Final Version of 41P NFA Trust Rule Released

This is interesting. Originally 41P was going to require CLEO signoff on all NFA transfers, even if you were a person on a trust. I don’t have time to read thoroughly and comment as I need to hit-the-hay soon, but let the overnight and early-morning discussion begin:

SUMMARY: The Department of Justice is amending the regulations ofthe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regarding the making or transferring of a firearm undertake National Firearms Act(NFA). This final rule defines the term”responsible person,”as used in reference to a trust, partnership, association, company, or corporation; requires responsible persons of such trusts or legal entities to complete a specified form and to submit photographs and fingerprints when the trust or legal entity files an application to make an NFA firearm or is listed as the transferee on an application to transfer an NFA firearm; requires that a copy of all applications to make or transfer a firearm, and the specified form for responsible persons, as applicable, be forwarded to the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) of the locality in which the applicant/transferee or responsible person is located; and eliminates the requirement for ├é┬ácertification signed by the CLEO. These provisions provide a public safety benefit as they ensure that responsible persons undergo background checks. In addition, this final rule adds a new section to ATF’s regulations to address the possession and transfer of firearms registered to a decedent. The new section clarifies that the executor, administrator, personal representative,or other person authorized under State law to dispose of property in an estate may possess a firearm registered to a decedent during the term of probate without such possession being treated as a ”transfer” under the NFA. It also specifies that the transfer of the firearm to any beneficiary of the estate may be made on a tax-exempt basis.

If I am to understand this correctly, much like with a Type 03 FFL application (C&R) you have to inform the CLEO, but you do not need to get his or her sign off. This does not only apply to trusts, but to individual applications as well. Did the Administration just blink?

If I’m not reading something wrong at this late hour, it would seem that malicious compliance can make a real difference.

13 thoughts on “Final Version of 41P NFA Trust Rule Released”

  1. Oh whoa, that is a big deal!! Seriously, as a compromise, requiring all members of a trust to go through a background check to remove the CLEO sign off is worth it. It’ll increase the amount of NFA items, and eventually will lead to delisting.

  2. So a compromise is not getting screwed as much as you thought you would be?

    Trusts and corporations already didn’t need a CLEO sign off. They also didn’t need to submit fingerprints which meant they could efile on forms 1 and 4. Trusts and corporations can kiss efile goodbye now. Also ATF expects an aditional two to four month increase in the time required for approval for every form.

    1. Let’s face it… how many people go the trust route to get an NFA item? As far as NFA goes, the best path forward is just to push for de-listing of SBR/SBS, suppressors, and (further down the line) MGs.

      If you went the trust route simply because had an anti-gun CLEO, you now have one less reason to do so. And I do tend to agree with Ian here.

  3. Anyone who was expecting a way to get within sniffing distance of an NFA item without SOME kind of BG check, in this day and age, was wildly optimistic.

  4. When I bought my suppressors through my trust, a few years ago, I had to fill out a 4473 form and pass the NICS check anyway. I assumed this was a requirement, and the dealer explained that suppressors were considered to be “firearms,” and that the actual person picking them up needed to go through NICS, despite the NFA stamp.

    Has anyone else had this happen, or was my experience somehow unique?

  5. So, am I understanding this correctly- the CLEO signoff is going to go away for indivdual NFA transfers, and not just trusts?!?

      1. I gotta wonder – CLEO signoff was basically a background check; but one subject to human interference. NICS exists, why not use that across the board; especially since they apparently want to staff-up NICS, why not increase the usage?

  6. I am a lawyer, although not a trusts and estates lawyer. After reading the rule, it appears that in order to be a responsible person, you have to have (1) the ability to direct the management of the trust (so have a trust that says you are the only trustee able to modify the trust, add items to it, etc. and have co-trustees just be able to possess the items) and (2) the right to possess the NFA item. The definition of responsible person requires BOTH. I see a hole big enough to drive a semi through.

    For me, the trust was a nice way to avoid any constructive possession issues with family members. Now, I have to get fingerprinted and photographed, but if my trust is drafted the right way, my co-trustee family members can still avoid that hassle.

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