27 Aug Son of a Gun – is there really such a thing as a Gun Trust?
Although the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives the fundamental right to own a firearm, the National Firearms Act of 1936 regulates NFA firearms including, but not limited to, all fully automatic and select fire weapons, short-barreled rifles, shotguns and sound suppressors (silencers). If permitted under state law, you can own an NFA firearm. However, you have to pay a $200 tax on each firearm and you have to register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Furthermore, unless you acquire them through a trust or other entity, you have to obtain the consent of your chief of police (which some may be reluctant to do). Failure to do so could result in criminal prosecution, a fine and the confiscation of the firearm(s).
As a result, to make it easier (in addition to privacy reasons) to transfer not only NFA firearms, but any guns, to family members if you die or become disabled, some create trusts (generally revocable) so that such firearms pass outside the probate system. These trusts are different than typical revocable or living trusts as they must have special provisions that deal with firearms such as how to handle transfers to minors and that the firearms should not be accessible to “prohibited” persons. If the trust is set up incorrectly, then a beneficiary could find himself or herself of being illegally in possession of an NFA firearm and thus being subjected to criminal prosecution and a large fine in addition to having the firearm(s)confiscated.
For more information on creating a trust, or avoiding probate please contact our Dallas office at (214)720-0102.