Want to mount a suppressor on one of your firearms, own a short barreled rifle, or add a buttstock mod to your Glock 17? That means you’ll have to deal with some BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) red tape as any of these alterations qualify your gun as a NFA firearm. The National Firearms Act, was originally passed in 1934 and restricted firearms such as, short barreled rifles and shotguns, fully automatic firearms (or “machine guns”), and suppressed firearms. The NFA introduced the $200 tax stamp required for those purchasing, modifying, or constructing a rifle with a barrel length shorter than 16in (26in overall), a shotgun with less than 18″ barrel (26″ overall), or a portable device that suppresses or muffles the sound of a gun as it fires (fully automatic firearms are further restricted by the Firearm Owners Protection Act so that a civilian may not own a fully automatic firearm that was registered after May 19th, 1986).
The legal hoops one must jump to acquire the appropriate permissions for any NFA firearms aren’t as challenging as one might think. Tim (Sturmgewehre to some) from the Military Arms Channel has laid out the steps in an easy-to-follow video, which I have embedded into this post. Depending on which NFA firearm adaptation you want, you’ll need a couple different things:
Note: the ATF requires double sided forms, so make sure each form (1 or 4) is printed on a single piece of paper.
1. Form 1 (used when manufacturing a NFA item, e.g., cutting down a shotgun barrel, assembling a suppressor, etc.) – 2 per NFA item
2. Form 4 (used when transferring a NFA item to your ownership, e.g., purchasing a SBR, suppressor, or machine gun [registered before 1986], etc.) – 2 per NFA item
3. Blue FBI reference fingerprint cards – 2 per NFA item
4. Passport photos (which will need to be affixed to the duplicate NFA forms)- 2 per NFA item
5. Certification of compliance (citizenship form) (5330.20) – 1 per NFA item
6. Check for $200 – 1 per NFA item
Both the Form 1 and the Form 4 will need to be signed off by a local law enforcement official (such as your local chief of police or sheriff). Make sure all your paperwork is completely filled out, including all requisite signatures and dates, because if something was missed, it will delay the paperwork processing. The time it takes to get approval for your NFA firearm may vary, but, average wait is about four months.
Bundle all your completed forms and the necessary check(s), and fingerprint cards and mail it out to BATFE’s NFA Branch (the address is located on both forms). After that, all you need is a large reserve of patience, and the NFA firearm you want is yours to fire.