Florida Gun Trust: Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are a gun owner, you’ve probably heard of a Florida gun trust. You may know exactly what it is used for but may be wondering if you need a lawyer to help set one up. Continue reading to learn more about gun trusts and how your lawyer can help you avoid running afoul of federal law.

The National Firearms Act of 1934

As amended, the NFA requires that certain firearms be registered with the federal government, including:

  • Fully automatic firearms,
  • Rifles and shotguns less than 26 inches in length
  • Rifles with a barrel under 16 inches
  • Shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches
  • Firearm sound suppressors or silencers.
  • Revolving-cylinder shotguns, and
  • One semi-automatic shotgun.

As with most government regulations, there are consequences for failing to comply.

The Penalties

Chapter 15 of the NFA Handbook lays out some of the penalties for violating NFA provisions:

  • Criminal. Penalties include imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations.
  • Forfeiture. Violating the NFA could lead to the seizure and forfeiture of any weapons involved in the violation.
  • Assessment of NFA tax. The ATF may charge taxes, penalties, and interest under provisions of the Internal Revenue Service.

So, how does a gun trust help avoid these and other penalties?

The Florida Gun Trust and Your Attorney

All trusts are created with a purpose in mind. A Florida gun trust is a revocable trust designed for the ownership of firearms. Ownership of the guns and related equipment is transferred to the trust by the grantor. The grantor then names trustees, who are then legally allowed to use and possess the equipment owned by the trust. Establishing your gun trust may sound easy, but it is not. You will have to navigate federal law and regulations while submitting the necessary paperwork.

However, if you own weapons regulated by the NFA or a large gun collection, setting up a Florida gun trust is a smart move. Benefits include:

  • You and your fellow trustees can avoid committing “accidental felonies.”
  • After your death or incapacity, the guns held in your Florida gun trust can transfer to heirs or remain in the gun trust.
  • A gun trust allows you to avoid transferring weapons through probate, which makes their gun ownership public record.

Incorrectly setting up or using a Florida gun trust is easy. It’s the penalties that are hard.

Consult with an Experienced Gun Trust Lawyer

You can attempt to set up a gun trust without a lawyer, but why? The risks associated with violating the National Firearms Act are too great to ignore. At the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., our clients benefit from our experience with gun trusts. Please contact us at 772-324-9050 to schedule an appointment or fill out our Contact Form. From our office in Palm City, Florida, we also serve clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.