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What is the process for buying an NFA (Title II) firearm?

The ATF changed the rules for transferring NFA weapons as of July 13, 2016. The alleged reason for the change was to close a non-existent “gun trust loophole.” (See below and this article for more information). The past is the past, so here I’ll discuss only the post-July 13, 2016 process.

The new rule now requires certain individuals associated with a trust – those who have the power to direct the management and policies of the trust pertaining to the transfer and possession of the NFA weapons (a.k.a. Responsible Persons) – to submit paperwork, fingerprints and passport-type photos just as individuals have always had to do.

There are actually two different procedures – one for individuals and one for entities such as corporations and trusts. This outlines the general procedures – your local NFA dealer can provide specific instructions.

(Please note: references to the ATF, BATF, or BATFE all refer to the same government agency. It just keeps growing and changing its name).

  • For Individuals (Florida residents):
    1. Verify that you’re not prohibited by federal, state or local law from receiving or possessing firearms (over 21 and not a felon, fugitive, dishonorably discharged vet, drug abuser, illegal alien, etc.).
    2. Pay for your firearm.
      • If you’ll be receiving the firearm from a different NFA dealer (i.e. an internet sale with the firearm being delivered to your local FFL/NFA dealer), there will likely be an additional FFL to FFL transfer fee.
      • The selling NFA dealer will retain possession until BATFE approves the transfer.
    3. With your NFA dealer’s assistance, complete the ATF Form 4473 (5300.9 Firearms Transaction Record Part I – Over-the Counter)
    4. With your NFA dealer’s assistance, complete the ATF Form 4 (5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm). There are three copies that must be completed with original signatures – one for the ATF’s files, one for the ATF to return to you with your stamp, and one for your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).
    5. Mail the CLEO copy of Form 4 to your local chief of police, county sheriff, head of the State police, or State or local district attorney or prosecutor.
    6. Mail the other two copies to the ATF with
      • the $200 transfer tax,
      • a recent color passport-type photo, and
      • two completed FBI fingerprint cards
    7. Wait 9+ months for BATFE approval.
    8. Rejoice when you finally collect your first stamp.
    9. Enjoy the responsible use of your new NFA firearm.
  • For Florida trusts:
    1. Verify that none of the individuals associated with the trust are prohibited by federal, state or local law from receiving or possessing firearms (all are over 21 and not a felon, fugitive, dishonorably discharged vet, drug abuser, illegal alien, etc.).
    2. Trustee, for the trust as the “buyer,”pays for the firearm.
      • If you’ll be receiving the firearm from a different FFL (i.e. an internet sale with the firearm being delivered to your local FFL), there may be an additional fee.
      • The selling FFL will retain possession until BATFE approves the transfer.
    3. Trustee, for the trust as the “buyer,” completes the ATF Form 4 (5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm). Your NFA dealer will generally help you with this. There are three copies that must be completed with original signatures – one for the ATF’s files, one for the ATF to return to you with your stamp, and one for your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).
    4. Each “Responsible Person” (these will generally be the Grantor/Trustmaker and all current Trustees; not successor Trustees or Beneficiaries) completes his or her own separate ATF Form 23 (5320.23 NFA Responsible Person Questionnaire) as an individual. This form is very similar to the ATF Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record) you complete when you purchase a non-NFA gun from a dealer. There are three copies that must be completed with original signatures – one for the ATF’s files, one for the ATF to return to you with your stamp, and one for your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO).
    5. Mail the CLEO copies of Form 4 and each Form 23 to the appropriate local chief of police, county sheriff, head of the State police, or State or local district attorney or prosecutor.
    6. Mail the other two copies of Form 4 and all Forms 23 to the ATF with:
      • a full copy of the trust, including all schedules,
      • the $200 transfer tax,
      • a recent color passport-type photo for each Responsible Person,
      • and two completed FBI fingerprint cards for each Responsible Person
    7. Wait 9+ months for BATFE approval.
    8. Rejoice when you finally collect your first stamp.
    9. Enjoy the responsible use of your new NFA firearm.

While using a gun trust to buy an NFA weapon is more cumbersome than it was before, there are still many reasons it’s the preferred way to own NFA and non-NFA firearms.

More Gun Trust info…

 

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