LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Patrick E. Stegall | Sep 18, 2012

Mississippi Gun Trusts

The State of Mississippi allows for the purchase and use of all firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act. These weapons include sound suppressors (aka silencers), machine guns, and short barreled rifles and shotguns. These are not the types of guns that you can just walk in and buy at your local gun shop. The NFA requires that these weapons be registered through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and imposes severe penalties on anyone who violates the law. If you're wondering how this law works, you can contact a Mississippi NFA trust lawyer for more information.

In recent years, a legal device called a gun trust has become popular for people to register and transfer NFA firearms. Gun trusts are a smart alternative to individual registration of NFA items. To see how trusts work, let's first compare them to the standard way of acquiring NFA weapons. Under the individual registration process, a person would register an NFA weapon, say a silencer, in his or her own name. Once it has been transferred to them, only that person could legally possess that silencer. Leaving it in anyone else's possession without the registered owner present--for instance a family member or spouse--would be an illegal transfer. Furthermore, individual registration has no contingency if the person dies intestate (without a will). If the weapon goes through probate there's no telling where it might end up. While federal law does allow a tax-free transfer to heirs, someone claiming to be an heir may not know this and take the weapon without filing the required paperwork, thus again committing an illegal transfer.

Additionally, individual registration requires that the applicant have their chief law enforcement officer sign the ATF form, attach a passport-sized photograph, and submit fingerprints. This can be a time-consuming part of the process, and even a real hassle.

Now let's look at the gun trust way of doing things. In using a trust, the trust itself is the registered owner, not any one individual. Those requirements I just mentioned--CLEO signature, fingerprints, and photographs--are not needed with a trust. You don't need to do them at all. You just leave those parts blank on the ATF form. A trust cannot get fingerprinted or photographed, nor does it need a signature from the sheriff. If you have any particular questions about how this works, a Mississippi NFA trust lawyer can help you.

Because the trust is the owner of the NFA weapon, anyone listed in the trust may legally possess that weapon. That individual who was going to register his silencer in his own name can now list as many friends and family members as he wants in his trust. As long as they are 18 and otherwise legal to possess firearms, anyone he chooses can be a trustee. A trustee can possess the silencer without the trust grantor present, and can even take it across state lines provided the ATF is notified and it's not to a state that prohibits NFA weapons.

Finally, the individual who wishes to set up a trust would name a beneficiary--the person or persons who would inherit the weapons after his death. Unike trustees, beneficiaries do not have to be 18. Children may be listed as beneficiary. Giving the trust grantor the power and discretion to name the beneficiary well before his death insures that his NFA weapons will be in the right hands, and also saves his estate from a possible illegal transfer.

Mississippi gun trusts are a convenient and reliable way to register and possess NFA weapons. A Mississippi NFA trust lawyer can design your trust to meet your specific requirements and goals, and can insure that your trust property is in the right hands both during and after your life.

Patrick Stegall is a Mississippi gun trust attorney. He has helped numerous families and individuals with the NFA registration process, and can draft a firearms trust tailored to your individual needs. To see how he can help you, email him at [email protected] or call him at (901) 205-9894.

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