'Class III'/NFA firearms ownership in Pennsylvania
As a Pennsylvania citizen you are able to own the following after complying with the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA) assuming you do not have any reason that you would be prohibited:
Machine Gun (Automatic)
Destructive devices (non-explosive)
These weapons, however are heavily taxed and more difficult to obtain when compared to traditional firearms purchases. The traditional method to obtain these weapons is to locate the weapon at an FFL or through an FFL and then obtain clearances by the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), background check, fingerprints, photos and a $200 transfer fee for each weapon. This is in addition to the cost of the weapons which for fully automatic weapons is inordinately high because the supplies of these weapons was greatly reduced by the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Any machine gun made after 1986 is not eligible to be purchased by the general public and are limited to military and law enforcement applications. Thus, the supply of fully automatics available to the public is slowly decreasing over time and appreciating in value year over year. This is also why many collector's value automatics as 'investment grade' guns worthy of a large initial investment for a greater appreciation of value over time.
Class III weapons that are able to be purchased, however, can be purchased by what is known as an NFA Trust or Gun Trust. These trusts are documents which are specifically made for the transfer and ownership of NFA weapons. These weapons when owned by a trust do not have to go through the CLEO process and often the process is expedited compared to an individual acquiring the weapon. Beginning in July 2016, all members of a Trust, also known as co-Trustees, are required to file paperwork which includes fingerprints, photographs and a notification to the CLEO of the NFA purchase. The CLEO requirement where the CLEO had to sign paperwork was removed. See ATF Rule 41F for further clarification or call my office. Unlike personal ownership of a weapon, the trust itself will own the weapon, not the individual. This allows for the weapon to be passed on to another trustee and ultimately to a beneficiary or group of beneficiaries at the death of the original creator of the trust, the trustor. If these trusts are not used, when the individual dies, the NFA weapons listed above may have no owner and thus would be subject to the state for destruction or dissemination. This is obviously not a desired result as these are collectors pieces and family heirlooms.
IT IS A POTENTIAL FELONY FOR ANYONE OTHER THAN A CO-TRUSTEE IN A TRUST TO POSSESS, OR EVEN TOUCH, THE NFA WEAPON. THERE IS NO FAMILY EXCEPTION! IF YOU ELECT TO PURCHASE WITHOUT A TRUST THIS MEANS THAT ONLY YOU, THE PURCHASER, ARE ABLE TO POSSESS THE NFA WEAPONS.
Additionally, for very large collections or individuals with asset concerns, a corporation can be created to own NFA firearms. Please contact me for further advice on what your individual needs are and how we can best assist you in getting the right document prepared quickly and to address your individual needs.
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