It is now legal to hunt in Montana with a Suppressor.  On April 23rd, 2015, Gov. Steve Bullock signed House Bill 250, legalizing the use of suppressors for all lawful hunting in Montana. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kirk Wagoner (R-75), originally pertained only to the use of a suppressed firearm “when hunting wildlife not protected by state or federal law”. However, on March 27th, Gov. Bullock’s returned HB 250 to the legislature with proposed amendments that sought to expand the scope of the legislation to allow the use of a suppressor on a firearm during all lawful hunting.

Mr Bullock previously vetoed a similar bill in 2013,  but explained the recent signing by stating:

“It is time for Montana to join the clear majority of states that allow the use of suppressors for hunting. All of the western states do so, except for California. The public perception of suppressors as the same thing as silencers, where the assassin quietly dispatches his victim, no longer holds true. Suppressors mitigate the sound of a shot, but do not silence it.

The use of suppressors for hunting, when hunters cannot wear ear protection because they need to be aware of their surroundings, can help protect against hearing loss. This is especially true for our younger hunters, even those who are not actually hunting, but are accompanying their parent in the field.

I understand the concerns regarding the risks of increased poaching and do not take this lightly, but other states have not found this to be the case.”

Montana has become the 35 state to permit hunting with suppressors without restrictions and the 36th state to permit hunting with a suppressor.    The use of a Gun Trust can simply the process or purchasing a suppressor and permit additional authorized users, which is not possible when purchased as an individual.  If you are looking for a Montana Gun Trust or Montana NFA trust contact us for further information on the process.

Continue reading

In the April 27th issue of Bullet Points, the NSSF wrote the following update

NO IMPLEMENTATION YET SEEN FOR NOTICE 41P AS FINAL RULE . . . NSSF has confirmed with ATF that the bureau is unlikely to publish Notice 41P (NFA Trusts) as a Final Rule for quite some time. This is in part because EPS resources are being diverted to help process the 310,000 public comments received in response to the armor piercing ammunition framework proposal. In addition, it seems ATF has not prepared to revise the NFA database so that it can track “responsible persons” for NFA trusts. The proposed rule would require the responsible person(s) on an NFA Trust be fingerprinted.

This seems consistent with the statements made by the ATF at the Annual Firearms Seminar in Nashville earlier this month when we reported on many of the statements ATF made including poorly written trusts.  Remember, a properly written gun trust should give you and others involved with the trust guidance what you can and can’t do instead of leave it up to the individual to determine what to do.

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.

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.

While at the NRA Firearms Law Seminar in Nashville,  ATF ‘s attorney William Ryan made some interesting comments about the ATF, NFA, GCA and Gun Trusts:

  1. A trust can be a beneficiary of a will or other trust and obtain a tax free transfer using a Form 5 if the trust or will is drafted correctly.
  2. A Trust can be a beneficiary of a will if there is an order from the probate court directing the distribution to a trust, otherwise one might have to transfer to an individual on a Form 5 and then pay $200 to transfer items to a trust.

We are often asked about people who are not U.S. Citizens and their ability to be involved with a gun trust, purchase NFA firearms, or use NFA firearms.

Those who are not citizens are separated into two categories: 1) resident aliens and 2) nonimmigrant aliens. A resident alien is a person who is not a citizen of the United States, but has become a permanent resident of the United States.   A nonimmigrant alien is generally a tourist, student, business traveler, or temporary worker who enters the U.S. for a fixed period of time. They are lawfully in the United States, but not lawfully a permanent resident.

Nonimmigrant aliens lawfully admitted to the United States without a visa are not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition, provided they meet State of residency requirements and are not otherwise a prohibited person. As such, they are qualified to be a Trustee of a Gun Trust and in possession of an NFA firearm as long as they are not prohibited and meet the State residency requirements.

Nonimmigrant aliens lawfully admitted to the United States with a visa may purchase or possess a firearm in the United States only if they meet one of the following qualifications: Continue reading

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.

 

On March 23rd, Ohio repealed the prohibition on the use of legally possessed suppressors while hunting.  Ohio has become the 35th state to permit hunters to use legally possessed suppressors while hunting.  IN 2014 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana all enacted legislation to permit the use of suppressors while hunting.  Ohio also enacted Shall Sign legislation.

Among the many benefits, to using suppressors are:

  1. HEARING PROTECTION: Noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are two of the most common afflictions for recreational shooters and hunters. Everyone knows that gunfire is loud, but very few people understand the repercussions that shooting can have on their hearing until it’s too late. Suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by an average of 20 – 35 dB, which is roughly the same as earplugs or earmuffs. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters, hunters, and hunting dogs around the world.

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

What’s the Story Behind ATF “Banning” 5.56mm Ammo? (. . . and what can you do about it?)

By Glenn D. Bellamy, Armorer-at-Law®
March 5, 2015

There’s been no shortage of misinformation and hyperbole about an ATF memo released on February 13th reported to “ban AR15 ammo.”  The memo describes a “framework” by which ATF proposes it would consider requests for “sporting purpose” exemptions under the federal statute banning the manufacture, importation or sale (but not possession) of “armor piercing” projectiles.  I’ve searched and research the law and the facts behind it with passion over the last two weeks. I’m tempted to write a legal brief in opposition, or at least to give it a thorough fisking.  But that would bore you and be wasted on the ATF at this point.

Instead, I’ll give you the skinny on what’s going on and the most effective thing(s) you can do about it.

The Skinny

Continue reading

Contact Information