Who is my CLEO?

Prior to the implementation of 41F, trust applicants were not subject to the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) sign-off that was required of individual applicants.

As part of 41F, this requirement was changed from an affirmative ‘sign-off’ to a mere ‘notification’.  However, the notification requirement was then extended to apply to all ‘responsible persons‘ of an NFA trust.

Therefore, my trust clients often ask the question:

“Who exactly is my CLEO?” 

In Virginia, this question is further complicated by the fact that we have independent cities which are separate and distinct political subdivisions from the counties which surround them (which is not the case in many other states).

So … to answer this question, one must first determine whether they are a resident of an independent city or merely a county.  To do this, you may use the Locality Code Lookup tool made available by the Virginia Department of Taxation.

The good news is that once you have identified your jurisdiction, you have a number of choices which all meet the ATF definition of ‘CLEO’:

“the local chief of police, sheriff …, head of the State police, or State or local district attorney or prosecutor are acceptable”

While any of these are acceptable, I would recommend that you notify either the police chief or the sheriff in your jurisdiction.  Since 41F removed the sign-off requirement and only requires notice, the selection of which party to notify is no longer critical.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  As mentioned above, if you live in an independent city, you are NOT part of the surrounding county and officials serving there are NOT your CLEO.

Disclaimer:  As always, this information is presented for educational purposes only and does not give rise to an attorney-client relationship. Additionally, I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and this answer may not be appropriate for other jurisdictions.

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