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Gun Trusts: How to Legally Own NFA-Regulated Firearms Without the Hassle

Given the increased push for gun control, it is important to be reminded of our gun ownership rights as United States citizens. While the 2nd amendment to our United States Constitution grants us the right to bear arms, the National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates which firearms we, as citizens, are not allowed to own outright without approval from a chief law enforcement official (CLEO). These include:

  • A shotgun having a barrel/s of less than 18 inches in length;

  • A weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel/s of less than 18 inches in length;

  • A rifle having a barrel/s of less than 15 inches in length;

  • A weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel/s of less than 16 inches in length;

  • Any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e);

  • A machinegun;

  • Any silencer (as defined in section 921 of Title 18, United States Code); and

  • A destructive device.

Unfortunately, many CLEOs refuse to sign off on the certification form, and, as of today, there is no legal way to force a CLEO's approval.

What is the solution?

If an individual owns their NFA firearms in trust, the trust is not required to obtain a CLEO’s approval. A NFA gun trust is a revocable trust (typically) created for the sole purpose of holding firearms regulated by the NFA. By establishing a NFA gun trust, NFA gun owners can retain ownership and control of their firearm collection and successfully distribute the collection to their beneficiaries once they pass. Many citizens are opting for NFA firearm trusts, because they may appoint multiple trustees, all of whom would be able to lawfully possess and use the firearms (which you cannot do with only CLEO approval).

Do you have additional questions about NFA gun trusts? Are you interested in owning an NFA-regulated firearm? Bring your questions to Brittany A. Sloan at Dossey & Jones, PLLC.

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