St.johns_sheriff.jpgRecently I was interviewed by Sheldon Gardner of the St. Augustine Record regarding an article about the sheriff deciding not to sign Form 4’s for TItle II transfers: Want to buy a silencer, sawed-off shotgun or explosives? Sheriff will no longer help.

While sheriffs all over the country are refusing to provide the CLEO sign off required for individual ownership of Title II firearms using ATF Form 4‘s and ATF Form 1‘s, the St. Johns Sheriff is one of the few who does not appear to be trying to stop ownership. The Sheriff’s office is recommending using a NFA Gun Trust. Sgt. Chuck Mulligan stated that “In no way shape or form is the sheriff stopping them or hindering them from buying these items.”

As Gun Trust Lawyers®, we have provided many residents of St. Johns count and residents of almost every state Gun Trusts to help them protect their privacy, avoid the CLEO and fingerprint requirements, and help manage their NFA and regular firearms during their life and upon their passing. Many police officers in these areas have also used our NFA Gun Trusts to acquire Title II firearms for personal and work related use.

WHAT IS AN NFA GUN TRUST?

NFA firearms (also called NFA weapons) are certain guns and accessories regulated by the National Firearms Act. They are sometimes incorrectly called “Class 3 weapons.” The confusion over the Class 3 terms is related to the licence that is required for a dealer to possess to sell Title II Firearms. NFA firearms include all fully automatic and select fire weapons, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and sound suppressors (silencers). NFA firearms include things that you might not expect.

Example: Remember the Hi-Standard .22 Derringer It is an ordinary “garden variety” pistol. Pair it with a wallet holster and it becomes an NFA weapon. Many collectibles, including pistols with detachable shoulder stocks, such as the Artillery Luger and the “Broomhandle” Mauser are also regulated by the National Firearms Act.

Suppose that your father brought home a “deactivated” machine gun from World War II? Even though these “Deactivated War Trophies” are welded up and are incapable of firing, they are still NFA weapons.

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You can lawfully own NFA firearms, as long as they are permitted under state law. You have to register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“BATFE”) and pay a $200 tax on each one. Unless you acquire them through a trust or other entity, you have to obtain the consent of your chief of police. If you create a special type of trust, no local approval is required. These trusts have other significant advantages as well.

An NFA Gun Trust, sometimes called a “Gun Trust” or a “Class 3 Trust” is a type of revocable trust that you create specifically to acquire NFA weapons and to hold your other firearms. It differs substantially from an “ordinary” revocable trust.

An NFA Gun Trust makes it easier and more private to transfer not only NFA firearms, but any guns, to your family members if you die or become disabled. Assets in a trust pass directly to your beneficiaries outside of the probate system. There is no public record of what you own.

An NFA Gun trust can be an irrevocable or revocable, but an “ordinary” estate planning trusts should not be used to acquire and hold NFA firearms. NFA trusts must have special provisions that deal with firearms.

Example: You want your twelve-year-old child to someday inherit your gun collection, including NFA weapons. An NFA trust provides a way to lawfully store them until your child is old enough to have them transferred to him or her.

We have lawyers in every state that we work with who have modified our trusts for your state’s specific law. The local attorneys deal with state trust and firearms issues and we are here to support you with the federal issues and the NFA.

Our NFA trusts contain language which deals with unique provisions of each state’s law. In addition to the Gun Trust documents, we provide you with detailed, plain English instructions showing you how to fund the trust, acquire NFA weapons as a trustee and administer the trust.

WHY DO I NEED AN NFA TRUST?

No Signature Required

In order for an individual to lawfully acquire an NFA weapon, his or her CLEO – police chief or first selectman must sign a form called a “BATFE Form 4.” Many CLEO’s are reluctant, or refuse, to sign the form either for political reasons or concern about potential liability. If your chief refuses to sign, and you do not have an NFA trust, you will not be allowed to purchase any NFA weapons.
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A Class 3 license is a license that a dealer obtains to sell Title II Firearms. Many individuals incorrectly confuse the terms Class 3 and Title II. We even see some lawyers making the same mistake. Class 3 SOT is a license to sell. Title II is classification of firearm that a Class 3 SOT may sell.

Title II firearms include silencers, short barrel rifles or shotguns, machine guns, AOWs and destructive devices.

So the answer is no! You do not need a Class 3 license to buy a silencer or other Title II firearm unless you are a dealer and wanting to purchase them for resale. If your documents do not use the correct terms, the people who wrote them may not understand the NFA, ATF and issues relating to the purchase, possession, transfer, and use of Title II firearms.

Yesterday I read on Military Times that the American Silencer Association recently met with some unnamed people in congress and visited the ATF. Below is a video of their trip. Warning its a little long at over 7 minutes and has a lot of unnecessary footage of doorways, buildings and walking. You can skip to 1:25 if you want to see where the content starts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VTZO3pVsAA Joshua Prince wrote a little review of the video on his Pennsylvania Gun Trust Blog where he noticed something that I missed. While many have been talking about the ATF removing the CLEO requirement it has not happened yet. While the CLEO removal would be nice, many would not understand the full benefits if there was not a CLEO requirement for individuals.

Joshua points out that the ASA also points out that since individuals also require fingerprints, and photographs unlike Gun Trusts that it might be possible to start eFiling Form 4 Submissions in the near future. (For those who do not want to watch the 7 minute video, skip to 3 minutes and 4 seconds )

DEFIANCE_HPS_GSCK45ACP.jpgI saw this several years ago at the SHOT Show and it looked very interesting. It looks like Defiance setup manufacturing in the US to be able to sell the silencer in the United States.

Nyon, Switzerland (July 2012) – DEFIANCE®, a manufacturer of optimized accessories for operators and professionals, announce the release of the first DEFIANCE® Suppressor designed for the use with the KRISS® Vector family of firearms and is compatible with all KRISS® SMG, SBR and SDP firearms (supports M16x1 LH threaded .45 ACP models).

The DEFIANCE® HPS 4GSK Cal. 45 ACP incorporates an internal baffle system consisting of two steel and three aluminum baffles strategically stacked to minimize sound and maximize suppressor service life.

We often get asked if one should put all of their firearms in a Gun Trust or not? Like most legal questions the answer is usually “it depends”. All of our Gun Trusts are designed to hold all of your firearms and any real gun trust should be designed for all of your firearms.

With that being said we have seen many documents marketed as gun trusts or NFA gun trusts that are not really designed for NFA much less any firearm. Some which appear to be designed for firearms strictly limit the property or assets that they can hold to NFA firearms.

This is a mistake and any trust you use to hold firearms should be designed to hold all types of firearms, ammunition, and other firearms related items like scopes or optics.

We often get requests for referrals and while we keep the information on our clients confidential we recently had a client send us and email which they gave us permission to publish. Andrew originally purchase a trust from a local attorney because of a recommendation based upon price and it was not until months later that he found out about gun trusts and how a gun trust is very different from a regular trust.

Often times people will ask me, “How much money should I spend on a gun for self-defense?”. I usually respond by asking, “How much is your life worth?”. The implication is that one would typically want a good insurance policy if they are insuring something of great value & should not cut corners in an effort to save a few bucks. I should have applied the same principle to setting up my NFA Gun Trust.

I initially went with another law firm to draft my Trust because the price was very cheap & because the lawyer represented a known SOT/Class 3 dealer. The first Trust that was drafted for me was nothing more than a standard Trust. It was 3 pages long including the cover sheet & did not mention the NFA, ATF, Form 1, Form 4, Form 5, Form 20 or even that the items to be held by the Trust should not be accessible to “prohibited persons” or minors. I e-mailed Mr. Goldman of Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC to inquire about having a true NFA Gun Trust drafted.

Closing arguments are about to happen for a trial of three men in Alaska. Schaeffer Cox and two others are charged with, among other crimes, possessing and making an unregistered silencer and possessing an unregistered machine gun.

Defense attorneys will argue Wednesday that their clients acted in self-defense as they took up arms to protect Cox at public appearances, including an interview at North Pole television and radio station KJNP.

Defense attorneys also will claim Wednesday that their clients were entrapped by the government’s primary informer on the case, militia member Gerald “J.R.” Olson, who agreed to work undercover in exchange for consideration on another criminal case.

texascle.jpgMany Lawyers are asking about Gun Trust CLE, I have been working with the Texas Bar on their Firearms Law Seminar. We will be providing some information on Gun Trusts which will be available soon. Attached is the seminar brochure. If you are in Texas they will be covering many topics related to dealing with firearms in the practice of law.

Course Highlights:

  • Firearms Trusts / Gun Trusts – David M. Goldman
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