Gun Trusts avoid the need for finger prints, photographs or CLEO sign off on the transfer
In many locales it can be near impossible to find a CLEO who is willing to sign off on these transfers, thereby creating a de-facto ban on the ownership of Title II firearms, Short barrel rifles, short barrel shotguns, suppressors and other NFA items. Using a Gun Trust or corporation is the only way for individuals who live in these areas to legally obtain NFA items. Typically a Gun Trust is recommended over purchasing the items through other entities such as a corporation or LLC because they require yearly taxes and fees to be paid to the State whereas a [Gun] Trust does not.
The benefit of avoiding the CLEO sign off is still a legitimate reason to use a Gun Trust, for now. Unfortunately, a new rule change has been proposed that will require all “responsible parties” (i.e. the Trustees) of the trust to each individually submit finger prints, photos and a CLEO sign off on each transfer made to the Trust. It is anticipated that if this rule is approved it will go into effect around June 2014. If you live in an area that makes it difficult to obtain the CLEO sign off, or just want to avoid the additional work required to obtain one for each trustee, you should set up a Gun Trust now, as all transfers made to the trust prior to the implementation of the rule change will be allowed.
Multiple users can be authorized under the Gun Trust
Even if you never intend on loaning the items to anyone without being present, the mere fact that someone else (such as a spouse) has access to the items when you are not present could make you an accidental felon! By including them as a trustee of the gun trust all of these issues can be avoided.