Arsenal Attorneys NFA Firearms Blog
14 May 2018

tsa chart of guns foundArsenal Attorneys regularly advise and represent clients dealing with the difficulties of traveling with firearms, including differing state laws, complex federal laws, and the multiplicity of rules for parks, schools, and other places which could sometimes be gun-free zones. As the summer travel season approaches, we want to share a word of caution from the Transportation Security Administration.

From TSA’s blog published on May 10, 2018:

TSA discovered 90 firearms in carry-on bags around the nation last week. Of the 90 firearms discovered, 73 were loaded and 35 had a round chambered. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,066 per violation per person for prohibited items violations and violations of other TSA regulations. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms in checked baggage. All of the firearms pictured were discovered over the last week. See complete lists below.

TSA officers set a record on May 3rd, for the most firearms discovered in carry-on bags in one day. 26 firearms were discovered at 15 airports. 21 of the firearms were loaded.

If packed properly, ammunition can be transported in checked-baggage. . .  You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with ammunition in checked baggage.

We don’t know if replica or inert items are live until our explosives professionals take a closer look and eventually open the bag. That takes time and slows down the line. It can even lead to a complete shutdown and evacuation. Real, inert, or anything resembling an explosive item is prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage.

. . .

Checkpoint and checked baggage screening acts as a deterrent to keep those with ill will from attempting to cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft. In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly in carry-on bags, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, stun guns, small pocket knives and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

03 April 2018

Before you use an old trust to register new NFA firearms, you should consider updating your trust to remove ‘responsible persons.’

Since the ‘41F’ changes to the rules for registering NFA firearms by trusts made by the Obama administration, any person qualifying as a ‘responsible person’ in a trust must complete ATF Form 5320.23, which includes fingerprints and photographs for each new NFA application. A ‘responsible person’ would include any person authorized to possess your trust’s NFA firearms. This raises two key points.

First, Form 23 only applies to responsible persons who are in your trust while an NFA application is in process. Thus, if you remove a ‘responsible person’ from your trust before submitting an NFA application, that person would not be subject to Form 23—even if you re-appoint that same person to your trust after receiving a new NFA tax stamp.

Second, neither the beneficiaries, who inherit your trust’s firearms, nor the successor trustee, who manages the trust after you, need to be a ‘responsible persons.’ Thus, you could appoint a successor trustee or a beneficiary for estate planning purposes without exposing those people to the fingerprint and photo requirements for Form 23, if your trust is designed accordingly.

There could be hundreds of thousands of NFA trusts designed before 41F and Form 23. They did not anticipate the requirements for ‘responsible persons.’ Many of these were do-it-yourself trusts, and they lack updated guidance or legal support for the new regulations. Many of these trusts inadvertently gave ‘responsible person’ status to various co-trustees, co-settlors, co-grantors, beneficiaries, successor trustees, etc. ATF is now rejecting applications by these trusts if they do not include Form 23s for each of these responsible persons.

Assuming it’s undesirable to collect fingerprints and photos for responsible persons in a trust other than the principle trustee, you may avoid this red tape by removing these other people from your trust before submitting an NFA application; however, we recommend you make changes to your trust with the help of a qualified attorney. For example, if you remove the only beneficiary in a trust, you could invalidate the trust.

Before and after 41F, Arsenal Attorneys’ Arsenal Gun Trust avoided these problems, and we keep our clients apprised of important developments in this area of law. If you’re concerned with a trust you obtained elsewhere, you can become an Arsenal Attorneys client. We can then completely revise your existing trust using our Arsenal Gun Trust design. The revision, or ‘restatement’, would enable you to change the people in your trust and make other updates, such as an address change.

Your restatement would include forms customized for you to add/remove ‘subordinate trustees.’ Other than you, the subordinate trustee would be the only other person(s) who would qualify as a responsible person for new NFA applications. Thus, you could use the forms to remove subordinate trustees if you wish to exclude those people from new NFA applications. After receiving a tax stamp, you could then appoint (or re-appoint) subordinate trustees to your trust so they may possess your trust’s NFA firearms—without ever having completed Form 23 and without providing fingerprints and photos.

The concept of a ‘subordinate’ trustee is one of many innovations by Arsenal Attorneys. In comparison, typical gun trusts give people authority to possess your trust’s NFA firearms by appointing them as co-trustees; however, that status could make them your co-equal, and, therefore, threaten your control over your own gun trust. From the beginning we’ve always made our clients the sole person to control the trust, and subordinate trustees are given only the limited authority they need for safe and legal possession of NFA firearms.

Arsenal Attorneys™ is perhaps America’s largest firearms law practice with thousands of clients nationwide. We have taught firearms law for the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Financial Planners’ Association, and the National Rifle Association. Our attorneys include certified firearms instructors, FFLs, one of the original plaintiffs in the landmark Heller case, and a plaintiff in the successful Palmer case for DC carry permits. Recently we won 2nd Amendment suits overturning unconstitutional laws in DC and Baltimore.

We operate as a modern law practice, using online technology to serve clients conveniently and efficiently by phone, email, and shipments of their documents to their doorstep. Our mission is to help clients acquire, handle, and inherit firearms. Our vision is to deliver legal services so focused on our area of specialty that we can offer the highest quality in a cost-effective manner.

To obtain a new Arsenal Gun Trust or to request a restatement of a trust you obtained elsewhere, complete our online questionnaire at this link.

19 March 2018

dc council sealOn Thursday, March 22, 2018, the District of Columbia City Council's Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on several bills affecting the gun rights of District citizens and visitors to the District. The hearing will take place in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., at 10:30 am.


Arsenal Attorneys intends to be present to testify and suggests that area gun owners consider appearing and testifying as well. Each of the proposed bills is described below.


Bill 22-0193, the "Temporary Protection Order Firearm Relinquishment Amendment Act of 2017," would amend the District of Columbia Code to require an individual subject to a temporary protection order to relinquish the individual's firearms.


Bill 22-0400, the "Extreme Risk Civil Protection Order Amendment Act of 2017," would authorize a court to issue a temporary ex parte extreme risk civil protection order if there is a finding that there is a reasonable belief that the subject of the petition poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to self or others by possession or control of a firearm, and would establish an extreme risk civil protection order for the duration of one year to remove firearms when a court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the subject of the petition poses a significant threat of harm to self or others. This bill is particularly problematic because of the use of such low standards as "reasonable belief" and "preponderance of the evidence," as opposed to traditional higher legal standards such as "clear and convincing" or the criminal standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."


Bill B22-0588, the "Possession of Firearm and Ammunition Penalties Amendment Act of 2017," is also problematic. It would prohibit a person from knowingly possessing or receiving any firearm with a tampered serial number; prohibit a person from possessing a stolen firearm or stolen ammunition; prohibit the possession of ammunition by individuals previously convicted of felonies; and increase the penalty for possession of a so-called high-capacity magazine to a felony. By contrast possession of ammunition by a felon would only be a misdemeanor.


PR22-0552, the "Sense of the Council in Opposition to Concealed Carry Reciprocity Resolution of 2017," would declare the Sense of the Council in opposition to congressional action which allow individuals who are licensed to carry a concealed firearm in any state to carry their firearms in the District of Columbia. In other words, the Council intend to go on record opposing concealed carry reciprocity.


The public may testify and/or submit written testimony on these bills. Anyone wishing to testify should contact the Committee via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (202) 727-8078, and provide his or her name, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any), by close of business Monday, March 19, 2018.
Representatives of organizations will be allowed a maximum of five minutes for oral testimony; individuals will be allowed a maximum of three minutes. Witnesses are encouraged to bring twenty double-sided copies of their written testimony and, if possible, also submit a copy of their testimony electronically in advance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For witnesses who are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements will be made part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to the Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before April 6, 2018.

26 February 2018

Walther PPK and Gavel

By George Lyon, Esq., Arsenal Attorneys

In September of 2017, DC became a shall issue jurisdiction for concealed carry licenses as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's decision in Wrenn v. District of Columbia and District of Columbia v. Grace.


Application procedures are relatively simple. Applicants must fill out a three page form available on line from the Metropolitan Police Department, which can be found at this link. The form can be filled out on line and printed. Applicants must take the form in person to MPD headquarters RM 3077, 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Hint: don't arrive after 4 pm and expect to be served. Bring two forms of identification. If you are not a DC resident, you must provide proof of the issuance of a carry permit from another jurisdiction. It need not be your home state.


MPD will take your fingerprints and charge you a total of $110 ($75 for the application and $35 for your fingerprints). As part of the application fee MPD will register one carry handgun. Additional carry handguns will cost $13 each. Credit cards are accepted, but checks are not. Non-DC residents must register any handgun they intend to carry. Possession of an unregistered firearm in DC with minor exceptions is a crime. Registration is accomplished on Form PD219. That form is also available and fillable on line at this link.


DC requires proof of training by an MPD Concealed Carry Instructor of 16 hours classroom and two hours range training. The 16 hours of classroom training must cover statutorily mandated subjects including: (a) Firearm safety, including firearm safety in the home, a discussion of prevention of access by minors, locking and storing of firearms, and use of safety devices such as secure lock boxes; (b) Firearm nomenclature; (c) The basic principles of marksmanship; (d) The care, cleaning, maintenance, loading, unloading, and storage of pistols; (e) Situational awareness, conflict management, and moral and ethical decisions on the use of deadly force; (f) Defensive pistol and ammunition selection; and (g) DC and federal laws regulating firearms and DC law of self-defense. The two hours of range training must include a 50-round qualification from a maximum distance of 15 yards with a minimum score of 70 percent.


DC regulations give MPD discretion to waive all or part of the training requirement for persons with prior military or other training. What we are seeing since DC has become a 'shall issue' jurisdiction is that MPD is reluctant to exercise that discretion. To obtain a waiver, MPD is requiring 16 hours of training within two years of granting the application and requiring documentation, such as course syllabi, that the training taken meets each of DC's various requirements, including the 50-round range qualification score. Even with a waiver, DC will not waive the requirement for training on Federal and DC laws regulating firearms and DC law of self-defense. That training is mandatory from a DC licensed concealed carry trainer. Completion of training is not required in order to submit the application.


Currently, despite regulations requiring the applications to be processed within 90 days, DC is taking more than 120 days in processing applications. If you desire to obtain a DC Concealed Carry License, we urge you to submit the application as soon as possible and complete training in the meantime.


Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon is a DC licensed concealed carry trainer. He regularly offers the training required for DC Concealed Carry Licenses, including a the full training requirements taught over two days or just the training required in DC law in three hour seminars. Arsenal Attorneys will host a seminar by George Lyon on Self-Defense Law, which will include the DC law requirements, on March 10 at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. More information can be found at this link.

Arsenal Attorneys is a law practice handling a variety of legal matters with a special emphasis on firearms and Second Amendment law. The firm is particularly renowned for its Arsenal Gun Trust solution, which it offers in nearly every state of America. Arsenal Attorneys also provides criminal defense, business services, and traditional estate planning in Virginia and the District of Columbia. 

22 February 2018

safari club international logoArsenal Attorneys made a presentation on estate planning for firearms at the meeting of the National Capital Chapter of Safari Club International in Sterling, Virginia on February 21, 2018. The program addressed the recommended estate planning solutions, how to address firearms law and gun safety concerns in an estate plan, and how to use a trust to register firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The audience were particularly interested in the immediate benefit of using suppressors for hunting. 

The evening included an extended conversation on the importance of planning ahead so loved ones have a lawful and safe means to inherit a gun collection. As we often caution our clients, you want your loved ones to inherit your arms, not a felony. 

Arsenal Attorneys serve clients nationwide by offering its Arsenal Gun Trust solution, which is popular for registering, possessing, and inheriting NFA firearms, including silencers/suppressors, short barrel rifles (SBR), short barrel shotguns, and machine guns. The firm also provides a wide range of legal services in metropolitan Washington, DC, including Virginia and Maryland. Our practice areas include estate planning, business law, LLCs, contracts, real estate law, landlord-tenant law, criminal defense, restoration of rights, and more. Contact us at 703-291-3312 to discuss your goals and legal concerns.

 

31 January 2018

According to news reports, ex-Mississippi governor Haley Barbour was arrested after a loaded .38 caliber revolver was found by TSA screeners at an airport x-ray machine in Jackson, Mississippi. "This was absentmindedness and nobody’s fault but mine,” Barbour told the Associated Press. 

Arsenal Attorneys regularly represent clients in similar incidents at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. 

The Virginia code addresses the carrying of weapons in airline terminals at § 18.2-287.01:

§ 18.2-287.01. Carrying weapon in air carrier airport terminal.

It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or transport into any air carrier airport terminal in the Commonwealth any (i) gun or other weapon designed or intended to propel a missile or projectile of any kind, (ii) frame, receiver, muffler, silencer, missile, projectile or ammunition designed for use with a dangerous weapon, and (iii) any other dangerous weapon, including explosives, stun weapons as defined in § 18.2-308.1, and those weapons specified in subsection A of § 18.2-308. Any such weapon shall be subject to seizure by a law-enforcement officer. A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any weapon possessed or transported in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth and disposed of as provided in § 19.2-386.28.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to any police officer, sheriff, law-enforcement agent or official, conservation police officer, conservator of the peace employed by the air carrier airport, or retired law-enforcement officer qualified pursuant to subsection C of § 18.2-308.016, nor shall the provisions of this section apply to any passenger of an airline who, to the extent otherwise permitted by law, transports a lawful firearm, weapon, or ammunition into or out of an air carrier airport terminal for the sole purposes, respectively, of (i) presenting such firearm, weapon, or ammunition to U.S. Customs agents in advance of an international flight, in order to comply with federal law, (ii) checking such firearm, weapon, or ammunition with his luggage, or (iii) retrieving such firearm, weapon, or ammunition from the baggage claim area.

Any other statute, rule, regulation, or ordinance specifically addressing the possession or transportation of weapons in any airport in the Commonwealth shall be invalid, and this section shall control.

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