How Do I Select a Gun Trust And Firearms Attorney In West Virginia ?
Before choosing a gun trust or firearms attorney in West Virginia, clients should question their potential attorney about the attorney’s prior experience with gun laws.
At a minimum, they should ask the following questions:
1) Where did you learn about the gun laws?
2) Do you have any gun-related criminal law background?
3) Have you written any articles or taught gun law classes?
4) What estate or business gun-law related issues have you resolved for your former clients?
If your estate or business involves firearms in West Virginia, make sure your attorney is well-versed in both state and federal gun laws. After all, there are thousands of gun laws on the books, and without some prior experience, you should question the attorney’s ability to protect you. Remember, each attorney’s particular knowledge and experience that they can offer to their clients is different, and not all gun trusts are created equal.
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Gun Trust In West Virginia For Firearms That Are Subject To The National Firearms Act
Gun owners in West Virginia who are considering adding an NFA firearm (firearms subject to the National Firearms Act) to their collection should consider creating a gun trust before they make the acquisition.
The most popular NFA firearms in West Virginia are suppressors, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and fully automatic firearms. The National Firearms Act was passed by Congress in 1934. The NFA imposed a special tax on NFA firearms, and restricts the possession and transfer of NFA firearms to the person who has paid the tax. If you are considering acquiring or building an NFA firearm, you need to know the laws that pertain to these special firearms. Readers are encouraged to read Alexandria Kincaid’s book, “Infringed” to more fully understand the laws, including the NFA, and avoid committing an accidental felony.
What Special Laws Apply to NFA Firearms In West Virginia ?
The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the possession, use, and transfer of several different types of firearms in West Virginia. These firearms are commonly referred to as “Title II” firearms and include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, suppressors, destructive devices, and “any other weapons” (AOWs). State laws may also further restrict the possession and use of these weapons. In many states, it is legal to own and use
suppressors, destructive devices, and AOWs as long as the NFA regulations are followed.
Gun owners in West Virginia wishing to acquire Title II firearms can do so by registering the firearm in their own name or in the name of an entity. If you choose to acquire the NFA firearm in your own name, you must submit fingerprints, a photograph, pay a $200 application fee/tax, and obtain the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in the jurisdiction where you live. In some cities and counties, the CLEO signature is very hard, if not impossible, to obtain.
The Best Way To Own Title II Firearms In West Virginia
Even when you can obtain the CLEO signature, individual ownership is not the best way to own Title II firearms in West Virginia. Only the individual in whose name the firearm is registered will be entitled to possess the NFA firearms. Leaving these firearms accessible to other people living in your home can be a crime.
As a result of the drawbacks of individual ownership, combined with the CLEO non-participation in the application process, many gun owners in West Virginia have resorted to forming an entity to purchase and hold Title II firearms. There are several advantages to using an entity to purchase and hold NFA items:
• No fingerprints are required.
• No photographs are required.
• No CLEO signature is required.
• In contrast to individual ownership, multiple people may possess the firearms.
The question then becomes which type of entity is best to hold Title II firearms In West Virginia. The answer is usually a firearms trust
Business entities such as corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) in West Virginia can be used to obtain Title II firearms. The problem with these entities is that they all require fees and a public record with the state. You must pay an initial fee to form the entity and in many states, a yearly fee to maintain it. Further, these types of entities are designed to earn money rather than to hold, share, and distribute firearms.
Business entities in region~ rarely address what will happen to the firearm when the creator of the entity becomes incapacitated or dies. Despite these drawbacks, some gun owners choose to use a business entity due to the ability to obtain asset protection of the firearms with such an entity. When gun owners create an LLC to hold firearms, the LLC is still often combined with a gun trust, so the gun owner receives the best of both worlds: asset protection and estate planning combined.
Gun Trust In West Virginia Can Be Kept Private
In contrast, a trust does not require any fees with the state and can be kept private. Because trusts in West Virginia are primarily an estate-planning tool, they are designed to hold, share, and distribute assets. A proper gun trust will address what happens to the firearms when the creator of the trust becomes incapacitated or dies. While a person could use a free trust provided by a gun shop (which is the “unauthorized practice of law”) or downloads one from a discount online source, these products do not protect a person’s family and friends adequately.
A proper firearms trust is designed for owning, sharing, and eventually distributing firearms, ammunition, and accessories.
This Article Is Provided by Attorney Alex Kincaid