As of Feb 2015, there are 456,930 registered machine guns in the USA (Florida, Texas and Virginia have the most with each state having over 30,000). California, a state that no longer allows machine guns has over 29,000 registered machines guns!
Some states do not allow machine gun ownership. However, If you live in any of these 37 states you can own a legally transferable machine gun:
AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, ME, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NJ, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, and WY.
(Even if your state is listed, always be sure to double check as we are not able to offer legal advice).
Unfortunately, if you live in California (CA), Delaware (DE), Illinois (IL), Iowa (IA), Minnesota (MN), New York (NY), Rhode Island (RI), Washington (WA), Washington, DC or Wisconsin (WI) their state laws do not allow private ownership of machine guns. However, some of these states do allow properly licensed dealers to possess them.
Legally, there are three types of machine guns:
Transferable: Machine guns built/registered/imported prior to May 19th, 1986. These are the types that are legal to be owned and transferred.
Pre-May Dealer Samples: Machine guns built/registered/imported after 1968 but before May 19th, 1986. These machine guns are only legal to be owned by licensed dealers. However, interestingly, licensed dealers buy them and keep them after they give up their licenses.
Post-May Dealer Samples: Machine guns built/registered/imported after the May 19th, 1986. These are only available to properly licensed dealers, manufacturers, military, and police.
You can own a machine gun if:
- You are least 21 years of age to buy from a dealer.
- Are at least 18 years of age to buy from an individual on a Form 4 transfer (state laws vary).
- Are at least 18 years of age to possess one on a trust or as a member of a corporation (state laws vary).
- Are a resident of the USA.
- Live in a state that allows ownership.
- Do not have any felony convictions.
- Pay a one-time $200 Transfer Tax.
- Pass a BATFE background check with a typical process time of 120-180 days.
Do you waive your rights if you own a machine gun?
Absolutely not! There is an incorrect rumor that owning a machine gun forfeits your rights and opens your home to an unannounced BATFE visit. This is simply not true. We believe it started as the result of an erroneous belief that you have to be a licensed dealer to own a machine gun and a licensed dealer (such as us) can be visited by the BATFE for any reason which is completely normal.
You DO NOT need any special licenses and CANNOT be visited by the BATFE just because you (or your trust or your corporation) own a machine gun! In fact, your ownership privacy is protected under US Tax Code and only people legally allowed to see your tax return can find out you own a machine gun
How long does it take to get a machine gun?
As a result of the massively high volume of NFA transfers (in 2013 the BATFE NFA branch processed 163,691 forms) and limited BATFE staff it can take as long as twelve months to obtain approval for the transfer. However, once you locate the one you want to buy, the process usually takes between nine and twelve months. Please note that trust and corporate transfers are faster.
As dealers, we typically have to wait two to three months to get items transferred to us from the sellers.
People use wait time as an excuse on a regular basis. Don’t use that excuse to not buy a machine gun. Just get started, and before you know it, you will have your first unit. It’s well worth the wait!
The supply of legally transferrable machine guns is limited; the longer you wait the more it will cost you. In fact, its likely that while you are waiting for the transfer to be approved, your machine gun will actually increase in value (though there is no guarantee).
The process of machine gun ownership is quite simple:
For purchases in Michigan, we help you locate the machine gun you want, you then buy it. We then work with the seller to get the item transferred to us. Once we have possession of it, we work together on your paperwork and then we submit the paperwork (form 5320.4 AKA Form 4) and the $200 transfer tax to the BATFE. Once approved, you simply return to us and pick it up (You do have to submit an BATFE form 4473 at the time of pickup, but no background check as this was already done by the BATFE).
For purchases outside the state of Michigan, we can help you but you would likely be better off dealing with someone locally in your state. If you want us to help we will but you will still need to locate a NFA/Class III dealer in your state in order to transfer the gun to you.
You can register your machine gun as an individual, a trust or a corporation and each option has positives and negatives:
The simplest option would be to register as an individual. This is the lowest cost option for machine gun registration. In this case, you are required to submit fingerprints, a photo and have local law enforcement (CLEO) sign your forms. The big drawback with this option is you have to be with your machine gun at all times when it is in use as well as be the only person with access to where it is stored.
For example, if you accidentally left the machine gun in your friend’s truck and he drove off you both would be technically in violation of NFA rules or if you keep your silencer locked up at home but your wife or children have access to the key or lock combination, you are potentially in violation of NFA rules.
This is the slowest BATFE paperwork approval option. You really should just get a trust. See the next section.
A trust is, in my opinion and that of many others, the best solution for machine gun ownership. A trust can be easily and inexpensively created and there are some good online options online. Though, it is our opinion that utilizing a local attorney experienced with NFA Gun Trusts is the best idea. Be sure to do your homework and verify that the attorney you use has experience with the rules in your state. We believe the BATFE is going to reject the generic $99 trusts that are currently available online in the near future.
A trust allows you to avoid fingerprinting, photo submission and local law enforcement (CLEO) signature requirements during the registration process. A trust also allows you to add anyone who might want to use your NFA items or might want to store it/them for you to the trust (they must be legally able to possess them). In this case, anyone listed on the trust can legally have possession of the machine gun. As a bonus, you can also setup some trusts to automatically 'pass' the machine gun to future generations and they do not have to pay a $200 transfer tax again.
This is the faster BATFE paperwork option and normally an e-file system can be utilized, which dramatically shortens the approval processing time. This is only available to Trusts and Corporations.
A corporation has basically the same benefits as a trust. If you already have a corporation and plan to keep it active, you can go that route. Any officer of the corporation can have access to the machine gun. The same e-file system that is available to trusts is available to corporations. Be aware that the cost of maintaining a corporation is much higher than a trust.
*No matter what form of ownership you choose always seek a legal opinion from a licensed attorney in your state.
As you can see, owning a machine gun is actually easy and there is no excuse for you not to go for it.
The only drawbacks to ownership that I can come up with are the waiting time for the processing of the BATFE paperwork, possible difficulty locating the exact one you want and the current market prices for fully-transferable machine guns.
There is a reason the full-auto selector switch is often called the ‘giggle switch’ or the ‘fun switch’.
Please let us know if we can help you locate a machine gun to buy.
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