Gun Owners DO Know Best

I do not have kids… so when one of our gun trust clients inquired about age limits for children in possession of firearms I knew I was in for a learning experience.  Now, I generally think I have most answers to legal questions… but I have also learned that being right is more important than being too quick to answer, or too egotistical to say “I don’t know”.

Past experience has proven to me, painfully, that if I get on my high horse about what I “know” that I may just get knocked off that horse.  And gun law is one of those things where you really cannot afford to be partly right or totally wrong.

Possession of a firearm by the wrong person, in the wrong locale, or of the wrong firearm can be a crime.  And the word “possession” can mean different things at different times, too.

The gun trusts I have been writing, in an excess of caution, require a person to be 21 years of age to receive benefits.  Not any more… because my client, who does have kids, wants to teach them about firearms, safety, and to share a passion with them.  They are not 21.  So my fears about differing state laws, etc., and being cautious with trust drafting, must be addressed another way.

Over the past 28 months of creating the GunDocx system, I have reviewed nine or ten different state laws.  Those that have strong pro-hunting and sport shooting features have laws about children accessing firearms, but always with certain safety requirements and supervision in place.  These laws may be spread across the criminal code, hunting and fishing laws and regulations, and provide for a variety of age restrictions and exemptions.  Other states are far more restrictive and lean towards treating children with access to a firearm as being questionable, negligent, or criminal by insinuation.

A proper gun trust should balance client intent and trustee discretion and temper both with an appreciation of local law.  The one area where federal law dominates this discussion is with NFA (National Firearms Act) firearms which sets the bar at 21 years of age.  It’s easy to make that a standard… but it kind of leaves kids out.

After thinking about safety and benefits, it occurred to me to permit the trustee of a gun trust, within the trustee’s discretion, to provide benefits to a person who is under 21 years of age consistent with state law.  It also means taking the time to instruct trustees about state law concerning children and possession of firearms.

This reinforced the lesson that we gun owners need to take the time to test our knowledge, educate each other by making sure we know the correct answers, so that when we share firearms we are behaving responsibly.  It’s up to us… or we can rely on the government to tell us what we can and cannot do, and to add more and more restrictions on our exercise of free will.

The majority of gun owners I know prefer limited government, but recognize that when we do not step up, something fills the void.  More law, more restrictions, like a parent grounding a child for bad behavior.

“Our” kids deserve our time and attention.  We can afford a little time to KNOW the law… and not just say what we think it is.  I am glad I took that time.  I learned some new things… and added them to our gun trust system for YOUR kids.  In a way, they’re mine too.  And no, I am not paying for their college or a car!

2 Responses to Gun Owners DO Know Best

  1. Gun laws are important to maintain a balance in our society because some Americans do not treat guns with respect. For this reason the gun laws continue to grow, not only because of lack of respect for guns ,but because people who are not familiar with guns or those who have had a bad experience are afraid of people that have them. So the end result is more laws. I agree that some laws are necessary,it seems to be getting out of hand because people think that if you own a gun you are a threat to society or you don’t think like they do so you should be controlled. I see this as narrow minded. The people that feel this way consider them self to be educated ,but the truth is they are attempting to take away the right of other law abiding Americans who would like to carry on the way of life that makes America a great place to live. The point of my comment is that with some laws being necessary taking away our right to own guns little by little is like saying that everyone is not equal because it is taking away the rights of one group to suit another because of fear and or lack of knowledge. You wouldn’t do away with bottles or rocks because people throw them at signs. I realize that my comment has strayed away from the topic, but this subject dear to me. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

    • Thanks for your comment – sorry my response is so late. 🙁 I somehow missed it – but I am really glad you commented and shared your thoughts. Please continue to read and comment. We have undergone some major new decisions in this area for our two sites so you will see a significant increase in postings and activity starting very shortly. We get great reviews on our site from gun owners so we are ready to really move it forward. Thanks again…

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