Class III/NFA items are governed by the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. The National Firearms Act was a punitive law originally enacted in 1934 to curtail, if not prohibit, the ability of law-abiding U.S. citizens to purchase shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length, certain firearms described as “any other weapons,” machine guns, and suppressors (collectively, “NFA firearms”). The $200 making and transfer taxes on most NFA firearms were considered draconious enough to carry out the U.S. government’s attempts to discourage or eliminate transactions in these firearms. The $200 tax has not changed since 1934. Due to inflation, this made the registration process and the subsequent $200 tax within reach of the average citizen to manufacture, own and acquire Class III/NFA items.
FREQUENTLY ASKED NFA QUESTIONS
Q: Do I need a license to buy a machine gun?
A: No, you don’t need a license. If you are permitted by law to own a handgun and your state allows the transfer of machine guns, you can buy one.
Q: Where do I get a permit for a machine gun?
A: You don’ t need a permit, either. You do need to complete an “Application For Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm”, also known as a Form 4, and this must be signed by the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in your locale. You also need to submit, in duplicate, a complete set of fingerprints and passport-size photos, plus a signed Certificate of Compliance, Form 5330.20, regarding your citizenship. The BATF then sends your fingerprints to the FBI for a background check while the BATF checks out the legality of the item being transferred. If all goes well, in about 90-120 days, the BATF sends the approved Form 4 back to your dealer and you can go pick up the Form 4 and your new toy. The item is now registered with the BATF in your name and the Form 4 is your only proof of this, so a copy should be with the NFA item at all times. Think of it sort of like a car title. The item was transferred to you and when you sell it, you transfer it to the new owner.
Q: What is the charge for this transfer?
A: When your application to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is submitted there is a $200 transfer tax to be paid for machine guns and silencers and a $5.00 transfer tax for AOW.
Q: I want one – is my state a “machine gun state”?
A: Click here to check out regs in your state: www.autoweapons.com/pagelinks/statelist.html
Q: How do I make a semi auto gun into a machine gun?
A: Generally, you don’t, unless you want to spend the next 10 years in prison and pay a $250K fine. No new machine guns can be made, as per the 1986 ban. We have to keep trading the ones already out there. But with certain platforms (M16/HK/and others), there are registered conversion devices (that themselves are considered MGs and were also registered with the BATF before the 1986 ban) that you can “put in” a semi-auto weapon to make it into a MG. These conversion devices are in the $8K-and-up range and going up at the same rate as registered-receivers (semi-auto’s converted to MGs and registered with the BATF before the 1986 ban) and domestic factory MGs that were legally registered with the BATF before the 1986 ban and foreign made MGs that were registered with the BATF before the 1968 ban.
Q: OK, I’m gonna do this. Where do I get the forms?
A: You can have BATF mail them to you. Here’s a link to their online form-ordering page:
Or you can download them directly here: http://www.atf.gov/forms/firearms/ Important: If you print out your own forms, they must be printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper, or BATFE will reject them.
If you have more questions regarding how to purchase, acquire and own Class III/NFA items feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 915-330-9597.