The National Shooting Sports Foundation recently confirmed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) that 41P—the controversial proposition affecting gun trust regulations that is slowly moving to federal decision-makers—is delayed again. Parties accused the ATF of failing to meet compliance during the public comment period, which was cut short during the government shutdown. More than 8,500 public comments were received and still demand time and resources to process. An additional strain on regulators’ time are the more than 300,000 public comments in regards to the separate armor piercing ammunition proposal.
Should the changes included in 41P eventually pass into law, individuals named in a gun trust who are recognized as ‘responsible persons’ would need to be fingerprinted, photographed, and included in a traceable government database. The database does not appear to be a priority. According to the NSSF’s recent newsletter, the “ATF has not prepared to revise the NFA database so that it can track ‘responsible persons’ for NFA trusts.”
Individuals who own their firearms through a corporation or living trust would not be exempt from the pending changes. The ATF is proposing to impose the requirements on all legal entities.
Properly drafted gun trusts offer more protections and benefits than any other estate planning tool for firearms owners. Although the process for creating a gun trust might change pending the outcome of 41P, individuals who own firearms should discuss options with a gun trust attorney when making changes to their estate plan.
Trends show an increasing number of gun owners and a growing number of guns in an average owner’s collection. Investment News reported earlier this year that background checks for firearms rose approximately by 1.5 million in one year. Over the past two years, North Carolina made headlines multiple times due to a growing number of gun sales and permit requests. Responsible firearms owners should research the benefits of gun trusts and ways to structure ownership that prevent accidental felonies, preserve firearms for family members, and ensure a collection is passed on according to the owner’s wishes.