Laws Regarding Fully Automatic Guns in Florida

By David Marsh
A citizen can own a machine gun under some circumstances.

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Florida falls under the National Firearms Act (NFA) which prohibits the transfer of a machine gun except under certain circumstances. The law says that a citizen can own a machine gun if it was made before Nov. 1, 1981 but not sell it or transfer it to another person unless he goes through a number of procedures. Florida adds a small addition to that law.

Federal Law

The National Firearms Act defines a machine gun as a weapon that can fire more than one shot for each pull of the trigger. The law took effect on Nov. 1, 1981 and said, in effect, that no one could buy a new machine gun after that date. A number of citizens already owned machine guns. The law said that those individuals had to register their weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The law states that the citizen who owns a machine gun legally must get ATF approval in order to sell it or carry it over state lines. An excise fee of $200 must be paid whenever a legally owned machine gun is sold or transferred to another person.

Florida Adds a Little

Florida adds a mandatory sentence enhancement for anyone who commits a serious felony, such as murder, aggravated assault, rape, robbery and burglary, with a machine gun.

Florida Uses Trusts to aid the Transfer

There is a wrinkle in the NFA that Floridians can use. Anyone buying a machine gun has to get permission from local authorities, submit to a background check, provide fingerprints and get permission from the ATF. If the machine gun is bought by a corporation or trust, t no background check, fingerprints or permission is needed since the entity buying the machine gun is not a person. If the corporation dissolves, and the machine gun is transferred to a person and not another corporation or trust, the entire process must be completed. A trust is an arrangement between a trustee, usually a lawyer or bank, a beneficiary or beneficiaries to control an item. In the case of the transfer of a machine gun, the trustee would simply add the name of the person who was receiving the machine gun to the trust and delete the name of the seller. The machine gun is still owned by the same entity so no excise tax would be paid nor any paperwork done.

About the Author

In 1990 David Marsh began writing a column in the "Idaho Falls Post-Register" titled "Good Things," which presented restaurant reviews, sports analysis and movie criticism. Besides newspaper columns, Marsh researched police procedures for the Federal government. He has a Bachelor of Arts in administration and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Utah.

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