The confusion arose becuase of an advisory opinion issued in November 2013 by then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. We believe that advisory opinion incorrectly determined a trust could not register a machine gun in Virginia. You can read Arsenal Attorneys' full analysis of this opinion here.
For background, a machine gun transfer is subect to separate Federal and State requirements. To transfer a machine gun, the transferee first submits ATF Form 5320.4 to obtain a tax stamp from BATFE. This can be done using a trust, such as the Arsenal Gun Trust. BATFE will issue a tax stamp only if the transfer will ultimately comply with state law. In Virginia, once BATFE issues a tax stamp, the party taking possession of a machine gun must submit a registration form to the State Police within 24 hours.
When Mr. Cuccinelli's advisory opinion cast doubt on registrations of machine guns involving trusts, many wondered if BATFE would no longer allow machine gun transfers to trusts on the assumption they would not satisfy the Virginia registration requirements. The controversy also created uncertainty for existing registrations, which have long been approved by Virginia State Police for people in possession of machine guns owned by a trust.
Fortunately Arsenal Attorneys now has proof BATFE continues to issues tax stamps to trusts for machine gun transfers; however BATFE has begun attaching a written disclaimer to these tax stamps. We believe registrants of these machine guns should be equally careful when they submit the Virginia State Police registration form. We encourage anyone planning the transfer of a machine gun to a trust in Virginia to contact us. We will help you prepare your Virginia State Police registration based on our latest strategy to deal with the recent confusion.
Arsenal Attorneys will continue to work on all fronts to make the legal rights of machine gun owners clear. Delegate David LaRock championed our cause in the legislature and through discussions with law enforcement authorities. We believe the law is on our side, but we do seek a clear, explicit statement by the proper authorities to ensure similar confusion doesn't arise again.