As many of you are aware, there are new procedures for submitting Form 1 and Form 4 applications as of July 15, 2016. Now that the dust settled we can discuss exactly what those new procedures are for our gun trust clients. I cannot speak for trusts drafted by other law firms so this post relates to our gun trusts here at NFALawyers.com.
There is a new term of art called “responsible persons”. This term is how the ATF complicates the process to obtain NFA weapons. Responsible persons must now submit fingerprints and pictures for gun trust applicants. The ATF defines responsible persons as:
[A]ny individual who possesses, directly or indirectly, the power or authority to direct the management and policies of the trust or entity to receive, possess, ship, transport, deliver, transfer, or otherwise dispose of a firearm for, or on behalf of, the trust or legal entity. In the case of a trust, those persons with the power or authority to direct the management and policies of the trust include any person who has the capability to exercise such power and possesses, directly or indirectly, the power or authority under any trust instrument, or under State law, to receive, possess, ship, transport, deliver, transfer, or otherwise dispose of a firearm for, or on behalf of, the trust. Examples of who may be considered a responsible person include settlors/ grantors, trustees, partners, members, officers, directors, board members, or owners. 27 C.F.R. 479.11.
That is quite a lengthy definition. What does it mean? To put it simply, the following are responsible persons in our gun trust:
- Settlor – The person who created the trust
- Trustees – Think of trustees as managers
- Co-Trustees – Think of co-trustees as co-managers
Therefore, anyone listed as a Settlor, Trustee, or Co-Trustee must submit fingerprints and pictures when applying for an NFA weapon. Beneficiaries do not have to submit fingerprints unless they are also a Trustee or Co-Trustee.
Is there still a benefit to using a gun trust rather than applying as an individual? Absolutely. If you apply as an individual, only you may lawfully possess the NFA weapon. If you leave the weapon in your truck and your wife takes the truck to the grocery store she is in possession of a NFA weapon that is not registered to her. She would be committing a felony. Your family and friends cannot possess the NFA weapon if you applied as an individual.
When you get older you may need to go into assisted living or you may not have the mental faculties to possess NFA weapons. Without a gun trust your family will be in a position of unlawfully taking possession of the weapons unless you have a properly drafted power of attorney and last will and testament.
Additionally, with our gun trust package we provide detailed instructions on how to buy, sell, or make all types of NFA weapons. You will receive sample forms. We also send amendments so you may change your co-trustees, beneficiaries, or your address at any time. Feel free to call us with any questions if you are interested in a gun trust.