Justin Jeppesen: New Law Affecting Guns and Gun Trusts

Do you have a Gun Trust? On July 13, 2016 ATF Rule 41F goes into effect and it will have a substantial effect on Gun Trusts. The new rule will affect both the language needed in the drafting phase and the administration of the Trust after creation.

A gun trust can be used to hold weapons and ammunition for the benefit of beneficiaries, or it can be used to transfer weapons and ammunition. Typically, a gun trust was used under the old rule to avoid some of the licensing and reporting requirements placed on an individual. While gun trusts can be used for conventional firearms, the gun trust enthusiast usually owns NFA regulated weapons and ammunition, including machine guns, destructive devices, sound suppressors (commonly referred to as “silencers”), short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and “any other weapons”. Although “any other weapons” is further defined, it essentially includes all weapons that are not conventional firearms.

The new law revises important definitions, licensing requirements, includes additional reporting requirements, and changes some rules regarding the transfer of trust assets.

My understanding of the purpose for the new law is to increase reporting requirements and limit who can use or benefit from the use of ATF regulated firearms. Remember, this change does not affect conventional firearms.

While much of the law adds clarification and increases protection, it can result in an increased risk for one accidental felony, which relates to the new licensing and reporting requirements.

If you have a Gun Trust, or expect to create a Gun Trust in the near future, you are encouraged to contact a licensed attorney to review or create your Gun Trust and ensure that it accommodates ATF Rule 41F.