Pennsylvania Lawyer Claims ATF Determination Allows for New Machine Guns

BATFE LogoPennsylvania attorney Joshua Prince, Esq. is making a bold claim in his blog entry Did ATF’s Determination on NICS Checks Open the Door for Manufacture of New Machineguns for Trusts? that may be music to NFA enthusiasts’ ears.

In his post, Prince points out that, although the NFA regulations include language to include trusts under their purview, the 1968 Gun Control Act (GCA),  codified in Title 18 of the United States Code, includes no such language.  A 2013 inquiry by Dakota Silencer received an ATF response reading:  “Unlike individuals, corporations, partnerships, and associations; unincorporated trusts do not fall within the definition of ‘person’ in the GCA.”  As many already know, transfer by a person of a machine gun that was not registered before May 19, 1986 is forbidden by the Hughes Amendment to the Firearms Owners Protection ACT FOPA, which added subsection 922(0) to the law.

Prince’s conclusion is that:

[P]ursuant to 26 U.S.C. 5812 and 5822, an unincorporated trust may lawfully transfer and make machineguns, as it is not a “person” for purposes of the GCA and Section 922 only applies to “persons” as defined by the GCA.

This conclusion is creating a lot of buzz within the firearms community, although it must be noted that a lawyer arriving at a particular conclusion does not mean that a trust’s Form 1 for a newly manufactured machine gun will pass ATF’s muster.  It is, however, an interesting turn of events and something that NFA enthusiasts will likely be watching closely.  David Goldman of says that he plans on submitting a From 1 to make a machine gun and that he will be sharing the outcome after the ATF has a go at it.

For discussion of the Hughes Amendment, along with video and transcript of Charlie Rangel’s botched handling of the voting on it, visit the GunLink Forums.


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