If you are a gun collector, or maybe just a gun owner, you may be wondering, what is the best way to pass on your firearms to your heirs? You may have even heard of a gun trusts, a specific type of trust meant to hold ownership of firearms. A gun trust can be beneficial in handling the inheritance of certain types of weapons, especially those that are governed by federal and state regulations. At the very least, you want to keep your heirs from inadvertently violating the law.
Relevant federal firearms regulations
Whether it is necessary to place certain weapons in a gun trust depends on the type of weapon and whether it is regulated. There are two federal laws that might apply: National Firearms Act: NFA weapons include machine guns, silencers, short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns (including sawed-off shotguns), grenades, and other similar weapons.
- Gun Control Act: Title II of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which revised the NFA.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, more commonly referred to as the ATF, is the law enforcement agency in the United States’ Department of Justice that is responsible for investigating and preventing federal offenses that involve alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. The ATF also regulates the sale, possession, and transportation of these items. Some of the resources provided through the ATF include the following:
- National Firearms Act Handbook: This handbook is primarily for the use of individuals in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing in firearms defined by the NFA or persons intending to go into that business. It can also be helpful to collectors of NFA firearms and other persons having questions about the application of the NFA.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Answers to frequently asked questions regarding firearms
Registration requirements for NFA weapons
Under federal law, NFA weapons are required to have a serial number and be registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commonly referred to as the ATF. An NFA firearm can only be possessed and used by the registered owner. For this reason, special arrangements need to be made in order to pass these weapons on to someone else. If such a weapon has not already been registered, it cannot later be registered and is illegal to own. To transfer a registered firearm, the owner must obtain ATF approval and pay a $200 tax on most transfers. It also requires receiving permission from the local chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) and being fingerprinted and photographed.
Nevada Gun Owner Resources
- Nevada Carry: This website provides up-to-date information on gun laws and gun-rights news in Nevada.
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: The Law Center’s mission is to reduce the incidents of gun violence in the United States, providing resources on firearms law in the country.
Advantages of a gun trust
There are several advantages to utilizing a gun trust. First, the trust can help you to avoid certain federal transfer requirements. For example, if you name more than one trustee of your gun trust, each of those individuals will have the right to possess or use the trust firearms. Also, you can draft your trust in a way that it remains in effect after your death. Since the firearms remain in the trust at your death, the need to transfer those firearms is avoided. In other words, your heirs will not be required to pay the $200 transfer tax and other complete the other transfer requirements.
New Background Check Requirements
On January 4, 2016, the Attorney General signed ATF Final Rule 41F, Machineguns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Trust or Legal Entity With Respect To Making or Transferring a Firearm. This Final Rule amends the regulations regarding the making or transferring of a firearm under the NFA. The purpose of the final rule is to ensure that the identification and background check requirements apply equally to individuals, trusts, and legal entities who apply to make or receive NFA firearms.
Forms related to Final Rule 41F
- ATF Form 5320.23: National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire
- ATF Form 5320.1: Application to Make and Register a Firearm
- ATF Form 5320.4: Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm
- ATF Form 5320.5: Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm
- Order Forms and Fingerprint Cards
If you have questions regarding gun ownership laws, gun trusts, or any other estate planning issues, please contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (775) 823-9455.