The NFA Process

So you want a National Firearms Act (NFA) regulated item?

While the process can seem pretty complicated if you’re just now looking into acquiring an NFA item, in reality it can be very simple. The process itself is practically the same for Suppressors, Short Barreled Rifles, Short Barreled Shotguns, or Pre-1986 Machine Guns. While the process and paperwork involved is easy, the wait times associated with the processing of the ATF Paperwork can feel excruciating at times, and having a deeper understanding of the process can help you cope. SK Arms is always here to help, and answer any questions that might help you familiarize and educate yourself. Before purchasing an NFA items - It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with any State and Local laws.

Getting Started

For the foreseeable future, the best way to purchase an NFA item is using a Trust. There are many different options for creating a trust, all at a wide range of price points. For a quick and easy solution there is the Gun Trust Guru, make sure and let them know SK Arms sent you, which will have you a Trust ready for a Notary in about 20 minutes. For more personalized options, which will help tailor your Trust to fit in with your needs and Estate, there are many Attorneys that can set your NFA Trust up.

Jim Willi

(512) 288-3200

Sean Cody

Cole Bryan

Once your Trust is setup and notarized (if you are local to SK Arms, we have an in-house Notary), you are ready for the fun part! While sorting through and finding which NFA item best suits your need may be fun for some, remember, we are always here to help guide you and find the best item for your application. Once you’ve purchased the item, the transfer process begins. Congratulations, you are now one of the millions of NFA owners, and part of the fastest growing segments of the Gun Industry! Welcome to the Cool Kids Club.

Transferring the NFA Item

Non Local Transfers (Form 3)

If you’re not local, you will need to locate a FFL/SOT (commonly called a Class III Dealer) that is in your area and is willing to accept NFA transfers. If you are having a hard time finding a dealer, we will try to help you locate one. Expect the transfer fee to be a bit higher than standard firearms transfer. Once you’ve located your preferred dealer, please have them email a copy of their FFL/SOT to, and make a note in the comments section of your order.

Once we’ve received a Copy of their FFL/SOT, a Form 3 (for a dealer to dealer transfer) will be submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) requesting approval to transfer the purchased item. On average, Form 3s take about a month, however can take up to 3 Months. Once the Form 3 is Approved, the item will ship to your local dealer, who will help you complete the Form 4.

Local Transfers (Form 4)

We’re almost done, Hang in there! If you are local to us, or once your dealer has received the transfer, it is time for Form 4 to be submitted. Accompanying the Form 4 is the infamous tax stamp payment of $200. Once the Form 4 is submitted, the approval time can range anywhere from 4-6 months. Current wait times can be approximated through websites such as, but like a late-night weight loss commercial, your results may vary. The process itself is easy, however the wait times can be torture. But the reward is worth it. Remember, the sooner you take that leap, the sooner you’ll finally have your NFA item.

Wait, I can own a Machine Gun?

Like Suppressors and Short Barreled Rifles/Shotguns, Machine Guns are legal to own. However, civilians are limited to “Transferrable” or Pre-1986 machine guns. Under the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, the Hughes Amendment was passed, preventing any new machine guns from being registered. These Transferrable Machine Guns, due to increased demand and a limited supply, tend to fetch higher prices, and at times can be difficult to find. Occasionally, we have Transferrables in stock, so message us at to see what is available.

Is there any way to make the Process easier?

While NFA rights have come a long way in the past five years, ideally purchasing a suppressor should be no different than going to purchase any other hearing protection. Groups like the American Suppressor Association have been fighting for our rights and helping make Suppressors available to everyone. In October 2015, they introduced a bill to remove Suppressors from the NFA, making purchasing a suppressor no different than purchasing a rifle. While this bill has a long way to go, it is a big step in the right direction. Visit to see how you can have your voice heard, and join the movement.