The NFA is the National Firearms Act which was passed in 1934. It was created to regulate the ownership of various firearms and accessories including machine guns, short barrel rifles, silencers or suppressors short barreled shotguns, destructive devices and a group of items named “any other weapons.”
The NFA imposes a tax on persons or entities making or transferring firearms. When you purchase a firearm or accessory like a suppressor, that is considered a transfer. NFA firearms are taxed at a rate of $200 per transfer per firearm or accessory.
Since suppressors are now legal to purchase and possess in the state of Minnesota as of August 1st, 2015, firearm enthusiasts are now digging into the NFA and gun trusts. If you’re reading this because you’re interested in purchasing a silencer or suppressor, you will find more useful information in our How to Buy a Silencer blog.
Firearms & Accessories That Fall Under the NFA
A machine gun is any gun that can fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger, or a receiver of a machine gun, or a combination of parts for assembling a machine gun, or a part or set of parts for converting a gun into a machine gun.
A silencer is any device for muffling the gunshot of a portable firearm, or any part or parts exclusively designed or intended for such a device.
A short barreled shotgun is any shotgun (which is defined as a shoulder fired, smooth bore firearm) with a barrel of less than 18″ or an overall length of less than 26″, or any weapon made from a shotgun falling into the same length parameters.
A short barreled rifle is a rifle (which is defined as a shoulder fired, rifled bore firearm) with a barrel length of less than 16″, or an overall length of less than 26″, or any weapon made from a rifle falling into the same length parameters (like a pistol made from a rifle). In measuring barrel length you do it from the closed breech to the muzzle, see 27 CFR sec. 179.11. To measure
overall length do so along, “the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.” 27 CFR sec. 179.11. On a folding stock weapon you measure with the stock extended, provided the stock is not readily detachable, and the weapon is meant to be fired from the shoulder.
A destructive device (DD) can be two basic categories of things. It can be an explosive, incendiary or poison gas weapon, like a bomb or grenade. It can also be a firearm with a bore over 1/2″, with exceptions for sporting shotguns, among other things.
I call the second category large bore destructive devices. As a general rule only this second category is commercially available.
Any other weapons (AOW’s) are a number of things; smooth bore pistols, any pistol with more than one grip, gadget type guns (cane gun, pen gun) and shoulder fired weapons with both rifled and smooth bore barrels between 12″ and 18″, that must be manually reloaded.
Sources: ATF National Firearms Act website