ATF 41 F — The Official Document

I don’t think I ever posted a link to the official (or at least, the official looking) ATF 41 F as it appeared in the Federal Register. Here it is.

To refresh your memory, ATF 41F affects the firearms trusts (aka gun trusts and NFA trusts). It goes into effect on July 13, 2016. Until then, firearms trusts are the most effective and least intrusive way for you to purchase NFA items, including suppressors or silencers–in my humble opinion. After July 13, 2016, I think firearms trusts remain the best way to purchase those items, for most–but not all–the same reasons. Again, in my humble opinion.

No, the CLEO’s signature on individual applications will no longer be required, and

Yes, so-called “responsible persons” will be required to provide fingerprints and photographs, BUT

-Firearms trusts set up a structure that protects against unwise and often uninformed use/misuse of NFA firearms while you’re alive, misuse that can result in severe penalties and fines, and

-Firearms trusts establish a framework for sharing NFA items while you’re alive, a framework not available to people who purchase NFA items in their capacity as individuals, and

-Firearms trusts provide a mechanism for distributing your prized firearms to your beneficiaries when you die, again without running afoul of the law.

No, for my money, a well-drafted firearms trust remains the best way to purchase NFA firearms, now and after July 13, 2016.

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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