Proposed changes to federal gun trust regulations are still in limbo. After a series of delays, it appears the Obama Administration’s attempts to close the “gun trust loophole” are postponed once again.

In 2013, federal officials began drafting amendments to the ways gun trusts may be used for the ownership and transfer of firearms, presented in ATF’s Unified Agenda Statement for 41P. Buying, receiving, and “storing” firearms in gun trusts does not require fingerprinting, background checks, or local approval by a Chief Law Enforcement Officer. The government wants to change how gun trusts are regulated to remove or heavily regulate these abilities.
If you are planning to update your estate plan to include or revise a gun trust, stay updated about legislation changes by following Southern Gun Law Group’s gun trust attorneys on Facebook and Twitter. For now, several factors are contributing to the additional delays; here are a few to consider.
  1. Comments. According to The Guardian, ATF representative Janice Kemp attributes delays due to the volume of comments received on ATF 41P. Over 8,000 comments are under review. (Earlier delays may have been a result of non-compliance. Time for commenting is specified by the Administrative Procedure Act. The government shutdown in 2013 infringed on the public comment opportunity.)
  2. Amendments. Proposed rules may be changed once again if the ATF accepts objections submitted through the comment period.
  3. Opposition. The National Rifle Association, American Silencer Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and many other lobby groups are active in advocating the rights of gun owners.
Even if the proposed changes go into effect, gun trusts remain a powerful estate planning tool as a means of responsible gun ownership. They allow legal sharing of NFA firearms, avoid probate, and can be structured for multi-generation enjoyment of firearms.