Intro to National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms and devices

 

We offer a wide range of NFA firearms, and in an effort to dispel some of the myths surrounding them, we want to explain what these firearms are, what they offer, how to buy them, and some of the misconceptions that people have regarding them.  What sets CSA apart from other NFA retailers is the ability to use your suppressor, short barrel shotgun, short barrel rifle, or machine gun on our ranges while you wait for your paperwork.  Come on in and talk with one of our sales associates and we will do our best to help you make an informed and educated purchase!

 

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE NFA?

The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 is the law that regulates the sale and possession of certain types of firearms and devices. This law was enacted in response to the gangland violence that was rampant in the 1920’s and early 30’s. It did not ban these firearms outright, but instead created registration with the federal agency, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF or BATFE) and required a tax be paid to the government when they are purchased.

WHY PURCHASE NFA?

CSA can help you from start to finish when purchasing an NFA item.  The process is a little more involved but our retail team is very experienced with navigating the ins and outs of NFA.  NFA items are a lot of fun to own and worth the processes involved for those who are interested.

Beyond that, suppressors (also called silencers), will help preserve your hearing, and if you are shooting outside, suppressors will help keep you from doing permanent damage to your hearing, as well as not irritate the neighbors with the sound. Suppressors are legal to use when hunting in VA, depending on the county that you are in.

Short barrel rifles are lighter and much easier to maneuver with, as are short barrel shotguns. When a silencer is installed on a short barrel rifle, your overall length will be similar to that of a standard size rifle, but it will be much quieter. .22 caliber rifles and pistols with silencers give you the ability to teach new shooters without damaging their hearing or causing them to develop a flinch.


WHAT KINDS OF GUNS ARE NFA?

NFA firearms include:

MACHINE GUN

meaning any firearm that fires more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. A separate law that as enacted in 1986 bans machine guns from being manufactured for civilian sales, so the legal, transferable machine guns that anyone can own are limited and very expensive. A $200 tax is required to be paid to the BATFE in order to transfer one to you.

SHORT BARREL RIFLES

or SBR’s, are rifles with barrels shorter than 16”. A $200 tax is required to be paid to the BATFE in order to transfer one to you.

SHORT BARREL SHOTGUNS

or SBS’s, are shotguns with barrels shorter than 18” with the ability to legally have a butt stock on them. A $200 tax is required to be paid to the BATFE in order to transfer one to you.

SUPPRESSORS

or silencers, are device attached to or part of the barrel of a firearm or air gun which reduces the amount of noise and visible muzzle flash generated by firing. A $200 tax is required to be paid to the BATFE in order to transfer one to you.

DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES

which are things such as a modern cannon, hand grenades, or other explosive devices. There are a very few “normal” firearms that are considered Destructive Devices by the BATFE, such as a “Street Sweeper” Shotgun, which are no longer manufactured. A $200 tax is required to be paid to the BATFE in order to transfer one to you.

ANY OTHER WEAPONS

or AOW’s, are firearms that don’t fit neatly into other categories. These include “cane guns”, “pen guns”, and shotguns with very short barrels that have never had a butt stock on them. AOW’s only require a $5.00 tax, but they can be fairly limited in usefulness…for instance, a shotgun sold as an AOW may never have a butt stock on it.


HOW TO PURCHASE AN NFA ITEM- WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?

THREE WAYS TO ACQUIRE AN NFA ITEM

CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SIGNATURE

LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (LLC)

NFA TRUST

 

CSA RECOMMENDED

 

The way that most people had NFA items transferred to them over the years was getting a signature of a Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) on the Federal form to transfer the gun or silencer to you as an individual. You will need to submit two passport photos, two sets of fingerprints, and swear that you are a US citizen. The CLEO sign off only transfers the item to you as an individual, no one else may have the item in their possession without you being there. Sometimes getting a Chief Law Enforcement Officer, such as a Police Chief, Sheriff, or Commonwealth’s Attorney to sign off can be unsuccessful.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) can have NFA items as assets, and if you already have a successful LLC, that might be an option. Any officer of the LLC can have possession of the NFA item. Whoever picks up the NFA gun or suppressor will need to pass the same background check that you would for a rifle or handgun, however this option eliminates the CLEO signature requirements or to be fingerprinted or photographed that a sign off requires.

We recommend the NFA Trust route most to our customers. Having an attorney set up what’s known as an NFA Trust allows you as the Settlor of the Trust and your Trustees to be in possession of NFA items in different locations, and there is a clear line of inheritance for these items. Buying an NFA gun or suppressor using a Trust also eliminates the need to get a CLEO signature, or be fingerprinted or photographed. You still need to pass the same background check to take your NFA item home as you would if you were buying a handgun or rifle. Once you have your NFA Trust, future purchases are more streamlined.

PROCESSING FEDERAL FORM 4

Once you decide how you want to have the NFA item transferred to you, we will complete the Federal Form “4” for you, and explain how to send it to the BATFE for processing with your check for $200.00 paid to the BATFE, for each item. For instance, if you decide to buy a Short Barrel Rifle (SBR), and get a silencer for it at the same time, the BATFE will need a check for $200 for both the gun and the silencer, so $400. Each item gets it’s own serialized stamp and Form 4.


COMMON MYTHS SURROUNDING NFA ITEMS

WHEN YOU REGISTER AN NFA ITEM, IT GIVES ATF THE RIGHT TO COME INTO YOUR HOUSE AT ANY TIME

I can’t tell you how many times we hear this, and it is false. You do not give up your 4th Amendment rights by exercising your 2nd Amendment rights. ATF will not be knocking on your door to inspect your guns, you may buy in confidence.

I NEED A ‘CLASS 3 LICENSE’ TO BUY ONE

False, CSA has a license to sell NFA items, but there is not a special license that allows non dealers to purchase NFA guns and silencers. You do need to fill out the BATFE Form 4, and pay the ATF a one-time tax of $200 for each item, but that’s it.

IT’LL TAKE YEARS FOR ME TO GET APPROVAL

Not true, although it may feel like that when you are anxiously waiting for the approval to come back. Realistically, it is taking anywhere between 3 and 6 months for ATF NFA Branch to process the forms to transfer your silencer or other NFA item.  The good news is that you can shoot while you wait for your form to process through ATF, on our ranges as long as your NFA item is paid in full.