How to Own a Silencer
If you have been wanting to add a silencer to your collection, then you should be aware that silencers are federally regulated. To purchase and own a silencer, you must register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE, also known at the ATF). The Secure Gun Trust was designed to hold silencers and other firearms in trust. With a Secure Gun Trust, after your purchase you simply complete the trust documents, and then submit a copy of the gun trust along with the ATF application to register to own the silencer with gun trust so you do not have to register as an individual. There are a large number of advantages to registering with the Secure Gun Trust rather than doing it personally.
If you register with the BATFE to purchase a silencer as an individual, you will have to submit a fingerprint sample and passport style photograph along with your application. You will have to convince the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in your area to sign an approval form saying that you can own a NFA weapon (which includes silencers). If you go the individual registration route, you will have to put yourself out there with law enforcement as owning a silencer and they will have to approve your potential ownership of the silencer in writing before you may lawfully purchase it. If you purchase a NFA Trust, you do not have to worry about these things until June, 2016 when new ATF regulations go into effect. As of June, 2016, all persons that are deemed to be "responsible persons" with the gun trust must submit a passport style photograph and fingerprints along with their ATF application. You can read more about ATF 41F and how it affects gun trusts here.
With a NFA Trust, You Get:
Protection Against the Government
- No Fingerprints (until June, 2016)
- No CLEO signature (until June, 2016. As of June, 2016 you simply have to notify the CLEO in your area by mailing them a copy of the ATF application).
- No Photograph (until June, 2016)
- The Trust is a private document and is not part of the public record
Protection For Your Loved Ones
- If you own a silencer as an individual, anyone who is near that silencer when you are not around could be found to be in constructive possession of it and could face felony charges.
- If you list the people who you want to be able to be around the silencer and use the silencer as Trustees, then they are legally able to use and possess the silencer with the same right that you have
Protection of Your Estate
- With a NFA gun trust, all of the NFA items that you put in the gun trust avoid probate after your death.
- The items in your NFA gun trust never have to be made public, and pass on to the beneficiaries as you have named them in your gun trust completely outside of the court system
Protection of Your Heirs
- The Secure Gun Trust is drafted specifically to hold NFA items, such as silencers.
- It is designed to protect your beneficiaries from unlawful possession of NFA items
- The terms of this gun trust require the beneficiaries to receive certification from the BATFE that the beneficiary is eligible to own NFA items before those NFA items pass to them. In the meantime, the NFA items are continued to be held in trust