The Legal Limits of a Gun Trust

Legal Adviser August 19, 2015
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GunOwning a gun requires great responsibility, as well as limitations. When it comes to gun trusts, owners must learn how it works and how far can it be used.

A gun trust is an estate-planning tool. This provides some form of flexibility during the acquisition and transfer of the National Firearms Act (NFA) regulated items. A trustee must understand the legal restrictions that come with owning a trust.

What’s Real and What’s Not

The trust does not grant anyone the privilege of breaking state laws. For one, trustees are bound to follow the Brady Act at all costs. The trust does not exempt the owner from the rules of an interstate hunting trip. On an interstate hunting trip or shooting contest with an NFA-regulated weapon, trustees should inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). They must also fill out and submit the Form 5320.20 months before their hunting trip.

Similarly, trustees must advise the BATFE of any plan to change residence and move to a different state. The trustee is only authorized to bring the guns when the state allows it even with a gun trust. In fact, short-barreled guns are prohibited in California and New York as of April 2014.


Setting up a trust may require a lawyer, but there are also comprehensive DIY NFA gun trust documents online with complete instructions.

Legal Limits of Gun Trust

As of August 2015, the BATFE re-categorized 40 mm bullet rounds and parachute flares as explosives and started to take them away from owners. The gun dealers believed this policy will soon cover weapons that are larger than 1/2 inch.

There are many kinds of Title II guns traded by Class III Federal Firearms Licensees and controlled by the NFA. In Vermont, an individual may own the usual NFA items, but not the silencers as of July 2, 2015. There is actually a $25 fine for those who will make, trade, own, and use this type of weapon attachment.

It pays to listen to updates regarding gun trust laws. Once owners learn about the legal aspects that cover a gun trust, they can easily comply with the limits.

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