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Each time you buy a new NFA firearm (such as a silencer, short-barreled rifle, or fully-automatic rifle) from a Class 3 dealer, the dealer needs a complete copy of your NFA gun trust, since it is included as part of the ATF Form 4 application that the dealer sends to the ATF. Similarly, each time you want to register to manufacture an NFA firearm, the ATF needs a complete copy of your NFA gun trust, since it is included as part of the ATF Form 1 application that you send to the ATF.
So the question frequently arises whether my gun trust includes an inventory of all of the property assigned to my Texas NFA gun trust in the trust document itself, including in any schedules or exhibits to the gun trust. The answer is an emphatic “NO!”
However, many so-called “gun trust” attorneys located in Texas and elsewhere and many “do-it-yourself” gun trusts sold by attorneys online and by Class 3 dealers include schedules as part of their NFA gun trust, such as a Schedule A to identify all of the trust property. A typical provision in these gun trusts goes something like:
[Name], called the grantor, declares that he has transferred and delivered to the trustee all his interest in the property described in Schedule A attached to the Declaration of Trust. All of that property is called the “trust property.” The trustee acknowledges receipt of the trust property. The trustee hereby acknowledges receipt of the trust property and agrees to hold the property in trust, according to the Declaration of Trust. The grantor may add property to the trust.”
“Grantor hereby grants, conveys, transfers, and assigns to the Trustee, subject to the terms hereof, that certain property described and shown on Schedule 1, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, to hold in trust for the Beneficiaries hereinafter identified, for the uses and trust hereinafter described.”
“By executing this trust, I transfer, convey, and assign to my Trustee $10 in cash and the property described in the attached Schedule A, if any, as amended from time to time. … National Firearms Act firearms are listed on Schedule A. By executing this trust, I transfer, convey, assign all my right, title, and interest to the firearms listed on Schedule A that may legally be held in my trust any that may, by this assignment, be transferred to my trust. Schedule A may be updated from time to time.”
Does a well-drafted NFA gun trust include a Schedule A listing of firearms? No, and for very good reasons. Such a practice has two primary disadvantages for their unfortunate clients. First, each time the client transfers property in or out of the NFA gun trust, the schedule must be amended. The better practice is transfer property in or out of the NFA gun trust using a separate assignment form, which is not part of the NFA gun trust. Second, the ATF needs a complete copy of the NFA gun trust each time you mail in a new application. Besides NFA firearms, other personal property such as non-NFA firearms (Title I weapons) and other collectibles may be assigned to the NFA gun trust. If the NFA gun trust includes a schedule that identifies all trust property, the customer unnecessarily provides an organized, detailed inventory of each and every item assigned to the NFA gun trust, such as NFA firearms, non-NFA firearms, or other collectibles to the ATF. Why would this be a good idea? Finally, Class 3 dealers send the ATF Form 4 application to the ATF. To do so, each time the customer buys a new NFA firearm, the Class 3 dealer needs a complete copy of the customer’s NFA gun trust. If the NFA gun trust includes a schedule that identifies all trust property, the customer turns over, or broadcasts, a detailed inventory of each and every item assigned to the trust, such as NFA firearms, non-NFA firearms, or other collectibles to the Class 3 dealer, which, frankly, the Class 3 dealer has no reason to know about. Also, once you turn over your NFA gun trust to the Class 3 dealer, you do not know whether additional copies will be made or stored online, who among the Class 3 dealer’s present or future employees have or will have access to the information, or to whom this information is or will be disclosed. My high-wealth NFA gun trust clients would never agree to give everyone who handles a copy of their NFA gun trust an inventory of their firearms (along with the address where the firearms are stored while they are at work). Neither should you! It is a simple matter of privacy and security. Nobody other than the client needs to know what property has been assigned to the gun trust.
A well-known and popular source for gun trusts in Texas includes schedules in his gun trusts. In response to a general reluctance to disclose a detailed inventory of each and every item assigned to the trust to each and every person who handles their gun trust, his advice is to provide an outdated, incomplete Schedule A to the dealer and the ATF as part of your ATF application. In other words, this person recommends that you submit a false Schedule A as part of your ATF application. In my opinion, this advice could lead an applicant to violate the National Firearms Act and to commit perjury. Is this really what you want to do to protect your privacy?
The National Firearms Act provides that it is unlawful for any person to “make, or cause the making of, a false entry on any application, return, or record required by [Title 26, United States Code, Chapter 53], knowing such entry to be false. 26 U.S.C § 5861(l). The unlawful act is a felony, which subjects that applicant to be fined not more than $10,000, or to be imprisoned not more than ten (10) years, or both. 26 U.S.C § 5871. In addition, any firearm involved in such violation is subject to seizure and forfeiture. 26 U.S.C § 5872.
Further, ATF Form 1 requires the applicant to declare under penalty of perjury that the applicant has examined this application, including accompanying documents, and to the best of the applicant’s knowledge and belief it is true, accurate and complete and the making and possession of the firearm described above would not constitute a violation of Chapter 44, Title 18, U.S.C., Chapter 53, Title 26, U.S.C., or any provisions of State or local law. Similarly, ATF Form 4 requires the applicant to declare under penalty of perjury that the applicant has examined this application, and to the best of the applicant’s knowledge and belief it is true, correct and complete, and that the transfer of the described firearm to the transferee and receipt and possession of it by the transferee are not prohibited by the provisions of Chapter 44, Title 18, United States Code; Chapter 53, Title 26, United States Code; or Title VII of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, as amended; or any provisions of State or local law.
You do not need to commit a felony and perjure yourself
to protect your privacy.
The only property identified in my gun trust is $1.00 in cash.
Nothing else. No schedules. No games.
Would you like to have a Texas NFA gun trust that does not disclose a detailed inventory of your firearms to everyone who handles your Texas NFA gun trust?
Would you like to amend and replace your gun trust with my gun trust that does not disclose a detailed inventory of your firearms to everyone who handles your Texas NFA gun trust?
Would you like to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you received a high-quality Texas NFA gun trust from a Texas attorney who is recommended by several of the largest Class 3 dealers in Texas?