The well-respected Recoil Magazine published an article of mine in their latest issue, which went on sale last week. Whoopee!
Except they cut out my main point (!) and since i wrote the entire article submission to support that point, it reads like a jumbled mess. I can barely recognize what i wrote. Some of the language they added is cringeworthy (“drinking in Valhalla”? yikes!).
At least the article is visually stunning. When you have great gun porn, who needs articles? Recoil is hands down the best gun mag in terms of graphics and production quality, worth every penny of the subscription price, so go ahead and subscribe or download the issue my article appeared in (Issue 56).
But please at least read my main point below on leaving a legacy of firearm training, which the editors apparently didn’t like. (I can only guess because no one ever contacted me for a rewrite, despite my labeling this as the most important point.) The published article threw in a mention or two about training but omitted the following:
So here are a dozen ways a non-NFA gun trust can protect your family:
1. Transmit Legacy of Firearm Training
This is listed first as it is by far the most important. It is not enough to merely be a gun owner. For example, you have to train seriously with your guns and carry them for defense in order to understand the lunacy of magazine capacity limits and other restrictions on carry. True legacy is only 10% stuff you give away. Ninety percent is training others, and then training them to train others. A legacy of family protection involves transmission of values necessary to preserve family power, namely, Life, Fortune, and Honor, first to your kids and then to their kids and on down the line through generations of descendants.
Will your children remember what you taught them, even ten years from now? One way to help them remember is to tie their inheritance (or at least a significant chunk of it) to their regular participation in defensive gun training. Reward them monetarily for training, competing, reloading, gunsmithing,
teaching, and carrying for defense of themselves and others. Make it big enough to maintain interest despite cultural headwinds.
The trust is the only effective means for firearm legacy to be transmitted over multiple generations without dilution. Just look at our Founders who obviously had an excellent militia ethic yet, if the War of 1812 is any indication, failed to transmit that ethic to their children. If word-of-mouth training proved inadequate back when just about everyone hunted, how can we rely on it when so much of modern society is dedicated to canceling gun culture? What if each of us included, in our written family constitutions, provision for regular firearm training and testing under time pressure according to objective, immutable performance criteria? Much as a forward-looking business plan can have immediate benefit, this type of dynastic family planning can have a positive impact on our families even while we are alive.
Incentive language in a gun trust is similar to incentive language you might use in your main trust to transmit additional values important to your family, for example through religious, charitable, or financial mentorship. There is a lot of crossover potential and ideally all of your core estate planning documents should be drafted with an eye toward transmitting essential values you deem important for family protection.
America forgets its Founders valued widespread gun use not merely for balance of power against a standing army, but also as a sort of sacrament (effecting sanctity and justice, if you will), constantly developing and improving the moral character of citizens so they might continue to enjoy republican government. You probably have seen the John Adams quote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other[…]” And you may have seen this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walk.” Washington’s Secretary of War Henry Knox nailed it further in 1790, advocating the entire population be educated and disciplined in the military arts, “by means of rotation”: “A glorious national spirit will be introduced, with its extensive train of political consequences. The youth will imbibe a love of their country; reverence and obedience to its laws; courage and elevation of mind; openness and liberality of character; accompanied by a just spirit of honor; in addition to which their bodies will acquire a robustness, greatly conducive to their personal happiness, as well as the defence of their
country[…]An energetic national militia is to be regarded as the capital security of a free republic, and not a standing army, forming a distinct class in the community. It is the introduction and diffusion of vice, and corruption of manners, into the mass of the people, that renders a standing army necessary. It is when public spirit is despised, and avarice, indolence, and effeminacy of manners predominate, and
prevent the establishment of institutions which would elevate the minds of the youth in the paths of virtue and honor, that a standing army is formed and riveted forever[…]”
So it appears gun training incentives would also encourage transmission of other beneficial values, and
vice versa, each strengthening the others, furthering the ultimate goal of family protection.
Most of the other gun trust benefits were included to some extent in the published article, and they are of course real and valid benefits, or at least potential benefits, for some people. But aside from certain uncommon situations, i rarely try to “sell” a gun trust using any reason other than leaving a legacy of gun training. Most of the other benefits, if they apply and there is interest, can be provided to some degree using core estate planning docs or other methods. But every American family should leave a legacy of firearm training and a separate dynastic gun trust is the only effective way to do that.
A persistent problem i have is that very few gun owners have ever had, let alone regularly enjoy, high-quality defensive firearm training. That’s why i give away so much training, so they know what i’m talking about by “legacy of firearm training”. I dunno, maybe the editors at Recoil need more training?
My original submission also discussed in some detail the new gun transfer rules under California’s AB 1292. I expected that discussion to be cut or downsized due to the national distribution, but removing my main point about firearm training legacy without telling me was in bad faith and they totally changed the meaning of the article. You can even see that in the various subheadings and captions they came up with, yammering about protecting guns as property. Estate planning is not about protecting property — it’s about protecting family!
If you want to take a look at the original submission for the discussion of California laws, or other important points omitted from the published version, let me know.
I’ll just close here by including the close of my submission (also omitted from the published article):
Gun trust planning works best when integrated with contemporaneously-drafted main revocable trust, wills, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents, all containing gun provisions of their own. Benefits vary a bit depending on the state, but no matter where you live, leaving a legacy of firearm training is by far the most important, for family protection and for survival of the republic. In the last year, we have seen local, state and federal governments infringe on our rights as never before. To give people an idea of what I mean by firearm training, so they can plan for it, I give away free training at a large, famous school. That school, because of its size and influence, only shut down for a few months but has since remained open, resisting unlawful decrees. Eventually the government may succeed in shutting it down, along with other gun schools. When that happens, your family will be the only firearm training institution available to you. Your trust will be its charter. And while some leftist-packed court of the future may rule that gun training provisions in a trust are void as against public policy, the great
power of a private trust is that your family, the family you brought up right, is in charge of implementing your trust. They know what is in your trust instrument, even if the government rips that instrument right out of their hands, because given enough time it will be written in their hearts. As an attorney I can only recommend compliance, but there is a long tradition in this country of disobeying unjust and unconstitutional laws. I assure you that tradition is alive and well, and will grow as the times demand. Your family will not be alone.