Gun Trusts Grow To Evade Background Checks; Dorner Said He Used One


More shooting enthusiasts are creating legal trusts to acquire machine guns, silencers, or other items whose sale is restricted by federal law, reports the New York Times. It’s a mechanism that bypasses the need to obtain law enforcement approval or even undergo criminal background checks. So-called gun trusts are intended to allow the owners of the firearms to share them legally with family members and to pass them down responsibly. They have gained in popularity because they may offer protection from future legislation intended to prohibit the possession or sale of the firearms. Because of a loophole in federal regulations, buying restricted firearms through a trust exempts the trust's members from requirements that apply to individual buyers, including being fingerprinted, obtaining the approval of a chief local law enforcement officer, and undergoing a background check. Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who embarked on a weeklong assault on law enforcement officers that ended with his death on Feb. 12, said he had used a gun trust to buy silencers and a short-barreled rifle from a gun store in Nevada without a background check. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said applications for transfers of restricted firearms to trusts or corporations have more than doubled in the last four years, to more than 39,000 in 2012 from about 15,000 in 2008.

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