There has been a lot of talk at the office about what the release of the final rule in ATF-41P means for current Trusts. Between the confusion, half truths, and rumors we’ve heard it all. After reviewing the entire finale rule (including comment responses) there are a few things worth sharing.
Trusts are Here to Stay
NFA Trusts are not going anywhere. Current statutes list trusts as persons, and no amount of executive action will change this. To alter this, the Senate and House would have to take up the issue, and there is no appetite for gun control in the legislature. So there is no short term risk of “revocation of trusts” or the confiscation of items currently owned.
The regulation changes will affect transfers only. Any firearm currently owned by a person, including trusts, will not be affected. This means no updates are due to the ATF. You don’t have to send them your fingerprints, photographs, or get the Sheriff’s permission to keep your firearms. All you have to do to keep what you have is maintain your trust. This is the same thing you had to do before the rule change; so nothing new here.
These changes are not immediate. The new requirements (which we’ll discuss in more detail in a later post) do not go into effect until 180 days after publication in the Federal Registry. (As of 1/13/16 a copy was not available at the Federal Registry website.)
Any firearm transfers or making requests (i.e. Form 4s and Form 1s) submitted (postmarked) before the implementation date will be processed by the ATF under the current (i.e. old) rules. So you have roughly six months to purchase any firearm you like without having to comply with new requirements.
There are six more months in which you can purchase or make what you want without having to deal with any of the new regulations. No fingerprints, no photographs, no paperwork hassle, and no telling local law enforcement what you are buying for your collection.
Once this time passes, you will not have to do anything to keep the firearms you currently have. You can manage your trust according to state laws and without having to notify the ATF. (Thus changing beneficiaries and trustees is still your private business.)
As always, if you move the location of the firearms, you do need to the notify the ATF via a Form 20.
Don’t panic. You have time to buy what you want. Your trust will still be valid. And you are not required to submit any documents for the guns you already have.