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How to Buy a Silencer Using a NFA Gun Trust

How can you legally buy a silencer using a NFA Gun Trust?  To start off lets describe what exactly a trust is.  A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that permits a trustee to hold property on behalf of a named beneficiary or beneficiaries.  Trusts are created to provide legal protection to the settlor's property within the trust and to ensure that the property within the trust is distributed to the beneficiary or beneficiaries to the trust.  In the case of our NFA Gun Trusts, the property within the trust would be NFA Firearms [Title 2 firearms] or non-NFA Firearms [Title 1 firearms].  Our NFA Gun Trusts are revocable trusts that can be changed or terminated by the settlor during his or her lifetime.  Some NFA Gun Trusts might be irrevocable trusts, in which the trust cannot be changed after the settlor establishes the trust, or becomes irrevocable upon the death of the settlor.  We describe both below: 

Revocable NFA Gun Trust:  A NFA Gun Trust that is revocable is no different than any other revocable trust, except it contains language specific to and related to the National Firearms Act.  A revocable trust is the most common and generally the preferred route for NFA Gun Trusts.  A revocable trust can be changed at any time and can be amended if you have second thoughts about your trust or would like to add or remove co-trustees later, etc.  

Irrevocable NFA Gun Trust: A NFA Gun Trust that is irrevocable is no different than any other irrevocable trust, except it contains language specific to and related to the National Firearms Act.  A irrevocable NFA Gun Trust is not common and generally not the preferred route for a NFA Gun Trust.  A irrevocable trust cannot be changed after the trust has been signed and executed.  A NFA Gun Trust's contents may change over the lifetime of the settlor, which makes a irrevocable NFA Gun Trust not the preferred route.  Note:  After the settlor passes away or after a specific amount of time a revocable NFA Gun Trust may become irrevocable.

Now, that we have an understanding what exactly a NFA Gun Trust is. Let's discuss how we can use that to purchase a silencer or suppressor.  We break this process down in a few more manageable steps.   

Step 1 - Create and Establish your NFA Gun Trust: 

You can file for your tax stamp under three entities: an individual, a NFA Gun Trust or a legal entity.  We recommend that you purchase your NFA Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust, as that provides you the most flexibility for you in the future.  We have an article here that explains the advantages of purchasing your NFA Firearm with a NFA Gun Trust, but ultimately the choice is yours.  If you do decide to apply for a NFA Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust, you can purchase our NFA Gun Trust here - Purchase Your NFA Gun Trust.  Once purchased, we will review your trust and send you a final copy.  Once this is received you will need to get the trust, dated, signed, witnessed and notarized.  Once that is completed you can move to step two. 

Step 2 - Purchase your Silencer:  You will next need to purchase your Silencer:  

You can either purchase your silencer from your local class 3 dealer or you might be manufacturing or making a silencer.  If you are purchasing an already made silencer you will need to complete a ATF 5320.4 form and the respective paperwork that comes with that document.  If you plan on manufacturing and making a silencer then you can purchase everything required to make or manufacture the silencer in this step.  Note: You cannot fully manufacture or make your silencer, if that is the route you are going with until you have received your ATF Approved Tax Stamp back form the ATF

Step 3 - Complete your ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm or ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm paperwork: 

You can use our ATF Paperwork walk-through guides below to aide you in that process.  

 *ATF Paperwork Walk-Through Guides:

But how do you know which ATF Form is right for you?  We describe them below to help you.

  • ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm - The ATF 5320.1 form is used to make or manufacture a National Firearms Act [NFA] Firearm. This includes the ability to alter the configuration of an existing firearm, to manufacture a NFA firearm yourself or to purchase an already made or manufactured NFA firearm.
  • ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm - The ATF 5320.4 form is used to apply for a paid tax stamp and to register a National Firearms Act [NFA] Firearm.  NFA Firearms that are registered using this form are already manufactured NFA Firearms that are being purchased from the manufacture, through a Special Occupational Taxpayer Dealer (SOT), or through an individual transfer (person to person, no dealer is involved).
  • ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm - The ATF 5320.5 form is used to apply for a tax exempt tax stamp or a tax exempt transfer of a National Firearms Act [NFA] Firearm.  NFA Firearms that are registered using this form are already manufactured NFA Firearms.   There are four options to register for a tax exempt tax stamp for a NFA Firearm.

With the ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm and the ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm, if you are filing for your ATF Tax Stamp as an individual then you will not be required to fill out the ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire, all of these questions will be answered on the ATF 5320.1, ATF 5320.4, and the ATF 5320.5 respectively.  Subsequently, if you are filing for your ATF Tax Stamp with a NFA Gun Trust or as a legal entity then you will be required to fill out the ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire.  The ATF paperwork will require additional sub-steps.  

  • You will need to fill out the ATF Form for the tax stamp that you are applying for.  You can decide which stamp is appropriate by the descriptions of the forms above. 
  • You will need to complete a ATF 5320.23 Responsible Persons Questionnaire for every responsible person if you are applying for your tax stamp with a NFA Gun Trust or as a legal entity.  
  • You will need to get one 2"x2" passport photo and two FD-258 fingerprint cards for each responsible person in the application.  If you are filing as an individual then this will be the person applying.  If you are applying with a NFA Gun Trust then this will be the identified responsible persons within the trust.  In our NFA Gun Trust this is the settlor and any co-trustees that are named. 

Step 4 - Review your Paperwork:  

Reviewing the paperwork for your ATF Tax Stamp application is important.  This is important because the smallest mistake in your paperwork can lead to either a denial of your paperwork or a delay in your paperwork.  Both of these issues can be avoided if you review your paperwork properly.  We offer ATF Paperwork consultation and review services.  With this service, we go line by line to verify everything is correct and ready to be submitted to the ATF.  You can take the pressure off with our services.  The 10 most common reasons why the ATF will return your paperwork are below:  

  1. Endorsement missing. - You missed a signature field on your application. 
  2. Payee not acceptable.  Checks should be made payable to: BATFE. - Make your check(s) or money order payable to: ATF/NFA Division P.O. Box 530298
    Atlanta, GA 30353-0298.  
    Per the payable terms on the ATF Form 4:
    2. i) Remittance. The applicant shall complete item 20. Please note that you may pay by credit/debit card, check, or money order. The check or money order is to be made payable to ATF. Do not send cash.
  3. No corresponding check submitted with an application. - You forgot to attach a check with your application. 
  4. Amount missing on payment form. - On the ATF Form 1 or ATF Form 4 paperwork, make sure that you have included the proper amount for the tax stamp that you are applying for. Usually this is $200 for most NFA Firearms, and $5 for AOW NFA Firearms. 
  5. Credit card number error. - You wrote or typed an invalid credit card number on the payment page. 
  6. Credit card expiration date invalid. - You wrote or typed an invalid credit card expiration date. 
  7. Credit card payment declined. - You wrote or typed credit card information that returned a decline from your banking institution.
  8. Incomplete Transferee's information. - Check section number 5 on the ATF Form 4 or ATF Form 1 to make sure the transferee's information is complete and correct. 
  9. No serial number was provided. - You didn't include a serial number of the NFA firearm that you are attempting to register. 
  10. Obsolete forms were received. - The form you submitted was an older version and not accepted by the National Firearms Act Division.  
  11. Other. - This may or may not be used to explain why your application was returned to you. 

Step 5 - Submit your ATF Paperwork to the ATF and the CLEO [Chief Law Enforcement Officer]:

The last and final step is to package up your ATF paperwork and submit the paperwork to the ATF and to your identified CLEO [from your paperwork in step 3].  When you submit your ATF paperwork to the ATF, we always recommend to our clients is to send this paperwork to the ATF with a mailing service that allows for a tracking number.  This is for you to ensure that your paperwork arrived to the ATF.    At the bottom of the ATF 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm and the ATF 5320.5 Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of Firearm form walk-through guides there is the checklist for the ATF and the CLEO.  

Other NFA Gun Trust and ATF Related Blog Posts



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