Texas is one of the most gun-friendly states in the country, but even with that distinction, there are still requirements when it comes to owning firearms. Gun trusts have become a popular option for people in Texas, but there tends to be confusion about what these trusts can and cannot do.
What is a Gun Trust?
A gun trust is similar to any other type of trust used in estate planning, with the distinction that it is intended to hold firearms. However, it only applies to weapons included in the National Firearms Act (NFA). These include:
- Short-barreled rifles.
- Short-barreled shotguns.
- Destructive devices.
- Grenade launchers.
- Disguised devices.
The NFA references U.S. Code in determining the weapons included. Not every gun can be placed in a gun trust, only those included in the NFA.
What Regulations are There?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) provides information on the regulations set by the NFA. The Act sought to ensure that the same background and identification checks were applied to legal entities, trusts, and individuals when they received NFA guns.
As such, heirs do not automatically inherit guns that have been placed in gun trusts. There is still a process of approval and identification that must occur. There are official forms to fill out, as well as the requirement to submit fingerprints and pass background checks.
Are There Advantages to a Texas Gun Trust?
The people who find the most benefit from a Texas gun trust are those that want to transfer ownership of their NFA weapons to heirs while also complying with safety and identification requirements. Contrary to popular belief, a gun trust does not allow gun owners to skirt all laws and regulations. If your goal is to keep an accurate record of your firearms and allow your heirs to inherit them while potentially saving on the estate tax, then this option might be for you.
If you are uncertain about how the NFA and U.S. Code sections apply to your particular circumstances, The Werner Law Group may be able to provide clarification. As with most things, gun trusts may be beneficial for some people and not for others. However, having an accurate impression of what these trusts can do in Texas is crucial.
Call us to discuss the potential benefits and existing restrictions or for help with any gun trust guidance.