ATF May Close Loophole Allowing Unregistered Machine Gun Sales through Corporations and Trusts
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wants to close a loophole in federal law that allows individuals to buy or inherit machine guns, shotguns, silencers, and other restricted weapons through corporations and trusts without registering the sales with the government.
Under a new regulation crafted by ATF, gun buyers would still be able to make such purchases, but in doing so, they would have to submit background information about themselves.
Current law exempts individuals wanting to acquire such weapons from having to file a photograph and fingerprint card with the ATF and local law enforcement “if the applicant or transferee is a partnership, company, association, trust or corporation.”
ATF decided to take this step after realizing the number of legal entities in the gun trade that were not federal firearms licensees had ballooned from about 840 in 2000 to 40,700 in 2012. The reason for the increase, according to ATF, is a growth in the number of trusts. However, lawyers involved in the drafting of gun trusts attribute the most recent increase to public response to state and federal proposals for new gun control legislation.
A gun group brought the loophole to ATF’s attention.
The National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association (NFATCA) submitted a petition to the agency requesting amendments to change the law, according to ATF.
“[NFATCA] expressed concern that an NFA [National Forearms Act] firearm could be acquired by a prohibited person and used in a violent crime,” ATF wrote in a federal filing.
To Learn More:
The ATF May Close a Machine Gun Loophole (by Philip A. Janquart, Courthouse News Service)
Trusts Offer a Legal Loophole for Buying Restricted Guns (by Erica Goode, New York Times)
Machine Guns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Corporation, Trust or Other Legal Entity With Respect To Making or Transferring a Firearm (Federal Register)
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