Colorado Red Flag Bill
Colorado Red Flag Bill & Transferring Title I Firearms
to Your Trust
The Colorado Red Flag bill is on its way to becoming law allowing the Court to issue an order requiring you to surrender your firearms. Your properly drafted and modern gun trust may provide additional protection from confiscation. When making a trust firearm purchase, make sure Form 4473 is properly filled out. Contact an attorney in Evergreen for assistance.
Form 4473 is used to complete a firearms background
check. In the case of a trust making the
purchase, two challenges arise. There
may be more than one trustee, and only one trustee can get the required
background check on a single Form 4473.
Second, Form 4473 anticipates a firearm transfer to that individual. If the other trustees wanted to get a
background check and be in lawful possession, the paper trail can look like a
transfer to that individual and not the trust.
For example, a trust with three trustees (Bob, Sam, and Kathy) making a
Title I firearm purchase and wanting to ensure all three Colorado trustees
could lawfully be in possession would complete three separate background
checks. If not careful, the paper trail
could look like an initial purchase by Bob, then a transfer to Sam and then
another transfer to Kathy.
In the context of Title II (NFA) firearms, the issue is not
as critical because Bob, Sam, and Kathy would all be listed on the tax stamp as
responsible persons, and the tax stamp is issued in the name of the trust. However, in the context of a Title I firearm,
there is no official document evidencing ownership by the trust and who within
the trust is entitled to possession.
This can become important when local law enforcement wants to confiscate
your firearms pursuant to the Colorado Red Flag Bill.
The Colorado Red Flag Bill specifically allows for the
firearm’s return to the lawful owner.
The determination of who is the lawful owner appears to be the decision
of law enforcement. The remaining or
replacement trustee would have to prove ownership by the trust.
In a firearm trust, there should be specific provisions
expelling a trustee who becomes subject to an extreme risk protection
order. The argument would be you are not
in possession, custody, or control of any trust firearm because upon the
issuance of the order any right you had to possession, custody, or control was
revoked; and law enforcement should not take the firearm. However, assuming the firearms are in your
home, the police officer is probably going to search for and take the firearms. This means that your remaining trustees or
replacement trustee must convince law enforcement to return the firearms. Without a proper paper trail, that probably
You can increase the likelihood that the firearms will be returned by (1) following instruction 1 on Form 4473 (2) making the purchase through a trust financial account, and (3) signing the Form 4473 with “YOUR NAME, Trustee of the [Insert trust name]”. Otherwise, there may be no proof that the transfer was to the trust and not the individual picking up the firearm.
Disclaimer: Douglas A. Turner, Esq. This column is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with the reader. Due to limited space, complex legal concepts and rules may be stated in terms of general concepts. Based on 2019 Colorado and Federal law. Consult legal counsel before acting on any information contained in this column.