Gun Trusts

Gun Trusts in Utah

pexels-photoWeapons regulated by the National Firearms Act such as suppressors Machineguns, Short Barreled Rifles (SBR), Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS), Any Other Weapons (AOW) or a Destructive Device (DD) may use a trust as a vehicle to obtain these weapons.  A NFA or “Gun” Trust is a private and convenient way to enjoy Title II weapons.

The NFA allows two ways to acquire Title II weapons, you can own them individually or through an entity like a Gun Trust. To obtain Title II weapons as an individual, a person must submit fingerprints, a photograph, pay a $200 application fee, and have the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in their jurisdiction sign their application. Because individual ownership is quite onerous, many Title II gun owners decide to form an entity to purchase and hold Title II weapons. Benefits of entity ownership are that no fingerprints are required, no photographs are required, and no Chief Law Enforcement signature is required.

Gun Trust Attorney in Salt Lake City

When creating a Gun Trust it is important to have a clear understanding of the terminology used. The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates and imposes statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain restricted firearms and munitions. A Title II firearm refers to firearms, munitions, and other devices that are regulated on a federal level under the NFA. Class 3 is an occupational tax that is applied to dealers who want to sell firearms, and a term that is sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably with Title II when referring to NFA-regulated firearms. A Form 4 is the application for tax paid Transfer and Registration of NFA firearms, which you send to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms & Explosives. Finally, the Gun Trust is the legally organized entity that owns and manages the NFA property. A trustee is a person who is legally designated to make decisions and access the items owned and managed by the trust.

Multiple firearms can be registered under a gun trust, and different trustees may have the freedom to use any of the firearms without the added expense of a registration fee. If you own a Title II firearm it is likely that the Bill of Rights means something to you and the words the right of the People to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT be infringed is not a platitude. A Gun Trust is designed to help you avoid legal pitfalls now, and even more pitfalls for your family or friends if you became disabled, or upon your death. A Gun Trust is a revocable living trust written for your Title II weapons.  The Gun Trust has detailed instructions about how the trust assets will be used and for whom. Because it is a revocable living trust you have the ability to change it when you want, and you can share the weapons on your terms.

Gun Trusts are used to avoid the need to obtain the signature of your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer on your Form 4 application and allows you to avoid the need to supply fingerprints and photographs with the BAFTE application. We make sure your Gun Trust establishes a plan for your firearms, the trust dictates how your guns may be used and it allows your guns to avoid probate at your death. Most importantly, it will establish who will receive the guns and it will help prevent accidental felonies when others use your weapons or are instructed to transfer a firearm as a sale, gift, or bequest.

Gun Trusts in South Jordan, Draper, and Salt Lake City

When establishing a Gun Trust you appoint a trustee to the trust who then has the power to administer the trust assets. Your trust will state who can benefit from the ownership of the Title II weapons, you take control and you can dictate who benefits from the trust. You as an individual technically don’t own the Title II weapons, the trust does, but you still have access and control of the trusts firearms.  The devil is in the details and an invalid trust risks firearms confiscation or even commission of a felony. A felony can occur when you share your Title II firearms with your family or friends. Like any felony, the penalties are severe, you can face up to ten years in prison as well as fines up to $250,000 for a conviction. The ATF defines the term “unauthorized transfer” broadly and depending on the circumstances, an unauthorized transfer may include handing a Title II weapon to a friend at the firing range or even allowing a spouse to have the combination of the safe where the weapons are stored.


Because of all these potential pitfalls an estate plan should be custom-built for you and it is important to do things correctly the first time around. Feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation or simply to ask some clarifying questions.