National Firearms Act Weapons Factsheet

Posted On January 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm by / No Comments

National Firearms Act Weapons Factsheet

What is an NFA Weapon?

A National Firearms Act or NFA weapon is one of two types of firearms under U.S. federal law. Title 1 firearms are handguns, rifles and shotguns, firearm frames or receivers. Most NFA weapons are also title 1 firearms. Title 2 weapons, or NFA weapons or weapons from the Gun Control Act are weapons such as machine guns, silencers, short barreled shotguns, short barreled rifles, destructive devices and what are known as AOW, or any other weapons.

Ownership of a NFA Weapon

There are several criteria to owning a NFA weapon:

  • To own an NFA weapon it must be registered to the owner in the NFA Registry
  • You cannot register an existing NFA weapon that is not registered except immediately after it is made by a class 2 NFA manufacturer
  • Any individual can own a NFA weapon permitting local laws approve
  • ATF cannot approve a transfer where federal, state or local law would be violated by the transferee possessing the weapon in question
  • Non-FFL (federal firearms license) holders may only purchase an NFA weapon from a dealer or individual within their own state
  • Any gun that is purchased out of state must be transferred to a class 3 dealer within the state before transfer to a non-FFL purchaser

Penalties for NFA Violations

The National Firearms Act puts strict laws in place for violators as these laws are were enacted to protect lives and to make it difficult for people who are not registered within the system to get guns. If you look at the laws, they are designed to promote safety and disallow the criminal use of the weapons against citizens, police officers, or other authority figures. As such, violating NFA laws can result in a felony charge that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Even first time offenders are usually subject to prison time, and as long as you possess a NFA weapon illegally you are in danger of being prosecuted. Registering or transfer of a NFA weapon in violation is also a strictly forbidden act. This can result in a civil forfeiture proceeding that is separate from criminal prosecution.

State Laws

Each state has its own laws in place that may impose further restrictions than the ones mandated federally. These laws apply to machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles, short shotguns, weapons under the classification of any other weapon (AOW), large bore destructive devices, and explosive, incendiary or poison destructive devices.


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