The National Firearms Act (NFA), 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, 48 Stat. 1236, enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as I.R.C. ch. 53, is an Act of Congress in the United States that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The Act was passed shortly after the repeal of Prohibition. The NFA is also referred to as Title II of the Federal firearms laws. The Gun Control Act of 1968 (“GCA”) is Title I.

All transfers of ownership of registered NFA firearms must be done through the federal NFA registry. The NFA also requires that permanent transport of NFA firearms across state lines by the owner must be reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Temporary transport of some items, most notably suppressors, do not need to be reported. (Wikipedia)



NFA 101

Q: Is it legal to own a silencer or machine gun?

A;  It depends on what state you live in, so check your local laws, but in a majority of the states you can own a suppressor or an automatic weapon.  Here in Tennessee, it is legal to own both as well as to hunt with a suppressed rifle.  If you can legally purchase a handgun, you are over 21 years old, and you can pass a NICS background check, you are good to go.

Q:  What does it cost?

A:  On top of the purchase price of your firearm or suppressor, the ATF requires a $200 tax as well as some paperwork to be submitted to legally register your NFA item.

Q:  Why should I use a trust instead of registering my firearms individually?

A:  A trust provides you with much greater flexibility with who may legally possess and use your NFA firearm or suppressor.  The requirements for what paperwork must be filed with the ATF are the same for a trust and an individual.  The trust also provides an easy method for you to make sure that your weapons are easily passed down to the next generation.

Q:  Why shouldn’t I use a trust?

A:  The initial cost to have a trust set up is the only real downside.  Trusts have become very common in the last few years and the examiners at the ATF are used to seeing them now.  I charge $250 to prepare the paperwork and explain how to use the trust.  The time and effort you save on not having to get fingerprints, photos and CLEO signature makes the one time charge well worth it and also gives you much more flexibility with how you use your items and who gets them down the line.


Address: 7101 Executive Center Dr.
Suite 151
Brentwood, TN 37027


Phone: 615-370-5170




John M. Wells, Esquire, a native of Nashville, TN, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and the Nashville School of Law.

Affiliations: Nashville Bar Association; American Bar Association