Gun owners generally desire privacy. Some prefer to minimize theft risk of an expensive or sentimental firearms collection, while others want to keep their firearms out of the government’s records. Since firearms are designed for different purposes, a gun owner might have several weapons. One individual could easily own three or more if their goals include self-defense, target shooting, and hunting. Then there are individuals who invest in firearms, collect guns from various eras and manufacturers, or preserve a family collection.
WUNC North Carolina Public Radio aired a segment “Are Chapel Hill Gun Owners Buying More Guns?” on April 6, 2015. Although public records are not available to confirm, the segment interviewed a Chapel Hill sheriff, firearms owners, and a gun advocate. The sheriff confirmed there are more applications for purchase permits today than there were a decade ago. With that knowledge, and the fact that membership in the gun advocacy group Grassroots North Carolina “more than doubled in the last four years,” one can only imagine how the numbers of firearms are growing in North Carolina. Two years ago, the number of gun permit applications in Wake County tripled.
Recent speculative numbers might be modest. Not all gun owners purchase firearms the same way. Our gun trust attorneys in Chapel Hill help individuals legally own and acquire firearms through the use of specialized trust documents. Gun trusts, ideal for an estate plan involving firearms, provide the benefit of privacy. Instead of submitting an application to a local sheriff, the individuals use a trust to purchase the firearms. This prevents delays and keeps firearms purchases private. Gun trusts are flexible and can be amended at any time, providing a safe ‘legal storage’ of firearms.
Responsible gun ownership is important to discuss as the number of guns owned in North Carolina grows. Maintaining a private collection of firearms could cause serious legal issues for surviving family members if the weapons are not planned for properly. A surviving spouse or relatives who acquire a decedent’s firearms could be guilty of unintentional felonies just for having the firearms in their possession. These penalties could come with six-figure fines and a prison sentence. Discuss estate plan options with a North Carolina gun trust attorney.