Articles Posted in Form 20 – 5320.20 Transportation

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.

Short answer – Individuals or Trustees cannot, Dealers can.

The reason you can ship a riffle or shotgun by the United States Postal Service but not a Short-Barreled Rifle or Short-Barreled Shotgun is because of how Pistols are defined by the USPS.

The USPS defines a SBR or SBS as a Pistol and not a Riffle and as such does not permit them to be shipped by individuals or Trustees of Gun Trusts. See below

Recently one of our Gun Trust Lawyer® Clients asked us:

What are the shipping requirements for items in my NFA trust for Trustees in different states? The items are legal in both states and the personnel involved can legally possess the items. I also understand the commercial carrier and USPS shipping restrictions (at least think I do). As there is no transfer of ownership, must the items be transported with a FFL?

Our Trust allows one Trustee to ship to another Co-Trustee who is located in a different state a NFA Firearm that is an asset of the Gun Trust with the advanced approval from the ATF by using an ATF Form 5320.20. There is no requirement to use a FFL as the owner is not changing. The Gun Trust will be the owner of the firearm prior to and after the shipment.

ATF receives numerous telephone and electronic inquiries on a daily basis. In an effort to provide individuals with the most up-to-date information, ATF has compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked questions and provided answers to those questions. Several of the questions deal with the manufacture, sale, use, and transfer of firearms subject to the NFA.

  1. Can a person prohibited by law from possessing a firearm acquire and use a black powder muzzle-loading firearm?
  2. May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a friend who resides in a different State?

Texas Gun Trust Lawyer and Travel to ColoradoWe are often asked about traveling to another state with NFA firearms. If you own property in multiple states like Texas and Colorado or regularly travel between Texas and Colorado with NFA Firearms, you can do so, but should and in some cases must obtain prior authorization from the ATF to take these firearms over state lines.

Note:Texas and Colorado are just used as an example of two places that you may regularly travel to and from. A Texas Gun Trust prepared by a Texas Gun Trust Lawyer® would be valid in Colorado and a Colorado Gun Trust prepared by a Colorado Gun Trust Lawyer® would be valid in Texas

There is no charge to obtain the authorization for interstate travel from the ATF. Your Gun Trust should have specific instructions on how to do this and if it does not you may want to have your gun trust reviewed by an attorney to see if it is a gun trust or just a generic revocable trust. Many so-called “Gun Trusts” and those provided by gun stores, found in the internet, created by software, or even some from lawyers, actually provide instructions to break the law. If you gun trust mentions stocks, property, homes, or other non-firearms related items, it may be a clue that you have a generic trust.

The ATF National Firearms Act (NFA) Branch is pleased to announce that as of July 2011, ATF Forms 1, 2, 10 and ATF Form 5320.20 will be assigned to a legal instruments examiner for processing according to the State of the applicant’s address. The NFA Branch also will begin assigning ATF Forms 3, ATF Form 4 and 9 applications to examiners by the State of the transferor’s address. Applications already pending at the time of the change will continue to be processed by the examiner to whom they were previously assigned. Historically, applications in the NFA Branch have been assigned to legal instruments examiners alphabetically based on the name of the transferor or applicant. A chart showing the new assignment distribution is below.

The ATF expects this change in the assignment of applications to better enable NFA examiners to develop State law expertise and more knowledgeably and effectively respond to our customers during an era of unprecedented and ever increasing application volume. Please contact the NFA Branch at 304-616-4500 with any questions about this change.

NFA Examiner Assignment Distribution (effective July 2011)

Besides dealing with the issues of physically moving the firearms across state lines, which is covered in our Memorandum that comes with the trust in the section entitled What is necessary if I want to take the firearms across state lines or change the location where they are stored?, we are often asked about the effect of moving states on the Gun Trust itself.

Generally moving from one state to another will not require any changes to the trust with the exception of the state of Maine (only if you want to make additional Title II purchases). A validly created Trust in one state, is valid in another state if you move. Depending on the language in the trust, the rules that it references may change or not. Generally our trusts will still reference the original state’s laws once you move. This can be changed if you desire but is typically not necessary.

More importantly the ATF looks at the minimum requirements for a valid trust in the state in which it is being used. Our trusts meet the minimum requirements of any state where the items are legal.

Yes it is legal in most instances to travel with your NFA firearms (those sold by a class 3 dealer and often referred to as TItle II firearms). You will have the same restrictions as traveling with a normal firearm but also need to comply with the regulations for interstate travel with a NFA firearm. For more information on transporting NFA firearms across state lines see our ATF Form 5320.20 page.

Remember that they need to be legal in your destination state.

THE NATIONAL FIREARMS ACT

TITLE 26, UNITED STATES CODE, CHAPTER 53 INTERNAL REVENUE CODE

The National Firearms Act (NFA) is part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. All administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, with the exception of the NFA, is by the Secretary of the Treasury. The ATF administration and enforcement was transferred to the Department of Justice under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

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