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Buying a fully automatic gun in the U.S.

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by :( I live in Cali :( :(, Dec 19, 2010.

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  1. :( I live in Cali :( :(

    :( I live in Cali :( :( Member

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    Hey guys,

    Recently, I have had the good fortune of having cash to mess around with, and, so far the only guns I have are a couple of single shot rifles from about 12 or 13 years ago, and a cheap ruger .22 semi auto pistol that I picked up on a whim a couple years ago, and that's it.

    So, of course I'm just itching to buy me a few guns right now to add some more fun to the arsenal.

    Ever since I saw my first action movies as a little kid, I've always dreamed of owning my own fully automatic gun, of course (doesn't everyone? lol), but up until recently I had always thought it was totally illegal to get one, I didn't realize that there are actual ways to legally be allowed to own one, even if you aren't in the military/swat.

    So, I've been trying to figure out how this works, and if I understand correctly:

    1. In order to buy a fully automatic gun, you have to go through a painstaking process of getting a full background check by the fbi, and getting your local sheriff to sign something, and maybe take some special training courses or something? (I could be wrong, this is just how I interpreted the fine print that I tried to decipher so far, if I'm wrong, please correct me, that's the whole reason I'm making this thread, thanks)

    2. However, if the gun was made prior to 1986, then you don't have to do any of that stuff, and can just legally buy and own it as if it were just a regular non auto gun, since it is grandfathered from before the ban, so that's why those ones cost like $10,000 or whatever? (again, I could be totally wrong here, please correct me if I'm wrong)

    Is this correct?

    Or is it that you still have to do all the fbi background thing, special courses, Sheriff signature, $200 tax thingie, yada yada even if it is a pre-1986 gun, and that you can't even get a post-1986 gun at all whatsoever, and the pre-1986 ones are the only ones you can get, and only if you do all the stuff I wrote in point #2?

    Also, although I live in California (Oh no!!!! lol), I fortunately also live in Arizona for part of the year some years, so, I am curious if there is any extra annoying stuff that gets added into the process of what I'd have to do, if I were doing it in California, compared to if I were doing it in Arizona (if the difference was significant enough, I guess I'd do it over there instead).
     
  2. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    No, the only full auto weapons you can buy have to have been made before 1986. And you still have to go through all the paperwork and legal hoops. You can not, as a private citizen, purchase a post 1986 automatic weapon.
     
  3. :( I live in Cali :( :(

    :( I live in Cali :( :( Member

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    I see...

    And then what about the stuff I wrote in point #1, is that correct, or is there even more stuff I forgot to list, or?

    Oh, for the record:

    I am in my early 20's (I'm over 21), and have never had any misdemeanors or felonies ever. I have also never been in any military, ROTC, police, swat or any thing of that sort ever. I am just an ordinary civilian.

    So, what exactly would I have to do then, to be able to legally own a pre-1986 M16 or AK-47, or what have you? (I assume this might have been asked before, but I couldn't find the answer after looking for the past 30 mins, so if you know of a thread where this exact question is answered, I would appreciate if you could post a link to it, if you don't want to re-answer the question. Thanks guys)
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    The first thing to do is have a spare $20,000 laying around. I am no NFA expert, you might want to have this moved down to the NFA Forum, but all you have to do is the paperwork, which would include your fingerprinting, background check, and get your local LEO sign off and then pay your $200 tax. Again I am no expert. Many of your questions can be answered on the BATFE website.
     
  5. Mags

    Mags Member

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    If your username is correct you need a permit from the CA DOJ according to the NRA ILA website.
     
  6. :( I live in Cali :( :(

    :( I live in Cali :( :( Member

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    Yea, like I said, the money won't be an issue. It's the other stuff I was curious about.

    The fingerprinting and background check shouldn't be a problem I don't think, given that I've never had any crimes on my record ever, not even any misdemeanors or anything at all. And also never was diagnosed with any mental disorders of any kind ever, so, I would think I should pass the fingerprint/background thing just fine.

    The thing I was curious about though is the thing about having a police officer, or sheriff, or whichever it's supposed to be, to sign off on it. Do they just automatically sign it, as long as you passed all the other stuff? Or do they just rarely sign it, depending how they feel that morning? Or? I don't understand how this part of the equation works.

    Also, I can't remember where I read it, but, is there also some thingie where they require you to take some sort of "courses" as part of the process, or is that something else I am confusing?

    thanks
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    Can't speak to the LEO sign off first hand as I have never gone through it. But to the best of my knowledge there is nothing that says you need a course to own NFA items. Again the best source for your answers is the BATFE. I know how people feel about them but they are the ones that right the rules and can best answer your questions.
    http://www.atf.gov/
     
  8. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Moving thread

    This properly belongs in the NFA Firearms and Accessories forum.
     
  9. smince

    smince Member.

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  10. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Many can give you the exact details of what has to be done at the federal level.

    However California state will not allow you to have one, so you still cannot begin the process unless you move outside of the state.

    The California state CADOJ will never give you as a regular civilian the required permission slip to own one.
    However in states that someone can own them you typically need either the local Sheriff or Chief of police to sign off the paperwork you need to send in to the federal agency (ATF.)
    Some Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEO) will not sign them at all, even in places they are legal. While others sign them for virtually anyone that qualifies right away. And various ones are somewhere in between. Since Sheriff is an elected position it can change each time someone new is in power.
    They could certainly decide someone needed to do some test or course to give their signature, but that is not a part of the federal process.

    There is another method of creating a trust, a separate legal entity that can own its own property. A good one requires hiring a lawyer and paying associated fees. They can be written to allow more or less freedom and protection.
    Less complete ones can be more easily created with software that can be purchased.
    These do not need a CLEO sign off.



    None of this matters while you live in California though. California does not allow mere commoners to have such items.
    Arizona on the other hand is one of the easiest states to work with.
    However you need to really be a resident of Arizona.
    You also need prior federal permission to take such items across state lines into other states that allow them once you do own them. California would not be a state you could cross into with them.
     
  11. :( I live in Cali :( :(

    :( I live in Cali :( :( Member

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    I was hoping maybe if anyone has already read that huge thing, you could jus summarize the 4 or 5 things I have to do. 99.9% of that document isn't stuff I really need to know.

    I just want to know what the specific thingies are for me to do, like, something like this:

    Step 1: Find a fully automatic gun that I want to buy

    Step 2: Go to the police station and tell them I want to buy a fully auto gun and then have them take my finger prints and tell the fbi to spy on me or whatever

    Step 3: Pay $200 to some random government person or something

    Step 4: Get the DOJ to sign something

    Step 5: Get the sheriff to also sign something

    like, I realize this is probly incorrect, but, I'm just showing an example of what I'm asking for, if anyone knows, what the 5 or 6 steps are I would have to do to legally own a fully auto gun. Some of you must know. If not, I'll spend the 15 hours or so reading that enormous document 99.9% of which isn't what I'm trying to find out, to find the 0.1% of it that answers this, but, if someone else here has already read it, and know the 5 or 6 steps or whatever and could just list them, that would be awesome.

    thanks
     
  12. :( I live in Cali :( :(

    :( I live in Cali :( :( Member

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    Aaaaarghlsdkjsdfjfsd!!!!

    Thanks for the info zoogster, I just wish someone would've mentioned that there's no way I would be able to legally own one in California earlier in the thread, before I got my hopes up, lol, I guess they didn't think that tidbit of info would be useful. Bleh. Oh wells.

    I guess I'll just have to wait till I live somewhere else. Bleh.
     
  13. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Disregard. I'm not hittin on all cylinders today.
     
  14. Gord

    Gord Member

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    OP: you need to read the provided links yourself. Besides being a point of courtesy (e.g., do your own research), you've got your perceptions so far wrong that relying on everybody else here to give you a Cliff's Notes version is not going to do a whole lot for you. If you have questions about specific passages or wording, that would be a good thing to ask here; but you should have a basic understanding of the underlying premise.

    That is a point of view you are probably going to want to change, or maybe you should just stick with those single-shot rifles.

    23-year-old California refugee here. Left in '07.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Seems like the question has been answered. While a resident of California, this isn't going to happen for you.

    If you really don't feel like doing the research yourself, the easiest way would be to find the nearest "Class 03 SOT" dealer and go visit with him or her. He/she will walk you through what you have to do to buy a machine gun from them, step by step, help you pick something nice from their inventory or discuss what kinds of machine guns they are able to get for you, and will probably tell you which local CLEO is most likely to agree to sign your Form 4 for you.

    Again, though, it will have to be an FFL/SOT3 in your next state of residence.

    It would really behoove you to read and understand all that "stuff" though, as the laws pertaining to "Title II" weapons (including machine guns) aren't exactly like those for regular rifles and pistols. And the penalties for screwing up are pretty steep.
     
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