An NFA gun trust is an estate planning legal document allowing for the purchase, possession and sale of NFA (Class 3) weapons such as machine guns, submachine guns, suppressors (also known as “silencers”) and destructive devices.
An NFA gun trust is a distinct legal entity. The trust purchases the NFA firearm or items, not the individual. Therefore, chief law enforcement official, or “CLEO,” approval is not required because the purchaser is not an individual.
One NFA gun trust is usually all that is needed because it can acquire, possess and dispose of more than one NFA item. ATF Form 4 is used to transfer items into the trust. A bill of sale is used with non-NFA firearms and other valued items (such as coins and artwork) to transfer to and from the trust.
The NFA gun trust is usually created as a revocable trust. In other words, trustees and beneficiaries can be changed at any time and Class 3 items and other property can be placed in the trust, held in the trust and removed from the trust. Transfers to/from the trust must be properly documented in writing.
More jurisdictions allow for the use of suppressors while hunting and those who enjoy hunting, target practice, 3-gun, etc. and realigning the role suppressors play in protecting one’s hearing. How many times have you moved away from one of the ranges because the boom, crack and muzzle blast from their firearm made for a less than pleasant range experience?
Suppressor sales are on the rise and many FFL/SOT dealers offer, as part of the suppressor sale process, a basic fill-in-the-blanks, one-size-fits-all trust agreement as part of the sales price or for a nominal charge.
A gun shop owner may sell items that require a gun trust, but they may not have been educated, trained or licensed to do so. Even if they present you with documents to sign, they don’t necessarily afford you the protections of a gun trust. If the trust forms at the gun shop are not above board, it plunges you into a world of uncertainty that could have adverse legal implications for you and the gun shop.
Attorney John Stuart can help you avoid the pitfalls associated with the one-size-fits-all gun trusts. Careful consideration is given to each client’s overall estate planning goals and plans. John will account for how long you want the gun trust to last and if the assets of the trust beneficiaries can be shielded from creditors. These are some of the issues the other gun trusts often do not address. Wagner Stuart takes these and other issues into consideration for its clients and drafts the appropriate gun trust to meet the clients requirements.
Effective July 13, 2016, a new rule affecting how gun trusts acquire Class 3 items will dictate the way gun trusts are to be prepared and submitted. The rule change is not retroactive. NFA items purchased by valid gun trusts prior to July 13, 2016 will not be affected. One of the reasons behind the new rule is to stop prohibited individuals, who may be listed as responsible persons in gun trusts from getting NFA items.
The new rule adds a definition for the term “responsible person” and requires each responsible person of a gun trust to submit photographs, fingerprints and complete a specified form. It also requires notice to the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO).
The ATF wants evidence establishing that each responsible person on the gun trust is entitled to have NFA items under his/her control and possession.
Background investigations by the ATF will take place on the responsible persons of a gun trust. Once the ATF is satisfied and issues its approval if another ATF Form 1 or ATR Form 4 is submitted within 24 months it will not be necessary for the responsible persons to again provide fingerprints and photographs.
Contact Wagner Stuart about your options when it comes to setting up a gun trust in Tulsa, OK. We can help you enjoy your interest in NFA items while knowing this important estate planning document fits your requirements, is valid and not a one-size-fits-all gun trust. Wagner Stuart, PLLC can navigate the new requirements along with the preparation of a valid gun trust designed specifically for your needs.