What are the New Gun Trust Rules in Ohio?

Recently, the rules for making and transferring certain firearms changed. The changes impact six types of firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act (“NFA”): machine guns, destructive devices, sound suppressors (silencers), short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns and “any other weapons” regulated by the NFA. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) Rule 41F became effective July 13, 2016. There are important reasons to include conventional weapons, like pistols, shotguns and rifles, not regulated by the NFA in your gun trust, but new Rule 41F does not impact conventional weapons. With your gun trust, you want to assure all your weapons are handled safely and legally after your death and avoid an accidental felony by your heirs.

Rule 41F modifies procedures for trusts and other legal entities that make or receive regulated firearms. Besides definition and procedural changes and purported clarifications, the rule adds a definition of “responsible person.” That term relates to the individual who manages a trust, partnership, association, company, or corporation. Rule 41F defines a responsible person as a settlor or grantor, trustee, partner, member, officer, board member, owner, and beneficiary.

The NFA responsible person is now required to fill out federal form ATF form 5320.23. The NFA responsible person must also complete an ATF questionnaire, submit a photograph, and submit fingerprints. The documents get submitted to a designated chief law enforcement officer (“CLEO”). However, Rule 41F eliminates the necessity to obtain the signature of the area CLEO. Any person who applied for a trust or designation as a legal entity under NFA before July 13, 2016, will also have to undergo a federal background check, and submit the documents to the area CLEO.

The primary goal of ATF rule 41F is to ensure that background checks and clearance apply equally across the board. Individuals, trusts, and legal entities now require similar treatment. The responsible person managing a trust or legal entity must undergo the same scrutiny as an individual. Eliminating the signature rule by the area CLEO attempts to streamline the process, while also creating a repository of responsible persons under NFA.

Existing and new gun trusts must pay careful attention to those persons named who qualify as responsible parties under the rule. Your gun trust should allow for removal or addition of trustees. The rule does not require ATF be advised of removals or additions after the requirements of the rule are met. Your gun trust continues after your death and could continue in trust for the common benefit of beneficiaries. If the trust does not require distribution of the weapons or other “transfer” then rule 41F requires no additional documentation.

If you have questions about the new gun trusts laws and how it can affect you personally, please contact the Law Office of David A. Ison today!