The National Firearms Act (NFA) and You

It is a commonly held misconception that silencers, machine guns, and other firearms are outright illegal in the United States. In reality, practically all weapons, with the exception of machine guns manufactured after May of 1986, can be owned in the US if the proper paperwork is filed and the item registered with the US Government.

The National Firearms Act, commonly known as the NFA, is the federal law governing the ownership of firearms such as silencers, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices, machine guns, and any-other weapons. While the category AOW, any-other weapons, appears to be a catch all for common firearms, the act specifically excludes common pistols, rifles, and shotguns owned by most shooters.

The 1934 act was the Roosevelt administrations response to the rampant mafia violence associated with prohibition. The act was designed as a confiscatory tax on weapons commonly used by the mafia, specifically short-barreled long guns and machine guns. The transfer tax, set in 1934 at $200 dollars, was several times the cost of even the most expensive machine gun of the day.

Seventy some years later, the transfer tax remains the same, but the effects of inflation have eroded its confiscatory nature. Individuals, and entities such as a trust, may purchase and own items regulated by the NFA. Many shooters today are enjoying the hearing saving benefits of a suppressor or the thrill of a machine gun.

For more information on acquiring and using NFA controlled items in South Carolina, contact a NFA dealer in your area, or contact me directly. I work with several NFA dealers in South Carolina and can help residents establish a trust for NFA Firearms and fully enjoy the benefit of these items with few hassles.

Robert Merting

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