Courtesy Nick Leghorn for TTAG

Ever since the 1980s, new machine guns have been forbidden from being transferred to anyone except licensed dealers with special permission from the local constabulary. It’s a de facto machine gun ban, since the existing civilian-legal machine guns have become so expensive to own that only the very rich can afford them. With the recent spike in interest in NFA items and the advent of gun trusts the ATF (at the request of the White House) has been looking for ways to “crack down” on trusts without the inconvenience of congressional action. According to one lawyer, a recent ruling by the ATF may have accidentally opened the door for trusts to make and register brand new machine guns. . .

From the Princelaw blog:

On March 17, 2014 (yes, almost a year later), Helen L. Koppe, Chief, Firearms Industry Programs Branch, responded. You can find a copy of the response here. ATF determined that “Unlike individuals, corporations, partnerships, and associations; unincorporated trusts do not fall within the definition of “person” in the GCA.” And therefore, as a result,

Because unincorporated trusts are not “persons” under the GCA, a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) cannot transfer firearms to them without complying with the GCA. Thus, when an FFL transfers an NFA firearm to a trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust, the transfer is made to this person as an individual (i.e., not as a trust). As the trustee or other person acting on behalf of the trust is not the approved transferee under the NFA, 18 U.S.C. 5812, the trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust must undergo a NICS check. The individual must also be a resident of the same State as the FFL when receiving the firearm.

So, ATF, trying to be cute and find a way to require NICS checks without Congressional action, declared trusts not to fit the definition of a “person” under the GCA. No big deal, especially for us in Pennsylvania, as Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) checks are already required for all NFA firearms, except silencers. But, not so quick…let’s look at Section 922(o) of the Gun Control Act…

Section 922(o) provides:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.
(2) This subsection does not apply with respect to–
(A) a transfer to or by, or possession by or under the authority of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
(B) any lawful transfer or lawful possession of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date this subsection takes effect.

So, we have a prohibition on any “person” transferring or possessing a machinegun which was not lawfully registered before May 19, 1986. BUT, an unincorporated trust is not a “person” under the GCA, so this provision cannot apply to it.

In turning to the National Firearms Act, as amended, 26 U.S.C. 5801, et seq., we find that a “person” is defined as including a trust, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 7701. Yet, there exists no 922(o)esque provision in Section 5801, et seq.

Therefore, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 5812 and 5822, an unincorporated trust may lawfully transfer and make machineguns, as it is not a “person” for purposes of the GCA and Section 922 only applies to “persons” as defined by the GCA. And yes, this opens up a lot more issues for ATF in relation to the purchase of firearms by trusts under the GCA. Someone isn’t likely to be employed much longer…

I will continue to update our viewers, as I have already submitted a Form 1 Application for a minigun…oh hell yeah I did…

I love the idea that the ATF, in trying to be bigger dick-tators than they already are, may have accidentally opened the flood gates for machine guns to flow like fine champagne once more.

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115 Responses to The ATF May Have Accidentally Thrown Open the Machine Gun Registry

  1. No likely. A trust may not be a person, but the ATF is trying to make it so that an actual person must represent the trust in a transfer, making MG transfers still impossible. Or am I misunderstanding?

    • The law is the law, ATF declaring asomething doesn’t necessarily make it so. The GCA specifically only applies to persons. The ATF has declared trusts not to be persons (in blatant disregard to citizens united) and as such makes the GCA not apply to trusts. Them saying something after that doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t apply. Meaning doesn’t have much standing in court, only what is written.

    • A trust is not a transfer. The interpretation from the court is limited to form 4 transfers only (not to say that couldn’t be re-interpreted or expanded) and not form 1’s which do not transfer. So it goes back to the same legal snafu between differing federal laws (NFA/GCA) where one explicitly names a trust as a person and the other does not. If I understand it correctly, Prince’s logic would mean a trust could make an MG but never transfer it (as persons which include trusts are not allowed to transfer MG’s made post may 86).

      In the end I agree….this is not likely to work out as expected. They (the ATF and/or courts) will find something to block it. It will be interesting to see what happens though….hopefully it doesn’t blow up in our faces.

      • They would have to get around two very important components of the law. The May 1986 is one part and the registry is part two. If the registry were to be opened the gun would still have to be manufactured originally before 1986.
        To be completely honest I could care less about the transfer part, I just want one for me that’s 110 percent legit! If a trust could build them specifically and only for the trust, that would be super awesome. Otherwise we’re back to spending a ridiculous amount of money on a transferable one! Even if they did open the registry for whatever reason the ones that are already out there would not lose their value because those ones are still transferable and are not restorations, reproductions or rebuilds!

    • “…but the ATF is trying to make it so that an actual person must represent the trust in a transfer, making MG transfers still impossible…”

      “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

    • I’ve got three letters for you: P, K, and M. 🙂

      That is on my wish list. Ammos should be inexpensive still, I want a PKM soooo bad.

    • Select fire. Keep at semi-auto, but have that extra ability should you ever run into a bumper crop of fun money.

    • That’s the “catch 22” with MGs. If you want a range toy that fires at a rate of 600 rounds per minute or so, you have to be able to afford to feed it. To be able to afford to feed it, you have to be relatively well off. If you are well off enough to afford the ammo, you are probably well off enough to pay $16,000 for a transferable M16.

      Its sort of like owning an exotic car. Almost all of us would like to have one, but in reality – sticker price aside – few of us could afford the insurance, maintenance, and upkeep required to drive it on a regular basis.

      • Except no, not really. A ‘mere’ thousand dollars’ worth of 5.56 is plenty to have a good time with, if you could buy a select fire rifle for 3k. Maybe not every day, but a lot of people don’t shoot every day.
        Not the mention the useful purposes of select fire, such as hunting larger game or pest animals.

        • Yeah because hunting with a full automatic makes sense.

          Have fun picking the meat out of the bullets.

          I’m all for legal select fire; but hunting is a stupid reason. If you can’t hunt with existing weapons, you should not be hunting.

  2. It’s a nice loophole.

    But the outcome will be a lot like the time I saw an E-2 pull a “loophole” stunt – the NCO simply laughed in his face.

    And made him push Texas.

  3. Remind me, how many crimes were/are committed with registered machine guns?

    What does banning post-1986 manufactured ones accomplish exactly?

    • It’s so that we don’t get a repeat of the brutal and public gang killings with Thompsons in the 20’s and 30’s

      • Well that was trumped up bulls-t. The democrats wanted them all gone so they did it in 34 when they had total control. The gang stuff was just used as a smoke screen, like the stuff you hear about today with the the DANGEROUS assault weapons. By the way the wild west was really not that wild either 🙂

    • For one, it pisses me off because it creates an artificially-inflated economy of a limited commodity that separates enthusiasts into the “either you have it or you don’t” group. Any time people are segregated over any issue, be it manipulation of our rights to parity in economical, racial, religious, gender, property and firearms rights, it is an invitation for violations and punishment vastly outweighing the crime, which is usually simple possession or manufacturing.

      Never being able to produce & license new machine guns is counter-intuitive and goes against our second amendment rights. When the government has so tight of a control over registered machine guns, it becomes a non-issue – the question is moot because the risk is mitigated. What would really open up the pent-up demand are two things that could be done in a few months:

      1. Open up an amnesty for unregistered machine guns, suppressors and short-barreled shotguns & rifles
      2. Allow new machine guns to be manufactured/licensed from modern technology matching the market

      The permitting process could be improved with the increase in collected fees that include a liability/security bond; it would stimulate the economy and we would become a more civil society because even the police would respect someone with a Suppressed Mini-Uzi in the bedside table.

      The gun ownership rights lawsuits won in the District of Columbia opened up the possibility of legalizing new machine guns; however, no one is brave enough to lobby for the market to be equalized. Where is our prince now that we need him?

      • Unfortunately, it’s unclear as to whether or not prohibiting registrations and manufacture of new machine guns violates the Second Amendment; very debatable. Machine guns are cool, and I don’t think they should be outlawed, but they’re only good for self-defense in very, very, very rare circumstances.
        Now, how would that court decision, the one overturning the DC law that a handgun in one’s house must be kept disassembled, open the door for allowing new machine gun registrations?

  4. Oh, puh-LEEZ! I have the trust, I can afford just one more lower, how the flamin’ HELL can I make it select-fire for an extra $20? And the thumb in the eye of ATF is just gravy.

    Unfortunately, as we all know, if this was decided to be correct, the jacklegs could change those rules before you could fill out a 4473. Without benefit of legislation.

    • Exactly. Administrative law giveth, and administrative law taketh away. Public comment period closed. Because FYTW.

  5. Federal firearms law is not my area, but it is still illegal for a person to possess a machine gun made after the enacting of the law, right? What good does it do to have a trust own something that a person cannot possess? If I put something in my hand voluntarily, knowing what it is, I knowingly possess it. You can possess something without owning it… (“Those drugs aren’t mine; I am just carrying them for Chapo.”) As Heisenberg would say, “tread lightly…”

    • It’s not possessing a MG that’s illegal, it’s possessing a MG that’s not registered to you, or a legal person that’s given you permission to possess it.

  6. Since ATF’s basically ruling by decree now, then no, they didn’t just “accidentally throw open the machine gun registry.” They’ll just make up another rule to shut the door.

    It’s like the SIG “arm brace” for AR pistols that ATF says supposedly isn’t a shoulder stock. Until they decide it is, and suddenly everybody who has one just became a felon at the whim of a bureaucrat.

    • I believe this is an incorrect analogy, Wes. It’s not a shoulder stock. It can be used as a poor excuse for one, yes. But the concept of ‘design intent’ cannot be simply thrown out the window without undoing their entire (illogical) basis for NFA items. Is it so different than shouldering a naked buffer tube? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on Bullpups. Or more appropriately, bump-fire. Does bump-firing a rifle make it full auto? If not, then logic would dictate that shouldering an arm brace would also not then make a pistol into an SBR.

        • Valid response. I think the entire thing is illogical of course, but they tried to apply some logic to the SB15 ‘ruling’ as they understood that any decision otherwise would essentially undo their existing illogic and they would have to then start ruling based on individual, unintended use cases, such as bump-firing – which would then somehow summarily re-classify the firearm as something it is not – and open a pandoras box of confusion about if a firearm can instantly become something else when used differently than intended. ie – does a rifle become a pistol when fired with one hand, does a semi-auto become full auto when bump-fired, etc. It then becomes too difficult to employ any means to justify their current law.

  7. The ATF is stupid, but they are not completely ignorant of having the ability to make it up as they go. They will fix it with a new “law” they will chance in hell they allow the unwashed masses to have the ability to have a common issue firearm of the armed forces. Ever. Unless Ted Nugent is the new head of the ATF. Then, I would be doing my Minigun form.

  8. I still don’t see how this helps us any. From the relevant statute:

    Section 922(o)
    (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.
    (2) This subsection does not apply with respect to–
    (B) any lawful transfer or lawful possession of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date this subsection takes effect.

    I highlighted the key words in bold. Even if a trust can somehow acquire a new machine gun, how can any of the trustees possess it? Is a trustee not a person? What are the legal nuances of those words here?

    Also, what is the proper legal construction of the (2) (B)? Does the phrase “that was lawfully possessed before the date this subsection takes effect” apply only to “lawful possession”? Or does that phrase apply to both “lawful transfer” and “lawful possession”?

    • GCA: Person does not include trust.
      NFA: Person does include trust.

      GCA: Bans post-86 MGs from being transferred to a person _as defined in the GCA_.
      NFA: Doesn’t ban post-86 MGs from being transferred to a person _as defined in the NFA_.

      Therefore, as I understand the logic:
      GCA doesn’t ban the transfer of a post-86 MG to a trust.
      GCA would force a NICS check on such a transfer due to the BATFE’s logic.
      NFA allows the trustee to possess/use.

      I think he’s really got a point here. The BATFE is trying to have two definitions of person in the same law, and that’s not really going to fly in a court case.

      • I see what you are saying, but a person obtaining an M-16 through a trust is still going to violate 922(o). It may be legal for the trust to own the weapon, but when the trustee puts his grubby little hands on it, he has committed a crime.

        Is the state of the law a mess? Yep. I sure wouldn’t want to be the poor AUSA prosecuting some software engineer who bought a new M-16 using a trust and got popped at the range using it… (“Judge, Joe’s trust can own it, but Joe can’t possess it.”) But I certainly would not want to be the defense attorney arguing that an administrative ruling made by an ATF bureaucrat somehow trumps a 30 year old federal statute (“Judge, Joe decided to play amateur lawyer and figured that if the GCA did not say Joe’s trust couldn’t buy a machine gun, it was okay for him to take it to the range.”)…

        Assuming the ATF somehow managed to bless this, if someone decides to be “cute” and goes down this road, they better hope that the phrase “prosecutorial discretion” is in vogue in that district.

        • I could be wrong (it’s been known to happen…often), but I’m pretty sure simply putting your hands on a firearm doesn’t constitute a “transfer”. The transfer that the court case refers to is the ownership transfer from an FFL to a trust (through a person). In that specific case they were referring to silencers from Dakota Silencer transferring to trusts. The court ruled that the person picking up the firearm (silencer) had to do a 4473 because in a transfer they are a person.

          If the trust manufactures the MG then no transfer takes place. People on the trust can use the MG without any transfer taking place. They cannot sell/transfer the MG to another person (or trust) because elsewhere in federal law the court interprets the person picking up the firearm in a transfer to a trust as “person”.

          If you were talking about someone not on the trust taking possession of an NFA firearm not in the presence of someone else on the trust….then that would constitute a transfer.

        • A trust is not, generally speaking, a legal person (or an entity of any kind, for that matter) because a trust is really just a relationship as to property where the legal ownership and beneficial (equitable) ownership are divided between at least two different persons. The trustee _is_ the legal owner of property that is subject to trust, but that legal ownership is subject to the equitable interest vested in the beneficiaries.

          This idea that property can somehow be assigned “to a trust” but not “to the trustee” (qua trustee) is nonsensical.

  9. What I see is a potential for a series of court cases that can now potentially declare the GCA and quite possibly the NFA unconstitutional. We submit applications for new machine guns. Get denied. And now we can sue with the Miller v USA Supreme Court ruling as precedence. Machine guns are in common usage among the worlds militaries. Miller v USA says that we have the right to keep and beat them. But until now, we had no way of getting the ball rolling to overturn the GCA.

    • Oh, good point. The Miller decision upheld possession of military firearms.

      Wouldn’t it be a stitch if this led to the entire unraveling of National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act?

      Caveat: because of the Miller decision (protecting military firearms) and the Heller decision (protecting firearms in common use), short barreled shotguns would still require a tax stamp because the military does not seem to use them and they are not in common use among civilians. But short barreled rifles and full auto rifles would be protected under the Miller decision because those are common military firearms.

  10. I am sure they will simply rule that a person is not a “person” in one instance but is in the other.

  11. They will simple change their mind or just define a trust or a person as they wish for each separate section of the regs.
    And corrupt judges will say “I know what you said but lets go with what you meant,”
    Rather than all the convoluted logic, wouldn’t
    “shall not be infringed” be a lot easier to understand?

  12. I see a ”oops our bad machine guns dont count because full auto” statement (decree?) from the ATF in the very near future.

    • The only way they can slam it shut is to reverse their opinion, which means no more NICS checks on NFA items transferred to trusts.

      Closing it legislatively would be a nightmare – the House isn’t going to be passing more gun control, and the Senate is likely to go GOP-majority.

      The most likely outcome is that the BATFE is going to find some other little caveat in the law that Prince missed.

  13. Playing wordsmith between separate legal documents (U.S.C, GCA, NFA) and trying to find trivial loopholes is walking a really, REALLY fine line. But if it works…great!! Perhaps the current generation of ATF/NFA staff aren’t as bright as their 1960’s counterparts.

    • No, it’s not walking a fine line. Maryland just recently used that kind of logic to nail us to the wall on SBRs and SBSs. Things are only defined how they’re defined in statute.

    • Even if this trust vs person contradiction works, you’re still only limited to machine guns registered before May 19, 1986 correct? Unless someone can also play wordsmith with the McClure-Volkmer Act.

      • Nope. They key prohibition is about “person”s owning MGs at all. Remove that, and the post-86 stuff is irrelevant.

  14. If I make it on my property, keep it on my property, never sell it or let anyone handle it, am I still ban from having it?

    • Sadly, yes. The “No interstate commerce”/”interfere with interstate commerce” mix hasn’t been resolved yet.

  15. By my reading of “when an FFL transfers an NFA firearm to a trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust, the transfer is made to this person as an individual” the trust might be able to own it, but no trustee can touch it or possess it (unless an excepted LEO, of course).

    • I was wondering the same thing. Even if a gun trust can legally posses them, only its trustees, who are persons can actually receive a transfer and take possession. This sounds more like they cauterized Trusts from receiving machine guns, not opened the way for them.

    • If you form 1 an SBR on a trust, you don’t transfer it simply if you possess or touch it. In fact, other people not on the trust can possess or touch the SBR (as long as you’re present). If simply holding the firearm constituted a transfer, you’d be violating the NFA every time someone not on your trust picked up your firearms.

      I don’t see why this is any different. If you are legally able to form 1 an MG on a trust (a big “if”), you don’t transfer it if you possess or touch it. You’re making the firearm on a form 1, not transferring it. You simply wouldn’t be allowed to ever sell/transfer the MG to an individual or other trust…as the ATF now ruled that a transfer to a trust requires a “person” to be the intermediary and no “person” can posses/transfer a post 86 MG.

      • “when an FFL transfers an NFA firearm to a trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust, the transfer is made to this person as an individual”

        In order to be transferred into the trust the transfer is made to the person acting on behalf of the trust as ‘an individual’.

        It seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. No loophole.

        • No FFL transfer (form 4) would take place. The trust makes the MG (form 1) and there is no FFL or individual involved.

        • Just as a trust does not need a manufacturing license to make (form 1) an SBR, it does not need one to make (form 1) an MG.

          If it were doing so to be engaged in the business of selling firearms that would be a different story.

    • I am not seeing that. What you say is not the way other NFA items held by a trust are treated, why a difference for an MG? As in, my trust owns SBR and silencer, any of the 4 people on the trust document can possess the items, fire them, allow others to fire them, etc. All the “person” silliness pertains to the other items too, right? So what allows a different set of rules for a MG? OTOH, I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that a trust removes the necessity for CLEO approval and fingerprint cards, really makes these laws so damn OBVIOUSLY stupid and pointless.

      • Yup, even if you look at it from strictly a post 86 MG perspective…many gun ranges rent posties/SOT to individuals not associated with their FFL. The act of individuals (not associated with the FFL) shooting/handling/touching post 86 MG’s does not constitute a “transfer”. I see no difference here.

  16. I call the Harry Beckwith and Gary Fadden defense. The GCA and NFA are 2 towers linked by a very wobbly bridge. Tread lightly. Eyes open and on the price guys and gals. Would it be possible to blitz those sections, sub-sections, statutes and then the article of the law that prohibits individuals? We need plans of action and thoughts about it. Engage the mind.

  17. Oh, yes. Think, dream for a moment with me. PSA sells lowers for around $100 + $200 tax stamp = build your own select fire AR-15 for under $1000. So cute.

    • Nah. You know you’re gonna need an SBR upper and a can, plus a couple thousand bucks worth of ammo to break it in…

  18. I thought miniguns and other gattling guns were not considered machine guns because of of the rotating barrell.

    • Motorized gatling guns are machine guns. Hand-cranked gatling guns aren’t, because you’re still technically providing one trigger impulse by hand for every shot fired.

  19. I’d love to see how Republicans in congress reacted if this played out in favor of reopening the registry on what amounts to be a technicality brought about by Barry’s administration.

    Oh what a litmus test this would be…

    Undo a wrong of Reagan? or Continue suppressing the Second Amendment?

    • 1986 mg ban says no person can have an mg made after 5/86. ATF tried to be a dick and say that trusts were not people. “Not people” may mean “not prohibited” for post-’86 MG’s

    • Why 308? I thought the whole point of owning a PKM would be to shoot the still-dirt-cheap surplus 7.62x54r through it? If you’re gonna go 308, go M240. Or M60. YEAH BABY

      • In some parts of the world .308 is easier to acquire.

        The advantage of the PKM is the fact that it is very lightweight (a PKM wth 100 rounds weighs less than an empty M60) and it is very reliable compared to other machineguns.

  20. “(2) This subsection does not apply with respect to–
    (A) a transfer to or by, or possession by or under the authority of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; ” (anyone on a Fedgov payroll)

    What needs to happen is a redress of the unconstitutionality of this paragraph. That seems more than highly unlikely in these politically-charged times. Until this pact of federal statism is repealed, it is unlikely that any well regulated militia would be capable of performing it’s Constitutional duty “to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

    Any government that no longer fears its people, is a tyranny.

    • It’s obvious to us that our government does not wish a free state anymore because it blatantly cripples and disarms the militia**. Such a government is null and void by the spirit of the nation’s founding and by breach of the Constitution. The problem is, who is going to tell them and who is going to correct the malfunction?

      ** A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state

    • “(2) This subsection does not apply with respect to –
      (A) a transfer to or by, or possession by or under the authority of, the United States or any department or agency thereof or a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; ”

      Sounds like transfer to any political subdivision of a state and possession under the authority of that political subdivision is OK. No jurisdictional restriction is given (no doubt because federal agents, soldiers, and police officers can carry anywhere). It seems to me we could establish a legal town here in Texas, transfer in whatever guns we wanted, then using the “authority of” our existence as a “political subdivision” of the “State” authorize anyone who wanted one to “possess it” and transfer it to them. No matter where there actually reside. Hmm…

      • No, it’s cuter if you can get Texas or Utah to issue M4s, M16s and M240s to the members of the unorganized militia, in exchange for a security deposit that is oddly the same as the cost of the MG.

  21. While it would be nice to own a select fire rifle, the $$$ going out the barrel in full auto would be a deal breaker.
    5.56 30 rounds in 3 seconds M-16. $15 at $5 a second. 6 mags = $90 in under a minute. No thanks.
    Oh, the LGS rents them for $50 and $15 a mag at their indoor range.

    • “Full Auto” does not mandate an “Involuntary Mag Dump” (Unless you suffer from Gigglemania)

      Regardless, having a choice between Semi-Auto and Select-Fire would be my ideal.

      • You’re suffering from gigglemania already. Select fire is not an alternative to semi, it includes semi.

  22. Even if I never used it, if I could buy a FA AR or AK right now, I would. Hopefully something good will come of this, but I won’t get my hopes up.

  23. While if this works out I will definitely submit a few Form 1’s to manufacture, I’m trying no to get my hopes up any more than they already are.

    I don’t know why, but I’ve been getting my hopes up that with all of the “sig forearm brace”, pistols are smaller than an SBR, and court victories…that the NFA was basically in the position of “The Emporer’s New Clothes”. I don’t see how anyone who looks at it logically can say “Oh, yeah, that 16″ barrel rifle is totally fine, but that 15.9″ barrel should require super duper checks and a bit more cash. Now go buy that AR pistol”. It needs to go away.

  24. Since when have we as Americans been able to depend on Law Enforcers to abide by laws that inconvenience them?

  25. Well, knowing that I can generally hit what I’m aiming at in RL or a PC game, and knowing how worthless I am with a machine gun in a PC game, (for anything past 2-3 rounds bursts), me owning a MG in RL would just be a waste unless I’m being charged by a hoard of zombies!
    But I look forward to seeing how this plays out 🙂

  26. Nick Leghorn said “I have already submitted a Form 1 Application for a minigun…oh hell yeah I did…”

    BATFE said “b. Machineguns
    (1) 18 U.S.C. § 922(o) provides that machineguns may be made only for
    government use or export. An application will be denied unless the
    making meets these criteria.”
    application will be denied
    will be denied
    be denied
    So you think you can file a form 1 to make a post-sample with your trust? You obviously didn’t even read all of the form 1.

    • I don’t think Prince (the lawyer from the article submitting the form 1) expects the form to be approved. He would need the form denied in order to sue based on the information in the ATF letter.

  27. Although I did not read every post, if this has been noted then just ignore it. There is a lot of chat in regard to the differences between GCA and NFA trusts, but one major point is that a trust cannot hold an FFL. Thus, all the chat about trusts manufacturing MGs under the notion that it is not a”person” under GCA is invalid.

    • You don’t need an FFL to make (form 1) a firearm (title i or ii). Trusts can make silencers, short barrel rifles, etc…no FFL required. It’s the Hughes amendment and the prior interpretation that a trust falls under the definition of a “person” that prevents them from being approved for a form 1.

      • It’s the Hughes amendment and the prior interpretation that a trust falls under the definition of a “person” that prevents them machine guns from being approved for a form 1 when submitted by a trust.

  28. It does not matter what the ATF says. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land period! As an American and a human we have unailiable rights like the following… A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    Here is the Courts opinion… an act repugnant to the constitution can not become law and No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
    Opinion of the Court
    Thus, the particular phraseology of the Constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written Constitutions, that a law repugnant to the Constitution is void, and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.

  29. The 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause states that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    I feel that this protects everyone’s right to own a machine gun – but due to the illegal Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986 that the Reagan administration pushed through, it deprives ALL citizens from owning a machine gun because it limited the number of automatic weapons that Americans could own, with no more being allowed to be manufactured and that is not enough to satisfy the demand – creating two classes of Americans – which is illegal under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The FOPA deprives us of owning that type of property unless we pay exorbitant prices for property that should cost as little as any other weapon sold.

    In Israel, everyone must serve the military at one point or another and they all have access to machine guns and submachine guns for the rest of their lives. They defend their homes with a Mini-Uzi rather than a mere pistol because they are fully trained and respect their Constitution and their government respects their constituents. We cannot currently say the same thing.

    FOPA created the problem and I think it is time that one of the sponsors of the lawsuits that won in the Washington, DC courts to take on this subject so we can all enjoy access to modern automatic weapons that are safe and affordable, rather than have people risk their freedom by doing what they feel is their right under the Constitution – making & converting weapons to full automatic function. Americans have a history of sharing the same weapons as their militia brothers so that they would be trained and ready to respond to threats. In 1986 that became impossible; our government didn’t even legally ratify the law anyway – this is proven in videos of the Congressional session which is on YouTube (

    Josh Moser says it all in the comments: “Hughes Amendment failed to pass with Yeas being 124 and Nays at 297; the Hughes Amendment FAILED TO PASS and is therefore ILLEGALLY BEING ENFORCED. It is NOT a LAW and wouldn’t be a legitimate law in the eyes of the founders therefore there never was nor will there never be any restrictions on firearms.”

  30. Well as to the conclusions of this article, oh, if it were only true… I would love it, but it’s not. The following is base on how I believe the courts would see it.

    The statement in the ruling “unincorporated trusts are not “persons” under the GCA” refers to the entity declared/formed by the legal document, it does not say that those acting on behalf of the trust are not “persons”. It says three times in the part of the ruling shown here “a trustee or other PERSON acting on behalf of a trust” and it also state “the transfer is made to this PERSON”, This clearly defines those acting on the behalf of the trust as a PERSON. It makes it clear that in acting on behalf of a trust your status as a person is not changed by or for the purpose of the ruling, you are both the representative of the trust and a PERSON, not the trust itself. So the fact that the trust itself is not a person and not subject to the provision in the law that states “Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun” is irrelevant to whether the representative is.

    The trust itself is NOT a physical living thing that has consciousness, therefore it can not take action of it’s own accord such as receiving and possessing things, making things or making conscious decisions, that can only be done by a representative of the trust. Therefore it’s not the trust but the representative of the trust that would be the one that is physically making or possessing a machinegun. The status for any representative a trust as a person is not reversed or changed by the rulings statements “unincorporated trusts are not “persons” under the GCA”, “a trustee or other person acting on behalf of a trust” and “the transfer is made to this person” therefore they as a person are still subject to the provision in the law that states “Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun”.

    So I believe the claim of this article that “a recent ruling by the ATF may have accidentally opened the door for trusts to make and register brand new machine guns” is flawed since the reasoning laid out here has no rational chance of standing up in court. I would not recommend testing it, that is unless you like prison.

  31. beanfield says:
    May 15, 2014 at 10:24

    I could be wrong (it’s been known to happen…often), but I’m pretty sure simply putting your hands on a firearm doesn’t constitute a “transfer”. The transfer that the court case refers to is the ownership transfer ….

    well then——
    Check out the new Washington state law I 594—- As of Dec1 2014, simply showing a gun to a friend (e.i. him touching it) is a transfer.

  32. Aside from the fact that all of these gun laws are un-constitutional and need to be repealed, the most galling part, is that they exempt the government agencies.

  33. u do all this or drop in two stage triggers
    some have fire rate as high as machine gun but atf may open another door
    they said in law sute that ar 15 dose not meet 2ed admemeemt because its not a military grade gun
    this aguement says they are block us from owning millatary grade guns and admieted they breaking te 2 ed admement they open the door I wish I had money to push this but I don’t, I hope some one out there dosse

  34. An NFA trust no longer does a person much good, as President Obama issues executive orders making those with a trust jump through about the same amount of hurdles as anyone else now.

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