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On January 4, 2016, The U.S. Department of Justice finally took the next step (via an official “ruling”) to implement President Obama’s 2013 executive order concerning modifications to the interpretation of the law concerning acquisition of Title 2 firearms via trusts and corporations.

While the “actual” date of effect remains unknown (it will go into effect six months following the official publication of the ruling in the Federal Register) it does appear that the changes will now occur. The changes are, obviously, at least six months in the future–likely mid-July, 2016 at the soonest.

The good news is that these changes are explicitly not retro-active in nature (as per my prediction, due to the absolute legal nightmare that would be unleashed otherwise) and will not actually require CLEO approval—rather, CLEOs need only receive notification of the submission of the trust to ATF—ATF will do the “responsible party” background checks. This should still allow parties who would otherwise be unlawfully denied Title 2 ownership by discriminatory CLEO decisions (for example, denial of approval due to arrest without conviction only) to enjoy their legal ability to enjoy such ownership.  This will also still allow the unreasonable hassle, expense and delay of CLEO approval to be avoided.

The bad news is that all “responsible parties” in the trust or corporation (clearly grantors, trustees, co-trustees and successor trustees in trusts, owners and principals in corporations) will be required to submit fingerprints and a passport photo to ATF with the trust/corporate submission to allow a background check to occur for those parties prior to ATF’s approval of the trust or corporation.  With that said, the only “downside” to these additional steps (fingerprints and photographs) will be a slight additional cost and hassle—small enough price to pay for the tremendous benefits to trust/corporate ownership.

With these changes, trust ownership is still the way to go—immense advantages over individual or corporate ownership remain. It would seem that now would be a good time to finally “get around” to obtaining and submitting your NFA trust in order to avoid the additional hassle coming up in the near future!

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