Articles Posted in FAQ’s

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.

 

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

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.

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.

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North Carolina NFA Trust and Gun Trust Update:

In Dec 2014, a Gun Trust transfer of a Machine Gun was rejected by the ATF when it stated “In Accordance with NC General Statute 14-409. Please remember that your Form 4 must state a reason other than for scientific and/or experimentation or “in accordance with 14-409″ to comply with The January 11, 2013 email from Dana Pickles. We are in the process of verifying this and will update this blog if anything changes.

A recent email from Dana Pickles at the US Dept. Of Justice Bureau of ATF NFA Branch stated the following changes for North Carolina
Effective January 11 2013 the ATF is handling North Carolina transfers as follows:

Machine Gun transfers from a dealer to a dealer on a Form 3 no longer require a North Carolina Sheriff permission letter to possess the Machine Gun (MG)

From a Dealer to a Gun Trust using a Form 4.
If the Form 4 states that the MG is being “acquired for scientific research and/or experimentation” or “in accordance with 14-409″, then you will still need North Carolina Sheriff permission letter to possess Machine Gun.

But, If the reason on your Form 4 states a reason OTHER than “in accordance with 14-409″ or “for scientific and/or experimental use” then the North Carolina Machine Gun Letter or permission from the Sheriff is not required.

This means you should not state “in accordance with 14-409″ or “for scientific and/or experimental use” on a Machine Gun transfer in the state of North Carolina
All other NFA transfers on a Form 4 – no longer require the reason to state “In accordance with 14-288.8″ to approve the transfer.

In the last few days a letter has surfaced on the Internet reportedly written to a small shotgun maker, which states that shouldering a Sig Sauer SB 15 pistol stabilizing brace could change a firearms classification to a short barrel shotgun.

The letter was written in response to Black Aces Tactical’s request related to a short-barreled shotgun that was designed to incorporate the SB 15 Brace. Black Aces Tactical submitted a sample which they say had an overall length of 27 inches. The sample had a SigTac SB15 arm brace attached as well as a vertical foregrip. The brace is intended to allow a shooter to fire and an AR pistol with one hand using a Velcro strap to attach to the arm.
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Great news! The ASA is reporting that the time to process a Form 4 with a Gun Trust has continued to decrease and looks like the time will continue to decrease. Less than a year ago the average wait time was in excess of 12 months. A few months ago the time was reduced to 6-9 months. The current time is 4-6 months, and if you are processing a trust now, you could see an even shorter time as ATF clears their backlog. ATF is continuing to hire and train more people to process the increasing number of ATF Form 4s and Form 1s.

Even better news is that we may see a new electronic Form 4 announced in January at the Shot Show.

41P UPDATE
ATF has indicated that they are not expecting a final ruling on 41P until May 2015 at the earliest. Those of you in panic mode to submit your Form 4s, you may have some extra time. There are over 9000 comments that were filed during the comment period. To read some fo the comments follow this link http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=ATF-2013-0001

To read the https://www.guntrustlawyer.comment and the other Major comments to 41P see our 41P comment page

This is another one of those issues where the answer is not can you do but what should you do. Technically, you do not have to have a copy of your Form 1 or Form 4 for anyone other than the Attorney General, the ATF or an agent or investigator upon request.

Some recent case law has stated that a police officer is not an investigator or agent or the ATF and as such has no right to request to see your ATF form. I cannot believe the amount of money and or the risk that the individual took when a copy of the document on your cell phone or in your gun bag would have avoided the issue. In addition, there is nothing to state that a judge in your state or where you are asked for the paperwork would rule the same way.

The NFA requires that a person possessing a firearm registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) retains proof of registration which must be made available to the Attorney General, specifically an ATF agent or investigator, upon request.

So the answer is you might not need to if you are willing to spend months and thousands of dollars should you be arrested, but the smart move would be to have a copy with you to avoid all the potential problems.

We understand that ATF has approved a number of applications to permit Gun Trusts to manufacture machine guns and then rescinded the tax stamp to make the machine gun.

Many others have reported to us today that their Form 1 was disapproved by the ATF with the following reason:

Reasons For Disapproval

THE GUN CONTROL ACT OF 1968 (GCA), AS AMENDED, PROHIBITS ANY PERSON FROM POSSESSING A MACHINEGUN NOT LAWFULLY POSSESSED AND REGISTERED PRIOR TO MAY 19, 1986. SEE 18 U.S.c. § 922(0). THE GCA DEFINES THE TERM “PERSON” TO “INCLUDE ANY INDIVIDUAL, CORPORATION, COMPANY, ASSOCIATION, FIRM, PARTNERSHIP, SOCIETY, OR JOINT STOCK COMPANY.” SEE 18 U.S.c. § 921(A)(1). PURSUANT TO THE NFA, 26 U.S.c. § 5822, AND IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS, 27 C.F.R. § 4 79.105(A), ATF MAY NOT APPROVE ANY PRIVATE PERSON’S APPLICATION TO MAKE AND REGISTER A MACHINEGUN AFTER MAY 19, 1986.

THE FACT THAT AN UNINCORPORATED TRUST IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION OF “PERSON” UNDER THE GCA DOES NOT MEAN THAT AN INDIVIDUAL MAY AVOID LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 922(0) BY PLACING A MACHINEGUN “IN TRUST.” CONSEQUENTLY, IN TERMS OF AN UNINCORPORATED TRUST, ATF MUST DISREGARD SUCH A NON-ENTITY UNDER THE GCA AND CONSIDER THE INDIVIDUAL ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE TRUST TO BE THE PROPOSED MAKER/POSSESSOR OF THE MACHINE GUN.

It would seem that the ATF does not consider their approval to be governmental authority. The personal possession has an exception that deals with machine guns under the authority of the government.

If you received an approval and it was receinded and would like to explore your options please contact us.

I recently published an article on Gun Trusts and an amazing 1 day approval. I felt that this was an unusual circumstance and decided to submit an electronic ATF Form 1 back on July 26th using my personal Gun Trust to test out the current time for approvals on using a Trust from a Gun Trust Lawyer®.

While I was not surprised to have not received an approval on July 27th, I have been checking the status regularly. I was surprised to receive an approval early Saturday morning August 2, 2014. This approval was not anywhere as quick as our clients 1 day approval, but only took 35 days to get approved which is amazing considering that many are reporting 9-14 months for a paper approvals. Not only was the approval quick, but the email notification came with an attachment which contained a copy of my Form 1. The process for printing the approval was more complex than it needed to be and I guess that the ATF decided they could cut down on the amount of communication and support by just sending a copy. A wise move by the ATF.

Please let us know about your approval times so we can see if others are experiencing similar results.

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