The Department of Justice released the terms of their proposal that changes how gun trusts are regulated in the transfer of firearms.
The new regulations will require Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) approval. In the past, gun trusts bypassed this sign-off, which reduced delay times for firearms transfers. Now gun trusts, just like an individual purchasing or transferring a firearm, require CLEO sign-off. ATF Forms 1, 4, and 5 will need CLEO certification for a valid gun trust. Unfortunately, the CLEO is not obligated to approve every request. Authorized users noted in a gun trust, or “responsible persons” as defined by federal authorities, also have new requirements. In all, the new gun trust regulations:
  • Require “responsible persons” (including the grantor, trustees, and beneficiaries) to submit photographs, fingerprints, and a CLEO certificate.
  • Require CLEO sign-off on a new proposed form 5320.23. This new form removes a risk of liability that has prevented many officers from signing off on these documents, which will hopefully prevent denials.
  • Background check process. (Responsibility of the CLEO.)
The proposed federal gun regulations also provide a clearer definition of an executor’s liability when it comes to firearms left in a decedent’s estate. The government has clarified that firearms possessed by an executor are not considered transferred items. If the executor is responsible for transferring the firearm(s) to a beneficiary, they will need to complete an ATF Form 5.
There is no way to predict the extent these new regulations will have on firearms transfer delays or denials. If you have been thinking about the advantages of a gun trust and have not yet established one, now is the time to “pull the trigger.” Gun transfers will hinge on a CLEO’s approval. Officers’ schedules may not have the capacity to review an influx of gun transfer requests in a timely manner, and this may pose serious restrictions. Responsible gun owners who already have a gun trust or who are able to create one before the new regulations go into effect will not be affected by the new approval requirements. Click here to learn about the gun trust benefits still preserved with the new federal changes.