It had to happen eventually. The dedicated disarmament advocates at the New York Times have finally noticed the convenience that gun trusts provide. Wanna buy a suppressor? Okay, but if you hand it to your kid to hold while loading up your range bag, you’ve technically broken the law. And buying NFA items or passing your heaters on once you’ve assumed room temperature is a bigger hassle without a trust in place. Not to mention that getting a sign-off from your CLEO can be impossible, depending on where you live. So what’s the problem with gun owners setting up a trust to own their gets? Why, a distinct lack of government control and oversight, of course! What really gives the NYT’s editors and the ATF a case of the willies is the fact that members of a trust don’t have to undergo NICS checks each time a new item is purchased. But if the article can be believed, the ATF has an ap for that . . .
Mike Campbell, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which enforces firearms regulations, said that applications filed with the A.T.F. for transfers of restricted firearms to trusts or corporations have more than doubled in the last four years, to more than 39,000 in 2012 from about 15,000 in 2008. He said the increase was largely attributable to the growth in the number of trusts.
Mr. Campbell confirmed that under current regulations, background checks were not required for the buying of restricted firearms through trusts. The agency, he added, was aware of the loophole and was reviewing changes to close it.
Changes. He probably has something like this in mind. Which — hold on, this foil hat doesn’t fit quite right — is probably just a first step on the way to NICS checks all around for trust members with each purchase.
Betcha can’t guess who else is dreadfully concerned about the whole gun trust process. Hold onto your hats…police chiefs!
Jim Bueermann, the president of the Police Foundation, a research organization in Washington, said, “My guess is that the majority of police chiefs would agree that there is a reason why, as a general rule, people are prohibited from owning silencers, machine guns and what we would call sawed-off rifles or shotguns.”
Mr. Bueermann said that he was especially concerned about the loophole in A.T.F. regulations that made it possible to buy restricted firearms without a background check and that he thought most Americans would find this shocking.
According to the Times article, the number of gun trusts has almost doubled to about 40,000 since 2008. If you’re thinking about one, now may be the time.
[h/t Jonah F.]