How to Buy an Automatic Weapon

By eHow Legal Editor

Many people believe it is illegal to buy an automatic weapon. However, while the National Firearms Act has made it more difficult to purchase these weapons, if you're willing to abide by the new regulations you can still buy an automatic weapon if it was lawfully registered before May 19, 1986.

Complete an ATF Form 4 (5320.4). The transferor, the one transferring or selling the automatic weapon and the transferee, the one receiving or buying the automatic weapon, must both complete sections of this form. The "Law Enforcement Certification" section must also be signed by the head of the local law enforcement, which is often the sheriff.

Include a 2 by 2-inch photograph of the transferee on each copy of the ATF form. This must be taken within the last year and include the transferee's address. This address cannot be a post office box.

Submit a fingerprint on FBI Form FD-258. This must be done by someone who is approved to take them, such as the police department. The fingerprints are accompanied by a photograph and a certificate which states that the individual seeking to obtain the automatic weapon has no justifiable reason that prevents them from obtaining an automatic weapon.

Check your local and state guidelines. If your area requires a permit or license to buy, receive or possess an automatic weapon you must send in a copy of the transferee's license or permit with the application and a $200 tax payment.

Send the completed form and proper tax payment to Bureau of ATF, P.O. Box 73201, Chicago, IL 60673. If you are approved to obtain an automatic weapon, the original form is returned to you with an approval stamped on it. If you are denied, you are refunded the tax payment.