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Last Updated: 5/18/2011 11:13:52 PM
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HOWTO - Obtaining NFA Weapons State of Florida

By Erik Rodriguez

Tags: Gun Trust Florida, NFA weapons Florida, Florida NFA weapons, Florida Class 3 Dealer, Silencers Legal in Florida, Class III items in Florida

This articles contains information on the procedures taken to obtain NFA (Class 3) weapons in the state of Florida. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on TV. None of the information contained in this article should be considered legal advice.

The Gunshine State

I have the luxury of living in the gunshine state which allows me to obtain silencers, short barrel rifles, and fully automatic weapons (machine guns). Florida has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country. Florida is also a "shall issue" concealed weapons permit state. Meaning, if you apply for a permit, and fit the requirements, you will be issued a concealed permit that allows you to carry handguns, knives, or billy clubs in a concealed fashion. Why someone would carry a billy club, I don't know. However, it is important to know that not all states will honor a permit issued in Florida, and some states only allow you to carry hand guns and nothing else.

Other states such as a California and New York are "may issue" states. Meaning they may or may not issue a concealed permit. Bottom line, if you want a concealed permit in those states, don't hold your breath. Certain NFA items such as a silencers are also not permitted there. Again, if you want these things, get out of those states. Why are are you still there?

National Firearms Act

The NFA was originally created in 1934 and has undergone many revisions and additions since. The majority of NFA items that are obtained by civilians are silencers (suppressors), short barrel rifles, and fully automatic weapons. The requirements for these items are outlined clearly and controlled by the Bureau of Alchol Tabacco Firarms and Explosives (BATFE). In order to obtain any of the 3 items, you must complete a specific form for each item and include $200 USD for a tax stamp. The tax stamp legally allows you to buy the deemed NFA or Class 3 items. A class 3 dealer will not sell any of these items without a tax stamp and proper paper work. There are 3 basic ways to apply for a tax stamp:
  • Apply as an individual
  • Apply as a corporation
  • Apply with a gun trust

Individual Application

Applying as an individual transfers the NFA item directly to a living person. This requires the appropriate form, a finger print card & photo, background check, and signature of a chief law enforcement officer in your area.

There are several problems with doing this. First, some CLEO will not sign off for civilians to obtain such items. Second, nobody else besides the individuals can use, transport, or have control of the items in any capacity unless the individual who owns them is present.


The same process can be done with a corporation such as an LLC. This eliminates the need for finger print card and CLEO signature. There is still a background check required for the person submitting the paperwork. Using a corporation allows the use of others by a letter from the corporation (on letter head). This does however, require the corporation to remain active. Running a corporation requires a corporate filing fee every year. In the state of Florida I pay $125 yearly for one.

Gun Trust

A gun trust seems to be the preferred method by most. A "revocable living gun trust" prepared by a lawyer satisfies all requirements by the BATFE. There is no finger print card & photo, or CLEO signature required. A background check and standard forms are enough to apply for NFA items. You can list individuals who are allowed access and control of the items, and under their supervision, 3rd parties may have access to them as well. A gun trust also offers some limited protection in the event of an NFA violation. Some lawyers specialize in gun trusts and/or gun related legal matters. They vary in price from around $195 - $600.

Tax Stamps

Each NFA item will require one of the three methods above and associated BATFE forms completed with the correct information. These forms must be completed as instructed or the BATFE may reject or delay processing. The forms must also include a $200 check. Any Class 3 dealer should be able to complete or help you complete these forms correctly. Once the BATFE approves your application, the will issue a tax stamp (for the $200 you sent them) which allows you to purchase the NFA item(s) you applied for. The process generally takes anywhere between 3-8 months.


Short barrel rifles that are acquired in conjunction with a gun trust, have specific requirements. Upon attaching a short barrel (defined as less than 16"), you must allow engrave the name of your gun trust somewhere on the lower receiver of the gun. There are companies that offer engraving services with FFL licenses that allow you to ship your lower receiver directly to them and they ship it back to your home.

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