This month’s Networking column is addressed specifically to our affiliated instructors, although it affects students and others, as well. In the following conversation, an affiliated attorney who also teaches classes discusses his concern for firearms instructors, little mom-and-pop gun stores and other small businesses affected by the Corporate Transparency Act. While primarily addressed to small business owners, our visit is also a great way for members to meet Deron Boring who has generously served as an Ohio affiliated attorney for the past 13 years. Watch our video conversation at or meet Deron through the edited transcript below.

eJournal: It’s my pleasure today to introduce Deron Boring. He is an attorney in Ohio, and in addition to practicing law, is an acting judge, a firearms instructor and Second Amendment rights activist. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Deron.

deron boring 2022 headshotBoring: You’re correct, I’m a practicing attorney that every once in a while, fills in for a judge. I jokingly say I’m like a substitute teacher. I get called when a municipal court judge is on vacation or out sick. I also play college professor on the side. I’m a senior adjunct professor teaching in the school of business and in the political science department at a small university. I teach American government, constitutional law, and business law. Truthfully, it was my business law studies that led to my concern about something that doesn’t necessarily address the Second Amendment or firearms, but faces instructors, Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), and a lot of other people in the industry.

eJournal: A few weeks ago, you asked if I knew about the Corporate Transparency Act. I didn’t. I did some reading, and while it’s far outside of our usual topics, to this layperson, it raises huge constitutionality issues with warrantless searches and loss of privacy. What is the CTA, and why are we concerned?

Boring: This is a federal act that snuck up on a lot of us. I was working on a business law class that I teach when I wandered onto this and started looking deeper. This is a federal law, passed in 2021 that has been slow rolled by the federal government. It requires small business owners to register ownership interest with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Division of the Department of the Treasury, and if you don’t, there are $10,000-plus penalties and two years in federal prison.

Think about the broad scope of our Network membership. How many are instructors or FFLs that have an LLC or an S corporation? I’m sounding the alarm with FFLs and firearms instructors, but this is not only a firearms issue; this is not only a Second Amendment issue. It applies to people who mow lawns or paint houses, as much as people who sell guns.

eJournal: Beneficial ownership identification has long been a part of business, usually encountered when establishing business bank accounts. What’s different now? Is the law on hold pending appeal or being enforced?

Boring: The law is applicable to everyone except members of the plaintiff, National Small Business United, for whom it is enjoined after a federal district court in Alabama said it is unconstitutional. The court said the federal government has overreached; this is purview of state government, not the federal government. The Department of the Treasury immediately appealed and as of just an hour ago, the oral argument on this was scheduled in the middle of September. We’re still quite a way out from this being resolved.

The stated goal is to stop money laundering, shell corporations and tax evasion – things I’d say most of us are okay with. Beneficial ownership information has been collected by financial institutions in the past and that gave some accountability.

What changed – and what makes me incredibly uncomfortable – is warrantless search without probable cause. This is a wide-sweeping net that applies to absolutely anybody that has an LLC or a corporation. It applies to all the firearms instructors I know and small businesses with income under five million dollars a year. What could amount to a paperwork error could equal federal prison time! My other concern is that once the federal government has this information, what happens with it? The statute alone hands us over to the FBI, the ATF, and the IRS; everybody with a “law enforcement purpose” has access. Any nexus to terrorism or the latest national security threat makes this information accessible.

It is a very broad overreach. It impacts anyone who has a small business. This is going to affect almost any instructor I deal with in Northeastern Ohio and a lot of other people in the firearms industry.

eJournal: I read about exemptions, but I couldn’t determine which businesses had to file, and which got exemptions. Who gets exemptions?

Boring: The exemption list is comical. Banks, nonprofits, governmental entities, investment brokers, insurance agencies, and utilities are exempt. They’re aiming at companies with under 20 employees and under five million in revenue. It is a really unfair poke at mom-and-pop businesses. Like the jokes online, the IRS is perfectly fine with millions being lost overseas somewhere but take $601 through PayPal and they’re coming for you.

eJournal: I asked earlier why consumers should worry. I’m not in gun stores regularly, but now I wonder, will the little shop I go to be in business next time I go? How would investigations of violations leading to penalties come about? It’s so vague, I’m baffled.

Boring: It is as vague and ineffective as the New York SAFE Act. People didn’t register in New York. Noncompliance is not found out until something else happens. FFLs are picked on and if they don’t dot an I or cross a T, a minor clerical error opens them up to license revocation. If a small gun store doesn’t register with the Financial Crimes Bureau, is the ATF going to start cross-checking records? Are they going to knock them out for failure to comply? Enforcement information that I can find at this point is scant to none.

eJournal: We’d prefer to avoid enforcement altogether.

Boring: I’m advising all my small business clients, if prior to January 1, 2024, you registered with your state as an LLC or as a corporation, your compliance is not required until January 1, 2025, pending the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. Remember, at this point, it is stayed only for National Small Business United members; it is not stayed for me and you.

It gets tricky if you have created a business in 2024, you have only 90 days to register from the date of creation. So, for instance, in Ohio, you would file an LLC with the Ohio Secretary of State, then you must register with the federal government within the 90 days from receiving your certificate of operation from the state of Ohio.

I’m advising clients, like it or not, to comply within that 90-day window. I’ve had two clients decline to set up a business this year until they see what happens. One gentleman, a veteran, will honest-to-goodness keep his business unincorporated – an unprotected sole proprietorship – for a year, because he doesn’t want to give his driver’s license and other information over to the federal government. I don’t know if that’s an overreaction.

eJournal: We are always trying to find the right balance. Is this discussion headed toward making myself a tinfoil hat?

Boring: I felt very “tinfoil hat” approaching you with this. I have questioned myself about the tinfoil hat a couple of times. It’s such a bizarre overreach that I’ve literally gone through my address book, my email and my list of clients and have corresponded with every one that has a small business. I’ve told them that they need to consider compliance. It’s problematic and that’s why I’m taking the time to signal to organizations like the Network.

I hope organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) have a position about what their members should do, but some people think, “Who cares? This is a corporate transactional issue. This doesn’t affect me,” but I think it does. Some people probably think I’m crazy.

eJournal: No, but it does create a really interesting meshing of your law practice and your concern for our individual rights. Why don’t you close out by telling us a little bit about the classes you teach and how people can access your services or become your client.

Boring: I really enjoy teaching and I’m trying to do more of it, but truth be told, with my law practice and college professor gig, I don’t have much time to do range training so it’s mostly classroom, which I love to do. In the firearms world, I primarily teach classes on self defense and self-defense law. While criminal law is not my expertise, I’ve spent enough time in the legal world that I can fluently explain what your rights are, how to behave, what to look for, and things like that. A couple of years ago I completed the Deadly Force Instructor Course taught by Massad Ayoob and the late Art Joslin, so I teach a lot of that. You can find my stuff in my meager online presence with my company, which is 1791 Training.

eJournal: There’re competent instructors to teach trigger pulling but not that many who can teach legal issues, mindset, and how to react to certain situations. That’s important because we may not foresee the cascade that a harsh word or a threatening action can create. There is great need for that kind of coaching. We’ll put the link to 1791 Training up and encourage members in the Ohio region to take training with you. Any takeaways, any last thoughts?

Boring: I appreciate your time. I chuckled when you asked about conspiracies because even my wife has questioned, “Aren’t you making a bigger deal out of this than it is?” I’m not. I’m grateful for the ability to talk about this with Network members.

eJournal: Thank you for thinking of us and our fellow Network members. Keep us in the loop because it will be interesting to see if there’s any relief from the 11th Circuit in the fall.
Deron Boring, J.D. is an instructor with 30 years of experience teaching adults and extensive background in leadership training, instructor development, and the law. He serves as an adjunct professor, teaching undergraduate and graduate level law and government courses. He also has 14 years of experience teaching firearms law, self-defense law, firearm safety, home safety, and CCW classes. He is also available to offer legal presentations to local clubs, small groups including churches, realtors’ associations, or private classes for your family and friends. Learn about Deron’s classes at . His law practice of nearly 20 years focuses on Ohio self-defense/ccw law, firearms law, and small business/non-profit planning, estate and trust planning, probate, mental health/guardianship, landlord/tenant, and real estate.

  Back to Front Page