Please allow me to say up front that I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. If you are seeking legal council, you need to find an attorney. Because I am not one.

What I CAN say is that there are a LOT of myths surrounding NFA items, gun trusts, and even whether it’s legal to own a suppressor.

While we can’t speak for the rest of the nation, here’s a breakdown on what it’s like to buy a suppressor using 2 different methods – one WITH a gun trust, and one without (the traditional way):

Traditional Method of Buying a Suppressor in Tennessee

First, you’ll need to select a suppressor. We have access to a host of different manufacturers and are happy to help you select the one you need.

Once we order it, it’ll take 30-90 days for the ATF to approve the transfer of the suppressor to us.

In the meantime, you’ll need to get:

  • 2 copies of your fingerprints (not digital)
  • 2 copies of passport-style photos (see ATF regulations on who can take the photos and exact dimensions
  • 2 copies of your Form 4
  • a check for $200 made out to the ATF
  • local law enforcement sign off on your Form 4 (check with your local Sherriff to see how long this will take. Locally, it’s about a week.)

Once you have these items, and we have the suppressor in our store, you’ll have the rest of the information you’ll need (suppressor make, model, and serial number) to send your paperwork in to the ATF.

Typically, they’ll hold on to it for about 3 months, send it back to you with a letter stating that you’ve done something wrong (fingerprints are smudged, forgot to cross a “t”, etc). You’ll correct it, send it back in, and wait another 6-9, sometimes even 12 months to get your stamp.

THEN you can come back in the store and finish the paperwork necessary to pick up the suppressor that you paid for almost a year ago.

STILL USING THE TRADITIONAL METHOD: IF you and your buddy go out to the range and he comments on how cool your suppressor is…and you hand it to him…you’ve just committed a felony. Because YOUR name is the only one on the stamp for a suppressor. No one else’s.

STILL USING THE TRADITIONAL METHOD: If anything happens to you, and you’re rendered incapacitated or pass away, the local Sherriff’s office will take possession of all NFA items (even if you have a will) and “hopefully” sign them into their books properly. In the meantime, whomever is supposed to receive your NFA items upon your demise will have to go through the whole process just mentioned above, PLUS PROBATE (which can take up to 2 years, sometimes longer).

THEN, even after all of that, when your friend/loved one goes to claim the NFA item from the Sherriff’s office (after going through ALL of that) – MOST of the time, the suppressor winds up in law enforcement private collections. So, there IS no suppressor to pick up. Ask your friends in law enforcement. They’ll tell you that it’s true.

Which makes us wonder why in the world anyone would buy a suppressor using this method.

And that’s the “traditional” method to buying a suppressor…

Buying a Suppressor with a Trust in Tennessee

First, you’ll need to select a suppressor. We have access to a host of different manufacturers and are happy to help you select the one you need.

Once we order it, it’ll take 30-90 days for the ATF to approve the transfer of the suppressor to us.

And you’ll still need the $200 check for the ATF to get your “Special Occupations Tax” (SOT) stamp.

That much doesn’t change. However, everything else is completely different.

The cost for us to do an NFA Trust is $99. In exchange, check out the differences:

For starters, the trust doesn’t require the fingerprints, Sherriff sign-off, or passport photos. Without those items, it means that average turnaround time using a Form 4 is 45-48 days until your stamp is received (do you remember how long it takes using the traditional method? Almost a year in some instances!)

Second, you may add AS MANY NFA ITEMS to one trust as you like. So the $99 is a one-time fee and can be used for a lifetime!

On a trust, you may add as many people you like (who are over the age of 18 and legally able to own a firearm). That means that ANYONE listed on the trust can legally shoot the NFA item (in this case, the fictitious suppressor we’ve been talking about).

In the event of your death, the NFA item goes directly to the beneficiary of the trust. No involvement from law enforcement. And if your beneficiary isn’t old enough to take possession of the item? No problem! The Successor Trustee will hold the item until the Beneficiary turns 21. A trust lasts from the date of your death, from the age of the youngest beneficiary, for 21 years.

That means that, even if your Beneficiary is born and added to the trust the day before you die, they’ll turn 21 and will be able to take possession of the NFA item before the trust expires!

There are several additional benefits to using a Trust. Our customers wait until the trust comes back from the ATF to add ALL of the rest of their guns to the trust. Why wait until it comes back? Because it’s no one’s business which firearms you own.

And once you receive your trust back with the SOT stamp, simply keep the Trust with the rest of your estate-planning documents.

We are a notary and are happy to notarize the trust for you while you’re in the store (we always have 2 witnesses in the store). If you are adding a trustee who lives out of state or who cannot come with you to the store, keep in mind that most banks will not notarize a trust. The courthouse will, but they will not provide witnesses, so you’ll need to bring 2 witnesses with you.

Keep in mind, seek legal council before you take any action involving NFA items to ensure that they are legal for you to own.