Gun Collecting: Machine Guns Vs. Assault Weapons

Gun Collecting: Machine Guns Vs. Assault Weapons

British Sterling Sub-Machine Gun
British Sterling Sub-Machine Gun Legal to Own in the USA

Michigan –-( The mainstream anti-gun media does a terrible job in reporting on guns, and much of it is misunderstood even when the reporting is close to accurate.

The media would have you believe that “assault weapons” are in fact “machine guns,” but that’s not really the case. Here is why.

Anyone who has studied issues such as the assault weapon ban will tell you that the media gets upset about nothing – the truth is that assault weapons or rather firearms that look like assault weapons are often just commercial version of military firearms. These aren’t actually “machine guns” in the true sense. You certainly can’t go to most gun shows and buy a machine gun, nor can you go to the local sporting goods chain and buy one either.

Machine Guns are Legal
Machine guns can be legally purchased – but you should check with your local law enforcement agency as it still could be banned in your city or state.

To understand how to purchase a live and firing machine gun, as opposed to a non-firing “dummy gun,” you need to understand the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, which was enacted on June 26, 1934. It imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of “certain firearms” and mandates the registration of said items. This essentially came about as a result of the crime waves of the 1920s and early 1930s during prohibition.

“This required that guns be registered with the government, and that those registering the guns had to pay the excise tax of $200,” explains advanced collector Ken Niewiarowicz. “Who had an extra $200 to spend to buy a gun in 1934?”

This registration explains Niewiarowicz was actually done through the IRS, and it wasn’t just limited to live guns. Those aforementioned “dummy guns,” which today are sold by companies such as previously had to be registered as well.

“Most of the guns brought home by the GIs after World War II were deactivated and those still needed to be registered.”

The first major update to the old laws occurred in 1968 with the passage of the Gun Control Act, when guns were added to the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco. This restricted certain categories of individuals from owning guns – including felons, users of controlled substances or those who were convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. This year also made it legal for “new” machine guns to be produced with old parts. Thus many older guns suddenly came out of the woodwork.

The law changed again in 1986, which essentially banned the creation of new machine guns again. As a result it is only possible to own machine guns that were produced prior to 1986. To obtain a gun an individual doesn’t actually need a special license either – this is a common misconception – but instead needs to live in a state (as well as city) that allows for ownership, and to pay to receive the $200 transfer stamp.

Again, this isn’t as easy as going to a large gun show and throwing a wad of cash. A background check is conducted and it can take weeks, or even months for the stamp to come through. Interesting enough, the 1934 produced stamps are still being used today.

Curio and Relic (C&C) License
Another major misconception when it comes to collecting antique firearms is what exactly is the purpose of obtaining a 03 Federal Firearms License, sometimes called the Curio and Relic (C&C) license. It should be stressed that holding a C&R FFL doesn’t actually make one a dealer, but rather this is a special license for firearms collectors. It allows these collectors to purchase C&R FFL eligible guns across state lines and to receive them directly. Introduced as part of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the 03 FFL does not entitle those individuals to be in the business of reselling guns as a dealer. The C&R list changes yearly and readers should consult the list to determine if a specific gun is on said list.

Gun Show Loophole
Now the issue of “dealer” comes up, because of the so-called “gun show loophole” that anti-gun zealots actually preach about. What exactly is a “gun show loophole” is never really made clear by the anti-gun crowd, but it basically targets any sale that is done from private individual to private individual so it clearly isn’t aimed at just those transactions taking part at gun shows.

“To require guns to be sold through dealers would mean additional taxes on the item,” says Dean Sova, promoter of the Old Time Gun, Military & Sporting Shows in Michigan.

“On a used item it has already had taxes paid and claimed by the government. This would just be further government intrusion to tax an item again.”

Ironically say many gun collectors, weren’t taxes what the whole Revolution and later the purpose of including the Second Amendment in the Constitution was all about?

Peter Suciu is executive editor of, a website that tracks and monitors media bias against guns and our Second Amendment rights. Visit:

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GOOD ARTICLE! Too technical for most, but still a good article.

1 point that always sounds 'apologetic" about conserv writers… or, dunno… wishy-washy to Libs – wish conservs would just say it… example:

"but that’s not really the case…" 'really'??

either it is or isnt, to a Lib! reach a Lib-socialist today: Speak with Authority!! Cant tell ya how many times Ive heard it from 1 of my own lib friends "No, even 1 of ur own said 'Thats not really the case…'" when they wouldnt have known the difference otherwise -and really still didnt.

Ray Walker

In California any rifle with a bayonet lug is considered an assault rifle. The great M-1 Garand, using an 8 round clip, semi auto, i.e. have to pull the triger for each shot, would bcome legal by removing a small lug that attached the bayonet. Pretty dumb thinking. It fires the same .30'06 that most legal hunting rifles use. Anti-gunners are emotionally unstable thinkers when they hear the word gun.


It’s 30.06 !


A second point: NFA34 came into being just after Prohibition ended and relieved the govt of the necessity of firing all the revenoo'rs who had just been put out of work.

TSgt B

Good article – but one considerable error. The GCA of '68 DID NOT prohibit those convicted of misdemeanor "domestic violence" from possessing firearms. This was done under the notorious and UNCONSTITUTIONAL "Lautenberg amendment", signed into law by draft-dodging aldulterer and dope smoker William Jefferson "B.J." Clinton. This amendment violates Article 1, Section 9, of the Constitution of the United States of America, which prohibits Congress from passing "ex post facto" (retroactive) law. Why is this abomination still on the books?