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Individuals (ie. non-firearms dealer or police dept.) are allowed to purchase machineguns that are classified as "Transferable", that is, weapons that were registered as machine guns prior to May of 1986. Since there are a finite number of these weapons, prices are continually rising. Silencers, Sawed-off Shotguns, and Short Barreled Rifles are still in current productions, so the prices of these items remains fairly constant. For an Individual the requirements to purchase these weapons are:
1. Be a US Citizen at least 21 years old
2. Be of sane mind
3. Not an abuser of drugs or alcohol
4. Have never been convicted of a felony
5. Pay a $200.00 Federal Transfer Tax on each weapon purchased. (This is a one-time tax, not a yearly tax)
6. Fill out BATF Form 4 and submit to ATF. This involves getting a Signature of the "Chief Law Enforcement Officer" in your area signifying that he has no knowledge that you will use your weapon for anything other that lawful purposes
7. Have your fingerprints/photographs taken and submitted to BATF with the above application.
After approximately 90-120 days, during which time the FBI runs your prints to verify your identity, etc., the transfer will come back approved. Only after the transfer is approved can you take possession of your item. It is interesting to note that since 1934, when machine guns, silencers, short shotguns/rifles began to be regulated, there has only been one case of a legally owned weapon being used in a crime - and the user was a police officer.
In areas where a person cannot acquire a Law Enforcement Signature because these people would rather violate your rights than let you own one of these items, there is another way. BATF allows Corporations and Trusts to acquire machine guns, silencers, etc. without having to complete the Law Enforcement Certification part of the form. If you have your own Corporation, or you are an Officer in a Corporation, the Corporation can acquire these items, and you, as a Corporate Officer, can keep the item at your home, take it to the range shooting, etc. just as if the item were registered to you. If the Corporation ever dissolves, the item must be transferred out of the Corporation to another individual or Corporation (or Dealer). Because a Corporation is not a person, an FBI fingerprint check is not required which reduces the transfer approval time to about 30 days. Trusts can be set up by an Attorney and will allow you to transfer the item to the Trust, and will not require the Law Enforcement signature on your paperwork.