Are you considering investing in a short barrel rifle (SBR)? Before you do, it’s important to know and understand the laws that regulate the sale and purchase of these types of weapons. To ensure that you are up to speed on specific firearms and the laws surrounding them, we’re going to discuss each type and how that affects you, the buyer and owner.
Today, we’re going to focus on the short barrel rifle, also known as an SBR. This is a weapon that is regulated by the National Firearms Act. Not sure what that is? Let’s take a moment to explore its history so that you’ll have a better understanding of NFA trusts and how they relate to specific firearms.
1. The National Firearms Act
Put into effect back on June 26 of 1934, the National Firearms Act is an Act of Congress that serves to curtail the sale of specific firearms by slapping pricey taxes onto them. Why was this done in the first place?
During Prohibition, crime in America was on the rise. Mobs and gangs were quickly becoming major threats to our democracy. These people had some serious firepower backing them, too, making them that much more of an issue for police forces everywhere.
Something had to be done in an attempt to limit the sales of these powerful firearms, SBRs included. So, a tax was imposed not just on the sale of certain guns, but on the manufacturing and transporting, as well. As you can imagine, this ruffled plenty of feathers.
So much so that several modifications to the NFA have taken place over the years. In the government’s attempt to further the cause, the Federal Firearms Act (FFA) was enacted just 4 years after the NFA. This time, all gun manufacturers had to obtain a federal license for their firearms.
Furthermore, it was the first time that specific people, such as felons, couldn’t legally purchase a firearm. It also required sellers to keep records of all of their customers. The FFA was repealed in 1968 by the Gun Control Act (GCA), but many of its statutes simply carried over to the GCA.
That’s why you see many of the laws from yesteryear still in effect to this day. Although there have certainly been modifications, much of the principles remain the same.
2. The NFA Today
Fast-forward to today and the NFA is still going strong since its inception. If someone wants to own a specific firearm that is on the list of regulated weaponry (in this case, a short barrel rifle), we recommend that a trust be formed to ensure legal ownership of the title.
What Is an NFA Trust?
Gun trusts are called different names, ranging from firearms trusts to NFA trusts. An NFA trust is simply a legal device that is designed to allow someone to acquire and hold the legal title to firearms.
While most NFA trusts are for letting an individual hold the respective titles to firearms that are regulated by the NFA, there are some that allow an individual to hold Title I firearms, also known as non-NFA firearms.
So, what is involved in getting an NFA trust? First, there needs to be a “settlor”. A settlor is an individual who actually makes the trust. They may also contribute property to the trust while retaining the ability to make changes to the trust – even to the point of revoking it if need be.
Then, there is the “trustee”. This is a person who acts on behalf of the trust. They are responsible for ensuring that all of the terms within the trust are adhered to and honored. But perhaps more importantly, a trustee is allowed to carry, possess, and use the firearm(s) listed within the trust.
And lastly, there is a remainderman. This is simply another title for a beneficiary. The remainderman is the person associated with the trust who will be receiving payment from the sale of the firearm that is going to be held under the NFA trust, should a sale ever occur.
In short, an NFA trust consists of the following people:
- Settlor: The creator of the gun trust.
- Trustee: Possessor/user of the firearm in the trust.
- Remainderman/Beneficiary: The receiver of funds from the sale of the firearm protected by the trust.
Weapons Associated with the NFA
Now that you understand the key players of a gun trust, it’s time to move on to the weapons that actually make up the National Firearms Act. After all, the act was created to regulate certain types of firearms.
Let’s explore these firearms to get a clear understanding as to why they are regulated in the first place. When you hear people talk about these weapons, you’re likely to hear them called by different names. These include “NFA Firearms”, “NFA Items”, “Class 3 Firearms”, “Title II Firearms”, and “NFA Weapons.”
Regardless of what you hear them called, they are all one and the same thing: regulated weaponry. These regulated firearms/items include:
- Short barreled shotguns (SBS)
- Any other weapon (AOW)
- Short barrel rifles (SBR)
- Suppressors (Silencers)
- Destructive devices
- Machine guns
As you can imagine, these types of weapons are heavily regulated at both state and federal levels. With the advent of NFA trusts, it has become increasingly popular to register said weaponry with the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives).
This is especially true for weapons with suppressors, short barrel rifles (SBR), and short-barrel shotguns (SBS).
3. A Similarity in Trusts
You’ve likely heard of traditional trusts, like those of estate planning. Gun trusts are in fact very similar in many respects when compared to traditional trusts. For example, with a traditional trust, the property is held under specific terms and conditions.
A settlor is involved who is responsible for donating the property to the trust. Additionally, there is a trustee, although it’s not uncommon for there to be more than one trustee. These individuals are there to act on behalf of the traditional estate trust.
And then, there are beneficiaries who are there to receive money from the sale of the property. If you recall the outline of a gun trust from a moment ago, you will remember that it entails much of the same as is laid out here.
Like estate planning, changes can be made to the gun trust, as well, if it is a revocable trust. However, there are also irrevocable NFA trusts that state that the trust cannot be amended or revoked.
It’s interesting to note that neither Maine nor Massachusetts NFA trusts need to be registered. Nor do they require public filings or disclosure. This means that no one is privy to the trust, whether the sale or transfer unless you deem it so.
This is true with many estate trusts, as well. For a variety of reasons, some people wish for these matters to remain in secret. The same is true for certain gun trusts.
Instead of broadcasting your business to the world, there are oftentimes legalities involved that allow you to operate under the cover of the trust, ensuring that your matters remain with only you and anyone you choose to be a party to your business.
The key difference here, however, is obviously that a firearm is involved. Now that you know what’s similar, let’s take a look at what’s different.
4. A Difference in Trusts
Whereas traditional trusts deal in matters of property and the like, NFA trusts deal solely in the matters of firearms. In the context of an SBR, getting a trust has to do with owning, using, and transporting the SBR.
Gun trusts that are thorough in their verbiage will address matters as they relate to any regulatory issues, such as those that are imposed by either state or local laws.
This is a critical point to discuss. You see, if there are any irregularities in the trust that are overlooked, it could spell certain trouble for all parties involved. If anyone is in violation of the National Firearms Act, they could be looking at severe punishment.
How severe? We’re talking up to 10 years in prison, fines in excess of a quarter of a million dollars, and you may have to hand over every single firearm that you own. This is a big deal and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Both state and federal levels look at this very seriously. So if you are planning on getting an SBR – or any regulated firearm, for that matter – it’s important that you make sure that everyone involved with the trust is professional and thorough.
You don’t want to risk losing your arsenal, money, and/or freedom due to a senseless oversight or negligence. As such, it is imperative that you let a trusted entity draft your NFA trust. This will ensure that you are able to enjoy a sense of separation between your firearm and yourself.
This could potentially exonerate you from legal proceedings in the event that something comes back to bite you. It’s a level of protection that you can’t afford to be without. You need to have rights in place so you won’t have to worry about such issues from occurring and affecting your life.
Not only will this ensure your rights, but it will ensure the rights of the other parties, as well; namely, the settlor and remainderman (beneficiary). A well-drafted trust will also have special instructions in place that ensure your safety in the event that something unanticipated or unforeseen arises that is out of your control.
Unlike the assets that are held in traditional trusts, gun trusts need to have compliance at both the state and federal level. As such, there needs to be critical thinking and planning throughout the course of the NFA trust and its creation process.
Failure to do so, or allowing an untrusted source compile your gun trust, could result in serious repercussions for you and all parties involved. You want to make sure that time is taken in the creation of your trust to ensure that there are no oversights.
Now that you are aware of all of the potentialities involved with an NFA gun trust, let’s explore the many benefits that come with these trusts. Knowing what to expect and what you can look forward to will give you even more reasons to get a high-quality gun trust.
5. Benefits of an NFA Gun Trust
If you get an NFA gun trust for the purpose of getting a regulated SBR, the trust itself will actually buy and hold the title to that firearm. There are many advantages to this practice. From sharing your SBR to naming the trustee(s) who will care for your firearms should something happen to you, gun trusts are great to have for a variety of reasons.
Sharing NFA Firearms
For one, using a gun trust gives you the option to add additional trustees to the trust. What does this mean for you and those you add? It means that other people can legally possess your regulated SBR within the trust.
Compare this to owning an unregulated firearm individually. Only you can legally carry, possess, transport, and use that firearm. There is no way around it – someone else gets caught with your registered firearm, they are going to be in serious trouble.
Furthermore, things could get difficult for you depending on why someone else is using one of your firearms. Using a gun trust for this purpose takes the strain off situations like this by letting you name those who you want to be able to legally use your SBR.
But they must be in the trust, otherwise, you will have no legal recourse in the event that you let someone else use your SBR.
Planning Your Estate
In the unfortunate event that you pass, you will need to have something in place that states what happens to your SBR if you die. A gun trust lets you decide who gets your SBR so that nothing outside of your wishes happens to it.
Depending on where you live, an NFA trust can last for several generations, sometimes even forever. A competent gun trust will ensure that your SBR and any other firearms go to the party of your choosing. It would be truly unfortunate if you allowed this to become an oversight.
Your SBR would be lost and those closest to you would have very little legal recourse over what happens to your arsenal. To be sure, we recommend that you get a qualified gun trust in place at your earliest convenience.
Not only will you have peace of mind that your SBR will go to someone you trust, but you’ll also know that it will be well cared for should something happen to you.
Best of all, you don’t have to set aside a lot of time or make a special appointment to set up your NFA gun trust. Thanks to the internet, you can set up your own gun trust for your SBR in a matter of minutes. There are some really great online resources available that enable you to protect your SBR without ever leaving your home.
Sites like GunTrust NFA allow you to create your SBR trust in a matter of minutes. It’s simple, thorough, and affordable. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a lawyer when you can do it all yourself for a fraction of the cost?
Regardless of which route you take in entrusting your SBR, all that matters is that you have a trust in place. With the proper planning, you can enjoy the peace of mind that your firearms are in good hands.
Planning for a Contingency
OK, so what happens if you get hurt or sick and can no longer care for your SBR? What if an unfortunate event legally prohibits you from owning firearms altogether? Then what? You need to know that your SBR will go into safe hands.
Thankfully, a gun trust allows you to plan for such contingencies. If you need to, you can add other trustees to the trust to ensure that you are covered from all sides. This will ensure that your SBR is taken care of by someone you trust and who has sufficient knowledge to handle the SBR.
There’s no need to let the unexpected triumph. You can take proactive steps through the use of a gun trust to ensure that your SBR is protected at all times.
Ready to Take Action?
Are you ready to take a stand and ensure that you and your SBR are protected? With the current landscape, it is important to be proactive in protecting what’s yours. If you want to set up your own trust for your SBR, check out GunTrust NFA.
And remember, you don’t have to get a trust just for an SBR. Maybe you already own a fair collection of firearms and want to ensure their protection, as well. You aren’t limited to the NFA gun you want to legally protect.
Everyone should have access to the protection and safety they need as legal gun owners, SBR or otherwise. It’s your Second Amendment right, and we recommend you use it while you can.