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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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Old 06-11-2014, 9:43 PM
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Default Several questions regarding firearms trusts

So prior to a few weeks ago, I didn't realize gun trusts were a thing (I thought it was just NFA trusts people made), but now that I've heard about them and read some of the old archived threads here, I've got a lot of questions and a few ideas I haven't seen brought up yet. This post might get a bit long winded.

All questions below pertain to an unmarried person with no disqualifiers to firearms possession, no prohibited person status, and no legal hurdles to possession of firearms or questions about inheritance or any of that rubbish.

Suppose a resident of CA wanted to setup a gun trust, and they wanted that trust to be located outside of california, we'll say NV for brevity.
Is this legal/possible? Is it in any way whatsoever advantageous from a legal standpoint, if you were worried about significantly tightened laws in CA in the coming years?
How do the mechanics of it work?
Does the trust and the goods that are transferred to it have to be kept at a primary residence or business? Would a secondary residence work? Would something as simple as a storage unit at a storage facility work?

If it is possible for a CA resident to establish a gun trust in NV, and to transfer the ownership of their weapons to the trust, and to then keep their firearms in NV, must the CA resident still personally acquire all their weapons in CA through the usual process (since as residents we can't acquire guns anywhere else), and then add them to the trust documents in the same way every time? From what I understand of what I've read, the Trust itself cannot acquire firearms, it is up to the trustee to do that personally and write each one into the trust documents.

I understand that being a trustee is different from being an officer of a corporation, so while being an officer of a corporation might(not clear on this?) allow you to acquire weapons for the corporation where it is registered specifically, I think acquiring guns as a mere trustee won't afford you such convenience and latitude? Is that correct?

If a CA resident setup a gun trust in NV, and physically moved the trust's guns to NV, and had no intention of bringing them back to CA - what is the disposition of the guns under CA law? Would you have to fill out a "No longer in possession" form?
http://caag.state.ca.us/firearms/for...46NLIP0209.pdf
If so, what would you put down on it? Or would you not fill out the form, and simply do nothing at all?

What jurisdiction, if any, would CA have over a trust and the weapons kept with it, in another state, if the trustee should become a prohibited person under CA law? Suppose this idiotic gun violence restraining order nonsense pans out; does keeping guns personally, or under a trust, or under a corporation, in another state, afford any legal protection whatsoever?

Given answers to the previous hypotheticals, is it even worth the trouble to setup a trust out of state? Would it afford significantly more latitude to setup a corporation in another state? Or are both routes equally meaningless and without advantages? Could you/should you, simply keep guns in a storage unit in another state, and does their mere location outside of CA give them some degree of legal protection from CA specific prohibitions that might be leveled against the owner?

The gist of these questions is this; if you were to stay a CA resident with no intention of actually moving yourself to another state (for whatever reason), but you were intensely pessimistic about future legislation in CA and wanted to have a plan for basically evacuating your possessions from this state to another, are any of the above methods worth a wooden nickel as far as A.) allowing you to maintain ownership/control and B.) providing some (any) level of additional legal protection to spurious litigation that might be directed against you?

Like I said, long winded.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:58 AM
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Good post with good questions...

I'm not an attorney, but I'd suggest you pay for an hour or 2 of consultation with one to get the answers you want.
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Old 06-18-2014, 1:38 PM
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I'm an attorney that helps families plan for inheritance (what you call "rubbish") and for those that take rubbish seriously, even perhaps to the point of transmitting the militia ethic past their precious selves, I provide a free two-hour consultation (after they complete my questionnaire).
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Old 06-18-2014, 1:59 PM
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Originally Posted by guntrust View Post
I'm an attorney that helps families plan for inheritance (what you call "rubbish") and for those that take rubbish seriously, even perhaps to the point of transmitting the militia ethic past their precious selves, I provide a free two-hour consultation (after they complete my questionnaire).
2 Hour consultation? You are a glutton for punishment.

Seriously, I commend you for that.
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Old 06-18-2014, 3:26 PM
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This isn't legal advice and I'm not an attorney:

Quote:
Originally Posted by edward View Post
Suppose a resident of CA wanted to setup a gun trust, and they wanted that trust to be located outside of california, we'll say NV for brevity.
Is this legal/possible?
A trust is an agreement, like a contract. There are many different kinds, and they are treated differently by the law in various jurisdictions, but they are all agreements. The basic form is, someone agrees to put some assets into the the trust, and a trustee agrees to manage and disburse those assets to the beneficiary(s) of the trust.

So when you say "location" it isn't really clear what you mean. Certainly the assets could be located out of state.

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Is it in any way whatsoever advantageous from a legal standpoint, if you were worried about significantly tightened laws in CA in the coming years?
If you locate the assets out of state, CA penal codes are not going to apply to them. Of course, any "grandfathering" might not either. I'm not sure why you think a trust would alter this.

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The gist of these questions is this; if you were to stay a CA resident with no intention of actually moving yourself to another state (for whatever reason), but you were intensely pessimistic about future legislation in CA and wanted to have a plan for basically evacuating your possessions from this state to another, are any of the above methods worth a wooden nickel as far as A.) allowing you to maintain ownership/control and B.) providing some (any) level of additional legal protection to spurious litigation that might be directed against you?
You don't really mention who the trustee is going to be. Is it you? Who is the beneficiary? You also? Will you still have access to everything? Basically, your hypotheticals are incomplete. It's possible a trust could provide some benefit, but I would be very skeptical. It's something a good attorney would be able to help you figure out, but that means it won't be cheap. On the other hand, just storing your guns out of state obviously provides some real protection (as long as you don't ever plan to bring them back).
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Old 06-18-2014, 5:13 PM
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I'm going to throw a wild guess assumption here:

I think the trust needs the actual residence of trust holder so the OP would use his Ca address. ATF allows movement of NFA items to other lawful locations with a form 5320.20, so the OP could still have his Ca address and put NV on the 5320.20. He could also name someone in NV as a trustee on the trust so that person(s) would be able to lawfully possess the NFA items and they can remain there.

Again, just a guess.
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Old 06-18-2014, 7:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guntrust View Post
I'm an attorney that helps families plan for inheritance (what you call "rubbish") and for those that take rubbish seriously, even perhaps to the point of transmitting the militia ethic past their precious selves, I provide a free two-hour consultation (after they complete my questionnaire).
Hope you didn't take offense - I'm simply trying to make the hypothetical questions as clean and clear cut as possible. Single, non-felon, non-prohibited person w/ no restraining orders or anything like that. That is the gist of it.

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Originally Posted by Tincon View Post
This isn't legal advice and I'm not an attorney:



A trust is an agreement, like a contract. There are many different kinds, and they are treated differently by the law in various jurisdictions, but they are all agreements. The basic form is, someone agrees to put some assets into the the trust, and a trustee agrees to manage and disburse those assets to the beneficiary(s) of the trust.

So when you say "location" it isn't really clear what you mean. Certainly the assets could be located out of state.
That is what I was getting at and wasn't entirely clear with. If a trust could even local its assets in another state (a state where no one involved in the trust actually lives).


If you locate the assets out of state, CA penal codes are not going to apply to them. Of course, any "grandfathering" might not either. I'm not sure why you think a trust would alter this.
Not knowing the legal status of trusts having to do with firearms, I am still hazy on what legal status they confer at all. Grandfathering isn't really a point of interest; the central theme of this scenario being; "This person wants to be a CA resident, but wants to continue to own and enjoy their property, as free of CA bs as possible, in a way as legal and protected by legal constructs as possible - due to fear of more deteriorations of 2A rights occurring". I don't know if or how a trust would alter this. I'm trying to extrapolate theories and conjecture from what we currently do with NFA trusts (since they allow you the special ability to get things like AOW shotguns). I am wondering specifically if, by some miracle of the law, an out of state firearms trust would allow some other special legal exemptions or protections that may make them worthwhile.



You don't really mention who the trustee is going to be. Is it you? Who is the beneficiary? You also? Will you still have access to everything? Basically, your hypotheticals are incomplete. It's possible a trust could provide some benefit, but I would be very skeptical. It's something a good attorney would be able to help you figure out, but that means it won't be cheap. On the other hand, just storing your guns out of state obviously provides some real protection (as long as you don't ever plan to bring them back).
Is it you? sure
who is the beneficiary? You also? sure... we'll say the beneficiary/trustee whatever the primary person in the trust is called are all the same person. (assuming that is allowed). If there has to be a separate beneficiary, we'll say any random non-spousal immediate family member.
will you still have access to everything? well yes I definitely hope so. This is part of my question also, as to where exactly a trust can store its assets. Whether or not you can have a trust that lists A through Z as assets, and "ohh hey by the way, those things are all in an undisclosed storage locker out in some backwater in another state".
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Old 06-18-2014, 7:11 PM
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I guess I didn't make my point very clearly. This isn't something you are going to be able to figure out based on advice from an internet forum. You would need to contact a reputable attorney. He can go over the specific goals you have in mind and the specific legal options you might have. Just beware of snake oil salesmen who will try to push a trust as some sort of gun law panacea, it isn't.
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Old 06-18-2014, 7:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tincon View Post
I guess I didn't make my point very clearly. This isn't something you are going to be able to figure out based on advice from an internet forum. You would need to contact a reputable attorney. He can go over the specific goals you have in mind and the specific legal options you might have. Just beware of snake oil salesmen who will try to push a trust as some sort of gun law panacea, it isn't.
Point taken, but I'm pursuing this as purely academic information for information's sake, and as such I really do want the widest range of ideas as possible. I may or may not choose to take the step of contacting an attorney and exploring this further if there is anything that has some merit brought up.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:40 PM
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I have looked into a gun trust for some of the same reasons you are asking about. The info below is my understanding of gun trusts. I'm not a lawyer.


Suppose a resident of CA wanted to setup a gun trust, and they wanted that trust to be located outside of California, we'll say NV for brevity.
Is this legal/possible? Is it in any way whatsoever advantageous from a legal standpoint, if you were worried about significantly tightened laws in CA in the coming years? How do the mechanics of it work?


It is my understanding that you, as an individual or as a trustee, can relocate firearms to other states and store them in that state. The limitations would be defined by the laws of the state you are move the firearms to. The trust won't effect this.

If California law required you to register a specific type of firearm, the firearm could be registered in the name of the trust. This would allow the the people listed in the trust to maintain ownership after you die or become prohibited. However, there have been some proposed bills that would prohibit the use of trusts. So the answer to the question really is "maybe."

Does the trust and the goods that are transferred to it have to be kept at a primary residence or business? Would a secondary residence work? Would something as simple as a storage unit at a storage facility work?

The simple answer is no. A more complete answer would depend on what you are own and any laws regarding those items.

If it is possible for a CA resident to establish a gun trust in NV, and to transfer the ownership of their weapons to the trust, and to then keep their firearms in NV, must the CA resident still personally acquire all their weapons in CA through the usual process (since as residents we can't acquire guns anywhere else), and then add them to the trust documents in the same way every time? From what I understand of what I've read, the Trust itself cannot acquire firearms, it is up to the trustee to do that personally and write each one into the trust documents.

A trust can acquire firearms. In fact I was advised that the trust bank account should be used to buy new firearms in the name of the trust. The laws require that the DROS be run on an individual, a trustee. If you have a trust with a trustee that is a resident of NV, that trustee could use the trust funds to acquire firearms that are added to the trust.

I understand that being a trustee is different from being an officer of a corporation, so while being an officer of a corporation might(not clear on this?) allow you to acquire weapons for the corporation where it is registered specifically, I think acquiring guns as a mere trustee won't afford you such convenience and latitude? Is that correct?

It is my understanding that an NFA trust is based on federal law, not specific state laws. My understanding is that the trust is not limited by a physical location. Because the DROS processes requires an individual, the ability to buy things in other states would be limited by the residency of the individual.

If a CA resident setup a gun trust in NV, and physically moved the trust's guns to NV, and had no intention of bringing them back to CA - what is the disposition of the guns under CA law? Would you have to fill out a "No longer in possession" form?
http://caag.state.ca.us/firearms/for...46NLIP0209.pdf
If so, what would you put down on it? Or would you not fill out the form, and simply do nothing at all?


If you move the firearms to another state, the laws of that new state would govern the guns. California law would not apply.

I'm not sure what the "No Longer In Possession" form is used for, but it shouldn't apply to this situation because you are still in possession of the firearms....just not in California.

What jurisdiction, if any, would CA have over a trust and the weapons kept with it, in another state, if the trustee should become a prohibited person under CA law? Suppose this idiotic gun violence restraining order nonsense pans out; does keeping guns personally, or under a trust, or under a corporation, in another state, afford any legal protection whatsoever?

California law would not have any effect on firearms stored outside the state. The advantage of the trust would be the ability to quickly remove a trustee that suddenly becomes prohibited. However, this is a question that a lawyer would need to address.


Given answers to the previous hypotheticals, is it even worth the trouble to setup a trust out of state? Would it afford significantly more latitude to setup a corporation in another state? Or are both routes equally meaningless and without advantages? Could you/should you, simply keep guns in a storage unit in another state, and does their mere location outside of CA give them some degree of legal protection from CA specific prohibitions that might be leveled against the owner?

The benefits of the trust is the ability to change the trustees without changing ownership of the guns. The trust will always own the guns, but the trustees can change as many times as you want to amend the trust.

Setting up a corporation out of state is a major pain in the ***. You will need to have an address, an agent of service in the state, keep corporate minutes, etc. etc. etc. The nice thing about a trust is that it is maintenance free once you set it up.

The gist of these questions is this; if you were to stay a CA resident with no intention of actually moving yourself to another state (for whatever reason), but you were intensely pessimistic about future legislation in CA and wanted to have a plan for basically evacuating your possessions from this state to another, are any of the above methods worth a wooden nickel as far as A.) allowing you to maintain ownership/control and B.) providing some (any) level of additional legal protection to spurious litigation that might be directed against you?

Only you can answer if it is worth your wooden nickel. I see two real advantages to the trust (in my case): 1) I can pass guns to my kids even if they are under age, should something happen to me, 2) If a new AWB type law were to pass, the trust would be the registered owner of the guns...and they could be passed down to my kids (if the law doesn't prohibit such issues).

I don't see any advantage to the trust just to move your guns out of state. There may be an advantage if a trustee lives in another state and trust wants to acquire new guns.

Home this is helpful. And as many other have stated, go hire a lawyer before doing anything.
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