Silencers, also known as suppressors, along with machine guns, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and “any other weapons” (AOW’s), collectively known as NFA firearms, are, and always have been, perfectly legal to own by individuals under federal law. State laws vary on ownership of NFA firearms. However, all of the above items are legal to own in the state of Pennsylvania. Any person over the age of 21 who can legally purchase a regular firearm is qualified to purchase an NFA firearm. No special licensing is necessary to purchase an NFA firearm; however, a onetime transfer tax needs to be paid when ownership of the firearm is transferred. The transfer tax is valid for as long as the owner keeps the firearm. Each time an NFA firearm is transferred, another transfer tax is required with the exception of a transfer to a legal heir of a deceased owner. Transfers to legal heirs are tax free.
NFA firearms must be purchased or transferred through a Class 3 dealer in the buyer’s home state. The transfer tax for a silencer, machine gun, short barreled rifle, or a short barreled shotgun is $200, while the transfer tax for an AOW is $5. The procedure to purchase an NFA firearm begins when the Class 3 dealer and the purchaser submit the appropriate information electronically to ATF including a photo of the buyer, scanned fingerprint data, and the $200 transfer tax. Walker Precision is equipped to scan fingerprint data as well as capture photos on site. The purchaser must have an eFroms account with the ATF prior to submitting the transfer approval. A free account can be created through the ATF webpage at the following link https://eforms.atf.gov. The approval process is currently taking about three to five months after the application has been submitted. Once the application is approved and returned to the Class 3 dealer, the purchaser may then take possession of the firearm. A copy of the approved form 4 should always accompany the NFA firearm as proof of ownership. NFA firearms may also be owned by legal entities such as a corporation, LLC, or trust. . Please visit the NFA Trust page if you are interested in purchasing an NFA Trust.
The NFA process may seem a bit complicated, but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Additional information regarding NFA ownership and interstate transport of NFA firearms can be found on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives website.