ATF Approves Post-86 Machine Gun Form 1

A while back we blogged about an individual who took the Prince Law Office’s determination that, as a result of the ATF clarifying that “unincorporated trusts” are not “persons” under the Gun Control Act, it may have opened a way for trusts to manufacture new Post-86 machine guns. As I have written about before, machine guns are and have always been legal in the US, but those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own, so we may only keep trading the ones already on the market.

Well a member of submitted a form 1 for a machine gun (application for registration of an NFA firearm one produces) and it was approved… but don’t rejoice yet.

On September 10th, 2014 the stamp came back approved, bearing that green and all too familiar $200 stamp that would allow for a new machine gun to be made, but the man was immediately contacted by the ATF and was told that he must return the stamp and that it was/is not valid. The applicant says he is taking the issue to court, which could be very interesting for the NFA community. The man says the following in the massive thread:

“Stand by, because we will surely need contributions to a legal fund if it goes to court.  All things considered, this looks like a realistic opportunity at taking back out rights to Machine Guns. If this fight starts moving forward, it’s going to take a monumental amount of commitment to see it through. Hold fast, everyone. We’re going to need all hands on deck for this one.”


While I wish the man the best and hope that somehow this opens the door for new MGs here in the USA, I do not see that happening. Of course the powers that be don’t want you to have cheap and readily available legal machine guns, so we will not get cheap and readily available legal machine guns but here are a few reasons why I am pessimistic:

  1. The ATF tried to say that “unincorporated trusts” were not persons under the 1968 GCA in order to implement a set of rules that would have required all trustees to fill out form 4s, undergo NICS checks, and get CLEO signatures. If you remember, the public outcry during the comment period stopped this (or at least pushed it back). This came back to bite them in the ass, big time, because of, well, this whole bit of shenanigans.
  2. The ATF flip flops all of the time. In just my memory as a young man, I have seen them approve devices like the Akins Accelerator (a spring assisted bump fire device) and then force them all the be recalled/have the springs removed, remember when they banned all shoestrings in the USA and then had to clarify that it was only when said strings were attached to firearms, and I remember when they said SBR engraving was not necessary and then decided that it was. This organization seems to have little oversight on the highest levels and, like many other government agencies, can make or rescind decisions on the fly.
  3. There are 186,619 transferable machine guns in the USA, and this number is as fixed as fixed gets. The 1986 FOPA banned the new production of fully automatic firearms for civilians, and that’s that. What is perceived as a loophole by addressing a technicality, will not undo this act of congress.

Do I hope that one day we can all run down to our local gun stores and buy new machine guns? Absolutely! Do I think it will happen? Not at all. In fact, I get asked this all the time by just about every gun savy person who knows I am into machine guns. “Wadaya gunna do when they unban these? Your collection will be worth nuttin’!” Well sure I and many other people will take a hit, but I see the greater good in 3 gun matches with bursts of mighty automatic fire, sub-gun matches becoming mainstream, and the Texas Bellagio being visible from space.


Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • allannon

    While I have no interest in owning a machine gun (rather, I have no interest in _feeding_ one), I would love to see this loophole proved out. I’d buy something FA (maybe a DIAS), just for shits’n’giggles.

    I don’t think it’ll happen though.

    • Cornelius Carroll

      600rpm so that’s 10rounds/second, $0.25/round (lol)…

      $900/hour. Damn.

      • allannon

        Yea; I always tell people that when I go to shoot it’s less “pew pew” and more “cha-ching cha-ching”.

      • Rob

        $150/min. $9,000/hr. :-0

      • Heavy Weapons Guy

        It costs four hundred thousand dollars to fire this weapon for twelve seconds.

      • kingghidorah

        And ‘back in the day’ when I was shopping for a mg, someone always talked me out of it- crazy $200 tax, a waste of ammo, can’t hunt with it (my Dad lol) and the semi version is 1/2 price. I passed up a milled ak47 bring back that was $1400, because Norma was the only ammo available. Around the same time, a friend paid $1200 for an SKS bring back- semi auto, because no one other than vets, had seen one.

      • Jimmy

        As Bob pointed out your numbers come closer to 9000/hr. But when was the last time you bought ammo at $0.25/round. The Russian brand Wolf is the only brand coming in at ,25 or below…

      • Only if you’re going continuous cyclic for an hour. . . which means you have a water cooled MG, with an actual circulating pump, a large resevoir, and an honest-to-God forced draft radiator.

    • KestrelBike

      I’d be down for a select fire, suppressed, SBR’d mp5. I’d be ok with Dollar bursts of 9mm. Or a full auto .22 (assuming it’s not mangling & FTE’ing every 3rds)

      • allannon

        Oh, I’d love (and plan to invest in) a suppressor.

        But re:full auto, I know myself. It’d be the occasional burst for kicks…then I wouldn’t be able to help dumping however many mags I had handy, just ’cause. Then I’d do the math and swear I’d never do it again.

        Repeatedly. 😀

        • Kivaari

          About 15 years ago we went out with an M60 and HK21. In the short afternoon shoot we fired $1,200 of money, at the expense of another.
          It was fun, but I had to remind the guy that it was an expensive day, for him. We never did that again.
          I have shot about 30,000 rounds through an MP5A2, at government expense. Thanks to all the tax payers.

      • valorius

        By a sw mp15-22 and a slidefire stock.

      • HSR47

        The definition of MG does not have any minimum barrel/overall length. As a result, a firearm registered as an MG does not have to conform to any arbitrary dimensions.

        In other words there is generally no such thing as a “full auto SBR” because you don’t need two stamps to have an MG with a barrel under 16″ which fires from the shoulder.

        The only real exception to this is with guns that accept a removable sear, and where removal of the barrel is not practical (e.g. most HK style rifles): When the registered sear is in the rifle, the entire firearm is a machinegun (thus no restrictions on barrel length/OAL), however since host guns are so much cheaper than sears, it’s common to move one sear from gun to gun, which means that the owner needs host guns that are legal in the absence of the sear.

        Still, even in such situations it is EITHER an SBR or a MG; in the eyes of the law it is never both at the same time.

        • Kivaari

          Like the Bofors 40mm machinegun. It is first a machinegun, even though it is a destructive device. Taking it out to shoot Zeros attacking your back yard battleship would be very costly.

          • Jhuff

            Destructive devices are the exception, it can be both and would require two stamps. Of course, $400 is meaningless on a $100,000+ bofors.

          • Brandon Bowers

            True, but the $200 tax per shot (each round is a DD) can get expensive quickly.

          • Jhuff

            Only if they’re explosive rounds. Non-HE rounds don’t require tax stamps for each round. But the taxes on being a manufacturer of DD ammo is ridiculous, so you’ll have to reload.

          • Brandon Bowers

            True, got me on that one. Actually at that point it would be cheaper just to pay the Special Occupational Tax and shoot your own builds.

          • Only the explosive rounds are individually DDs. You can shoot “inert” projos, just like guys with regsitered GLs do, without paying $200/round tax.

    • Antistotle

      IDK, a Glock 18 wouldn’t be bad.

  • Thracian Beast

    Now tell the truth.

    • Seems like I told the truth according to that phone call?

      • Thracian Beast

        Right Brother!!
        Silly Town, is upon all of us. Make it work for you or don’t. The people at the ATF have always been super nice and veritably knowledgeable (per dept). TO ME
        Problem is, lots of stupid laws that hamper the LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. Unfortunately, they get a bad rap for following orders (GOV) and we get a bad rap for loving to shoot( Anything Bloomberg affiliate).

        Nuff said you win!!

  • Thracian Beast

    WEEE!!!! :/

  • Fox

    It warms my inner vet to see that some care enough about the rights that have been won for them, that have been paid for by millions of lives. STAND UP. STAND TOGETHER. Fight back any way you can, and support the worthy. If you are not in the fight, you are on the retreat. Make no mistake, something is coming down the road, and it is not just your firearms it wants, but everything you have. It will stop at nothing. Will you?

    • I could not resist doing this.

      • Fox

        Clearly you are prepared! Don’t forget to head-space and time! God Bless!

      • /k/ommando

        /k/ here, posting pics of your daddy’s guns again Alex?

        • Uh… what?
          This gun is a post-86 M2HB held under my 07/02 FFL/SOT. Storing this elsewhere or with another person would be a federal crime.

          • /k/ommando

            Sure it is, liberal arts majors totally have enough capital right after they graduate to start fun stores. Now stay off /k/.

          • They are his guns properly stored. What do you refer to when you say stay off?

          • anon


          • Kivaari

            I was able to store a couple NFA guns at my daughter house while we moved interstate. The key to it was let the ATF know and have them in a secured cabinet or safe, that you retain the key or code.
            I had a letter from ATF I was good to go. So I did. I made the mistake of selling most of them. Live and learn.

  • Jeff

    Never say never.

  • Thionite

    Its just a law, and laws can be changed whenever we want. We just have to make the case and get the votes.

    • The Golden Goy

      The Declaration of Indepence applies directly as to what needs to be done to our current US government. The horse is out of the barn as far as these traitors and their laws are concerned.

      • Phil Hsueh

        You mean the Constitution? The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, at least not in the sense that it has anything to do with the way the government is run and what it can and can’t do.

        • HSR47

          Given the context, it sounds like he’s referring to the passages of the D.O.I. wherein Jefferson seeks to justify the insurrection then in progress: “…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism….” and so on.

          In effect, he is suggesting that the above is as true for us today as it was for the colonists here 250 years ago, and further that we should resort to the cartridge box.

          Frankly, I’m not sure I agree with him: In all the history of the world, the trend is for civil wars to result in things getting worse, and not better; Our first civil war may well have been the ONLY civil war to result in such a massive expansion of individual liberty in recorded history (our second civil war certainly did not buck the historic trend). As such, I have a hard time getting behind an action that seems more likely to do harm than good.

    • USMC03Vet

      To be accurate, voters and legislatures creating laws are irrelevant these days when single activist judges can negate it without recourse facilitating other activist judges to cite case law to overturn other laws.

      The deck is being stacked.

      • Jimmy

        Or even if the POTUS declares “I have a pen, and am not afraid to use it”.

  • becauz3y

    just what we need cheap machineguns.. i own plenty of stamps, dont really want to see billy bob and bubba showing up at the range with with something that is supposed to be special

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      Fundamental Constitutional rights are a bitch, aren’t they?


        Funny how that works.

    • MR

      That’s the thing. Machineguns aren’t supposed to be “special”, they’re supposed to be tools and quite often toys. You want “special”, start collecting fabrege eggs.


      All the guys who have $150,000 machine guns will find reasons why they don’t want others in the market undercutting their value. But the truth is, those prices are as artificial as the housing market and the 1927 stock market. A crash is coming.

      Calling people who wish to have a chance to own Class III weapons “Bubba” is a lazy argument. The regulations on the background checks for Class III would still stand.

      And here is something else on the economics of these pre-86 Class III weapons: some have gotten so expensive, your market to sell them is getting smaller and smaller. So even from an estate planning standpoint, there are significant issues.

      The price of these Pre-86 Class III vs the Post 86 dealer samples is prima-facie the justification for changing the laws.


    • Kivaari

      I already have 7 FET stamps that no longer have guns attached to them. Too bad they become worthless after you sell the guns.

  • Wait for it. . .

    • Let’s just hope that this doesn’t have the side-effect of invalidating all NFA trusts.

      • Patrick Mingle

        I feel like that’s always the worry of taking on the ATF. If you play by the rules they most certainly will not and just tell you that you are wrong or just change the rules themselves. Because democracy

      • Matt

        I don’t think they can do that. Trusts are persons under federal law, and persons can own MGs under federal law. Even the BATFElatio can’t undo federal law.

        • I hope you are correct.

          The executive branch doesn’t have the power to change law, but the current president did it a bunch of times anyway, by delaying “Affordable” Care Act employer and individual mandate deadlines without approval by congress. They can get away with it if there isn’t enough backlash to make a difference. What percentage of the U.S. population is using NFA trusts? If it’s over 3%, then I’d be surprised.

          • HSR47

            The question is not what percentage of the overall population uses trusts to own NFA; the question is what percentage of NFA owners use trusts.

            Given the whole E-form issue, I would say that trusts and other legal entities account for over half of the NFA transfers on a yearly basis: if you read the letters BATFE sent out explaining why the e-form system fell on its face, they state something to the effect that, at it’s peak, the e-form system was taking half of the overall form load. Given that only trusts/corps can electronically file forms (and the fact that not all of them did), the only logical conclusion is that at least half of all transfers are going to legal entities.

        • Chubby Freen

          The residents of Waco, Texas will be glad to hear that…

      • HSR47

        It won’t, because the NFA is, at it’s heart, a tax measure.

        The GCA, on the other hand (which is what the FOPA, Hughes amendment (U.S. Code, title 18 section 922(o)), and Brady background check law) themselves amended, is a crime measure.

        As such, the applicable definition of “person” is actually different; the definition that applies to the NFA specifically states that trusts are a type of entity recognized as having personhood.

        The GCA definition of “person” does not make any reference to trusts.

        Effectively, the BATFE has finally recognized a potential issue in the law that has existed since the late 90’s, and in researching this issue some enterprising legal minds discovered an even older issue born of the same origin.

        TLDR: Trusts will continue to be a valid way to purchase NFA items, but you may have to submit to a NICS check when you pick up your stuff. Frankly, while that’s ridiculous, I’m more than willing to put up with it if the flipside is away around 922(o).

        • Shotokan94

          A NICS check and or a 4473(firearms application) is required by the individual picking up the NFA item. Always has been always will be.

      • Mike Bartlett

        You can’t attack this like a battered wife, waiting for the fist to come. Thi8s is a fight worth fighting.

  • Ken

    At the very least there should be another amnesty registration for war bringbacks.

    • hydepark

      Incorrect. At the very least we should have our full rights restored.

      • Ken

        I agree, but realistically we should start with small steps.

    • They cut the last amnesty short, so they technically still owe us another 60 days if I am not mistaken 🙂

    • Kivaari

      I lost my chance to amnesty register my 50mm mortar. I was serving in the Navy. When I went home, and onto the police department, I put it in the evidence locker.
      An ATF agent was on other business and when he stopped by the PD, I gave him the mortar and a zip gun I had made as a kid. His boss wanted to arrest me. ATF can be very unforgiving.
      In the Sunday edition (9-14) of the Coeur d’Alene News Press a history article by Sid Albright reviewing the Randy Weaver shooting. It has enough evidence of government over reach, that it will make your blood boil.

  • Harrison Jones

    The NRA needs to get involved from the legal side and funding.

    • They told Reagan to sign the 1986 FOPA, so they don’t care.

      • Harrison Jones

        That was almost 30 years ago. Then you wouldn’t have seen them pushing black rifles in their publications like you do now. Not saying they’ll do it, but they are far more likely now than then. They are to longer a “right to own hunting guns” organization. They are still very far from perfect.

        • I think it would be INCREDIBLY bad PR if they advocated the proliferation of machineguns. Every media outlet would jump on that story faster than a hobo on a ham sandwich.
          Whatever, my money goes to the GOA, a true no-compromise gun rights organization.

          • Matt

            A) They get bad PR either way. B) They are advocating for suppressors in hunting. Its a step anyway.


            I agree with your sentiment. Trying to thread the needle of “It’ll make us look bad” logic is a losing one. They move the line anyway and just create “badness” where there is none: “Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle”.

            I personally believe the 86 law needs to be addressed. I think new class III weapons should be allowed.

            But it’s damn funny….and nobody is talking about this. When the Left talks about stricter gun regulations, you can almost see reg or proposed regulation describing the selling, buying and possession of Class III weapons.

            But…now they say we can’t have any more of those class III weapons.

            Funny. Appeasing them didn’t stop the AWB did it?

            It’s time to push-back on class III. It’s a good way to ensure your semi-auto rights / frontier.


      • Matt

        Honestly, I would’ve too. The FOPA got rid of so many bad things at the time it was worth losing new MGs. The problem really was with Congress and Hughes and the bad process that lead to it being passed.

      • Kivaari

        We lost many rights and opportunities under Reagan and GHW Bush. We will likely never see a change that favors gun owners.

    • kingghidorah

      Agreed, however the main stream media and anti freedom politicians would have a field day on the ‘NRA wanting machine guns killing our children’. I’ve also joined the GOA, who seems to take fights that the NRA won’t.

  • dave
  • Rob Werden

    Real simple, repeal the hughes amendment in another bill as a earmark. Just like Hughes did.

  • valorius

    With the availability of slide fire stocks, whats the difference really?

    • Bob

      You have obviously never fired a M16

      • valorius

        Uh… an ex us army infantryman.

        Ive fired m16s. And m60s, m249s, m2s, and even a neat little vehicle mounted gadget by the mane of “m61a1” vulcan once.

        A slide fire equipped and properly operated ar is just as fun (and ineffective) as a full auto m16.

        • Gordon J Davis Jr

          But the Slidefire stocks and all other renditions of it look terrible. But I suppose that is the price one must pay for faux auto.

          • valorius

            The newest slidefire looks decent. The original one is dumb looking though, i agree.

            They’re also vastly overpriced, but like you said, it’s the price you pay 🙁

  • HSR47

    You appear to be mixing your metaphors: The proposed rule change (41P) has absolutely nothing to do with this.

    The bit about trust not being “persons” under the GCA for this came from an opinion letter issued to Dakota Silencer (link below). As should be common knowledge, the Hughes amendment (922(o)) amends the GCA (and not the NFA), and applies only to “persons.”

    Thus, for all intents and purposes, the below-linked opinion letter basically means that the BATFE has determined that 922(o) does not apply to trusts.


    time to set up a trust and file some paper work, see what happens to me too


    i think people need to stop saying this is a “loophole” its a unconstitutional law to begin with. A loophole in a unconstitutional law is more like a freedom hole (don’t make it dirty) honestly i don’t give a fuck if its a loophole or not, im filing some paperwork soon

    • dan citizen

      “Freedom Hole” is my new favorite term.

      I am not joking. The concept is actually really thought provoking.

      • steveday72

        Well the symbol of ‘Murica is Old Glory and it’s supposed to represent Freedom (Liberty & Justice for all)… So it could also be a “Glory Hole”.

  • Gordon J Davis Jr

    Is that 186,619 transferable machine guns accurate? I thought the BATFE registry had a bit in excess of 391,000 transferable machine guns.

    • According to the ATF, yes it is.

      • Gordon J Davis Jr

        In that case, I’ve been citing the wrong number for a while. I’ve been saying there are ~391,000 transferable machine guns in circulation – which is still a ridiculously low number.

  • Bill J

    “but those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own”

    Might want to clean that up a bit. Any dealer can own one as a sales sample.

    those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own
    – See more at:
    those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own
    – See more at:
    those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own
    – See more at:
    those made and registered after 1986 are not legal for civilians to own
    – See more at:

    • Bill J

      Crap sorry for multiple pastes my V key got stuck I guess!

  • mosinman

    I think we should abolish the ATF and all of those stupid anti 2A laws.

  • Guest


  • glasswolf

  • Kivaari

    It would be a great thing to get machineguns at a “regular price”. I’d be a little ticked off, not because people would loose money on the collections. But, because I am getting too old, that thinking of a years wait for a form 4 to clear, might not be long enough.

  • Jhuff

    So many people here don’t understand law.

    First, your point of the Akins accelerator. The ATF approved it, but the guy who made it shipped a product that was different from what was approved. The device was in a form that was NEVER approved and everyone who had one had thus violated the NFA. The ATF approved form 1s for machine guns, there is no ambiguity there. Maybe you have a point on the shoestring, though keep in mind that was banning something and later unbanning it, whereas it is unbanning and rebanning in this case, which has different constitutional implications due to the ex post facto clause.

    Maybe I have too much faith in the government (something that does not happen often), but when Mark Akins got his device banned he cried “bureaucracy!”, and said his device was no different from slide fire stocks and hellfire triggers, that he’d been screwed over by politics, and that they’d use his ruling to ban all semi-autos or some ridiculous crap. Then he gets a new version of it approved, slightly modified. Everyone held their breath wondering when the ATF would ban Slide-Fire stocks, and yet they’re still legal. Same with everyone wondering whether the Sig brace ruling would be overturned.

    Now, the ATF hasn’t shown much resistance to those earlier rulings, but now they’re trying to say his approval was a mistake, so that could result in something different happening. Now, the facts are, “person” was specifically defined FOR the GCA, and the section banning MGs was part of the GCA, and banned them by saying “a person shall not [possess, receive, transfer, transport, fornicate with, etc.] a machine gun”. The ATF ruled that for purposes of the GCA, because of the way it was defined, “person” does not include an unincorporated trust for purposes of the GCA. It is very likely a judge will recognize this. It all depends though, we have to wait and see.

    • Jhuff

      *Bill Akins. My iFuckUp mini won’t let me edit it.

  • James Rea

    I will just be glad to see the day when once you are approved by the ATF for a Form 1 or Form 4, you do not need to go through all the BS steps to get another one. We should be able to submit the application and payment via electronic submission and get immediate approval. Going through all the other steps is ridiculous whan you have already been approved before. Also, having to wait for months and months is non-sense. I do look forward to the day when we can buy new automatic weapons or convert some of our existing weapons. I still think that they should require ATF approval. Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry should be able to own one. Some people are not even responsible enough to own a gun to begin with, even if they are legally able to own one.

    • chrismalllory

      The ATF is an unconstitutional agency and should be disbanded . The 2nd Amendment says “shall not be infringed”, so your thoughts on who should own weapons and what kind don’t matter.

  • Michael Hemman

    The thing about that “Act of Congress” is that the Machine Gun registry closing was a small part of a bigger bill. When they specifically discussed the machine gun registry, they put it to a voice vote whether it should be included in the bill. The voice vote was in support of removing the provision from the bill, though through oversight or sabotage, it never was.

    The closing of the machine gun registry could be considered a subversion of congress,

  • Jamie Clemons

    Why did they ban shoe strings?

    • me ohmy

      because they are the ATF, the stupid group of government

    • Qaus

      apparently they can be used to create a make-shift mechanism that emulates fully automatic. they weren’t thinking that they were a friggin’ shoestring when they banned them, they were just trying to stop people from legally owning full autos.

  • dave

    I fi not know why with the background checks and taxes they do not allow sales for collector if they worked it correctly they could pay off the national debit

  • Rick

    I just want to be legally able to build a select fire 10/22.


    Explain to me why you are so hell determined to obey what some arbitrary idiots you don’t know tell you what you can and cant do and make rules about. Why do want to obey so bad? Are you afraid they will torture you if you don’t? Imprison you? Beat you up? Is that the country you are living in? Say it. Is it? Is that what you pledge allegience to and pay taxes to.

    If bullies on the playground told you you coudlnt play on the monkey bars, only they could, would you bend over backwards to acquiece to them and stay off their radar? Would you constantly go back and forth to them to ask them well what abvout the swings, and the merry go round, can you play on those? Oh they didnt think about that, you can only use those between the hours of 6am and 8am.

    Mind you, you have a right to play on all these things, they are the commons and belong to everyone. Its your right to play how you see fit.

    Like wise, its your right to make and own anything you want, as long as it hurts noone else (for example, slavery). Owning a machine gun is not a crime, because there is no victim by you simply owning it.

    Stop being pussies America.

    If you want a machine gun, make a machine gun.

    If you dont want to be told “no you cant make a machine gun”, dont go looking for some stupid self appointed authority to tell you no.

    Stop being afraid. Stop being a read slave to fear. Freedom is so much more wonderful, and all you have to do is say, I chose to be free instead. Disobedience is the foundation of liberty. If you obey everything some else tells you to do, then logic follows you must be a slave.

    • Troll Magnet

      because 10 year in prison and $250K in fines that’s why!

  • Qaus

    I’d very much like a reclassification of burst-fire guns to be separate from both machine guns and the “legal family” (i.e. semi-auto, pump action, bolt action, etc.)
    It would make a great middle ground for civilian ownership and could eventually shoehorn full autos back into civilian hands.

    • Troll Magnet

      I agree! A 30 round burst fire for my AR would be lovely 😛