We are often asked if we advise our clients to establish a Gun Trust for their firearms. Our opinion is that very few gun owners need a Gun Trust.
Here’s our short summary of the topic:
The National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 both control the possession and transfer of certain weapons. Unless you own one of the restricted types of weapons, you do not need a Gun Trust. Here are the categories of weapons that are restricted:
- Fully-automatic weapons that fire multiple times with a single trigger pull;
- Sawed-off shotguns with a barrel shorter than 18″ or a total length shorter than 26″;
- A rifle with a barrel shorter than 16″ or an overall length shorter than 26″;
- Hand grenades or other explosives; or
If you own one of these restricted devices, then transferring them will generally require the approval of your County Sheriff or your Chief of Police. Some sheriffs and/or police chiefs are less than cooperative with such transfer requests. But if such weapons are owned by a corporation or a trust, then approvals of a transfer are not required. As a result, a Gun Trust may be of assistance where such weapons are owned.
Transfers of such unconventional weapons without a Gun Trust are generally subject to a transfer tax of $200. But a transfer to a lawful heir (under a standard Will or Trust) is exempted from that transfer tax.
The main principle to understand is that, unless a person owns weapons, explosives, or suppressors that are in one of the five categories listed, above, a Gun Trust provides no advantage or protection.
Beyond that, the only other significant restriction on inheritance of firearms is that a felon or mentally incompetent person may not inherit one. And the gun might need to be registered by the heir who receives it in the state in which he or she lives.
Finally, unless the heir picks the gun up in Idaho and takes it home, it will need to be shipped by the trustee to the heir using licensed gun dealers at both ends of the shipping process.
In short, guns in a regular trust, other than those listed, above, are handled pretty much like any other item.
At Peters Patchin & Monaghan, we put our nearly half century of experience to work for you to create your custom Estate Plan package. Partners Daniel Patchin and Ben Monaghan work closely with each client to craft the best possible Will or Trust, and the related documents, to meet all of your needs in the most efficient and affordable manner possible. You’ve worked hard to provide for your loved ones. We help you map out the best plan to accomplish that task.Need More Info? Give Us a Call
If you would like our help with this or any other estate planning question, please give us a call at 208-939-2600 to schedule your free initial consultation. Or you can schedule an expedited appointment at your convenience on our Home Page by clicking on either of the yellow “Schedule Now” boxes on our Home Page.