The benefits of a gun trust


Lee’s note: This is the first contribution from Charles M. Britt, III, a Bradenton, Florida-based attorney and a former law enforcement officer and firearms trainer.

The Benefits of a Gun Trust

by Charles M. Britt, III

An increasing number of gun owners, with help from attorneys, are creating legal trusts to buy silencers, fully-automatic machine guns, or any other items or weapon whose sale is restricted by federal gun law, otherwise known as the National Firearms Act “NFA”— this legal entity subverts the requirement to obtain local law enforcement approval or even undergo criminal background checks. This trust goes around much of the red tape and problems associated with personal ownership of NFA weapons.

These gun trusts allow the owners of the regulated firearms to use and share them legally with family members and to pass them down through the generations. These trust are gaining in number because they offer legal protection from potential future laws which may ban the possession or sale of the firearms.

Specific benefits:

Local Sheriff or Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) Sign Off Not Required –  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF or BATF) mandate that individuals get the approval of the CLEO of the county where you live does not apply to NFA gun trusts. Many local sheriffs refuse to sign off on the purchase for various reasons which makes buying a NFA weapon almost impossible for an individual. A class 3 NFA trust works around that problem.

Fingerprint Cards Not Required – For an individual, the BATF requires two sets of fingerprint cards to go with Form 4 transfers. This requirement doesn’t apply to a NFA gun trust.

Owner Photograph Not Required – An individual is required to provide a photograph with the application, again doesn’t apply to a gun trust.

Continuity of Ownership – as like most trusts, unless the items in the trust are sold by the trustee, the items belongs to the trust as long as the trust exists. Usually, a trust runs 70 years. A gun trust can set out the division of property just like a will, but the assets remain legally in the trust for generations.

Charles M. Britt, III

Charles M. Britt, III

Continuity, Scope, and Mutuality of Class 3 Weapon Possession – A NFA firearm trust can allow various people to possess and use Class 3 weapons owned by the trust. Multiple trustees can be named who have the authority to possess the trust’s assets. Those persons and beneficiaries can be designated at the outset of the trust or added or deleted at a later date. Without a trust, the individual owner, and no one else, can possess or use the Class 3 weapon. There is no requirement to transfer the gun trust assets upon the death or legal incapacity of a trustee or beneficiary. You also avoid the need to file a Form 4 transfer and pay the $200 federal tax.

Confidentiality – The gun trust is not filed with any state or municipal government or other law enforcement entity, except the BATF. If gun trust buys a NFA Class 3 weapon, a copy of the trust itself must be filed with Form 4. But, your trust and your name only show up on the tax rolls of the BATF. Since it is a tax related filing, it is exempt from most subpoenas and public records requests.

No Filing Fees – Since nothing is filed with any government bureaucracy, there are no filing fees to be paid for someone to copy and file it in a government database.

Insurance – As it stands right now, an NFA Class 3 weapons trust is you best protection to buy and later sell or transfer those weapons as assets for generations to come. What laws that may come in the future will probably not affect trust already in existence.

Protection – not from criminals, but from the government. A gun trust can be written to insulate your loved ones in case they accidentally possess an NFA weapon that is not registered to them personally.

Speed of Registration – A properly written NFA gun trust can speed up the registration process significantly and allow you to obtain Class 3 items before new laws take effect.

Background Check Not Required– while most Class 3 dealers do it anyway, there is no requirement of a background check when an NFA gun trust is used.

 Bradenton Attorney Charles M. Britt, III can be contacted at (941) 747-4440.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Hi my name is Carolin,

    I’m a non citizen but I live from time to time in Florida (as a tourist). I want to purchase firearms. I know, that it isn’t possible for me as an individual, thats the reason why I’m interested in trusts. Is there any possibility to purchase guns as a trustee? Can I be a trustee as a non citizen or can I create a trust? I can’t find any information, especialy in the staten and federal law.

    Thanks in advance for any help


    • Lee Williams on

      The trust is valid in any state that does not ban the possession of NFA/Class III weapons by an individual. IF you can possess these weapons according to your state law, and you can in Tennessee, the trust is valid. Hope this helps.

  2. on

    This is helpful for those guys who didn’t know about it before this post. I am thankful to you for this great effort.

  3. on

    Hey…this is a wonderful website buddy and an informative post!!! i am new here and i found this site very interesting and informative
    knitting patterns

  4. You need to spend a little more time lkoniog at the cartridge loads for the .30-30. Its certainly a lighter cartridge than .308, but that LOOONG neck give it options to load some very heavy bullets without sacrificing case capacity. 7.62 39 is set up for 123gr 0.311 bullets and little else.Maybe the old Winchester Factory load was similar to the soviet intermediate .just like the military .30-06 load for the Garand is equivalent to 7.62x51mm NATO, but comparing cartridges on such a narrow level is hardly fair!

  5. Pingback: Gun Trusts | worldsrants

  6. Joshua Long on

    Hi my name is Josh and I am writing a great review for I really didn’t know anything about Gun trust’s but I know I wanted to purchase NFA items from a local dealer. I got info about from a friend of mine that said if I want a gun trust than I should go with them because its literally pay the $99.00 flat fee and get the gun trust emailed to you within the same day. I had spoken with Eric from with all my questions and concerns. He answered all my questions professionaly and my only concern was how fast I can pay to get my gun trust. If your interested in getting a gun trust and have any questions call Eric @ (888) 442-4307. You won’t regret it!!!

  7. Jerome Bistritz on

    I would like to know if I have a gun trust the purchase of class 3 weapons are covered using a form 4 but can I also purchase regular (semiautomatic) firearms using the 4473 form or do I still need a FFL for those?

  8. Pingback: Top 10 gun myths debunked | The Gun Writer

  9. This website is very informative and I am planning on getting a Gun Trust. I do have one question: Does a Gun Trust allow you to purchase weapons online and send them to your residence, avoiding going through a dealer? If you still have to go through a dealer does it afford you any benefits?

    I appreciate your information and help.


  10. I live in California and am interested in protecting my guns upon my death and ensuring they stay with my family /son’s. I have several vintage, rare military surplus and modern weapons and the CCW renewal class I attended this past week stressed the importance of a gun trust. Can you help me construct a trust for my family?
    Best Regards
    Eric Lee

  11. They normally use less power, making thrm more ideal for laptops.

    It is bedst to get a laptop that hass a lot of RAM that one could afford.
    As you can see, there exists truly something for all.

    • Steven Knipp on

      With a gun trust can you build a class3 firearm?
      And if a state bans all guns or class3 guns than is that trust still valid?

  12. Pingback: Seeking A Competent Gun Trust Lawyer In San Antonio? - Voeller Law

Leave A Reply