Q: How can an individual legally acquire NFA firearms?
A: Basically, there are 2 ways that an individual (who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from receiving or possessing firearms) may legally acquire NFA firearms:
By transfer after approval by ATF of a registered weapon from its lawful owner residing in the same State as the transferee. By obtaining prior approval from ATF to make NFA firearms.
Q: What is the tax on making an NFA firearm?
A: The tax is $200 for making any NFA firearm, including “any other weapon.” After which, you will receive a ‘tax stamp’.
Q: May a private citizen who owns an NFA firearm which is not registered have the firearm registered?
A: No. The NFA permits only manufacturers, makers, and importers to register firearms. Mere possessors may not register firearms. An unregistered NFA firearm is a contraband firearm, and it is unlawful to possess the weapon. The possessor should contact the nearest ATF office to arrange for its disposition. Violators may be fined not more than $250,000, and imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. In addition, any vessel, vehicle or aircraft used to transport, conceal or possess an unregistered NFA firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture, as is the weapon itself.
Q: How much is the tax to buy an NFA firearm?
For all making or transfer of NFA items the tax is $200 per item. The only exception for this is on the transfer of AOWs, which is $5. Making an AOW is still $200.
Q: If a friend owns an NFA firearm, can I borrow it?
No. You may not borrow any NFA firearm, as the owner HAS to be ‘in control’ of the weapon at ALL TIMES. This does not mean you cannot shoot it, just that you may not ‘possess’ it alone.
Q: Can I travel to other states with my NFA firearm?
A: Yes, provided you have filed a Form 5320 with the ATF. You must do this paperwork weeks in advance, and have a reason as to why you want to take it out of state. Also, make sure the ‘target state’ allows NFA firearms.
Q: What do I do if my NFA firearm is lost or stolen?
A: ATF has made up a rule, 27 CFR sec. 179.141, that requires the owner of a lost or stolen NFA weapon to make a report “immediately upon discovery” to ATF including the name of the registered owner, kind of firearm, serial number, model, caliber, manufacturer, date and place of theft or loss and “complete statement of facts and circumstances surrounding such theft or loss.” However, Congress has passed no law authorizing ATF to make such a requirement.” Common sense tells you to report it. The quicker law enforcement is looking for a missing weapon, the better odds are that it will be found before a crime is committed with it. As individuals, we are responsible for our firearms being secured.
Q: What are the penalties for possessing an NFA firearm illegally?
A: A conviction for a violation of the NFA will result in a felony conviction, punishable by up to ten years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 5871. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines ordinarily require prison time, even for a first offense with no prior criminal record, however various mitigating and aggravating factors can raise or lower the possible sentence range for a first offense. The statute of limitations on violations of the NFA is three years. See 26 U.S.C. sec. 6531. The statute of limitations does not begin to run on possession offenses until the possession stops. As long as you possess the contraband item, you are in danger of being prosecuted