ATF 41F — Update

Below is a slightly revised version of an e-mail I just sent my gun trust clients:

We finally know the effective date of the ATF’s new rules regarding gun trusts, responsible persons, and other related matters. That date is Wednesday, July 13, 2016.

Once the new rules become effective, gun trust grantor/trustees will be a responsible person and thus subject to the new photo/finger prints/CLEO notification (not signature) requirements. So will any co-trustees they appoint–though it appears that can be fixed by limiting the powers of those co-trusees. (I’ll keep you all posted on this.IMG_2331 I’m waiting on further guidance from the BATFE.) Mind you, the photo/finger print/notification are only required at the time of a new transaction.

Beneficiaries and successor trustees should not be considered responsible persons under the new rules.

FWIW, I think gun trusts come out well in spite of the new rules. No, you don’t need a gun trust to avoid the CLEO signature requirement, but they still allow trustees to share the trust’s NFA items. In addition, a well-drafted gun trust provides guidance to trustees and to successor trustees on how to handle firearms properly, so they can avoid the “incidental felony.” Finally, the whole process of setting up a gun trust and then administering it forces grantor trustees to consider how they are going to distribute/handle their firearms upon their death and incapacity. These last two reasons have lead me to think that gun trusts are actually a safety measure and an aid to more responsible gun use and ownership.

In short, I continue to think people who have gun trusts–my clients, at least–made a good decision to set one up.

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