The latest easy guide from SilencerCo focuses on the concept of trusts.
SilencerCo is continuing their educational series by filling us in on buying a silencer through a trust. It’s not a confusing concept, but it is complex and deserves some dedication to understand how to work through everything, and eventually own a suppressor.
This post dives deep to answer post-41F questions surrounding the ATF’s Responsible Person Questionnaire, a new form required to purchase a silencer through a trust. If you are still learning the basics of silencer ownership, we highly recommend you take a look at our Where to Start? article before moving onward here.
First off, let’s set a clear foundation by laying the confusion to rest. There are three things that changed post-41F for trusts:
- The BATFE now requires that all responsible persons of a trust complete a new form known as 5320.23, the National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire
- All responsible persons of a trust are now required to submit photographs and fingerprints
- Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) signatures are no longer required to approve a transfer — the buyer only needs to notify the CLEO they are buying the silencer
The big questions now:
What is the Responsible Person Questionnaire? How does this affect me?
Let’s start by defining who a responsible person is and the big role they play when you purchase a silencer through a trust.
A responsible person of a trust is any individual who possesses, directly or indirectly, the power or authority to receive, possess, ship, transport, deliver, transfer, or otherwise dispose of an NFA Title II weapon for, or on behalf of, the trust.
- Examples of who may be considered a responsible person include GRANTORS and TRUSTEES
- Examples of who may not be considered a responsible person include most BENEFICIARIES
Once you know who a responsible person is, you will need to identify all the responsible persons in your trust. This may be one, two, three… or even 20 people. There is no limit, but you will want to be selective… because you will need to reach out to all of them.
Additionally, you need to hope that they are all, in fact, responsible because you’re going to need them to submit their own set of paperwork. Additionally, you will also need to gather paperwork from them. This may cause your list of responsible persons to shrink, but that’s okay.
Here’s an easy list of what each responsible person will need to obtain or complete:
- Two (2) completed FBI fingerprint cards
- One (1) passport photo
- One (1) Completed National Firearms Act Responsible Person Questionnaire (Form 5320.23) with their passport photo attached (for details on how to fill out Form 5320.23 correctly, visit SilencerCo’s helpful how-to guide)
- One (1) Copy of their Form 5320.23 (including passport photo)
- One (1) Copy of your (the original purchaser) completed Form 4 (for details on how to fill out Form 4 correctly, visit SilencerCo’s helpful how-to guide)
Once they have all this paperwork collected and completed, they will need to send some of it to you and the rest to their own local CLEO.
What will they send you?
- Both completed fingerprint cards
- Their original Form 5320.23 with the original passport photo affixed
What will they send their CLEO?
- One (1) Copy of the Form 5320.23
- One (1) Copy of the Form 4
Quick refresher—a CLEO is an officer of the law with authority over your county of residence’s jurisdiction who is notified of your intent to own a silencer and has the authority to present ineligibilities to the BATFE. Since this authority is not exclusive, multiple people may qualify as your CLEO. With a trust, each responsible person will more than likely have a unique CLEO, so be sure to have your responsible persons ask their dealers about eligible local contacts to help narrow the search.
Now that the job of your responsible persons is done, it’s up to you to finish the process.
Use our EasyGuide master checklist to ensure that YOU do everything you need to do. Don’t forget, you are also a responsible person, so you’ll need to complete a Form 5320.23 for both the BATFE and the CLEO, too. We also have examples of all required forms to help you check against your work and ensure you fill them out correctly.
Like we’ve said before, buying isn’t the hard part — the paperwork is. And in reality, it’s not that bad.
Go to your local dealer and check out the EasyGuide to answer any additional questions you may have. If your local dealer doesn’t have any EasyGuides in stock, you can request that they place an order, go online and order one for yourself, or download an EasyGuide (minus envelopes and registration card) from our website for Individuals or Trusts.
We promise it’ll get easier each time.
This post originally appeared on SilencerCo’s website.