Updating Your Gun Trust

Since 2016, when Rule 41F was adopted, the ATF’s NFA Division has continued to refine the application of Rule 41F to gun trust language. Even previously approved gun trust language for pending or new NFA applications must be adjusted each time this occurs. This does not affect previously approved NFA transfers. Also, keep in mind that changes in State law similarly affect how a trust functions.

Our trust system was completely revised and updated in 2016. We have continued to tweak it for federal and state law changes in 2018 and 2019. We recommend that anyone who has one of our gun trusts take some time to review our website about changes in federal and state firearms law.

Rule 41F is applied more strictly to trusts under 41F than other entities such as corporations and LLCs. The Rule created a definition of a “Responsible Person” (RP). An RP is an person with control of or an ability to possess an NFA firearm. An RP must submit a Form 23 with photos and fingerprints and undergo a background check with every new NFA application. The express intent of the Rule was expressly to prevent trust drafters from avoiding this requirement.

The most recent federal issue involves the Lifetime Beneficiaries section of your Gun Trust refers to individuals that you might share an NFA firearm with. Under the Rule, NFA Division treats them as “Responsible Persons” since they might jointly possess an NFA firearm with you or any current Trustee. We worked closely with NFA Division attorneys to develop the fix in January 2019 but even so another tweak was required in July 2019.

While the change in language is minor, it affects our trusts or amendments signed prior to July 2019. Amendment is recommended for trusts dated mid-2016 and later. Restatement is recommended for trusts dated earlier than 2016. And please remember that previously approved applications do not require that you amend or restate your trust… unless you decide to file a new NFA application.

Current gun trusts have the new language. An Amendment is available for download. Our updated language makes clear that only the Grantor/Trustee (or you and your spouse if you have a joint gun trust) are Responsible Persons in the Gun Trust document. Be careful of appointing other Trustees, though while you have an application pending. They would be Responsible Persons!

Please tell us when you created your Gun Trust with Northwest Gun Law Group and what type of Gun Trust you created? Based on your selection, you will be automatically directed to the appropriate page where you can get your update.

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