The Attorney General signed ATF Final Rule 41F — Machinegun, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Trust or Legal Entity with Respect to Making or Transferring a Firearm — and it is officially now in effect. The ruling is a bit of a mixed blessing. It complicates how trusts are handled but it also makes it easier for individuals to buy NFA-regulated firearms.
From now on the managers of trusts, or “responsible persons,” are required to undergo background checks and submit fingerprint cards and passport photos, like individuals do, but it removes the law enforcement sign-off across the board, replacing it with law enforcement notification. This means that chief law enforcement officers can no longer enforce a de-facto NFA ban within their jurisdictions by denying applications to individuals without a trust.
Rule 41F defines “responsible persons,” people who are trustees or can take possession of guns held by the trust. A responsible person is anyone with the power or authority to direct the management and policies of the trust,” explains the ATF. “Any person who has the capability to exercise such power and possesses, directly or indirectly, the power or authority under any trust instrument, or under State law, to receive, possess, ship, transport, deliver, transfer, or otherwise dispose of a firearm for, or on behalf of, the trust” is a responsible person.
According to the ATF, responsible persons include:
- Board members
- Beneficiaries – if said beneficiary has the capability to exercise any of the powers or authorities enumerated above.
The ATF published a guide to understanding 41F on their website. It also includes the revised forms for making, transferring and registering NFA-regulated material.
The guide is on the dense side, and a lot of people are going to have questions about the new process for running gun trusts. The ATF has set up an email address specifically to help people muddle through the changes. “If you have additional questions or need assistance regarding 41F, contact us at 41F@atf.gov.”
Common NFA-regulated guns include short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and increasingly popular suppressors, among a few other types of restricted firearms (including registered machine guns).
So while 41F adds a new set of burdens for gun trust-ship, it also makes it possible for many individuals to add NFA-regulated guns and accessories to their collection.
With these changes a lot of individuals are going to run out and buy a single multi-caliber suppressor and register a short-barreled rifle receiver and call it good. As frustrating as 41F seems at first, it will pave the way to a big boom in NFA-regulated gun owners. Suppressor manufacturers are already gearing up for the impending spike in demand.
Gun trusts are likely to remain the primary way for the majority of people and businesses to enjoy NFA-regulated equipment for the foreseeable future. As long as the responsible persons listed by the trust haven’t changed they will receive a 2-year exemption on print cards and photos for 2 years following an approved transfer.
“You won’t need to provide fingerprint cards or a 5320.23 with photos – or even a copy of your trust, if you’ve had any approval within the preceding 2-year period and your trust hasn’t changed,” explains the Silencer Shop. The Silencer shop is working on a new, fast-moving system for buying and transferring NFA-regulated gear post-41F. For more on that head over to the Firearm Blog.
“In response to these changes, SureFire has been increasing production to battle the ever-increasing demand for suppressors as their popularity grows throughout the United States,” reports AmmoLand.
It’s not possible to know completely how 41F will affect the NFA circuit today. A lot of questions will only be answered through trial and error as gun owners test the new system. And 41F may require further changes in the future.
What do you think of 41F? Are you considering buying some NFA-regulated gear as an individual now that the CLEO signoff is no more?