Articles Posted in Criminal Penalties

The National Firearms Act defines what is criminal conduct.  The prohibited activities include but are not limited to:

  1. Engaging in the business of firearms (manufacturing, importing, selling) without a license and tax;
  2. Receiving a firearms in violation of the act;
  3. Possessing a firearms in violation of the NFA;
  4. Receiving or possessing a firearms not registered to yourself in violation of the NFA;
  5. Transferring or making a firearm in violation of the NFA; or
  6. Removing, changing, or obliterating a serial number of an NFA firearm.

Many individuals are under the mistaken belief that they can allow someone to shoot their NFA firearm when in their possession.  Although a dealer license allows this, the individual license does not and both individuals would be in violation of the NFA and subject to the criminal penalties as such.

If you would like someone else to be able to use or be in possession of your NFA firearms, you should consider a NFA gun trust or business entity to purchase or hold the item in.  For more information Contact a NFA Lawyer.

Violations of the NFA are punishable by 10 years in prison, forfeiture of all devices or firearms in violation, and the individuals right to own or possess additional firearms in the future.  In addition, there is a penalty of $10,000 for each of certain violations.

In addition, a willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax imposed by the National Firearms Act is also a felony which is punishable by up to 5 years in Jail and a $100,000 fine under the tax evasion statutes.  This penalty could be increased to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.

This means you could be looking at a maximum of 15 years in Jail and $510,000 in penalties for a violation.   Many violations can be avoided by proper ownership and knowing who can be in possession and use the Title 2 firearms which are restricted under the NFA.

Some NFA firearms collectors, who are not engaged in any firearms business, have been known to acquire a GCA license to deal in firearms and pay the NFA special tax to acquire NFA firearms for their personal firearms collections. This is not a wise thing to do and violates the National Firearms Act.

Most individual acquire NFA firearms for the following reasons:

(1) to acquire firearms from non-licensee residing out-of-state;
(2) to circumvent requirements imposed on individuals to provide their fingerprints and photographs in order to receive NFA firearms and law enforcement certifications authorizing their receipt of such firearms;
(3) to purchase and use items that they are not legally able to obtain as an individual; and
(4) to avoid NFA transfer tax on firearms they receive from FFL’s/SOT’s.

Warning: These transactions violate the NFA and can only lead to trouble for the individual. In these instances, the individual has committed Federal felonies by falsely stating on a license application and special tax return that the collector intends to conduct a firearms business. Any NFA firearms received tax free by the collector are subject to transfer tax and the collector’s receipt of the firearms tax free violated the NFA. As held in ATF Ruling 76-22, these transfers are unlawful and the firearms received are subject to seizure and forfeiture.

If you hold NFA restricted firearms that are of a personal use in nature, under a business license, you should consider creating a NFA Firearms Trust to hold the title to these items to avoid being in violation of the National Firearms Act.

We have associations with lawyers and attorneys in Pennsylvania.  These Pennsylvania Gun Trust Lawyer®s can provide NFA gun Trusts for the entire state of Pennsylvania.  A NFA Gun Trust can help protect individuals and their families from the criminal and civil penalties associated with the improper transfer or possession of a class 3 firearm regulated under the National Firearms Act.  In addition, the process of purchasing a silencer, SBR, or machine gun can be significantly reduced in the amount of time required and paperwork that is required.

They have offices in

  • Allentown Pennsylvania;
  • Bechtelsville Pennsylvania;
  • Camp Hill Pennsylvania;
  • Exton Pennsylvania;
  • Pottstown Pennsylvania;
  • Lancaster Pennsylvania;
  • Lebanon Pennsylvania;
  • North Wales Pennsylvania;
  • Pottstown Pennsylvania; and
  • Reading Pennsylvania

If you are located in another area of Pennsylvania they can also provide services by email and telephone in much the same way as if you were in their office.

To contact a Pennsylvania Gun Trust Lawyer® fill our our Contact form.

Violators may be fined up to $250,000, and imprisoned up to 10 years, or both.

In addition, any vessel, vehicle or aircraft used to transport, conceal or possess an unregistered NFA firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture, as is the weapon itself.



The National Firearms Act (NFA) is part of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. All administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, with the exception of the NFA, is by the Secretary of the Treasury. The ATF administration and enforcement was transferred to the Department of Justice under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

The National Firearm Act of 1934 was enacted in reaction to activities of gangsters and outlaws of the time. The original law was passed as tax legislation in order to discourage ownership of certain firearms and destructive devices without creating an outright prohibition of the items. The tax on the weapons of $200 was a substantial amount of money in 1934. Because criminals were unlikely to register their NFA weapons, the government was able to use the possession of the weapons without proper tax as a tool to arrest and stop criminal activity. At the time the enforcement of the NFA was the responsibility of the Department of the Treasury.

The National Firearms act controls the ownership, transfer, and possession of a limited set of devices which include machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles, and short barreled shotguns by requiring federal registration and a tax stamp for each device owned or transferred. The tax stamp is acquired in the registration process and requires specific paperwork. This paperwork referred to as a form 4 or form 1 typically requires a signature of local law enforcement, fingerprints and a payment of the $200 tax. Later the tax on ‘any other weapons was changed to $5. The tax is payable at manufacture and each time the NFA device changes ownership except when it is inherited or a dealer acquires the device.

The NFA also required serial numbers on firearms and made it unlawful to alter them. The process had the effect of registering all manufacturers, importers, and dealers.

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