Texas Gun Trust
Texas NFA Trust Information and FAQs
Texas NFA Trust Benefits
Texas NFA Trusts Videos and Web Resources Page
How to Transfer Complete a Form 4 transfer
Texas NFA Trusts Table of Contents Page
NFA Laws by State
Buying a silencer
Texas Firearms Law and Links
Feedback & Contact Page
SILENCERS ARE LEGAL!
Silencers have never been illegal at the federal level. A few states banned
silencer ownership and/or use. Silencers have been regulated since the 1934 NFA
(National Firearms Act). the act, when enacted, placed a $200 tax on the
transfer of Machineguns, Short Barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns,
Destructive Devices, AOWs and silencers.
Currently, these state allow private ownership of silencers:
AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MS, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM,
NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and WY.
Of the fifteen states that do not allow civilian ownership, CA, IA, KS, MA, MO,
and MI allow Class 3 dealers and Class two manufacturers to possess silencers.
Buying a silencer from a local dealer
Buying a silencer is not a difficult task. The purchaser will need to complete
forms, mail the forms to the ATF with a check for $200 and wait for the forms to
be approved. It is that simple!
The dealer will help the buyer fill out the form 4 and the certificate of
The certificate of compliance identifies the buyer either as a United States
citizen or a legal resident alien.
The BATFE will take approximately two to three months to review and approve the
forms. The forms will then be sent back to the selling dealer. The dealer
then calls the buyer to come pickup the silencer.
Transfers to individuals
Form 4 transfers to individuals require a significant investment of time.
the buyer must obtain fingerprint cards, have his fingerprints taken, have his
passport photos taken, and obtain a Chief Law Enforcement Officer (i.e. chief of
police or Sheriff) signature by meeting with teh CLEO and explaining why the
buyer would want an NFA weapon.
Transfers to corporations
If a corporation is buying the NFA item, instead of sending passport photos and
fingerprint cards with the Form 4, the buyer will send one copy of the
corporation's articles of incorporation. On the Form 4 the buyer's name will be
the legal company name. No CLEO signature is required for a Form 4 transfer to a
corporation. Also, the approval process is usually much faster than an approval
for an individual.
Are there any down sides of corporate ownership of NFA items? Maybe not so much
"down sides" but there are a few unique things regarding corporate ownership of
NFA items. A corporation typically has some annual maintenance. Corporations
must be renewed. There is typically a fee for renewal. For example, in GA the
annual renewal fee is about $30. What happens to the NFA items if you fail to
renew the corporation on time? Depending on the type of corporation, there may
be tax implications for the NFA items.
A good thing about trust ownership of NFA regulated items is that any trustee
may possess the NFA regulated item. Therefore, if a couple brothers
formed the trust they could effectively share the NFA Regulated items. For an
individually owned silencer, the owner must be present when the silencer is
Transfers to Trusts
A Trust is an estate planning tool. It is a legal entity that can own NFA
regulated items. It is a simple task to setup a Texas Gun Trust.
Contact Attorney Sean Cody and he will prepare a Texas Gun Trust for you and
Transferring a silencer to a Trust is very similar to a corporate transfer. The
Form 4 must be completed using the Trust's name as the buyer.
No fingerprint cards or passport photos are needed. The CLEO signature
is not required. A notarized copy of the Trust is sent with the Form 4 and the
certificate of compliance. The approval time for a Trust transfer is usually two
to three months.
The Form 4?
The Form 4 is the form used to transfer an NFA regulated item from a seller
(either a dealer or an individual) to a buyer. The form contains information
about the NFA item (i.e. a description of the item, serial number, manufacturer,
etc.), information about the seller and information about the buyer. The back of
the form contains questions that are similar to the questions found on a 4473
form used to transfer a firearm to a buyer.
The Form 4 is a taxable transfer form. it is used for $5.00 (AOWs) and
$200 transfers between buyers and sellers. Transfers between dealers are
typically done on a Form 3.
Form 4 approvals generally take two to three months. This is NFA-Examiner
dependent. Transfers to Trusts and corporations usually take less time than
transfers to individuals.
Copies of the Form 4 - Make them!
The Form 4 is a tax document. The silencer owner is not compelled by any law to
disclose information on the form. That said, it I strongly advised my clients
and all NFA owners to keep a copy of the Form 4 with the item regulated by the
NFA at all times. Use this copy to educate any law enforcement officer who
questions the legality of the silencer. Remember, MANY people don't know
silencers are legal. If showing a copy of my Form 4 to a police officer keeps my
client from spending a night in the local jail, I'll gladly advise him to
display the form upon request.
Keep the original copy of your Form 4 is a safe place.
The CLEO signature is not required on the Form 4 for transfers to corporations
What is a CLEO?
The Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) who signs the Form 4 can be any of the
Chief of Police
Head of State Police Agency
A judge with the power of arrest
Any other law enforcement officer approved for this procedure by the National
Firearms Act branch of the BATF.
CLEO won't sign! Now what?
The most common obstacle to purchasing a silencer is the CLEO signature. Many if
not most CLEOs in Texas refuse to sign Form 4s for political and
philosophical reasons. Many CLEOs simply believe that ordinary citizens
should not own machineguns and silencers. If your CLEO won't play ball, have no
fear. You can always have the silencer transferred to a Texas Gun Trust.
CLEO will sign . . . . Why should I get a Texas Gun Trust?
Even if the CLEO will sign, the Texas Gun Trust is the better option:
- Time: Your time is worth money. You may have to take time
off work to get fingerprinted, photographed and explain to the CLEO why you
want an item that is regulated by the NFA. Even if you do not have to
take time off work you will be using your free time or vacation time from
work. YOUR time is valuable and as your NFA collection grows you will
spend more time value in jumping through these hoops than the cost of the
- Even if the CLEO signs today, there is no guarantee that he will sign
tomorrow. Times change . . . . Politicians retire or new ones who are
not NFA friendly get elected. Some CLEOs have signed for one NFA
regulated item, but when asked to sign for a second item have told the
applicant that they "don't need another".
- Flexibility: The Trust can allow more than one member of your
family to possess the NFA regulated items
- The trust is easily amended as your family's needs change. The
individual form 4 is stuck in the exact condition that it was approved
Inspired by Mark Kuczka's article on Polite Society's website.