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View Full Version : Legal Full Auto Without Special License?


Pyrozen
July 20, 2005, 05:59 AM
Ok, so I have been reading through the full auto forums and have found many varying explanations of this. I have heard there are many different ways/requirements to obtain legal full-auto weapons. 200 dollar tax stamps, class 3 license, and other odd things.

Which one of those is it or is it a multitude of different requirements? I was under the impression that you had to have a class 3 license which cost a substantial amount of money and taxes.

Can someone please set the record straight for me? Also does my state, Pennsylvania, even offer full auto firearms for purchase to the average civilian?

shaggy
July 20, 2005, 07:51 AM
The process is fairly simple, though its long and expensive. You need to locate a so-called "transferable" machinegun - one that was made and REGISTERED with BATF prior to May 19, 1986. As an individual (not dealer or manufacturer), you cannot buy pre-sample or post sample MGs. If the gun is out of state, you'll need to have it first transfered to a class 3 dealer in PA. If its in PA, it can be transfered directly to you. Whether it comes from an individual or a dealer in your state, you'll need to do form 4 in duplicate (www.titleii.com), two FBI fingerprint cards (call BATF), one US citizenship certification, and pay a $200 transfer tax. The form 4 will require you to get a signoff from your local CLEO (Chief law Enforcement Officer - usualy a sheriff, DA, or judge with jurisdiction over the place of your residence).

If you are an FFL, you can have it transfered directly from out of state to your FFL but all other provisions apply (form 4, CLEO signoff, transfer tax, etc.). If its being transfered to a corporation, you do not need to get fingerprints or the CLEO signoff. A word of caution about corporate ownership however - you absolutely need to keep the corporation alive, pay all franchise taxes, fees, file all corporate taxes, etc. If the corporation dies or ceases to exist you will be in possession of an NFA weapon not registered to YOU (since the corporation is the legal owner). IOW the corporation makes transfers faster and easier, but is more of a headache on an annual basis.

PA is a pretty good state for machinegun ownership, though getting a signoff in some of the cities (Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.) can be difficult and may require you to go the corporate route. My dealer has a nice selection of stuff might want to check him out - www.jbarms.com

Pyrozen
July 20, 2005, 08:01 AM
I will definitely check out that dealer and thanks for the good explanation. However it raises a few more questions.

What is significant about May 19, 1986?

It kind of makes me mad that I can only purchase fully automatic guns that are almost 20 years old.

shaggy
July 20, 2005, 08:13 AM
On May 19, 1986 the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA '86) took effect. Although it did some good things for gun owners, it ended the new production and registration of full autos for civilians. Thus it froze the numbers in circulation for civilians at the 1986 level and with guns being lost, destroyed, transfered out of the NFA chain (and thus becomming illegal guns subject to seizure) the number is constantly decreasing.

Pyrozen
July 20, 2005, 08:18 AM
Ok now i know the "Assault Weapons" Ban was recently lifted due to its expiry. Assault weapons is in quotes because most of the requirements stated in that act were not actually assault weapon characteristics which I am sure you already know.

Will the FOPA ever come under review or expiration like the assault weapons ban and is there anything gun owners and voters can do about it?

shaggy
July 20, 2005, 08:22 AM
Nope - no expiration date on it and it doesn't look like it'll ever be repealed by Congress (Do you think a majority of Congress would ever commit political suicide by voting to make machineguns legal again?). Unfortunately we are stuck with it.

Pyrozen
July 20, 2005, 08:30 AM
Hmm that's true. It wouldn't be a good political move. The general public's hair stands on end when they hear the word "machine gun".

I am just curious then as to if it applies to machine gun's in the technical term or to any fully automatic weapon? I'm making the assumption that a machine gun would be a Browning .30 cal while an AK-47 would be considered an assault rifle. I am just using these weapons as references so I can get the definition of machine gun right.

Are the terms machine gun and fully automatic weapon one and the same?

shaggy
July 20, 2005, 08:44 AM
Same thing.

The legal definition is found in Title 26 (26 USC 5845(b)):

The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

If it can fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger, its a machinegun.

Pyrozen
July 20, 2005, 09:00 AM
Well that's a bummer. Thanks for clearing that up.

CyberSEAL
July 22, 2005, 02:47 PM
I'm sorry, but just so that I understand clearly, in order for me to buy a brand new MP5 full-auto, I will need to be an FFL, right?

Third_Rail
July 22, 2005, 05:49 PM
Yes - and being a Class III FFL just to buy and shoot MGs is a big no-no. Just as bad as making MGs yourself, in the eyes of the gov't.

Stiletto
July 22, 2005, 07:24 PM
I thought making your own MG was OK as long as it wasn't for sale?

shaggy
July 22, 2005, 08:42 PM
I thought making your own MG was OK as long as it wasn't for sale?

Nope, its a felony.

swmike
July 22, 2005, 09:37 PM
It kind of makes me mad that I can only purchase fully automatic guns that are almost 20 years old.

Actually, it would make me ecstatic to be able to buy a 20 year old M-60 or M-2. Here in Washington State, no CLEO will sign off so there is no point in even picking up the forms.

Third_Rail
July 23, 2005, 01:23 AM
Form a LLC. Then no CLEO signature is needed! :D

swmike
July 23, 2005, 11:18 AM
It would appear that Washington State doesn't recognize that option. Here is the Law:

"RCW 9.41.190
Unlawful firearms -- Exceptions.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession or under control, any machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle; or any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in a machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle, or in converting a weapon into a machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle; or to assemble or repair any machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle.

(2) This section shall not apply to:

(a) Any peace officer in the discharge of official duty or traveling to or from official duty, or to any officer or member of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Washington in the discharge of official duty or traveling to or from official duty; or

(b) A person, including an employee of such person if the employee has undergone fingerprinting and a background check, who or which is exempt from or licensed under federal law, and engaged in the production, manufacture, repair, or testing of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, or short-barreled rifles:

(i) To be used or purchased by the armed forces of the United States;

(ii) To be used or purchased by federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agencies; or

(iii) For exportation in compliance with all applicable federal laws and regulations.

(3) It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution brought under this section that the machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle was acquired prior to July 1, 1994, and is possessed in compliance with federal law.

(4) Any person violating this section is guilty of a class C felony."Unless you are selling to the military, police, or exporting, you can't even have one in your possession. Since there were none registered (no CLEO signoff) prior to the laws effect in '94 that exemption is moot as well.

Lets face it, they don't want anyone to have a Class III weapon in Washington, Legally that is. Wonder how many there really are in private hands though.

Marcus
July 24, 2005, 06:10 PM
LLCs count for the corperate route for certain? Marcus

boofus
July 24, 2005, 08:17 PM
My Texas LLC owns a FNC, M10/9 and suppressor.

Hopefully I will win the lotto soon so it can own more. :D

Nighthawk1983
September 5, 2005, 01:57 PM
what do you need to do as far as forming a legitimate LLC and having it recognized as such?

3 weelin geezer
September 7, 2005, 03:07 AM
PM #4
shaggy
Senior Member

Join Date: 10-09-2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 611

On May 19, 1986 the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA '86) took effect. Although it did some good things for gun owners, it ended the new production and registration of full autos for civilians.


________________________________


What good things did it do?

shaggy
September 7, 2005, 09:04 AM
Believe it or not the NRA helped push the FOPA '86 through and endorsed it. One of the main things it did was to get some protections into the law for gun owners regarding the interstate transportation of firearms. The MG ban was suppossed to be a poison pill added by a few democrats to the original bill, but the NRA thought they could get that provision cleared up later (either in conference committee or by a later bill) and continued to help push the bill into law.

FDzerzhinsky
September 21, 2005, 08:48 PM
Same thing.

The legal definition is found in Title 26 (26 USC 5845(b)):

The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.


If it can fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger, its a machinegun.

(Emphasis Added)

I remember a story someone told about someone using a shoelace to make a rifle fully auto. (I don't remember a lot about it, as you can see :)) Would that mean shoelaces are illegal when in the presence of a rifle? Or when it says "soley and exclusively," does it mean that the shoelace manufacturer has to say "this string isn't for keeping shoes on your feet, but for turning your semiauto AR-15 into a fully-functional automatic rifle." Just curious.

leadcounsel
September 21, 2005, 09:58 PM
Next time you take your AK47 to the range, try thumb bumping.

Make sure you have a big backstop and nothing behind it to injure someone. PUt your gun on your hip with your thumb through the trigger. Aim gun at the target. take your support hand and pull forward and keep pulling forward. the recoil of the gun will cause it to fire in full auto.

be safe and have fun.

shaggy
September 22, 2005, 10:33 AM
I remember a story someone told about someone using a shoelace to make a rifle fully auto. (I don't remember a lot about it, as you can see ) Would that mean shoelaces are illegal when in the presence of a rifle? Or when it says "soley and exclusively," does it mean that the shoelace manufacturer has to say "this string isn't for keeping shoes on your feet, but for turning your semiauto AR-15 into a fully-functional automatic rifle." Just curious.

FWIW, BATFE recently issued an advisory opinion on the 'string trick' declaring it to be a machinegun and thus illegal unless registered. To answer your question, I think they would have to hold the opinion that just having a shoelace in the presence of a rifle would not be violative of the law, but as you took steps towards rigging the string to the firearm you would edge ever closer to that legal line. Basically, because a shoelace can have more than one use, the intended use by the user becomes the use for which it was designed (by the user). And thus if or when you decide to use your shoelaces to make a firearm full-auto and take substantial steps to that end that becomes the 'sole and exclusive' use of that shoelace - not keeping your shoes on your feet.

Of course, its important to remember that trying to circumvent the law in the face of an advisory opinion to the contrary based upon a hypertechnical reading of the law is a good way to become a test case of your reading. You may win or you may lose, but either way its going to cost a truckload of money in legal fees to find out.

23Skidoo
September 22, 2005, 06:02 PM
Nope - no expiration date on it and it doesn't look like it'll ever be repealed by Congress (Do you think a majority of Congress would ever commit political suicide by voting to make machineguns legal again?). Unfortunately we are stuck with it.

Actually I heard an interesting twist on this one from my dealer.

One of the powerful constituencies who are or should be fighting for this are none other than PDs and other law enforcement agencies. Why? Money, of course. They have a lot of surplus MGs in armories that are basically unsalable and never used. They would much rather clean out the armory and get the $5-25k per gun that they would command on the market.
If someone could harness this argument I think it might be a way to beat the ban.

shaggy
September 22, 2005, 06:47 PM
Your dealer is poorly informed.

The guns sitting in police armories can be divided into three main categories - just like the machineguns on the market. Transferables, pre-samples, and post-samples. Currently most PDs have sold and traded off most of the valuable transferables to class 3 dealers for newer, more current and less expensive post-samples (ie. trading one transferable M16 for a half dozen post-sample MP5s, body armor, and other goodies). The pre-samples are largely gone also. The value these guns hold is simply because of the limited supply and demand artificially created by the ban itself. If there was no ban, an M16 wouldn't be worth $10,000 to $18,000.

Similarly, the post-sample and form 10 guns in police inventories wouldn't be worth the huge numbers transferables now garner if there was no ban. The illegally converted AK47 pulled off a gangbanger wouldn't be worth the $16,000+ transferable AKs now command since anyone could make a new 'transferable' AK for just a few bucks more than the cost of a semi.

23Skidoo
September 22, 2005, 10:11 PM
My dealer's primary business is with PDs in this area and has been for 20 years or more. I doubt he is the one who is poorly informed here.
Agreed that a post sample M-16 would not be worth the $15k that a transferrable is now, but it would certainly be worth more than the $1500 that it is today.

shaggy
September 23, 2005, 09:37 AM
But thats where you're wrong. Why would it be worth significantly more than a similarly configured AR15? The $30 or so of extra parts? The extra time and expense of drilling an extra hole in the receiver? Some of the more rare and discontinued models would still hold a little extra value, but nothing near the prices they command today as transferables. And those models without some special significance or rarity wouldn't be worth significantly more than the semi version.

Would you pay $2000 for a used full auto M16 from a PD when you could buy the same exact thing (but new in the box) from your local dealer for $1200, or build one on a converted AR15 for about $700?

GeorgeF
September 23, 2005, 11:40 AM
I agree whole-heartedly. Froma $$$ perspective, the government and local PD's could make lots of money off of this. Sam deal with a new amnesty where people who have illegal automatic firearms in their possession (grandpa brough back from WW2 and put in attic, etc) can register them. Think of al the extra money at $200 per firearm that would bring. Heck, if you opened up ownership again by killing the 86 ban and raised the cost to $500, you would ake a HUGE amount of money.

The sucky thing is that there are LOTS of people who own full-autos who would cough up blood rather than let that happen. They paid XXXXX $ for their firearm, and if suddenly it was worth XXXX $ they would have 'lost' money. Also othrs feel that they are an investment, and giggle to themselves whenever they see the new price of a AK47 or MG42. If supply increased and their gun values dropped they would be furious.

Not everyone is like that, but quite a few are. I would love to get a MG34, but there is no way I can afford one. I am driving a 20 year old car and have two kids under 3 years. That money isnt going towards a single firearm any time soon.

Lastly, the government will never sell their surplus guns to the civilian market. There are so many buearacratic aholes and liberal jerks in the works that you would sooner see the federal income tax repealed than that happen. My dad was in Vietnam and dealt with a REMF who was assigned to decommsion and destroy M1 Carbines that were no longer being used. My father asked if he could get any parts, and they guy flatly said "no way" - that the stocks were being all burned and the metal was being tossed in a scrap pile. My dad fished some barrels out of the pile later and the REMF found out. He created a machine that was essentially a metal press that put three bends in each barrel before it was scrapped.

JUST to spite anyone who wanted to collect parts. THOSE are the people we are up against. "People shouldnt own military firearms" and blah blah blah. What a load of hogwash.

Enough of my rant - you get a government person to listen to your ideas and I'll be there to back you up.

T. O'Heir
September 23, 2005, 02:15 PM
You really should know all your local laws pertaining to firearms of all types.
Go here. http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/StateLaws.aspx?ST=PA

TEN-RING
September 23, 2005, 03:29 PM
I had to get special dispensation from TWO librarians before I could log in to "FiringLine". This is because the filtering system at my PUBLIC library does not permit ANYONE to look at info, fora, or news containing any info pertaining to the WORD "WEAPONS". I think I have a first amendment right to view anything I want, excluding ****, etc. at my tax-supported Public Library. Any advice here? I won't be selling any of my guns collection just to buy a computer......I want my rights supported, first. I hafta ask every time I log on, and then I only get one-hour per day.

James K
September 23, 2005, 04:52 PM
I doubt there is a large PD "constituency" for legalizing MG ownership. And if there were, the anti-gun gang would still oppose it. After all, they have tried to pass a federal law requiring PD's to destroy older guns rather than trading them in or allowing them to be sold to the public. I saw a story about a sheriff's department that was going to auction confiscated rifles and shotguns to the public. The antis went berserk, one saying that a shotgun was a "deadly killer weapon capable of firing 400 shots with one trigger pull" and that one blast "could destroy entire blocks of buildings."

With lunatics like that screaming at them, the department cancelled the auction and ordered the guns destroyed.

Jim