Firearms Law
Estate Planning
Equine Law

What is a Gun Trust?

A Gun Trust is a revocable living trust that becomes the legal owner of any firearms purchased by it or transferred to it. As the description implies, it can be revoked at any time and amended for any reason. Gun Trusts have gained popularity over the past several years for purchasers of NFA weapons (suppressors, machine guns, short barreled rifles, etc.) due to the increasing reluctance of elected Chief Law Enforcement Officers to sign off on a citizen owning such “menacing” things.

A Gun Trust, however, is not solely for NFA weapons. A well designed Gun Trust will own all firearms and related accessories in your home. There are many reasons to place your firearms into a Gun Trust (that’s a whole other blog post, though). The Grantor (usually the main person who is interested in purchasing the firearms) gives authority to one or more Trustees (one of which will be the Grantor himself) to manage the firearms in the Gun Trust. The Gun Trust provides the Trustees with guidance on the legalities of handling, storing, and transferring the weapons. Thus, Gun Trusts are ideal for those firearm owners who live with a spouse or family member who is not familiar with guns and the laws regulating them.

Often, when defining what something is, it is helpful to make clear what it is not. A Gun Trust is not a device whose purpose is to allow people to skirt past federal firearm regulations. Recently, Gun Trusts have come under fire (get it?) for the ability to bypass current regulations that require purchaser of NFA weapon to be fingerprinted, photographed, and obtain the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) of their city or parish (there is a rule proposal that would require the CLEO’s signature even for a Gun Trust to purchase the items). As usual, however, some people just don’t understand that criminals will buy guns on the street at half price and certainly will not hire an attorney to draft a Gun Trust.

A Gun Trust is a tool, that when properly drafted and used allows gun owners to more easily acquire NFA weapons and rest assured that they are abiding by all of the complicated federal gun laws that pertain to NFA and non-NFA weapons.

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