The final regulations included in ATF-41F impose new and arduous administration requirements for gun trusts. However, a few weeks after the rule was published the ATF now wavers on the interpretation of the language.
While many responsible gun owners research whether their gun trusts are workable under the forthcoming regulations, countless individuals are having their first gun trust documents drafted to try and get their application in and avoid the imminent administration burden. (ATF-41F takes effect July 13, 2016.)
What exactly is the ATF purportedly unclear about? Several items, according to the Silencer Shop and their discussions with the ATF, the American Suppressor Association (ASA), and NFA Branch. The ATF has not officially announced their position on the following and all details have been revealed through secondhand discussions between the parties noted above:
Originally, the language in ATF-41F appeared to recognize a certification procedure that exempts gun trust applications from the new requirements (photos and fingerprints) if they are pending two years prior to the July 13, 2016 effective date and have no revisions needed. A matter currently causing confusion is how “pending” is defined when describing applications that would qualify for the exemption. Whether a postmark date, date of transfer tax payment, date of application, or another factor will be recognized by the ATF as a qualified “pending” application remains to be seen.
Also, the ATF interprets the exemption language in a way that disqualifies virtually all applications from the exemption. Section 479.63(b)(2) imposes four requirements: Copy of the gun trust, ATF Form 5320.23 for each named “responsible person,” photographs, and fingerprint cards. The ATF’s interpretation is that the two-year exemption does not apply to photographs and fingerprints. Gun trust documents, if the application qualifies for the exemption, would not need to be re-filed. Photos and fingerprints would be required of all applications.
This implies that e-filing of certain ATF Forms would not be an option since e-filing does not offer inclusion of fingerprints and photographs.
ATF officials continue to debate these factors while the public waits for an announcement, and possibly a corrected rule. As always – following our gun trust attorneys on Twitter @southerngunlaw and Facebook to hear about regulation updates. Subscribe to our gun law blog (sign up box in right toolbar) to receive updates in your inbox as they happen.