One big advantage to a gun trust in Colorado is to simplify the use, purchase and transfer of NFA Firearms. NFA Firearms include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, suppressors or “silencers”, destructive devices, and Any Other Weapons (AOWs). Under current federal law, to obtain these items as an individual, a person must submit fingerprints, a photograph, pay a $200.00 application fee, and obtain the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in the jurisdiction in which they reside. The problem is, many Chief Law Enforcement Officers are reluctant to sign off on the applications, making it impossible to acquire these firearms. If an entity (such as a Gun Trust) purchases or has an NFA Firearm transferred to it, they can bypass this step and apply directly to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).*
Regardless of the NFA rules regarding gun trusts, there are many other good reasons to use a gun trust. Gun trusts are designed for the specific purpose of holding firearms. They give detailed instructions to trustees and beneficiaries as to the firearms laws and how to legally use, possess and transfer all types of firearms. While federal law regulates the possession and transfer of certain firearms, each state can have very different laws regarding possession and transfer. Not knowing these laws and accidentally violating them can result in criminal penalties, sometimes very severe. A gun trust can help define these terms and ensure that you don’t commit an “accidental felony”. A gun trust can also provide additional benefits, such as:
-Gun Trusts are easy to create, amend and maintain;
-Since a Gun Trust is a trust, it avoids probate on the transfer of firearms at death;
-Other than NFA firearms (or other firearms that are required to be registered or documented publicly), only those people you trust and choose to share with will know what firearms you own or how you plan to transfer them upon death or incapacity;
-It may protect your weapons from future changes in the law and, at the very least, can be easily amended to comply with changes in the law and protect your loved ones from inadvertent violations of the law;
-There is no registration or annual fee requirements.
We have found that most gun owners want to safely and legally enjoy their freedom to own, use, possess and enjoy their firearms, while maintaining their privacy to the greatest extent possible. A gun trust can help to accomplish these goals and provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your firearms will be handled appropriately both during your life and upon your death. Whether a gun trust is right for you depends on many factors, but gun laws are changing rapidly, and the need for firearms planning is becoming increasingly more important. As is so often the case, the irresponsible actions of a few can seriously impact the rights of the majority of responsible people. Our goal is to help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner and help you to preserve and protect your right to responsible gun ownership. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at any time. We can discuss the current laws, how they affect you, and what options you may have to protect yourself and your loved ones.
* Unfortunately, there is a federal rule that has been proposed that, if adopted, will change the CLEO requirement. It is currently slated for review again in January 2016. If passed, this will impact the way gun trusts can be used with NFA Firearms. We are keeping abreast of this rule in order to best determine how it is likely to impact gun owners and gun trusts.
This content is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Complex legal issues may be stated as general concepts. Consult legal counsel before acting on any advice contained in this content.