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.
- machine gun image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com