Understanding Gun Trusts

A Trust is like a living will. It is set up to pass property on to specified individuals when the owner dies. A person places the ownership of a specific property in their trust and no longer legally owns that property—the trust owns it. The advantage of a Trust when it comes to suppressors is that the owner can name several Trustees, any one of whom can legally possess the items owned by the trust!

If you want to allow specific people, such as your spouse, siblings, children, or close friends, to possess and use your silencers legally, you can create and execute a trust that complies with the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act. By naming them as trustees in the trust, they will be authorized to possess the silencers owned by the trust.

The biggest downside to a trust is the complexity of having multiple people file the responsible Person forms when new silencers (or SBRS, SBSs, or other NFA items) are added to the Trust.  The more people and the more forms, the greater the probability of filing errors and rejection.

While NFA Gun Trusts are valid and work in all 50 states of the US, it’s important to note that possessing or transporting certain Title II firearms within the boundaries of any particular state depends on the laws of that specific state. Eight states, as well as Washington, D.C., do not allow private possession of silencers within their state boundaries. The fact that they are owned by a trust doesn’t change that.

Advantages of a Gun Trust

Using an NFA Gun Trust has many advantages, making it an excellent solution for most people interested in buying NFA items. You can add specific family members as Trustees of the Trust as long as they are legally allowed to own, possess, and control such firearms. But, if someone is in possession of an NFA item from the Trust and isn’t listed as a trustee of that Trust, that would not be legal. Adding trusted parties to your Trust is usually straightforward, as is removing Trustees. But it all comes down to how your Trust is drafted and established. One big plus of a Trust is that they’re drafted as revocable trusts, meaning you can change them when you want or if the need arises, and it can be pretty easy to do so. 

Plus, if you pass away, having a Trust will let your estates bypass probate for your firearms and other things, keeping your stuff from becoming a matter of public record.

Additional Details

A Gun Trust doesn’t just protect the NFA items you bought with it. It can also include non-NFA items like handguns, shotguns, rifles, family heirlooms, or other property. Moving firearms into a Trust is pretty simple, like listing the items on a scheduled document at the end of the Trust. Once they’re in, they get the same protections as an NFA item.

IMPORTANT NOTE; If you file for your NFA items as an individual and later decide that you want an NFA Trust for your collection, you’ll need to apply for another Tax Stamp to move each item into the Trust. That means you are repaying the $200 Tax Stamp for each NFA firearm you want to move to the Trust. So, BEFORE you buy, decide whether you want to own the silencer individually or whether you want your trust to own the silencer!

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