MAC-Talk Forums

Image Map MAC


A lot of people have no idea that you can legally own a select-fire machine gun in the Untied States that was produced & registered before 1986 without any special permits or a Federal Firearms License of some type.

The process is more difficult than purchasing a Title 1 firearm (regular rifle or pistol) but with the help of a local “Class III” dealer it's not too much of a hassle.

To purchase a “transferable” (nickname given to pre-1986 registered Title II (NFA) guns civilians can own) you must meet the following requirements:

1. Live in a state that allows NFA possession -- most states do, some do not (such as California)
2. Be 21 years of age
3. You must be free of any felonies

If you meet these requirements then the usual procedure is as follows:

1. Find the gun you would like to purchase. It must be a legal “transferable” weapon. For it to be a “transferable” it must have been produced and registered into the ATF NFA database on or before 1986. Domestic production of new civilian Title II guns was banned in 1986, so the pool of firearms that civilians can own is fixed in size. “Transferables” for sale are usually described as being on a “Form 4” or a Form 3, and these are the ones you want. Guns labeled as “post samples” or “pre-May samples” require additional permits and licensing as a Firearms Dealer. A good place to look for “transferable” guns for sale is on the NFA market board at, other similar websites, or visit a local “Class III” dealer to see if they have any in stock you can look at and handle.

2. Once you have found a gun you would like purchase, it is a good idea to find a “Class III” dealer to assist you with the transfer if you have not already. At this point you will need to complete some paperwork.
A . You must fill out two copies of a “Application for Tax Paid Transfer And Registration Of Firearm” aka “Form 4” and get them signed by the Chief Law Enforcement Office (CLEO) of your area if you are registering as an individual (not required if registering the gun to a corporation or Trust).
B . You must be printed on two fingerprint cards if you are registering the gun as an individual. This must be done by a place that is certified. Most people have this done at the police / sheriff office while waiting for the CLEO signature.
C . You must have two passport sized photos taken

3. Once you have done all this you must then submit the 2 copies of the “Form 4”, 2 finger print cards, & 2 passport photos along with a $200 check to the ATF. The address to submit this stuff to can be found on the “Form 4”. Remember a decent “Class III” dealer should have helped you do this.

4. Now you wait several months while the transfer is processed and the FBI does a extensive background check.

5. Once your dealer receives the paperwork back with the approved tax stamp (yes its an actual stamp!) you can then take possession of the firearm.



Useful links - Great NFA message board. You can find some good deals in the NFA ads if you look hard enough   - NFA for-sale board.
ATF Forms Library - The ATF's official Forms Library at ATF.GOV
New ATF Form 4 - Fillable PDF of new ATF Form 4 (May 2016)
ATF Form 5320.23 - Responsible Person Questionnaire
Pre-"41F" ATF Form 4 - Fillable PDF of the old ATF Form 4 (version 2014)

Back to top...