By Mike Steck
Many people are just now realizing that owning a silencer is legal and one of the most enjoyable additions to any gun collection. Shooting subsonic loads in 9mm, 45 ACP and 300 Blackout is sure to be a crowd pleaser! There are three ways that you can go about purchasing a suppressor: under your name as an individual, as a corporation and as a trust. This article will spell out the top five reasons why you should own your National Firearms Act (“NFA”) suppressor in an NFA trust.
Responsible. Owning your suppressor in an NFA trust is the most responsible means of ownership. Without an NFA trust in place, when you pass away, your family will be left with your suppressor and they may inadvertently commit a felony by possessing your suppressor. ATF regulations state when you pass away, your estate has a “reasonable” amount of time to apply for a transfer after your passing. That all sounds fine but what usually happens is that Dad didn’t talk to Mom about what was in the safe, Dad passes away, nobody knows just how serious it is that the ATF needs to be informed and have the paperwork filled out for a transfer. Also, nobody at ATF has defined just how long a reasonable amount of time is – it’s probably a few days, not several months or even years as I have seen on multiple occasions. The NFA trust creates a safe harbor of ownership and protects your family.
Multiple Trustees. Many people appreciate the ability to add multiple people to the trust, which allows those trustees to be in lawful possession of the NFA firearm. Under normal circumstances, only the person on the form from the ATF are allowed to be in sole possession of the NFA item. With a trust, all those that you add as trustees can take lawful possession without you being there.
Less work. When you own your suppressor in a trust, there is less work involved with getting this item. Without a trust, an individual is required to get fingerprinted, get photos done and get the local chief of police to sign off on the application. From personal experience, my first suppressor law enforcement signature took about 3 weeks and numerous phone calls to the police agency to sign off on the paperwork. Imagine that headache with each suppressor, SBR or other NFA purchase you’ll do over your lifetime.
Estate Planning Protections. Something I talk about with my clients when setting up the NFA trust are the advantages of moving your non-NFA firearms into the trust. Personally, I have two younger children. If my wife and I were killed in a car accident, I would want to know that my children would have this estate planning protection in place so they can take lawful possession of my firearms when they come of age.
Gun Grab Protections. While the exact provisions of the Feinstein Gun Grab are not finalized as the legislation is moving its way through Congress, there is strong evidence to support that owning your firearms in an NFA trust would protect your firearms against a government gun grab. Basically, the Feinstein Gun Grab seeks to prevent you from transferring your firearms during your lifetime and at your death. Your trust will out live you and your family and owning your firearms in an NFA trust could very well be the best protection against any unconstitutional gun grab.
These are a few of the many benefits to owning NFA firearms in an NFA trust. If you are just getting started, I recommend that you start with the NFA trust first. Then begin the process of bringing items into the trust. If you are a seasoned NFA collector, you can get the trust setup and move the firearms to your trust as you are able. Whatever your situation may be, please feel free to ask a question in the comments below!