Southwest Florida

The Problem with Single Shot Gun Trusts

There are many reasons people would like to hold their NFA firearms (such as silencers, machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, etc.) in a gun trust. See more information about that here. So, as a very clever marketing gimmick, a very popular silencer company came up with the Single Shot Gun Trust, which can be purchased online for $24.95 at the same time you purchase your silencer. Woohoo! The following is taken right from the company’s website:

The benefits of a Single Shot Trust include:

  • The flexibility of adding different responsible parties, or trustees, to different trusts once each NFA transfer is approved by the ATF –
  • The ease of filing as an individual because no responsible parties are listed initially on the Trust
  • Benefit of adding or removing responsible parties with an addendum, provided by Silencer Shop at no additional expense
  • One NFA item per Trust, custom serialized by suppressor for simplicity
  • A trust generated by a top gun trust attorney, legal in every state it’s legal to own a suppressor excluding IA and VT – and specifically designed to NFA purchases 
  • A trust exclusive to Silencer Shop, when Form 4 applications are processed and submitted by Silencer Shop (Form 1’s not eligible at this time)

There is a lawyer that can provide technical support for this trust; but, they cannot give legal advice since this is a do-it-yourself form option. As mentioned previously, if you prefer to work with a lawyer, please visit our lawyer referral page. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a quick and easy gun trust without spending as much money, this is a great option!

This form is not legal advice and is to be used at your own discretion. Consultation with an attorney is highly recommended and this form is not a substitute for appropriate legal advice in your state.

Where do I begin… ?

  • As for adding responsible parties or trustees to trusts after the ATF has approved the transfer – does the creator of the trust (the grantor) know and understand the laws and ATF regulations about the proper way to do that?
  • I’m a trusts lawyer – it’s what I do for a living. There is NO WAY to create a valid trust without a grantor (the person creating the trust), and a trustee (the person managing the trust property), and the ATF regulations plainly say that the grantor and the trustee are responsible persons and must submit an ATF Form 23 along with a Form 4. So no trust can file a Form 4 as an individual. I have no idea what they’re doing to get around this – what murky gray areas of the law are they swimming in??
  • As for adding and removing responsible parties with an addendum, see #1.
  • Only one NFA firearm per trust – that’s asinine. It’s like putting your Bank of America checking account into one revocable living trust, your Wells Fargo savings account into another, your Merrill Lynch investment account into another, etc. NO RATIONAL PERSON DOES THIS!
  • Perhaps the lawyer who created the single shot gun trust is a “top gun trust attorney” – I don’t know who it is. But in another section of the information about the single shot gun trust, it says “no notary required!” Yeah, ask any Florida estate planning attorney whether they always include a notarization on their trusts. We do.
  • And, of course, the obligatory disclaimer – “We’re not attorneys. Consultation with an attorney is highly recommended.” Ya think?

Recently I’ve been fielding questions from people who have now accumulated several of these single shot gun trusts wanting to know whether they can just combine all their single-firearm trusts, each with a different name, into a one gun trust. One gun trust to rule them all… LOL.

While you can’t combine the gun trusts, you can create a new gun trust that can hold multiple firearms, and then submit Form 4s for each firearm held in the name of each separate single shot gun trust – at $200 per item. Each one of those single shot gun trusts is a separate entity per the ATF regs – it doesn’t matter that you created all of them. So the firearms have to be legally transferred out of one entity and into another using Form 4s.

So, bottom line, I suppose that if you plan to buy a one silencer, never plan to buy any other NFA firearms, will never have any legal questions about NFA firearms, believe that silencers will be taken off the list of NFA firearms during your lifetime, and/or really don’t care what happens to that one silencer when you die, $24.95 for what appears to be a sketchy gun trust might be fine for you. Personally, I wouldn’t risk having my highly-regulated NFA firearms potentially end up as contraband later on down the road if that trust is determined to be invalid, but everyone has to do his or her own cost-benefit analysis.

If you’d prefer not to take any chances with the legal status of your NFA firearms, and would like to have an actual Florida trusts attorney prepare or fix your Florida gun trust, give us a call at 941-444-5958.

Other articles you may find interesting:

ATF eForm 4 is Back!

Gun Trusts Are Not a Shield

Ready to make sure everything’s in order for your loved ones in the event you become incapacitated or die? Give Manasota Elder Law a call at 941-444-5958. We’ll help you determine whether you’re all set, or whether there are still some things that need to be done to protect what’s most important to you … your family.

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