Not a single day goes by without someone asking me about ‘ATF banning the use of trusts.‘ I long ago started translating those words in my mind to ‘Please explain the details of 41p and regulatory rulemaking to me.‘
So what is the status of 41p now?
The ATF has once again pushed the proposed action date out into the future. It is now showing as December of 2015. But that date is no more dependable than any of the others they have put forward since the end of the comment period in 2013.
And even if they were determined to stick to that date, there are a number of other questions still on the table.
- When will the ATF actually finish addressing the comments that were submitted?
- Did the comments raise legal issues that will scuttle the entire proposed rule?
- Does the ATF still even want the proposed rule?
- Will 41p face legal challenges if the ATF does eventually move forward?
While we do not know the answer to many of these questions at this time, we do know that industry groups continue to push back against 41p, and rightly so.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) had this to say in their April 27th newsletter:
“NSSF has confirmed with ATF that the bureau is unlikely to publish Notice 41P (NFA Trusts) as a Final Rule for quite some time. This is in part because EPS resources are being diverted to help process the 310,000 public comments received in response to the armor piercing ammunition framework proposal. In addition, it seems ATF has not prepared to revise the NFA database so that it can track ‘responsible persons’ for NFA trusts [as required by the proposed rule].”
So where does this leave us today? I will reiterate the advice I give to my clients who ask me that question …
Even if 41p were to be promulgated as-written, trusts would continue to be the preferred vehicle for NFA ownership simply due to the usage and estate planning benefits.
And … having said that, I personally do not believe that 41p can be promulgated in its current form … not and survive the inevitable legal challenges in any case.
So do not let fear of 41p stop you from using an NFA trust, with all its benefits, to build your NFA collection.