Where Do All The Guns Go?

By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

Can a document from the world of money protect the firearms you own?

Many people with financial assets, or special situations, will draft a legal instrument to hold their money. 

A trust can be referred to as an instrument, a document or a vehicle; we’ll just call it a trust.  Trusts can be set up to own all your assets for inheritance purposes, or just some of your assets to provide for special distribution objectives as a result of a special situation; children from multiple spouses, children that cannot live on their own, tax reduction, etc.

The trust is designed with instructions specifically drafted by you to execute your wishes for your assets if you, you spouse or both pass; or if you, your spouse or both are incapacitated.

Consider the following situation.  You are a firearms collector.  You have a couple of safes in the house with a few dozen firearms; and one that falls under the National Firearms Act of 1934.  Your spouse has no interest in your hobby.  You have a child that likes to shoot with you, but they have children at home and their spouse forbids them from bringing a firearm into their home – for now.  Your other child is interested in a few pieces of your collection, but their spouse is more interested in inheriting your firearms to give to their child from a previous marriage – a child you don’t know.

How about another situation:  On the way home from work on Friday, you’re “t”-boned by someone that ran a red light.  You’re on life support and the doctors do not know if you’ll recover.

What happens to your firearms?

A trust defines who, how and where your firearms are kept while incapacitated; and the process of getting them back to you when you recover.

But let’s say you don’t recover.  You succumb to the injuries of the accident.

If you don’t have a plan, instructions, a will or a trust; your firearms will automatically transfer to your spouse. 

Will your spouse illegally come into possession of an NFA regulated firearm?

If they don’t know firearms, don’t know what interests your children have for your firearms or they have children from a former marriage; do you know what will happen to your firearms?  Who will get them?  Will the transfer comply with the law?

What if you have some special firearms you want to keep for your grandchild when they are old enough own a firearm? 

Does your spouse know the value of that Colt Python that’s still in the box and never fired?  When they go to sell your collection, will they get a fair value?  And if they don’t know firearms, will they unknowingly sell them illegally? 

You will be aware of Gun Trusts if you have purchased a noise suppressor or some other NFA regulated firearm or accessory.  You had the option to set up a trust for that item when purchased.  But the Gun Trust offers substantially more comfort for firearm owners, their family and the firearm community.

Just as having a plan for your money is important, so too is having a plan for your firearms.  And it is best to have a separate instrument for those firearms, drafted by a specialist in gun trusts.  A specialist will know the explicit legal instructions for firearm storage and distribution in the event of incapacitation or death.

First, take inventory of what you have.  List each firearm, each scope and every accessory with a serial number. 

Second, take some time to think through how you’d distribute your collection if you were going to do it today.  Who would get what, what you’d sell, what you might set aside for someone special in the future – and how that firearm would be stored and protected until that person is mature enough to accept ownership of a firearm.  Walk through each firearm and every accessory.

Third, find a reputable legal professional that specializes in gun trust.  Make an appointment and have a discussion about your concerns, your desires and your collection.  While Gun Trusts are gaining in popularity, there is a cottage industry that is providing a Do It Yourself platform to draft the documents of the trust.  Protect yourself, protect your family and protect your collection by meeting with a professional.  Not all those DIY platforms will know the intricacies of your firearms and the possible regulatory restrictions on them.

Bring your firearms into Saddle River Range and enjoy them.  Expect to enjoy your collection for many years.  But have a plan if fate limits your enjoyment.  Have a plan that will insure that your family and your firearms will comply with local and federal laws when transferred to their new owners.

If you cannot find a legal professional that handles Gun Trusts, contact us; we have a few names we can recommend.


Stay Aware, Stay Safe,


© Copyright 2021 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

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