- Can I legally own a machine gun, suppressor (silencer), short barreled rifle/shotgun (SBR/SBS) or other restricted weapon?
- Are there restrictions on owning machine guns, suppressors or other NFA items?
- How do I purchase a machine gun, suppressor or other NFA weapon?
- Where can I shoot my machine gun or suppressed weapon?
- What is the Gun Control Act of 1968?
- Can I legally own an assault rifle or large capacity rifle and pistol magazines?
- Where do I find machine guns, suppressors and other NFA items to purchase?
- How do I get my Federal Firearm License (FFL) and Special Occupational Tax (SOT) stamp?
- What constitutes a “machine gun”?
- What is the NRA and should I join this organization?
- What are machine gun accessories and can I purchase these without a license?
- What is the difference between a Pre-86 and Post-86 NFA gun?
- Are there discounts for multiple firearm purchases?
- What does “NIB” mean?
1. Can I legally own a machine gun, suppressor (silencer), short barreled rifle/shotgun (SBR/SBS) or other restricted weapon?
Yes you can. Ownership of machine guns, suppressors, SBR, SBS, smooth-bore pistol, cane gun, or other destructive device (certain shotguns, grenade launchers, hand grenades, bazookas, mortars, cannons, etc.) is legal under the National Firearm Act (NFA) of 1934 – providing you comp necessary forms, submit fingerprint cards and pay the transfer tax. The transfer tax is a one time paid tax on controlled items. It is only paid when an NFA item is transferred from one individual (or corporation) to another. The Federal Transfer Tax is $5 as it applies to pen guns, cane guns, smoothbore pistols, or any other such firearm that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms classifies as “Any Other Weapon” (AOW). The FFT of $200 applies to all functional machine guns, suppressors and other NFA restricted devices. In the case of inheritance, the FFT does not need to be paid.
2. Are there restrictions on owning machine guns, suppressors or other NFA items?
Yes. Certain states provide additional restrictions on the private ownership of various NFA weapons and other controlled items. Hawaii has a complete ban on private ownership of any NFA item. Other states have restrictions on NFA weapons. These include: CA, DE, D.C., HA, IL, IA, KS, MI, MN, NY, RI, SC. You must check you state restrictions on ownership of machine guns and other NFA items prior to going any further in purchasing one of these items. Good references include MP5.com or Gun Laws in the United States. Gun laws change with time, so to get the most up to date information, check with your state, on their website after referencing the above.
3. How do I purchase a machine gun, suppressor or other NFA weapon?
After checking your state laws and finding the NFA item that you want you must contact a local Class 2 or Class 3 firearm (machine gun) dealer (SOT) in your area. He will need to send us his FFL and SOT licenses for our records. We will then complete a Form 3 (used to transfer NFA items from SOT to SOT) and send it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. Upon receipt of the approved Form 3 (about 3-4 weeks) we will ship the item to your local machine gun dealer. He will then help you complete a Bureau of ATF Form 4. You will need two complete sets of finger print cards that must be obtained from your local law enforcement agency. You will also need the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in your area. This can include the Chief of Police, County Sheriff or Judge with jurisdiction over your area. PRIOR TO ANY NFA PURCHASE, MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN FIRST OBTAIN THIS SIGNATURE. You will also need 2 passport sized photographs and a check for $200 payable to Bureau of ATF (for the Federal Transfer Tax). He will then send the completed package to the Bureau. Processing times range from 2-4 months but this can vary up to 6 months. We have no control over AFT processing time. Please note: all NFA item sales require prepayment of funds prior to processing the paperwork. All sales are final. Once the approved you can get your item from your SOT. You will also need to complete an ATF Form 4473 at the time you get your gun (download: Windows Form 4473 or Apple Form 4473). This is required for all firearm transfers to anyone or entity other than firearm dealers, military or law enforcement agencies. Help with completing Form 4473 is here. The 4473 must be signed and given to your firearm dealer on the day of the transfer. Another option is for a trust to own the guns for you. These people can help here and here.
4. Where can I shoot my machine gun or suppressed weapon?
First and foremost, BE COMPLETELY FAMILIAR WITH THE PROPER SAFETY AND OPERATION OF YOUR MACHINE GUN. These are dangerous weapons and require meticulous handling and safety. Remember that all guns are always loaded, no matter what. If you have never shot a machine gun, ask your FFL/SOT or other individual familiar with the correct operation and safety of a machine gun. You may shoot your machine gun on private property, with permission. Be sure that you have a minimum of 3 miles safety zone, downrange or proper backstop to prevent any serious accidents. Be certain that no person, animals or structures are down range. There are also gun ranges that allow firing fully automatic weapons. Check with the Range Master first. REMEMBER TO HAVE A COPY OF YOUR FORM 4 WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES, FOR WHATEVER NFA ITEM YOU ARE USING. You will most likely need to show this to the Range Master or law enforcement official. Fully automatic shooting will attract law enforcement attention. Check local rules and regulations first.
5. What is the Gun Control Act of 1968?
The Gun Control Act of 1968 (also known as GCA or GCA68) is a federal law in the United States that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting interstate firearm transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers. Modeled after the 1938 Gun Control Act of Nazi Germany, a section of this law updated the National Firearm Act by restricting the transfer of newly imported machine guns to the military, law enforcement, and certain Special Occupational Tax (SOT) payers only. In addition, a short Amnesty period (November 2 – December 1, 1968) was provided before the law went into effect, to allow unregistered machine guns and other NFA firearms already in private hands, to be added to the Federal Registry without penalty. Approximately 60,000 firearms were registered. Imported machine guns such as German MP-40s and AK-47s brought back by American GIs were registered during this time. These are known as registered “bring backs” and if in good condition, sell for top dollar.
6. Can I legally own an assault rifle or large capacity rifle and pistol magazines?
Yes. No special license is required for semi-automatic rifles or regular handguns. These and high capacity magazines were temporarily banned by the Violent Crime Act of 1994 but this law expired (THANKFULLY) on September 30, 2004. In our accessory section, we stock some ultra-high capacity magazines (100 rounds.) Check your state and local ordinances which still may place restrictions on certain items. Call your local shooting range or the National Rifle Association for additional information.
7. Where do I find machine guns, suppressors and other NFA items to purchase?
The best place to start is on our website. NFA items are categorized by type, i.e. machine guns, suppressors, accessories etc. We also have a limited number of hard to find non-NFA rifles and hand guns. Machine guns are either fully transferable or restricted to dealer sales – FFL/SOT only. The latter are known as “dealer samples.” While historically thought of as not being as valuable as transferable machine guns, select dealer sales sample guns have been used very little and are in excellent condition. It is our position that these dealer sales samples are more valuable than even fully transferable NFA weapons as they are factory original guns and are generally in very good to excellent condition. Dealer sales samples are not conversions or sear guns, THEY ARE THE REAL THING. The additional benefit in owning dealer sales samples is that even if you discontinue your firearm business, you may keep any dealer sample machine guns that you legally own (most states). You may generally purchase any accessories and parts for these dealer sales sample guns.
8. How do I get my Federal Firearm License (FFL) and Special Occupational Tax (SOT) stamp?
Good question! You can get your FFL by completing ATF Form 7 (ATF F 7, 5310.12) and submitting a set of FBI fingerprint cards. These must be ordered from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Once you get your FFL, you can then simply pay your SOT (Special Occupational Tax) and submit the application with the appropriate tax payment. YOU CANNOT LEAGALLY DEAL IN NFA REGISTERED ITEMS WITHOUT AN SOT Certificate! This is not an application, just a tax payment allowing the FFL holder to engage in the sale of NFA items.
Another important fact is that in order to get your FFL (and SOT) you must be engaged in business of dealing firearms. For this, you must have a business address and have appropriate business licensing and Federal Tax ID number. Obtaining your FFL/SOT to enhance your firearm collection to avoid paying the Federal Transfer Tax is a FELONY (tax evasion) and is punishable by serious fines and imprisonment. Holding an FFL/SOT is not for everyone. However, many go from hobby purchasing into hobby business. There is no requirement as to how many sales you have to make (over one.) For more information on getting your Federal Firearm License, click here.
9. What constitutes a “machine gun”?
Most people would consider a machine gun as a fully constructed weapon that is capable of firing more than one round with a single trigger pull. While this is true, the ATF categorizes several other items as “machine guns.” It is important that you understand this, as purchasing or having in your possession one of these items, even though it is not a complete, functional firearm; constitutes having a machine gun and all NFA rules apply. These NFA registered items include: Original or converted machine guns, whether foreign or domestic, if added to the Federal Registry prior to enactment of the GCA 68, deactivated war trophies (DEWAT) that were registered prior to enactment of the GCA 68. These can only be reactivated after payment of the $200 Federal Transfer Tax and approval by BATF.
Manufactured or remanufactured machine gun PARTS that were registered after the GCA 68 enactment, but prior to the GOPA 86 (May 19th, 1986) INCLUDING REGISTERED RECEIVERS, SEARS, BOLTS OR OTHER MACHINE GUN PARTS as classified by BATF. So you can see that even having a machine gun sear, which is the size of a small postage stamp, constitutes owning a machine gun. These registered sears have their own serial number and are registered in the Federal Registry and ATF database. Having even an unregistered machine gun part is a serious felony, punishable by fines and imprisonment.
10. What is the NRA and should I join this organization?
The NRA is the National Rifle Association. They are the largest institution in the United States that is protecting your Second Amendment right to own and bear firearms. You should absolutely join this organization. The author is a life time, endowment member. The NRA has allowed you to keep and maintain your rights to own all forms of firearms, machine guns, suppressors, “assault rifles” and high capacity magazines. You may join by signing up here.
As you are reading this, you are clearly in favor of exercising your constitutional rights. We would encourage you to join a local gun club and take additional gun training courses. For most states, in order for you to obtain your Concealed Weapon permit, you must have completed an NRA certified Firearm Safety Course. Check with the NRA or your local gun club for more information on this.
11. What are machine gun accessories and can I purchase these without a license?
Machine gun accessories per se do not need licensing. Most of these are items such as lights, rails, magazines, uppers (for AR-15s or M16s) and other parts that are not considered by the ATF to be restricted. These items can be purchased and shipped directly to you without ATF approval. Parts classified by the AFT to be “machine guns” as referenced in Question 9, do need appropriate paper work and tax fee filed and paid. Some items are restricted by manufacturers, particularly foreign manufacturers such as Heckler & Koch or FN-FAL. These items are very hard to find in new condition (trigger groups, bolt carriers) and generally sell for a premium price as no more new ones will be imported into the United States after January 19, 2009. Even domestically produced parts, such as M16 uppers or bolt carrier groups are quite rare. New ones are almost impossible to find.
12. What is the difference between a Pre-86 and Post-86 NFA gun?
Pre-May 19,1986 machine guns were registered with the ATF and NFA as being transferable to private citizens with some rules that apply. There are two classes of machine guns: domestic and foreign manufactured. The Gun Control Act of 1968 required registration of all privately held machine guns. Any machine gun registered before December 1, 1968 was entered into the ATF data base as being transferable. Following this, no foreign manufactured machine guns, or even domestically produce machine guns that were exported then brought back into the US, could no longer be imported and registered as transferable to a private individual. From December 2, 1968 to May 19, 1986, domestically produced machine guns could still be registered with the ATF as being transferable. In other words, the general public could buy the machine gun.
A pre-1986 dealer sample is a foreign made machine gun that was imported into the United States for the purpose of being a machine gun dealer sales sample. These guns historically were used by Class 3 machine gun dealers for demonstration purposes to potential clients – usually law enforcement. Some pre-1986 dealer sales samples were shot extensively and some very little. Pre-1986 dealer samples could be kept by the machine gun dealer, even after they stopped their firearm business. No transfer tax had to be paid on these dealer samples (as long as their business was that of a sole proprietor and not a corporation). Post-1986 guns cannot be purchased by anyone other than the following: law enforcement, military or a machine gun dealer with a “law letter.” The latter is a letter from the Chief Law Enforcement Officer requesting that a specific machine gun be sent to the dealer for purposes of demonstrating that gun to the department. A machine gun dealer (Class 2 or Class 3) can only legally retain possession of this post-1986 sales sample as long as they maintain their machine gun dealer status. If the machine gun dealer is no longer in business, they must either sell the gun to a law enforcement department or other machine gun dealer with an appropriate law letter. The other option is to destroy the gun. Sawing the receiver in half can be done to “inactivate” the gun. But the other parts may be sold as just that – parts.
13. Are there discounts for multiple firearm purchases?
Yes, there is a discount for multiple firearm sales. For Firearms: There is a 2.5 % discount on the lesser expensed item for 2 simultaneous firearm purchases. There is a 5% discount on the 3rd, least expensive item and for all other least expensive firearms. For Parts: No discount unless you purchase a firearm at the same time. Then you get 15 % off each part that is specifically designed for that firearm you are buying.
Nothing. On internet sales websites it supposedly stands for New In the Box. There is essentially no such gun when it comes to machine guns. Most of the machine guns available for you to buy, have been in the public domain since May, 1986 or earlier. The exception is that some manufacturers held on to small quantities of receivers knowing their value would increase. In looking at the internet machine gun websites, there appears to be no such thing as a used gun, they are seemingly always advertised as brand spanking new…New In the Box…NIB. New in the box only existed when the gun was sold from the manufacturer or distributer, through the machine gun dealer, to the FIRST purchaser. After that, the gun is used. Period. Even if the buyer returns the gun to the dealer and/or he never took the gun out of the box or fired it, it is still a used firearm. It is the same analogy as buying a new car, driving it off the lot, turning around and returning it to the car dealer. That car is now used and cannot legitimately be sold as new. The same is true for machine guns. Remember the “youngest” machine gun was “born” prior to May 19, 1986. Most of these guns have had hundreds if not thousands of rounds shot through them. It is truly a rare gun that is in its original box, in new or near new condition. Most guns that come in boxes are not the original box and even if it is, it (the box) is almost always torn, beat up and in bad shape. Forget getting original accessories. They are as rare as new condition factory boxes.