ATF 41P Becomes 41F: And the final answer is . . . .

So Attorney General Loretta Lynch put her pen to paper yesterday, and the ATF’s proposed rule 41P became its final rule 41F–with modifications. Here’s my first take: There’s best news, good news, and bad news. 

The best news is two-fold: 1. the final rule does not become effective until 180 days after its publication in the Federal Register, and 2. the final rule eliminates the need for your local CLEO’s signature, though it does require notification of the CLEO.

The good news is that your existing NFA gun trust remains an effective tool for managing and sharing your NFA arms, especially for the next 180 days, but even after that–assuming it’s drafted properly. Given that the effective date is at least 180 days off, you should be able to purchase and handle your NFA firearms as you have in the past–assuming, of course, that you’ve done that legally–for at least the next six months.

The bad news is that the new rule, besides eliminating the CLEO signature requirement, also introduces a new definition– “responsible person” –into the mix. Persons in a trust and other legal entities (LLCs etc.) who meet the definition of a “responsible person” will need to undergo a background check, including providing fingerprints and photo, whenever they purchase or transfer an NFA item, much like individuals do now.

The term “responsible person” very clearly includes the Grantor/Trustee. It somewhat less clearly does not include many or most beneficiaries. Thus, if you’re the grantor and trustee of your NFA trust, you will clearly be a “responsible person” when the rule becomes effective; your beneficiaries will probably not.

As for persons you may appoint as co-trustees, for the moment, they occupy a grey area–again, when the rule becomes effective. The rule itself seems quite clear, but much of the ATF commentary that accompanies the rule muddies the water (the rule and commentary run 248 pages, only 10 of which are part of the actual rule). I want to study the document and resulting issues more thoroughly before I give my final answer on the “muddier” questions.

So consider this a heads up. I’ll keep you informed as things and my thinking develop. But to repeat: the effective date of the rule is at least 180 days out, so those with an existing NFA trust have plenty of time to adjust things if needed.

 

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