FAQ - National Firearms Act

National Firearms Act - FAQ

“The National Firearms Act was enacted on June 26, 1934 and is an Act of Congress in the United States that imposes a statutory exercise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. All transfers of ownership of registered NFA firearms must be done through the federal NFA registry. The NFA also requires that permanent transport of NFA firearms across state lines by the owner must be reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Temporary transport of some items, most notably silencers, do not need to be reported.”
Q: Which firearms are regulated under the NFA?

A: 
• a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length
• a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length
• a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length
• a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length
• any other weapon, as defined in subsection 
• a machinegun
• any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code)
• a destructive device.

Q: Does the registered owner of a destructive device, machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle need authorization to lawfully transport such items interstate?

A: Yes, unless the registered possessor is a qualified dealer, manufacturer or importer, or a licensed collector transporting only curios or relics. Prior approval must be obtained, even if the move is temporary. Approval is requested by either submitting a letter containing all necessary information, or by submitting ATF Form 5320.20, Application to Transport Interstate or to Temporarily Export Certain National Firearms Act (NFA) Firearms. This requirement does not apply to the lawful interstate transportation of silencers. Possession of the firearms also must comply with all State and local laws.

Q: Does the possessor of an NFA firearm have to show proof of registration?

A: Yes. The approved application received from ATF serves as evidence of registration of the NFA firearm. This document must be made available upon request of any ATF officer. It is suggested that a photocopy of the approved application be carried by the possessor when the weapon is being transported.
Q: How can a person legally obtain NFA firearms?

A: A person may make an NFA firearm by filing and receiving an approved ATF Form 1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm.
A person may transfer an NFA firearm to another person by filing and receiving an approved ATF Form 4, Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm.
Applications to make or transfer a firearm will not be approved if Federal, State, or local law prohibits the making or possession of the firearm.

Q: Are parts or kits which would convert a firearm into a machinegun subject to registration?

A: Yes

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