Gun trusts provide legal loophole: Report

Mike Krumboltz

File photo of .22 cal. bullets (Scott Olson/Getty)
File photo of .22 cal. bullets (Scott Olson/Getty)

The concern among gun enthusiasts that certain types of guns could be outlawed or further restricted in the future has led some to seek out gun trusts.

The New York Times reports that gun trusts are intended to allow the owner of a firearm to pass down his or her weapons to family members in a responsible way. But a loophole in the federal law has other benefits, some of them potentially troubling to gun control advocates.

The Times explains that when trust members buy "restricted firearms through a trust," they are exempt from rules that would apply to individual buyers. Things like "being fingerprinted, obtaining the approval of a chief local law enforcement officer and undergoing a background check" are not required.

Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing spree before being killed in a cabin in Southern California, used a gun trust to obtain silencers and a shotgun. The Times notes that Dorner was not a felon at the time of his acquiring the weapons and would have likely passed a background check.

Mike Campbell, a spokesman with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms told the Times that his agency is aware of the loophole. The ATF is "reviewing changes to close it, " he told the paper.

A simple search on 'gun trusts' yields dozens of law sites on the subject.