ATF to Change Rules for NFA Trusts

We are seeing more and more purchases of Class III firearms in the state of Indiana. This is partially due to the national political climate, and also due to the fact that it is no longer against Indiana law to hunt with the use of a suppressor in certain circumstances.  Suppressors are coming out of the “movies” and into the reality that they provide a safer, more responsible means of hunting and target shooting.

Turner Valentine has been in the business of drafting NFA trusts as a way for individuals to possess Class III Type Firearms for some time.  Class III type firearms include short barrel rifles, suppressors, machine guns, certain destructive devices, and what are categorized as Any Other Weapons.  The NFA trust acts as its own entity which possesses the items and allows the trustee to take advantage of certain legal protections for a gun enthusiast and their loved ones.  Turner Valentine has posted in more detail on these trusts in the past and those blogs can still be found on our website.

Currently the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has proposed making changes to the rules surrounding NFA trusts.  These rule changes would require any NFA trust transfers to seek the signature of a Chief Law Enforcement Officer and submit photographs, fingerprints and background check on all individuals named in the trust.  While these rule changes have not taken effect, we believe that they will pass and this change will be implemented sometime later this year.

While we have not come to a conclusion on this, we believe when these changes take effect we will no longer recommend NFA trusts for these purchase of Class III firearms.  All of the NFA trusts that we have drafted in the past for clients will remain in effect and retain all the benefits they had when they were originally drafted.  However, future transfers into those trusts and future transfers into new NFA trusts will likely require far more effort than what the benefits of the NFA trust afford.

While we cannot be sure, it is our opinion that all transfers which are in the queue for approval with the ATF will likely be grandfathered once the rule takes place.  Due to this, we are seeing a run on an individual wanting to open NFA trusts and file either Form 1 or Form 4 documents with the ATF.  In light of these upcoming changes, Turner Valentine is changing the cost of the standard NFA trust from $750 to a cost of $500 for all future NFA trusts.  Please contact our office if you are interested in setting up a trust or have questions on how the rule changes would affect your current trust.

Turner Valentine, LLP: 574-371-2052