One of the misconceptions many gun owners have is that the law is universal when it comes to assets. There is often times an assumption (and we all know what assuming means) that it covers their firearms in the same way their other assets are protected. In most cases, they aren’t…they are viewed separately by the judicial system.
When someone takes the time to get their Estate Plan or Will prepared to protect their assets and identify the distribution of these upon their passing, they assume “all assets” are included in these plans and documents. This is a very common misconception and one that can end up creating some issues for gun owners.
Gun Trusts and other legal documents are specific processes and instruments designed to protect your firearms. Unfortunately, the law treats firearms differently than most other assets and usually requires a “special interest” trust to handle them appropriately. When I talk with most gun owners, many with extensive gun collections, they are unaware of this exclusion.
One of the reasons I enjoy blogging about gun law, training, and telling stories about the issues of firearms is EDUCATION. I believe the more people can be educated on the law the more prepared they will be and stay within the law. If I can help even one gun owner better understand the law so they stay out of trouble or jail then this is all worthwhile.
I would encourage every gun owner, whether you own a single firearm or an extensive collection, to find an attorney who has as “gun law” as a specialty practice as part of their overall legal practice. This usually means they have had training and an understanding of what makes firearms different in the eyes of the law and how to account for these during your life and when they are given to their loved ones. These attorneys are both educated in the specific laws and understand how to account for these while they are living and when they need to be dispersed in an estate plan or will.
Spend the time to understand how the law can apply specifically to your situation and your loved ones. This will not only give you more guidance in what you might want to do today but also give you peace of mind that everything will be taken care of “legally” when the time comes. The last thing most people want to worry about is handing their loved ones a mess or some legal issues upon their passing. Because firearms are viewed differently by the law, having some special planning in place is critically important today.
I would encourage everyone reading this to check with their current attorney to see if they have “gun law” training and understand the issues surround the needs of gun owners. If they don’t, find an attorney that can assist you in this area. You can certainly use more than one attorney for your legal issues so find one that can handle this specific need and take it off your “worry list.” Because when you do, you will…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.