National Firearms Act (NFA)
The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 was enacted in order to limit crime via the discouragement of firearm and destructive device ownership. This act limited ownership via taxation but did not fully prohibit the firearms. The tax on ownership was $200 which was a significant amount in 1934. The criminals would not register their weapons and the government was able to use their possession as a mechanism for arrest. At its origination, the US Department of the Treasury was responsible for enforcing the National Firearms Act (NFA).
The National Firearms Act (NFA) currently controls the ownership, transfer, and possession of a limited set of weapons which include machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles, and short barreled shotguns. Federal registration and a tax stamp for each device owned or transferred is required. This stamp is acquired in the registration process and requires specific paperwork. This paperwork includes Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) Form 1 or Form 4. The BATF currently enforces the National Firearms Act (NFA). Typically, fingerprints and a payment of $200 are required for manufacture and transfer of most weapons. The tax is typically payable at the time of manufacture and each time the ownership of the device is transferred. There are exceptions. Note that the tax on any other weapons (AOW) is currently $5.
The National Firearms Act (NFA) requires serial on firearms and it is illegal to change or remove them. This allows the government to track manufacturers, importers, and dealers. In 1986, the Firearm Owners Protection Act made the manufacture of machine guns for non-government entities illegal. It is still legal to purchase machine guns made prior to 1986. However, the cost of these machine guns is expensive and increasingly so.
For more information about the National Firearms Act (NFA), please check the following resources:
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF)
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) Frequently asked questions regarding firearms ownership
- National Firearms Act at Wikipedia
What is a Gun Trust?
A gun trust, NFA trust, and firearm trust are different terms for the same legal mechanism. A gun trust is a legal mechanism though which you can own several items including NFA Class III weapons. Registering individual weapons will incur a cost of $200 per firearm and $5 per any other weapon (AOW). In addition, exhaustive forms and documents have to be produced. Furthermore, these taxes and forms have to be fulfilled again upon transfer of the weaponry. Having a trust own these items will incur the cost of the firearm trust only. After payment for the development of the NFA trust, the weapons can move easily in and out of the gun trust provided the proper records are maintained. In addition, the weaponry can move freely between trustees in the firearm trust. Call Georgia gun lawyer Patrick Ferris of Douglas, GA in Coffee County, GA at (912) 384-1099 to set up your NFA gun trust consultation.
NFA Trust / Firearm Trust or Corporation?
NFA items may also be transferred to corporations, as well as trusts. This approach is not ideal for all clients. In such a case, it is the corporation that owns the firearm and not the corporate officer. If the corporation ever dissolves, it must transfer its NFA Class 3 / Title II firearms to the owners. This event would be considered a new transfer and would be subject to a new transfer tax. The decision as to what kind of entity should be the vehicle for managing the weapons depends on many factors. Such factors include whether you want the existence of the entity to be private or public.
More Gun Law and Gun Trust Information
If someone is caught with possession of a NFA Class 3 / Title II firearm that is not registered to the, they may be fined up to $250,000 and spend 10 years in jail. This is a felony offense. Furthermore, any vessel or vehicle used to transport, conceal, or possess an unregistered NFA Class 3 / Title II firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture. The weapon is also subject to seizure and forfeiture.
Possession of an unregistered NFA Class 3 / Title II firearm is a crime. The BATF states that if you are in possession of such a firearm, you should contact the nearest BATF office to arrange for its disposition.
You cannot convert your rifle or pistol into a machine gun unless you are a machine gun manufacturer with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). You also cannot make a semi-automatic gun into a machine gun. These are felony offenses that are subject to the punishments mentioned above.
An individual, business, trust, etc. cannot register and unregistered NFA Class 3 / Title II firearm. Only a manufacturer or importer can do this.
A trustee of a gun trust can ship firearms to another trustee within that same trust provided that NFA Form 2 is properly developed.
A Class 3 Federal Firearms License (FFL) is required for dealing, manufacturing, and importing firearms for the express purpose of revenue generation. Such a license is not for collecting. It is a felony to obtain a Class 3 License for the purpose of enhancing your collection.
In Georgia, you don't need a Federal Firearms License to own a machine gun. You do not need a permit for a machine gun, either. You do, at a minimum, need to have the machine gun registered in your name via a trust or BATF Form 4.
Anyone over 21 years of age can make a short-barreled rifle. This is provided that it is expeditiously registered to a trust, corporation, or individual after manufacture. The rifle must be engraved with the name of person or company making the short-barreled rifle. Registration must be completed via BATF Form 1.
Federal law prohibits interstate transportation of Class 3 weapons between unlicensed individuals. If your seller is an individual he can mail it only to a Class 3 dealer in your state of residence once the Form 4 to such dealer is approved. Then once received by the dealer he must submit a second Form 4 to ATF authorizing the transfer from him to the in state buyer. This involves a double transfer and $400.00 in tax.
There is no specific benefit to putting non NFA Class 3 / Title II firearms into a trust except for estate planning. However, it is possible that a perpetual trust may get the firearms around a California-type Assault Weapons ban.
Anyone, including a minor, may be a beneficiary of a NFA gun trust. The firearm trust has a trustee who will manage the trust assets until the beneficiary reaches a pre-designated age. The gun trust is designed to protect the assets for a minor beneficiary until the child reaches the age of eighteen or a later date. These terms may be amended at any time provided the amendments are properly completed. There is no limit to the number of beneficiaries within a trust. Note that, in order for a beneficiary to take possession of NFA Class 3 / Title II firearms, they must live in a state that allows for such possession and must otherwise be qualified to own the firearms. Also note that beneficiaries may not possess the weapons. Only trustees within a gun trust may possess and shoot the weapons.