Machine Guns

Laws For Machine Guns

Machine guns were first developed by Sir Hiram Maxim in 1884. Today, a "machine gun" is defined as any fully automatic firearm or pieces used to modify an existing gun into a fully automatic weapon. These weapons can be rifles, auto-canons, submachine guns or handguns. The purpose of a machine gun is to continuously fire bullets as long as the trigger is held down and there is sufficient guns ammo in the clip. Conversely, most conventional pistols or rifles fire one shot per pull of the trigger. Today, many collectors own this type of gun, although there are certain laws of which to be aware.

Machine guns are carefully regulated by federal law. First, every machine gun must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (except antiques that no longer fire). Secondly, private individuals cannot transfer or sell guns except those possessed and registered before May 1986. Instead, they must go through licensed dealers. Anyone transferring or manufacturing must get ATF approval. Transferring the guns costs $200 in excise tax. The guns cannot be transported across state lines unless approved by the ATF. The fines for possessing an unregistered machine gun can cost up to $250,000, with a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

People looking to sell or transfer machine guns must follow certain protocols. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has transfer application forms you must fill out. You also must pay a $200 transfer tax to obtain automatic guns for sale, await the bureau's approval and register the firearm with the transferee's name. The person you're transferring the gun to must first pass a criminal background check and meet the federal standards of eligibility. For instance, the transferee may not be a convicted felon, addicted to controlled substances, have been discharged dishonorably from military service or have a history of mental problems.

For a brief time, 1994 to 2004, there was a federal Assault Weapons Ban, which included large magazine guns, machine guns and semi-automatic pistols. People who owned their guns prior to 1994 were allowed to keep them, but no acquisitions of new guns were allowed. Senator Diane Feinstein (D) said the ban was effective because "It was drying up supply and driving up prices. The number of those guns used in crimes dropped because they were less available." However, the Center for Disease Control said they couldn't ascertain any clear results of crime reduction from the ban. Members of the NRA and opposing Republicans jumped all over the sensational legislation, which Democrats say was a controversial move.

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