Over the last week, we have had many people asking as series of questions. The have primarily been questions like the following

  1. What is status of my current Gun Trust?
  2. Is ATF eliminating Gun Trusts?
  3. What would happened to my current Form 1 and Form 4 applications that are in process?
  4. Should I form a Gun Trust now given the recent proposal by the ATF?
  5. Should I put my regular firearms in my Gun Trust?

This blog will address Gun Trusts and their current use as well as if the ATF implemented the changes as outlined in their Proposal. While we feel that it is unlikely that the ATF will implement everything suggested in their proposal we will use this as a worst case.

What is status of my current Gun Trust?

Joshua Prince with the Firearms Industry Consulting Group has declared September 3rd the National Firearms Act Day of Reckoning in response to the recent proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to implement Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) signatures for fictitious entity applicants, as well as, instituting a Responsible Person (RP) definition applicable to the different roles within those fictitious entities.

They have prepared several sample letters to be submitted to your State and Federal Representatives, as well as letters for FFLs to submit to the US Small Business Administration.

Before simply sending out the sample letters that FICG has drafted and which are downloadable below, we are asking that you take time to review the sample letter and modify it, explaining your own background and circumstances, how this proposed rule, if enacted, would effect you and include other personalization, especially if you have a prior relationship with your Representative. Form letters have very little impact on our Representatives. Therefore, it is imperative that we ALL take the time to ensure that our Representatives are aware that we took time and effort in preparing the communication and expect a coherent and thoughtful response. You should also be extremely clear to all of your Representatives that you are their constituent and their decision on this matter will have an effect on the next election cycle.

It seems that there has been a lot written about the NFATCA recently because of the recent proposed changes to the way NFATCA wants to deal with Trusts and define responsible parties. While it is clear that the NFATCA did not request the changes that have been proposed, it might be fair to say their efforts opened the can of worms and perhaps given the current political client, it might not have been the best time to try to eliminate CLEO. Imagine the shock to President Obama and the Administration to find out that Machine guns were legal. For years Obama has been stating that everyone knows that Machine Guns are illegal.

The proposed changes are not in anyones best interest. I do expect to see changes to what we have seen and the NFATCA will be active in helping to justify the absurdity of the current proposal. In addition, we will be working on proposed actions and responses to the ATF once the comment period opens.

Follow this link for the NFATCA_Statement_083113.pdf or you may read the statement below.
Continue reading

It looks like an attempt to remove the CLEO certification by the NFATCA which began in 2009 has backfired and now the ATF is wanting a modified CLEO signature, NICS check, fingerprint cards, photograph, certificate of citizenship for every responsible party of a fictitious entity. You can obtain a copy of the proposed rule here

While ATF already has a definition of responsible party for dealers, they are proposing the following for fictitious entities:

Depending on the context, the term “responsible party” includes any individual, including any grantor, trustee, beneficiary, partner, member, officer, director, board member, owner, shareholder, or manager, who possesses, directly or indirectly, the power or authority under any trust instrument, contract, agreement, article, certificate, bylaw, or instrument, or under state law, to receive, possess, ship, transport, deliver, transfer, or otherwise dispose of a firearm for, or on behalf of the entity.

Below is what was posted on the whitehouse.gov website. It is clear that the whoever wrote this does not understand the law and you will notice a lot of anti firearms language and an anti gun rights slant to the message.

Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

  • Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.

Today there has been much news about an action or executive order to help ensure that people who should not be able to own NFA firearms are not permitted to do so using a Trust.

First, our Gun Trusts, have never allowed a prohibited person to legally purchase, or be authorized to use firearms or ammunition. This is one of the significant differences between a real Gun Trust from a Gun Trust Lawyer® like we provide, and other so called gun trusts or regular estate planning Trusts.

If you are a criminal, addicted to drugs, a user of illegal drugs(under federal law including medical marijuana), or prohibited to own firearms under local, state, or federal laws, you cannot use our documents to create a valid trust. In addition, any co-trustee or authorized users who are prohibited cannot be added and any attempt to do so is void.

Ohio NFA Class 3 firearms
In Ohio a NFA Trust or Gun Trusts can own all types of firearms including those regulated by the NFA.

There are several type of Class 3 items that are restricted by the National Firearms Act.

Each state can impose additional restrictions on the sale, purchase, and transfer of Title II firearms – (Those sold by FFLs with a Class 3 SOT) in addition to the compliance that is required with the National Firearms Act.

Yesterday, I decided to try out the ATFonline.gov Eforms submission. I found the process very easy to do and while a little confusing the first time, it seems rather intuitive. Below are the steps I followed:

  1. Register for an account at ATFonline.gov. The system is very picky and must be used with IE 8 or a recent version of Safari on OS X. Sorry no Firefox, Chrome, or even IE 7.
  2. Log in.
  3. Select the Form 1. Better to use the bar and move it with the mouse, it is very difficult to scroll through the forms. ATF needs to switch this to a drop down menu.
  4. Application – this is where you state whether you are tax exempt or will be paying a tax.
  5. Applicant – Select that you are not a FFL and then complete your information. You should list the Trust name as the Licensee / Permitee Name.applicant.jpg
  6. Add line items. You can use one application for multiple items. I choose to only do one SBR. It walked me through the process of selecting the manufacture from a list.line-item.jpg
  7. Upload electronic documents. This is where I uploaded my scanned Gun Trust Documents.upload.jpg
  8. Certify that Under Penalties of Perjury, I Declare that I have examined this application, including accompanying documents, and to the best of my knowledge and belief it is true, accurate and complete and the making and possession of the firearm described above would not constitute a violation of Chapter 44, Title 18, U.S.C., Chapter 53, Title 26, U.S.C., or any provisions of State or local law.
  9. Enter credit card payment information
  10. Sign and Submit. By clicking a check box, your application will be submitted.

Within a few minutes I received a confirmation email showing that I had submitted my application and it was Pending Research because the manufacture I had selected was not listed in their database. This morning I received a new update saying that my status was changed to Submitted/In Process. I will keep updating this blog as I receive more information but it already feels faster than the paper system.

introduction-to-gun-trusts.pngNFA GUN TRUST CLE

I have been asked to teach a CLE on Gun Trusts on September 11, 2013 for LawReview CLE.

Traditional estate planning can be problematic when dealing with firearms. This course will explain how a Gun Trust is designed to acquire, manage, use, and transfer firearms, including those restricted by the National Firearms Act of 1934.

David Goldman will be facilitating a discussion at Elder Concert 2013. Elder Concert is a statewide conference for the elder care professionals that is presented by the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys, the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida State Guardianship Association, the Florida Geriatric Care Managers Association, Florida Atlantic University and the University of South Florida.

‘Bequesting a Felony – Geriatrics and Guns’ will take place on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 10:45am to 12:00pm in Boca Raton and on Friday, October 11, 2013 from 1:30pm to 2:45pm in Tampa.

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