Legal Insight. Business Instinct.

Gun Trusts

My dad recently sent out a family-wide email wanting to know which of his five boys had an interest in his guns when his time on this earth ended. My immediate reaction was not, “I want the bazooka,” but rather “Is dad about to die?” You see my dad is the type of guy that could be terminally ill and he would not tell anyone about it. In this case, he was healthy but really did want to know whom he should transfer his guns to. To his credit, he was trying to take care of things ahead of time (hopefully many-many years ahead of time). Some of the guns in question were owned by his father and have great sentimental value.

My dad’s inquiry caused me to think about the best way to transfer the guns. Federal and state gun control laws contain many prohibitions on the transfer and possession of guns. My dad lives in Washington and some of his sons, including me, reside out of state. We would be dealing with interstate transfers. Having missed 36 years of NRA meetings, I was not intimately familiar with federal gun transfer laws, but I knew enough to know that interstate transfers are problematic and often times illegal. There is a legal solution to this problem – gun trusts.

Gun trusts are designed to allow for the access and transfer of firearms without dealing with unnecessary red tape. Similar to trusts set up for the purposes of estate planning, a gun trust is established specifically to deal with guns, silencers, or other weapons subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act. A gun trust can protect you from unnecessary and unintended law-breaking while allowing you to transfer guns to those you desire.

Gun trusts are also helpful in dealing with situations in which you want to allow others to have shared access to your guns. Due to federal regulation, even allowing access can be problematic. The problems of federal regulation are solvable with a gun trust.

Unlike Lieutenant Commander Galloway from A Few Good Men, I was not sick the day they taught law at law school. However, I must admit I am no expert on the particulars of lawfully transferring firearms or drafting gun trusts. There are local attorneys who can assist you in dealing with your guns including my partner, Michael Brown. Not only an excellent tennis player with a defensive game akin to Novak Djokovic, Michael is an accomplished estate planner who can assist you in drafting a gun trust.

Do not let the potential for federal interference obstruct your desire to carry on the legacy of your guns. Get a gun trust. By doing so you will be able to trust that your guns will be safe for generations to come.

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