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Trusts for Armed Citizens
An Interview with Attorney John Harris
Interview by Gila Hayes
Armed citizens are familiar with using trusts to own restricted types of firearms but less knowledgeable about trusts for asset protection. Most of us are people of ordinary means, and the idea of trusts for asset protection sounds like a means for multi billionaires to shelter their money. Firearms attorney John Harris has a broader viewpoint and in the following Q & A he explains the overlap between trusts for asset protection and the armed citizens’ concerns about personal liability.
Harris had hinted at a bigger subject in his response to our online journal’s June 2021 attorney question of the month. When I commented that I thought trusts were primarily a vehicle to own restricted weapons, he graciously explained the wider uses of this legal tool and agreed to give an introductory interview about trusts for armed citizens.
eJournal: I think my idea that trusts are for Class 3 weapons possession or as a tool of the very wealthy is inadequate. What is the applicability of trusts in today’s financial world?
Harris: I think there has been a history of trusts being used as you described by the rich and affluent, but for gun owners there are a lot of reasons why trusts are something that they need to be aware of and armed citizens need to consider how the trust can play a role in their asset planning.
For example, we do a lot of trusts for people who want to acquire items regulated by the National Firearms Act – the NFA – suppressors, short-barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, even machine guns. With an NFA trust, they can have an alternative means of ownership and the benefits that go with that such as allowing more than one individual to be the “possessor” of the item and addressing the transfer of the item from generation to generation.
Another area where we see that gun owners and Second Amendment advocates can benefit from using or incorporating trusts into their planning is in asset protection. You need an understanding of how, in civil matters, assets can be subject to execution to collect judgments on liability matters. Say, for example, you’re involved in a self-defense incident. You can successfully defend the self-defense incident, but in the self-defense situation, you accidentally or negligently injure a third party, or damage a third-party’s personal property – say, for example, you put bullet holes in a car.
Major Goal Achieved!
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
I am pleased to announce that the Legal Defense Fund is now fully funded with over THREE MILLION DOLLARS safely reserved for the defense of our members after legitimate acts of self defense.
Over the years, members have asked how the Fund is protected and others have asked how it is invested. We have it spread out between different financial institutions (taking into account the FDIC limit of $250,000.00 on federally-insured deposits). We currently keep approximately one million in accessible accounts at banks and credit unions and the rest is in certificates of deposit. As they mature, the CDs are reinvested under the watchful eye of an investment broker whom we trust implicitly.
What is next for the Legal Defense Fund?
Vice President’s Message
Join Us for the 150th NRA Meeting
by Vincent Shuck
After a one-year delay and the cancellation of the 2020 meeting, the 2021 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits will be held in Houston, TX at the George Brown Convention Center over the Labor Day weekend, September 3 to 5. The Network will be among the exhibitors along with guns and gear manufacturers, shooting accessory companies, hunting outfitters, and priceless firearms collector groups.
Attend exclusive seminars, luncheons, and celebrity and political presentations along with other NRA member patriots.
Attorney Question of the Month
Occasionally, members ask for information about the rights of a legally armed citizen who resides with a person who is prohibited by court order from possessing firearms. This month, we continue with a question we asked our affiliated attorneys in July --
If the spouse of an armed citizen is under court order that makes it illegal for the spouse to own or possess firearms, in your state may the armed citizen have his or her firearms in their shared residence?
If so, what safeguards do you suggest to prevent a claim that the prohibited spouse was in possession of firearms? What advice would you offer a young mother whose husband is ineligible to possess a firearm, for example, who wanted a gun to defend herself and her family?
Washington: A Life
By Ron Chernow
928 pages paperback, Sept. 2011 by Penguin Books
Reviewed by Gila Hayes
The book I chose for my Independence Day reading about our nation’s founders was a whopping 900+ page biography of our nation’s first president written by Ron Chernow. In Washington: A Life, the biographer replaces the image of a remote, austere commander in chief suggested by paintings and history books with a very human but determined individual who vowed not to be ruled by his temper or his social reticence. That Washington had flaws is, of course, not surprising; I was not aware of characteristics the book describes and came away feeling I knew more about the person he was.
Everyone, Just Stop Obsessing!
by Gila Hayes
Talking with attorney John Harris earlier this month turned my thoughts to the way people on both sides of the pro-gun/anti-gun divide worry about guns and gun-related issues so much more than life’s more common risks—like obesity, careless driving, heavy smoking or excessive alcohol use, to name only a few.
I wonder why an inanimate tool appears at the top of so many “to worry about” lists. Politicians stir up the flocks of Ovid aries because rabble rousing on an anti-gun platform raises more money than the hard work and sacrifice required to solve real, human problems. As gun enthusiasts, we all too often elevate firearms – these mere mechanical objects – to iconic status of far greater importance than the useful tool that a gun, realistically, is. It’s equipment, folks.
About this Journal
The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-journal. Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.
Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.
In addition, material presented in our opinion columns is entirely the opinion of the bylined author, and is intended to provoke thought and discussion among readers.