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By Steve Hall

Short Barreled Rifle

Buying Your First Machine Gun, Silencer or Short Barreled Rifle

AmmoLand Gun News

AmmoLand Gun News

USA --( Did you know that as a civilian, depending on the county and state where you live, you can legally own a machinegun or suppressor?

Perhaps you do know this but you don’t know the process. To those who are committed to NFA firearm ownership, the process is not as daunting as some might think. All that is required is a good deal of money and patience.

Your first question might be what is NFA?
NFA is the National Firearms Act which put restrictions on civilian ownership of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and suppressors. The law originally went into effect in 1934 and was revised in 1968. To own a firearm defined by NFA, a civilian must apply for the right to own the firearm through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and pay $200 for a tax stamp which will allow the firearm to be transferred from one owner to another.

There is an upside and downside to having the ability to own a machine gun or suppressor as a civilian. The upside is you have the ability as a citizen to own a machine gun or suppressor. The downside is you will have to fork over a HUGE amount of money to buy the MP5 like the one Bruce Willis uses to kill the terrorists in Die Hard.

Also, you are going to have to settle for something that was manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 (short-barreled rifles and suppressors excluded).

Additionally, you will need to check local laws to learn if you can legally own a NFA item in your area, pay the ATF the $200 transfer tax, fill out paperwork, have a local chief law enforcement officer sign off on the idea of you owning an NFA item, submit fingerprints and passport photos, and sit and wait for up to six months for the ATF to process the paperwork. Tap, tap, tap.

Or, you can simplify the process and assign your NFA firearms and suppressors to a living trust. This will allow you to skip the hassles of getting local law enforcement approval and fingerprints. See for details about creating a trust.

Another benefit of having a trust is you will have the ability to assign trustees who can use, possess, and transport your NFA goods. Depending on your state, you may also have the ability to conceal carry your machine pistol with a CCW permit. Check your local laws for details.

To create your gun trust you will need to work with a lawyer. Don’t try to do this with some at-home software like Quicken. It is important you use someone who knows the law well. When I had my trust created, I hired the Gun Trust Lawyer David Goldman. I suggest you use him or someone equally knowledgeable. Having a lawyer will give you a resource every time you have a question. And trust me; you will have questions along the way.


Steve Hall is a gun enthusiast and freelance author for PX Supply and contributor to the blog saltnprepper. He bought his first assault rifle when he was 18 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Steve is also the proud owner of six NFA firearms.

  • 8 User comments to “Buying Your First Machine Gun, Silencer or Short Barreled Rifle”

    1. Gary Adams on May 28, 2012 at 7:52 AM said:

      I believe the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act specifically prohibits the ownership (by an individual) of machine guns manufactured after May, 1986.

      Unless the pictured weapon was made prior to May, 1986, an individual cannot legally buy it.

      I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Hall’s remarks concerning a proper trust document! I’ve worked with Mr. Goldman on a trust, and I recommend him.

      Ten years ago I bought a suppressor using a Quicken-made trust. However, with the BATFE now reviewing trust documents much more closely than they used to, I decided to have Mr. Goldman draw up a new trust incorporating my old Quicken trust. I’m glad I did. Although I’m no lawyer, the difference between the two is like night and day.

      And, the peace of mind is definitely worth it!

    2. [...] Hall is a gun enthusiast, freelance author for PX Supply and contributor to the blog [...]

    3. [...] Hall is a gun enthusiast and freelance author for Deep Conceal Holsters and Ballistic Grade [...]

    4. John Johnson on July 1, 2012 at 8:42 AM said:

      Everyone should have their own machine gun. I highly recommend it. When you control this level of firepower, and you let your neighbors, friends and relatives know you have this ability, they will no longer mess with you.

      My cadre of junkyard dog attorneys have crafted a fabulous Blind Trust. No one will ever be able to figure out who actually controls my Thompson…but I know.

      I do

    5. [...] Hall is a gun enthusiast and freelance author for Deep Conceal Holsters and Ballistic Grade BTB Sunglasses. He has written [...]

    6. [...] Hall is a gun enthusiast and freelance author for Deep Conceal Holsters and Ballistic Grade BTB Sunglasses. He has written [...]

    7. How would I get a hold of Mr. Goldman?

    8. Frank Maschhoff on April 29, 2013 at 1:32 PM said:

      Gary Adams, as the former President of Elite Tactical Systems, Inc. (the Type 07 FFL / Class 2 SOT who built the pictured rifle), I can assure you of two things: 1) it was most definitely built after May 19, 1986 (late 2006, actually), and, 2) it wasn’t a machine-gun, but a short-barreled rifle with attached suppressor, so it wasn’t affected by the Hughes Amendment of the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act, anyways.

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