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SILENCER SATURDAY #10: Was There An NFA Trust Loophole?

This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com

Welcome back suppressor fans. Thanks for reading TFB’s Silencer Saturday, where it’s polite to hush your hosts. Last week we discussed the overly complex NFA transfer and approval process to own suppressors in the United States. After that discussion, two readers sent in questions asking about the use of trusts to own/possess NFA controlled items and if they still make sense after the ATF 41F rule change. Which begs the question: Was there really an NFA trust loophole prior to the implementation of ATF’s new application procedures? Let’s discuss it.

NFA TRUST LOOPHOLE?

Prior to July 13, 2016, entity applicants (Trusts and LLCs) for NFA Form 4 and Form 1 submissions could forego submitting fingerprints and photographs as part of the background check process. These applicants could also skip the (formerly) required Chief Law Enforment Officer (CLEO) sign off needed by individual transferees. On the surface, It certainly seems like there was a “loophole” in place.

Before we dive in for a closer look, let’s check the details on what makes someone a prohibited person when it comes to firearms possession and ownership:


The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:

  • convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    who is a fugitive from justice;
  • who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
  • who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  • who is an illegal alien;
  • who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
  • who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
  • who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.

Further, the GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.


As you can see, the Gun Control Act of 1968 defined who was able to have access to firearms – if an individual fits into one or more of the above categories, they legally cannot possess, buy or receive a firearm – which includes silencers.

Back to trusts. I am not a lawyer, but these legal documents spell out who is involved, their roles and their responsibilities. When it comes to the so-called “NFA Trusts” the details explain who is allowed to possess items owned by the entity.

With the basics out of the way, let’s put together a hypothetical situation. Let’s say a trust has 10 responsible persons and is used to transfer a silencer. Even though, under the pre 41F rules, there was no background check requirements for responsible persons/trustees, it was already illegal under the Gun Control Act to include a Prohibited Person who would possess an NFA item like a silencer. Doing so would be just as illegal as handing over your silencer to a prohibited person who was not listed on the trust.

Second, under the old rules, the person who actually receives the silencer on behalf of the trust was required to fill out a Form 4473 and undergo a NICS background check.

So the closing of the trust “loophole” was actually just doubling up on a law that already exists – prohibited means prohibited, on the trust or not, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is against the law. On top of that, trust applications were (mostly) submitted because processing times were faster and ATF’s eForm system was available for electronic submissions.

Fast forward to the new system where all responsible persons are required to submit fingerprints and photographs as part of a background check – is an NFA Trust still a good idea? If you have multiple individuals with whom you trust that you want to share ownership of silencers, yes, a legal entity for silencer purchases is still a good idea. If you are setting up a trust to avoid lengthy approval times, those days are over.

Silencer Saturday: PTR K3P turned SBR with Sig Sauer 762QD suppressor from Silencer Shop.

On the topic of NFA wait times, After an eight month wait for approval, a Form 1 tax stamp finally arrived for my PTR K3P pistol for legal conversion to a Short Barreled Rifle. At the time, G3K stocks were not available, so I ended up grabbing a standard HK91/G3 stock from RTG Parts. The master roller lock craftsman at TPM Outfitters shortened the recoil spring and guide rod for proper fitting on the PTR in its new K form. I’ll be including the now PTR “G3K” as a host for the upcoming review of the Sig Sauer 762QD suppressor.

Speaking of TPM, I just bought one of their MP5SD-K silencers that cuts about five inches of length from the original SD. We’ll be doing a side by side comparison between the two SD suppressors to see if there is a perceivable difference in sound reduction. That should be a fun test.

See you next week. Be safe. Have fun.

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Published on Jan 23, 2018

Quick yet entertaining look at the ever so sexy H&K USP 45 shooting Suppressed in Slow Motion.  GY6 is working toward becoming 100% Fan Supported, allowing for many more frequent uploads and cutting the strings of YouTube restrictions due to advertising, head over to http://www.Patreon.com/GY6 and show your support by becoming a Patron.Hope you enjoy, if you do, please take the time to SUBSCRIBE to GY6slowmo “LIKE” & “SHARE” our content.  Subscribe to GY6slowmo @ http://www.youtube.com/GY6slowmo


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Published on Feb 26, 2018

Reviewing the Griffin Armament Micro from Silencer Shop

Like Griffin’s full-size Optimus, the Micro offers considerable adaptability, though it naturally lacks compatibility with some of the calibers the Optimus supports. The Micro can be mounted to host firearms in nearly as many ways and overall, it shares plenty of design elements with its brother. What makes it substantially different from other .22 suppressors is its support for full-power 5.56mm usage. And no, this isn’t some sort of gimmick. – Read the full review of the Optimus Micro on ModernRfileman.net

Manufacturers, distributors, dealers – submit your product releases and news to silencers@thefirearmblog.com

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