Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Private, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
    Rep Power

    Default NFA Sticky

    First, the legal age for purchasing NFA items from or through a DEALER is 21 years .

    The ATF has recently started approving private transfers and/or Form1s to manufacture SBRs, SBS and Silencers to those non-prohibited folks who are 18 and older.
    However, weapons that are UNDER the 26" OAL, or a shotgun with a barrel less than 18", or a rifle with a barrel less than 16" are considered "firearms" in PA...meaning they are conceable for CC permit purposes, thus they must be transferred thru a dealer, and must go on the PICS pistol it's unknown at this time if you must be 21 to put something thats NOT a pistol on the PICS form and transfer it through a dealer.

    Now, the NFA process is not a licensing or permit process per se.

    It's basically paying a federal luxury tax to own a restricted and controlled class of weapon.

    The tax is a one time payment to the federal Govt, and all tax records are confidential, ATF does not, and cannot release ownership info without a criminal case, or court order....the info is similar to your IRS 1040.

    This tax privacy restriction ONLY counts for the Feds, local LEs that have this information are not restricted legally from using it, or releasing it!

    Most folks dont have the patience to go thru the process, or thier local CLEO wont sign, etc....I'll touch more on this later.

    tax fees for NFA items are on a set scale, most have been set since 1934 at one rate, others have been changed over the years to add or remove certain weapon classes.

    the one time TRANSFER (from dealer to buyer in state, or private seller to buyer in state) tax of $200 is for:
    Short barrel Shotguns
    Short Barrel Rifles
    Destructive devices

    a one time transfer tax of $5 is for all AOWs "Any other Weapons" which includes smoothbore pistols, cane guns, wallet holsters, briefcase guns, gadget guns, pen guns, etc.

    You can indeed make most NFA items with prior approval from the ATF, you dont have to be a licensed dealer or manufacturer to make NFA items for your personal use, you merely have to fill out the paperwork, provide required info, pay the tax, and get approval first.

    To MAKE any NFA firearm is a single one time $200 tax PER ITEM.

    You can make all NFA firearms listed above for personal use except machineguns (nationwide), and explosive destructive devices (in Pennsylvania).

    Explosive destructive devices may not be made or posessed in PA by civilians(non DD dealers/MFGs) regardless of registration status.

    heres how it actually works, the process.

    might want to start first with asking around to local dealers and other shooters that have this stuff, if your local Chief of Police( CLEO = chief law enforcement officer) will sign the forms to get the item you want.
    Some will, many will not, and its totally up to the CLEO on whether he wants to sign. its voluntary, and they cannot be sued or forced into signing, but some can be persuaded with the right logical argument.
    Many CLEOs will not sign for an item due to an unfounded fear of being sued if you commit a crime with the item. Some have, and there is Federal Case law that absolves them of this issue.
    if your local CLEO wont sign, you have other options.
    1. Local Sheriff
    2. Local Judge that presides in Felony cases (a JP does not count)
    3. Local District Attorney
    4. Incorporation. Make a corporation where the owner of the NFA item is the corp, not you, thus no signatures(this does have its drawbacks, but not much)
    5. Make a Trust where the trust is the entity that holds the item. See a lawyer on this to have itdone right, skip the $30 programs like Quicken and such, pay someone trained to make this legal document to make it right.

    you find a GOOD TRUSTED dealer that has the item you want to buy.
    don't be afraid to ask for references, but most NFA owners/shooters have dealers they trust implicitly, and are more than willing to steer business thier way.
    Buy the item from the dealer/seller, and pay the man for it...most times in FULL.

    you have to do this to start the process.

    Most dealers will not charge a "transfer fee" for items they own or stock, but may charge you a transfer fee if bringing in a item from another seller.
    This is perfectly fair, the dealer has to keep a licensed premise, has license costs, time, etc.
    The fee can depend on the dealers own price.

    Now, if you buy from an out of state dealer or manufacturer, they must transfer the item to a dealer in your state, this can add a month or more to the transaction.
    The ATF NFA branch is now located in West Virginia, and now does really fast transfers( 1-2 month average), dont ask me about my 13 month+ transfer horror story from the old idiots in DC

    your dealer will provide you with the filled out paperwork you need to have your CLEO sign
    this will consist of :
    2 form 4s (aka ATF form 5320.4)
    2 FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards with the WV/ATF Firearms/Explo info on them
    1 Certificate of Compliance (you certify you are a citizen and sign it)

    you will need to supply:
    2 passport size photos, and affix them to the back of each form 4, I use tape, glue is also fine.
    get the fingerprints taken and printed on the supplied cards (it is legal to do your own prints)
    get the CLEO to sign the back of each form. All hes doing is certifying that the item you want is legal in his jurisdiction, and he has no info you will commit a crime with it.
    1 PERSONAL CHECK made out to BATFE- Dept of the treasury for $200.

    I always use a personal check so you can TRACK that your transfer check has been cashed.
    usually 7-14 days after its been cashed your application will be in the system being worked on by the examiners in WV.

    After all this is filled out *I* make a photocopy of the completed and signed forms(in case they get lost/destroyed on way to ATF and I can get the CLEO to sign again), and return them to my dealer, or if he prefers, send direct to the ATF, registered mail, delivery confirmation.
    if the papers get lost or destroyed , you gotta start over with new paperwork, so pay the extra bucks and hope it makes it without folding/spindling/mutilating.

    ATF has a claimed for transfer time of about 90 wait the full 90 days before bothering them, and for gods sake, dont pester the crap out of your dealer for the thing either....thats the best way for him to never want to deal with you again.
    Chances ar it will come in faster anyway unless there a problem, so be patient.

    if you have an instant gratification gene in your body...DON'T bother with buying NFA!!!

    now wait.
    wait some more
    wait impatiently.
    Complain to everyone on the boards that its been 30 days and nothing yet.
    Do this again every week until your dealer calls you and says the paperwork is back

    go to your dealer, fill out the 4473, go thru the NICS( yeah, you might have committed a crime on the way over to the dealer...most likely reckless driving and speeding:-)
    get your stuff.
    go have fun with it.
    brag to everyone on the board that it was no big deal, and that you are now the kewlest thing EVAR

    you have ONE ORIGINAL COPY of the paperwork that was filled out for the item returned to you, it will have a embossed printed stamp on it in the value of your transfer, with the serial # of your item across it to "cancel it" like a postage stamp.
    this is your registration paperwork.

    NEVER. and i cannot say this enough NEVER CARRY THE ORIGINAL. Put it in a safety deposit box or firesafe, after making copies to carry with you.
    do not laminate it, or modify it in any way, if ATF loses thier copy of your paperwork, this is the only proof you have that your item is legally registered to you...the ATF registry is notoriously inaccurate.

    Carry a copy of the paperwork with the item you bought, this is your proof of registration and affirmative defense against prosecution by undereducated and overzealous law enforcement agents.

    I carry a waterproof binder with copies of all my paperwork in waterproof sleeves.

    ALL NFA IN PENNSYLVANIA IS ILLEGAL....unless registered under the NFA act of 34, so if a cop asks for paperwork to prove the item is yours, just show it, its no hassle, and dont be a dick...its the difference between spending the afternoon in the lockup and maybe having your gun abused by some ignorant lawdog, or simply prove its yours legally and continue your shooting fun.

    further, you cannot LEND or BORROW NFA items to/from ANYONE they are not registered to.
    they can use your item with you there, but you cannot hand your buddy the brand new silencer you just got, to play with for the weekend, thats illegal.

    Further, with the exceptions of Silencers and AOWs, all other NFA devices are limited to IN STATE TRAVEL without permission from the ATF.

    If you are LEAVING the state, you MUST file a form 5320.20 listing start, destination, amount of time, and all necessary registered items you seek to transport out of state.
    the ATF will approve or disapprove this depending on where you are going, etc.

    do this 5320 WELL IN ADVANCE of your trip, they aren't fast on those.

    Also, keep the items secure and limit access if you have other people living with you, preferably locked cases, or in a safe.

    PER Concealed or Open carry of NFA firearms:
    the pure legality of carrying NFA items in PA, either openly, or concealed is dependent on WHAT the device is
    you can carry OC or CC any NFA that meets the PA definition of "firearm" for LTCF purposes (remember, Philadelphia, as a "city of the first class" requires a LTCF to carry openly!)
    this means:
    any handgun or revolver with a barrel length of 15" or less
    any shotgun, with a barrel length under 18", or under 26" OAL
    any rifle, with a barrel length under 16", or an AOL under 26" (this includes MGs)

    there is no notation in the law either FOR or AGAINST the carrying of registered silencers.

    Also, I make no statements regarding if its a good idea or not to carry NFA...thats up to you, it IS legal, but, frankly, if you go out in public with an NFA device, legal or not, you may attract un-needed attention to yourself

    NFA is safe, fun, and NFA owners are the most responsible gun people around in general, even if some of us appear to be total loons...we take the ownership of these items as a responsibility.....and as a serious funtoy, which is why we pay so much for the junk

    so thats pretty much it...NFA is fun and legal, but you have to jump thru the gov'ts hoops to get it, most give up when they read this, dont, the stuff is cool, and worth it in my opinion.

    I have multiple transfers under my belt, some were fast, most were horribly slow, as the idiot GS # whatevers in DC didn't care if they ever got approved or not.

    the new WV folks are amazingly fast, and friendly, and most folks are reporting under 2 month transfers, most often under 1 month....sometimes as little as a week, but dont get your hopes up on that front.

    hope this helps get you started...

    PS. oh kill the dumbass intarwebs rumor mill.....your 4th amendment rights against illegal search and seizure are 100% secure in owning NFA, the ATF cant search your house with no search warrant because you own NFA, they cant inspect for secure storage, theres no fee every year to own, and no "license" unless you want to buy and sell guns as a dealer:-)

    for official ATF links and contact info, please see this page at the ATF website:
    Last edited by JayBell; October 19th, 2011 at 12:48 PM. Reason: updated ATF server link...AGAIN
    "Oderint Dum Metuant" - BMFH

    "Tact is for people not witty enough to use sarcasm"

    Note: any whingeing crazy that hits my PM inbox will be deleted without reply

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