpt from the attached letter  from ATF explaining the age requirement.

This is in response to your letter of November 16, 2006, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) advising that you are 18 years of age, the owner of a AR-15 type receiver, and wish to register it has a short-barreled rifle using an ATF 1 application.You ask whether ATF would approve the application submitted under these circumstances.

You state that your understanding of the Gun Control Act prohibits the transfer of Short Barreled Rifles, but that you cannot find any language in the GCA nor the NFA dealing with the already possessed rifle receiver. You are correct. The GCA does establish age requirements for the sale of firearms by licensees and the NFA is silent on age restrictions.

Accordingly, since the GCA does allow possession of rifles by persons under the age of 21, you would not be prohibited from applying on a Form 1 to make a short-barreled rifle.

While an application by an individual would need photographs and a certification from your chief of police or sheriff, an application using a Gun Trust would not.




While this may seem obvious, we regularly get asked this question.   YES, when using the ATF eFiling for a Fom1, a signed copy of your gun trust must be uploaded.  The maximum file size that can be attached is 3MB but you can upload multiple files if necessary.  We recommend scanning your gun trust at 200 DPI in black and white or grayscale to keep the file size small.  If you find that the file size is still over 3MB, you can separate the documents into several parts which can each be uploaded. In addition to the trust document, you must also submit all amendments which have been executed at the time of the filing, any schedules mentioned in the document like Shedule A, Sechedule B, lists of beneficiaries, list of co-trustees, and in most cases a Schedule A or Assignment sheet showing the trust has been funded is also required.

A word of caution about Gun Trusts that use a Schedule A to list firearms.

If your gun trust uses Schedules like a Schedule A to list the firearms, it may not be wise to include your non NFA firearms in the trust as you will end up sending the ATF a list of all of your firearms.  Gun trusts that use assignment sheets are generally preferable to others because of the ability to maintain the privacy over your non NFA firearms.

While many people initially consider the use of a gun trust for NFA firearms, many of the same benefits exist for Title I firearms or those subject to the GCA.  As we do not know who will survive us, where they will live, if they will be prohibited, or if they will be mature and responsible enough to have firearms after our death (we are not there to make those decisions) traditional estate planning can create problems for our family and friends.

Some trusts which are marketed as NFA trusts or gun trusts do not provide guidance on how to transfer NFA or Non NFA firearms and leave those decisions up to the individuals who survive you.  You should carefully review your trust to make sure those who will survive you will clearly be able to understand their duties and obligations.

Many individuals have purchased thread adapters to permit the use of an oil filter as a “solvent trap”.  The problem is that this adapter can also be used and is often intended to be used to create a suppressor.   The resellers on ebay who sold these adapters have all seemed to have disappeared and many of their customers are reporting being contacted by local ATF agents to collect the parts they purchased.

Recently we have had several clients contact us about purchasing these “solvent trap parts” and using them to make a Suppressor with a Form 1.  Apparently there is someone marketing these parts including baffles as a solvent trap to be used for gun cleaning.  It would not surprise me, if ATF shut down the ability of companies to sell parts as cleaning kits or solvent traps and then began targeting the customers of these parts in much the same way as the ATF continues to contact the customers of the companies who previously sold them eBay.

ATF has taken the position, in the past, that a part to a suppressor is a suppressor and under this theory, if you purchase these parts, the parts may in and of themselves be considered suppressors.  Paying the tax stamp on a Form 1 does give you the permission to manufacture a suppressor, but not necessary to purchase a suppressor manufactured by someone else.  We would caution clients who are considering manufacturing their own suppressors from parts that ATF considers a suppressor as the purchase of these parts may require an approved Form 4.

For those who state that no one has ever been convicted of charges related to a homemade suppressor, you might see this article. Lots of people are charged and convicted of illegal suppressors.  Sometimes people get the concept of people rarely being convicted of the  use of a  legally owned suppressor with the common occurrence of people being charged and or convicted of possession or use of an illegal suppressor.

I know many will say it is perfectly legal to purchase these items. ATF  has previously indicated that it is legal a company to sell “solvent traps”  and parts to “solvent traps” and It is legal to use them as “solvent traps”.  The problem is that most people who purchase them intend to use them as suppressors or parts to a suppressor and not as a solvent trap.  Even those who do not intend to use them as suppressors, sometimes do.  Looking at what has happened with other products in the last year we can see that ATF seems to be moving from intent to use, to classify a firearm.  Whether this is reasonable or proper for them to do, it is probably not a fight you as an individual can afford.  It is our opinion, that the cost of defending your position, regardless of the outcome, is not something that makes sense for the average individual.   The ATF is not stupid, the fact that you are even reading this article would indicate to most that your intention or interest in purchasing these items is not to use them as a solvent trap.

If you purchased a suppressor (solvent trap adapter) off ebay or somewhere else, you may want to contact a criminal law attorney in your area to talk with you about how to properly deal with the parts without creating liability or reducing the risk of liability.  Just because you haven’t been contacted yet, does not mean they will not contact you.  Even this week, we have had reports of people being contacted by the ATF in regards to the purchase of these items.

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