The simple concept of one being able to own the kind of weapons classified under the regulations of the National Firearms Act of 1934 has come to depict a certain image that makes the facts of ownership appear more intimidating than they really are. As such, the processes behind the purchase and possession of many kinds of legal firearms remain a mystery to many. There is a common perception that a person may not own a select-fire firearm (AKA machine gun), or that silencers are “illegal”, short barrel shotguns (SBS) cannot be owned, and so forth. These statements contain “half-truths”.
Detroit Tactical Firearms is here to help inform you of the specifics, as well as make sure your purchase of NFA weapons is a simple and easy process. You can own machine guns, silencers, and other weapons regulated under the NFA: provided they are legal to own in your state. As you may be better able to understand by now, there is little other than a simple list of local, state, and federal laws in place in order to ensure that your application for NFA ownership is in proper order – with almost no hassle at all!
Here are general guidelines, to get you started:
Ownership and possession:
Possession and ownership is legal provided the weapons have been properly registered and comply with federal law.
May I possess it in my state?
Florida permits NFA ownership but some states may prohibit ownership and possession. State and local laws may also require more stringent registration besides federal registration.
What are the age requirements?
Generally speaking: if you can legally purchase or possess a firearm and are over 21 years of age, you may purchase and possess a NFA weapon.
How much does it cost?
Individual entities (including persons, corporation, trusts, etc.) must pay a one-time federal registration fee of $5 for an AOW – or $200 for each machinegun or suppressor.
How do I get a Class III license?
You do not need a Class III license unless you intend to engage in a firearms business. You simply pay a one-time federal registration tax on each weapon. That simple!
Note: As for the old myth that the government may or may not come into your house at 4AM without a search warrant: Legal ownership of regulated firearms does not forfeit any rights – such as those pertaining to search and seizure – based solely upon possession of any NFA weapon(s). This image of authorized inspections by government official is often confused with your run-of-the-mill inspections of business premises of licensed federal firearms dealers. This in no way applies to individuals and their ownership of NFA weapons. We personally do not know anyone that has been approached by the ATF or any government agency asking to see his or her NFA firearms.
How can I own these weapons? / What forms do I need? / What if the Sheriff or Chief of Police won’t sign my form?
You can become registered for ownership of these weapons in different ways. There are three distinct ways to register ownership of these weapons, which we will describe here:
Registration in your individual name, registration in a business name, and registration in a trust.
- Registration in your name:
Taking ownership in your name is one option of ownership. If you live in a jurisdiction where law enforcement makes no issue of this, you may simply take the application to your local chief of police or sheriff and ask them to sign the application. Their signature is not permission to own the firearm, but it is required for the application. Only the ATF has the final say on ownership. Some buyers ask, “What if they (ATF) don’t approve the application?” If you are 21 or over, have no criminal record, and ownership is legal in the jurisdiction, then they will grant approval.
If you live in a jurisdiction where the head of your local law enforcement agency is not cooperative and declines to sign the forms then you will find it almost impossible to take ownership in your name. Do not worry! If you cannot get a law enforcement signature, you can still purchase an NFA firearm. There are two more methods of ownership. A registration in an individual’s name requires the application to include a set of fingerprints, FBI background check, and photographs. The additional fingerprint check slows down the application process.
- Registration in a business name:
This form of ownership is easier because there are no fingerprints required and no photographs required. This form of ownership is usually quicker, but has disadvantages as well. In the event an applicant could not get the required chief law enforcement signature, many people have formed corporations or other types of business entities to take ownership. Do not do that if your only purpose is to purchase an NFA firearm! However, if you currently have a corporation or LLC and wish to go this route that is fine. Instead of having your name appear on the registration documents, the name of your business entity appears as the registered owner. If you are an officer or director of a corporation, or manage an LLC, the firearm is simply registered to the company.
The negative side of business ownership is having to keep the business active as long as NFA firearms are owned by the company. If you sell the company, the firearms go with the company to the new owner. Most states have an annual business registration fee. Therefore, starting a legal business entity strictly for purchasing NFA firearms is economically foolish. However, if you have an existing business and intend on keeping it for years then placing ownership of the firearm with the company is fine. One advantage of this is that any officer or director of the company may possess the firearm. However, If an officer or director of the company is prohibited from firearms ownership it is a crime for them to possess any firearm – even one belonging to the company! If you cannot get a signature for registration in your name and do not have a legal business entity to register the firearm: do not worry! There is one more legal method for you to purchase them.
- Trust ownership:
Trust registration has become one of the most popular forms of NFA ownership. Benefits include no fingerprint cards, no photographs, quicker application processing, multiple trustees may legally possess the firearms, and upon death the firearms are transferred to beneficiaries of your choice. One benefit of a trust rather than a business entity registration is trusts generally do not have any annual renewals or fees associated with them. In the State of Michigan, for example, there is no recording of a trust nor are there any fees required. This offers more privacy than a business entity, which is public record. If you want to get a trust, please consult an attorney for guidance.
As you can see, there are different ways to take possession of NFA weapons. Each path has advantages and disadvantages. We are happy to help you in any manner. Drop an email to JaxRolo@shootersdelight.com
This website contains general information about NFA matters. The information is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such.
Limitation of warranties
The NFA information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Detroit Tactical Firearms makes no representations or warranties in relation to the NFA information on this website.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, Detroit Tactical Firearms does not warrant that:
You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.
Nothing in this legal disclaimer will limit any of our liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law, or exclude any of our liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.