Here are general guidelines, to get you started:
Ownership and possession:
Possession and ownership is legal provided the weapons are properly registered and comply with federal law.
May I possess it in MY state?
Some states may prohibit ownership and possession. State and local laws may also require more stringent registration besides federal registration.
How old do I have to be?
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. I personally do not know anyone that was ever approached by ATF or any government agency asking to see their NFA firearms.
How can I own these weapons? / What forms do I need? / What if the sheriff 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 are 21 or over, have no criminal record, and ownership is legal in the jurisdiction, then they will grant approval. 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 to be taken 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. Don’t 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 papers 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. Florida has an annual business registration fee of $150. 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. Don’t get any foolish ideas, though. 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: don’t worry! We have one more legal method for you to purchase them.
The new ATF rules commonly referred to as 41F have now changed trust ownership requirements. Starting in July 2016, all trust applicants MUST submit fingerprints, photographs, and a statement concerning the “responsible party” of the trust. We will have more information on these changes as soon as they become available. There are still benefits to trust registration, one being that multiple people may legally possess a NFA firearm provided they are trustess. This benefit is not possible if registered in one person’s name. One benefit of a trust over a business entity registration is trusts generally do not have any annual renewals or fees associated with them. In the State of Florida, 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 avenue has advantages and disadvantages. We are happy to help you in any manner. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org