Assault Weapons and Gun Laws
Firearms ownership is being debated now more than ever before. These proposed laws jeopardize the ability of the people to defend themselves and their loved ones with firearms are being proposed on a regular basis throughout the United States. This is no doubt the natural result of the well-publicized horrors of violent mass shooting events across the United States. Whether new laws withstand Second Amendment scrutiny or not is another story.
For example, Congress's proposed assault weapons ban could have wide ranging ramifications for the approximately 3 million Colorado gunowners.[i] A similar ban is pending in the Colorado legislature,[ii] raising the importance of protecting the legal ownership of firearms for those who enjoy the sporting and defensive uses of their firearms.
If such a bill would pass, it would subject a wide-ranging array of firearms to regulation under the National Firearms Act (“NFA”). As the history of the NFA discloses, its purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms.[iii] Today, gun control advocates target so called “assault weapons” with almost identical arguments that were used to bring about the NFA:
“A sawed-off shotgun is one of the most dangerous and deadly weapons. A machine gun, of course, ought never to be in the hands of any private individual. There is not the slightest excuse for it, not the least in the world, and we must, if we are going to be successful in this effort to suppress crime in America, take these machine guns out of the hands of the criminal class.”[iv]
As we know today, it is not impossible to own automatic and sporting weapons. NFA-regulated firearms include automatic weapons, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, suppressors and destructive devices. To acquire an NFA firearm currently, you must purchase a $200 tax stamp, submit fingerprints, photos, and a background check to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”). Wait times for these background checks average about eight to twelve months.
NFA Firearm and Gun Trusts
With increased government control on the horizon, methods to curtail the impact are gaining in importance. Under ATF regulations, an individual, corporation or other legal entity may purchase NFA firearms. Gun trusts are a legal entity established for the purpose of ensuring your firearms are privately owned, managed and protected – both during your life and after you die.
A gun trust is the preferred method for purchasing or registering NFA firearms because:
- It is private,
- it consolidates ownership in an entity that does not die, and
- it allows transfer of gun possession to the next generation.
A gun trust can also give you the ability to react quickly to Red Flag Orders. Furthermore, a firearm trust makes it easier to manage and use NFA firearms. Because it is illegal for anyone other than the registered owner of an NFA firearm to possess, or even have the ability to possess NFA firearms, the trust allows for designated trustees who will have the ability to possess and use these items through the trust. If you rely on NFA firearms for home defense and a family member has access to the NFA firearm for that purpose, a gun trust may be right for you.
Gun trusts are special purpose trusts that deal with regulated firearms. Thus, most standard estate planning trusts are not designed to hold title to NFA firearms. The Colorado NFA Gun Trust offered by Volpe Law gives the Trustee special powers and is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Our gun trusts are designed from the ground up by an experienced gun trust attorney to address issues relating to the use, possession and transfer of firearms. We can even provide for non-NFA firearms that you would like to include in your gun trust. This is very useful is you plan to convert one of your pistols or long rifles to a short-barreled rifle (SBR). Contact us for a free consultation regarding obtaining an NFA Gun Trust.
[i] The proposed legislation purports to regulate most semiautomatic rifles, semiautomatic pistols, and semiautomatic shotguns that accept detachable magazines and have a pistol grip, threaded barrel, or other accessories. See A Bill of the 117th Congress, H.R. 1808 §2(a)(40).
[ii] See HB 23-1230.
[iii] "Machine Guns' Sale Is Halted," The Washington Post, December 25, 1934.
[iv] Testimony of Attorney General Homer Stille Cummings as recorded in National Firearms Act: Hearings on H.R. 9066 Before the H. Comm. On Ways & Means, 73rd Cong 1 (1934) [NFA Hearing].
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter.