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GUNS Magazine March 2013 Digital Edition - Page 32
After Duke went through the paperwork needed to possess this vintage German MP40, he started on a roll and now has eight more full-autos. Buying Full-autos it’s expensive, but not all tHat Hard in most states. S Mike “dUke” ventUrino PHotos: yvonne ventUrino ince I began acquiring an array of World War II and Korean War vintage full-auto machine guns and submachine guns in 2008, many people have written or asked me in person if the process isn’t a morass of red tape. Actually it is not. Full-autos are illegal in some states. I don’t have a full list of which states do and do not allow them. Everyone needs to check their own state’s laws on that one. On the federal level, full-autos are not prohibited. They are restricted. Each one in private ownership must After Duke bought his first full-auto he couldn’t stop himself. These four of the nine which he now has in his World War II collection include (from left) British STEN Mk II 9mm, Russian PPsh41 7.62x25mm, US M1 Thompson .45 ACP, and German MP40 9mm. be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Private citizens don’t have to buy a “license” to own full-autos. Dealers must have what is called a Class III Federal Firearms License in order to trade in them. However, individuals such as myself must follow a specific process to buy one that is already in our home state. First we find the one we want to buy and make the deal. Then the seller whether an individual or dealer must fill out what the BATFE terms a Form 4 with his and the buyer’s names, addresses, etc. Also the firearm’s pertinent information must be listed such as manufacturer, serial number, caliber, etc. Then the Form 4 is given to the buyer. (These forms can be printed right off the BATFE’s website.) Once the buyer has the Form 4 he fills in his specific portions such as for what purpose he is buying a fullauto. My answer for nine has always been “to enhance my World War II firearms collection.” Next the buyer must attach a passport photo taken within the last 6 months. Then the buyer must get his chief local law enforcement officer to sign it. The LEO isn’t giving permission per se but simply saying, “I have no information that the transferee will use the firearm or device described on this application for other than lawful purposes. I have no information that the receipt or possession of the firearm or device described in item 4 would place the transferee in violation of state or local laws.” Of course this above step could present a stumbling block in some locales. I have heard that some big city chief LEOs do not sign for fullautos as a rule. Evidently it must not be too big a problem because I haven’t heard a lot of people screaming about it. Also the buyer must submit fingerprint cards from the local law enforcement agency. The final step is to include a check for $200 and then mail the Form 4 to the appropriate address. The payment is a 1-time transfer fee. It is not a yearly fee. Then the waiting starts because each Form 4 is vetted individually. You do not get an automatic pass just because you already have full-autos on Form 4s. For my nine the wait has been as short as 6 weeks and as long as 6 months. If you get impatient you can call the 32 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 3