How Gun Trusts Can Work For You

The federal government has enacted a series of laws including the National Firearms Act (the “NFA”), Gun Control Act and Firearms Owners Protection Act (collectively, the “Gun Laws”).  The basic premise of the Gun Laws are to regulate registering and transferring certain firearms.  Specifically, Title II regulates (among other types):

Antique Firearms

Destructive Devices (bombs, explosives, grenades, mines and missiles)

Machineguns

Short-Barreled Rifles

Short-Barreled Shotguns

Silencers

(collectively, “Title II Guns”).  See 26 U.S.C. § 5845.  Title II Guns in particular are subject to strenuous requirements.

 

Hence, the problem – strenuous requirements.  And, the solution – gun trusts.  Essentially, the gun trust itself is the registered owner of the Title II Gun for NFA purposes.  Then, any trustee of the gun trust can possess and use that Title II Gun, and, any beneficiary in the presence and guidance of a trustee.  This is specifically contemplated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“BATFE”) who defines a ‘Person’ capable of registration as “A partnership, company, association, TRUST, estate, or corporation, as well as a natural person.”  See 27 C.F.R. 479.11 (emphasis added).  Like most other trusts, there are three parties involved:

Grantor – The person who sets up the trust.

Trustee – The person entrusted with carrying out the intent of the trust.

Beneficiaries – The person or persons who will receive the trust property upon

death of the Grantor.

 

There are several benefits to a gun trust:

1)      Confidentially – Only BATFE; the grantor/trustee/beneficiaries; and attorney who prepares the gun trust know of the gun trust.  It’s not recorded in the public records.

2)      Flexibility – Again, like most trusts, the gun trust can be amended to adapt to new circumstances.

3)      Less Stress than a Business Entity – Business entities, such as a corporation or limited liability company, are required to pay annual dues and other operating measures.  A gun trust does not.  Therefore, there is less upkeep than the alternatives.

4)      Multiple Guns – Several guns can be included in a gun trust, making it especially appealing for gun collectors.

5)      Multiple Parties – Under the gun trust several people can legally possess and use the Title II Guns.

6)      Requirements – Many NFA requirements are lessened or altogether inapplicable (i.e. obtaining the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer).

7)      Revocation – Dovetailing off of flexibility, the gun trust can be revoked altogether to adapt.

 

Needless to say, you want to establish your gun trust correctly to comply with the Gun Laws, state laws (i.e. Florida Statutes § 790.001 et seq.) and even local laws regarding guns and trusts.  But, beyond the obvious, you want to establish your gun trust correctly for a variety of concerns – bankruptcy, creditors, divorce and estate planning purposes are just a few.  If you’re interested in establishing a gun trust, please contact Perry Law for further discussion.