Fifty Caliber Rifles in California

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

California generally prohibits the manufacture, distribution, transportation, importation, keeping or offering for sale, giving, or lending of any .50 BMG rifle without a California Department of Justice (“DOJ”)-issued permit.1 Such permits may only be issued, upon a finding of good cause, to certain law enforcement agencies and officers or to individuals over the age of 18.2 DOJ must conduct a yearly inspection – or every five years if the person has fewer than five permitted devices – of every person to whom a permit is issued for security and safe storage practices, and to reconcile the inventory of assault weapons.3 A .50 BMG rifle is any centerfire rifle that can fire a .50 BMG cartridge and that is not already an assault weapon or machine gun.4

The state also prohibits the possession of a .50 BMG rifle unless it is registered in the name of the possessor.5 Any person in lawful possession of a .50 BMG rifle must have registered it with DOJ within the registration period (January 1, 2005 to April 30, 2006).6 As the registration period has expired, .50 BMG rifles cannot generally be registered with DOJ. For more details, see the DOJ’s information page on this topic.

Any person owning a lawfully registered .50 BMG rifle may possess the firearm only under limited conditions, unless he or she obtains a permit for additional uses from DOJ.7 Those conditions include:

  • At the person’s residence, place of business, or other property owned by that person, or on property owned by another with the owner’s express permission;
  • While on certain target ranges and shooting clubs;
  • While on publicly owned land if specifically permitted by the managing agency of the land; or
  • While properly transporting the firearm between any of the places mentioned above, or to any licensed gun dealer for servicing and repair.8

California law includes a statement of the dangers posed by the .50 BMG rifle:

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the proliferation and use of .50 BMG rifles…poses a clear and present terrorist threat to the health, safety, and security of all residents of, and visitors to, this state, based upon findings that those firearms have such a high capacity for long distance and highly destructive firepower that they pose an unacceptable risk to the death and serious injury of human beings, destruction or serious damage of vital public and private buildings, civilian, police and military vehicles, power generation and transmission facilities, petrochemical production and storage facilities, and transportation infrastructure.…9

California law provides that the possession of a .50 BMG rifle in violation of state laws is a public nuisance.10 Any .50 BMG rifle deemed a public nuisance must be destroyed, except upon finding by a court, or a declaration from DOJ, a district attorney, or a city attorney stating that the preservation of the .50 BMG rifle is in the interest of justice.11

California also prohibits any person, firm or corporation from possessing any:

  • Weapon greater than .60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition (other than a shotgun (smooth or rifled bore) that conforms to the definition of “destructive device” under 27 C.F.R. § 479.11); or
  • Rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of a diameter greater than .60 inch, or any launching device for such rocket or projectile.12

See DOJ’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on the regulation of .50 BMG rifles.

 

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 30600. ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code §§ 31000, 31005. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 31110 ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 30530(a). A .50 BMG rifle does not include any antique firearm (meaning any firearm manufactured before January 1, 1899, per Cal. Penal Code § 16170), nor any “curio or relic” as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations. ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 30610. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 30905. Any person who has previously registered his or her .50 BMG rifle as an assault weapon is not required to register that firearm again. Cal. Penal Code § 30965. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 30945. ⤴︎
  8. The person may also possess the .50 BMG while attending an exhibition, display, or educational project about firearms which is sponsored by, conducted under the auspices of, or approved by a law enforcement agency or a nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in, or promotes education about, firearms. Cal. Penal Code § 30945(e). ⤴︎
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 30505. ⤴︎
  10. The Attorney General, any district attorney, or city attorney may, in lieu of criminal prosecution, bring a civil action in any superior court to enjoin the possession of the .50 BMG rifle that is a public nuisance. Cal. Penal Code § 30800(a). The court may impose a fine for any .50 BMG rifle deemed a public nuisance. Cal. Penal Code § 30800(b). ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 30800(c). ⤴︎
  12. Cal. Penal Code §§ 16460(a)(3), (4), 18710. ⤴︎

Fifty Caliber Rifles in Connecticut

Connecticut bans the possession, distribution, importation, transportation, and keeping, offering or exposing for sale of the “Barrett Light-Fifty model 82A1,” which is included in the state’s definition of assault weapon.1

For prohibitions on the knowing distribution, transportation, importation into the state, keeping, offering, or exposing for sale, or gift to any person of any “armor-piercing .50 caliber bullet” or “incendiary .50 caliber bullet,” see the Connecticut Ammunition Regulation section.

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53-202a(a)(1), 53-202c, and 53-202b. ⤴︎

Fifty Caliber Rifles in Maryland

Maryland regulates the 50 caliber rifle, including the “Barrett light .50 cal. semi-auto” in the list of assault weapons defined as “regulated firearms.”1 Transfers of regulated firearms are subject to enhanced background checks, minimum age restrictions and waiting periods. Moreover, firearms dealers and private sellers must comply with additional regulations when transferring a regulated firearm, and purchasers are limited to the purchase of one regulated firearm per month.

See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r)(2)(ix). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Alabama

Alabama law does not restrict the possession or transfer of machine guns. Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered. See our Machine Guns policy summary for comprehensive discussion of this topic.

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Alaska

Alaska generally penalizes anyone who “manufactures, possesses, transports, sells, or transfers a prohibited weapon.”1 Alaska defines the term “prohibited weapon” to include any “firearm that is capable of shooting more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”2 However, it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this provision that the manufacture, possession, transportation, sale, or transfer of the prohibited weapon was in accordance with registration under the National Firearms Act, a federal law governing machine guns and certain other weapons.3 The National Firearms Act generally allows private citizens to possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

Alaska law requires local officials to complete the forms required under federal law for transfer of a machine gun within 30 days.4

Alaska law also provides that a person may not bring a civil action for damage or harm caused by an individual for whom a “federal firearm certificate” was executed if the action arises from the execution of the federal firearm certificate by a public official with the authority under federal law to execute the certificate and the individual causing the damage or harm:

(1) is the transferee of the firearm; and

(2) at the time the certificate is executed either

(A) has a permit to carry a concealed handgun issued under Alaska law; or

(B) meets the qualifications imposed under Alaska law for obtaining a concealed handgun permit.5

A “federal firearm certificate” means the certificate required on a federal “Form 1 (Firearms)” (for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) application to make a machine gun or certain specified firearms), “Form 4 (Firearms)” (ATF application for registration and transfer of machine guns and certain other firearms) or “Form 5 (Firearms)” (ATF application for tax-exempt transfer and registration of machine guns and certain other firearms).6

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(3). ⤴︎
  2. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(h)(1). ⤴︎
  3. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(c). ⤴︎
  4. Alaska Stat. § 18.65.810 (enacted in 2010). ⤴︎
  5. Alaska Stat. § 09.65.270(a). ⤴︎
  6. Alaska Stat. § 09.65.270(b). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Arizona

Arizona includes machine guns in the definition of “prohibited weapon,” and prohibits anyone from knowingly manufacturing, possessing, transporting, selling, or transferring a prohibited weapon. However, this rule does not apply if the machine gun is possessed, manufactured, or transferred in compliance with federal law.1 Federal law prohibits the possession of newly manufactured machine guns, but generally allows machine guns to be registered so long as they were manufactured prior to May 19, 1986. Federal law also permits the transfer of machine guns lawfully owned prior to May 19, 1986 if the transfer is approved by ATF.

See Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms Policy Summary for for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3101(A)(8)(iii), (B), 13-3102(A)(3). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Arkansas

Arkansas defines “machine gun” as “a weapon of any description by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which more than five (5) shots or bullets may be rapidly, or automatically, or semi-automatically, discharged from a magazine, by a single function of the firing device.”1

Possession or use of a machine gun for “offensive or aggressive purpose” is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for 10 years or more.2

With limited exceptions, possession of a machine gun is presumed “offensive or aggressive” when it is:

  • On premises not owned or rented for bona fide permanent residence or business occupancy by the person in whose possession the machine gun may be found;
  • In the possession of or used by an unnaturalized foreign-born person or a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence in any court of record, state or federal, of the United States of America, its territories or insular possessions;
  • In the immediate vicinity of empty or loaded pistol shells of 30 (.30 in. or 7.63 mm.) or larger caliber which have been or are susceptible of use in the machine gun.3

Arkansas requires all manufacturers of machine guns to register all machine guns manufactured or handled.4

A person commits criminal use of a prohibited weapon if, except as authorized by law, he or she uses, possesses, makes, repairs, sells, or otherwise deals in a machine gun.5 However, it is a defense to prosecution for a violation of this section under circumstances “negating any likelihood that the weapon could be used as a weapon.”6

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-202(2). ⤴︎
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-204. ⤴︎
  3. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-205. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-104. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in California

See our Machine Guns policy page for further information.

California prohibits any person from possessing, knowingly transporting, selling, offering to sell, or knowingly manufacturing a machine gun without a permit.1 California also prohibits intentionally converting a firearm into a machine gun.2 The definition of “machine gun” in California law is identical to the definition in federal law and means “any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot, or can readily be restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”3 The term also includes any weapon deemed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as readily convertible to a machine gun.4

The California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) may issue permits to individuals who are 18 years of age or older for the possession, manufacture, or transportation of machine guns, only upon a satisfactory showing of good cause.5 The permit must be kept where the firearms are kept, and the permit must be open to inspection by law enforcement.6 DOJ may also grant licenses effective for not more than one year for the sale of machine guns to persons authorized to receive them under state law.7 A similar permit may be issued by DOJ to allow for the manufacture, possession, importation, transportation, or sale of short-barreled rifles or short-barreled shotguns.8

California law makes it a nuisance to possess a machine gun not in compliance with the above requirements.9 The Attorney General, any district attorney, or any city attorney may bring an action before the superior court to enjoin the possession of any illegally possessed machine gun.10 Any illegally possessed machine gun must be surrendered to DOJ, and DOJ will destroy it, unless a judge or district attorney files a statement with DOJ stating that its preservation is necessary to serve the ends of justice.11

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 32625(a). ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 32625(b). ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 16880(a). ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 16880(c). The definition of machine gun also includes any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. Cal. Penal Code § 16880(b). ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 32650. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 32660. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 32700. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 33300. ⤴︎
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 32750(a). ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 32750(b). ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 32750(c). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Colorado

Colorado generally prohibits the knowing possession of a “dangerous weapon,” which includes a machine gun.1 However, an exception applies for any person with a valid permit to possess a machine gun.2 Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-102(1), (3). ⤴︎
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-102(5). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Connecticut

Connecticut prohibits any person from: 1) possessing or using a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose; or 2) transferring, selling or giving a machine gun to a person under age 16, including the temporary transfer of a machine gun to such person for use in target shooting or on a firing or shooting range or for any other purpose.1

The possession or use of a machine gun is presumed to be for an offensive or aggressive purpose when:

  • The machine gun is on premises not owned or rented, for bona fide permanent residence or business occupancy, by the person in whose possession the machine gun was found;
  • In the possession of, or used by, an unnaturalized foreign-born person;
  • In the possession of, or used by, a person convicted of a crime of violence in any state or federal court;
  • The machine gun has been adapted to use projectiles of any caliber and has not been registered; or
  • Empty or loaded projectiles of any caliber which have been or are capable of use in the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity of such firearm.2

Any machine gun adapted to use projectiles of any caliber must be registered in the office of the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection within 24 hours after its acquisition and, thereafter, annually, on July first.3 The application must show the model and serial number of the gun, the name, address and occupation of the person in possession, and from whom and the purpose for which the gun was acquired. Any person who fails to register any gun as required hereby shall be presumed to possess the same for an offensive or aggressive purpose. The registration data shall not be subject to inspection by the public.4

Manufacturers of machine guns must keep a register of all such firearms.5 This register shall show the model and serial number, and the date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery or receipt of each machine gun, the name, address and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given or delivered or from whom it was received, and the purpose for which it was acquired by the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given or delivered.6

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(c). “Machine gun” is defined as a weapon of any description, loaded or unloaded, which shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one projectile, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger, and includes any part or combination of parts designed for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(a). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(d). ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(g). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(f). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Delaware

Delaware prohibits any person from selling, transferring, purchasing, receiving or possessing a “destructive weapon,” including any machine gun or firearm that is adaptable for use as a machine gun.1 This prohibition does not apply to: 1) members of the U.S. military or a police force in Delaware duly authorized to carry a machine gun; or 2) persons possessing machine guns for scientific or experimental research and development purposes, which firearms have been duly registered under the National Firearms Act of 1968 (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.).2

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1444(a). ⤴︎
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit 11, § 1444(b). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Florida

Florida law is silent regarding the manufacture, sale or transfer, transportation, licensing, or registration of machine guns and/or fully-automatic firearms. Florida prohibits any person from owning or having in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any machine gun which is, or may readily be made, operable. This prohibition does not apply to antique firearms or firearms that are lawfully owned and possessed under provisions of federal law.1 Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Fla. Stat. §§ 790.221(1) and (3). “Machine gun” is defined as “any firearm, as defined herein, which shoots, or is designed to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manually reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” Fla. Stat. § 790.001(9). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Georgia

Georgia generally allows possession of a machine gun if it is registered as required by federal law.1 Federal law generally allows private citizens to possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-122 – 16-11-123, 16-11-124(d). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Hawaii

Hawaii has no law regulating machine guns or automatic weapons.

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986, so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Illinois

Illinois prohibits the knowing sale, manufacture, purchase, possession or carrying of a machine gun.1 Illinois defines a machine gun as “any weapon, which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manually reloading by a single function of the trigger, including the frame or receiver of any such weapon.” Any combination of parts designed or intended for use in converting any weapon into a machine gun, or any combination or parts from which a machine gun can be assembled, also constitutes a machine gun for purposes of these prohibitions.2

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-1(a)(7)(i). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Indiana

With some exceptions, Indiana generally prohibits a person from owning or possessing any machine gun or operating a loaded machine gun.1 However, this prohibition does not apply to any person possessing a machine gun “under applicable federal statutes.”2 Federal law generally allows private citizens to possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered. In addition, Indiana requires state law enforcement officers to issue a certification if requested by an individual so the individual can obtain a machine gun or other federally regulated firearm (as long as the individual is not prohibited by law from possessing the firearm, or the subject of a proceeding that could result in the individual being prohibited).3 Law enforcement officers in Indiana may be held personally liable for willful violations of the law requiring them to issue certifications.4

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-5-8, 35-47-9. ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-5-10(7). ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-8.5. ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. §35-47-8.5-4. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Iowa

Iowa generally prohibits private persons from knowingly possessing a machine gun.1

See our Machine Gun & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Iowa Code §§ 724.1(7), 724.3. Iowa defines a “machine gun” as a firearm that “shoots or is designed to shoot more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” Iowa Code § 724.1(1). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Kansas

Kansas law prohibits knowingly selling, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or carrying any firearm designed to discharge or capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger, unless the person or entity is in compliance with the National Firearms Act.1 Note, however, that the National Firearms Act generally allows private citizens to register machine guns so long as the machine guns were manufactured prior to May 19, 1986. Kansas has no stricter regulations.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6301(a)(5), (h); 21-6302(a)(5), (e)(3). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Louisiana

Louisiana law prohibits the sale, transport, purchase and possession of a machine gun, with few exceptions.1 The law also prohibits any merchant or manufacturer from permitting any machine gun to pass from his or her possession to the possession of any person unless the person falls within one of the exceptions.2 Every manufacturer or merchant must keep a register of all machine guns manufactured or handled by him, which must include the: 1) date of the sale, loan, gift, delivery, or receipt of any machine gun; 2) name, address, and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given, or delivered, or from whom it was received; and 3) purpose for which the person, to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given, or delivered, purchased, or obtained it.3

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Exceptions exist for law enforcement, the military, persons possessing war relics for exhibition in parades, security guards and their employers, merchants keeping machine guns as merchandise, and common carriers. La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1752. “Machine gun” includes “all firearms of any caliber, commonly known as machine rifles, machine guns, and sub-machine guns, capable of automatically discharging more than eight cartridges successively without reloading, in which the ammunition is fed to the gun from or by means of clips, disks, belts, or some other separable mechanical device.” La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1751. ⤴︎
  2. The law also prohibits any merchant or manufacturer from permitting any machine gun to pass from his or her possession to the possession of any person other than: (a) a manufacturer or a merchant; (b) a common carrier for shipment to a manufacturer or merchant; (c) a duly authorized agent of the government of the U.S. or Louisiana, acting in his or her official capacity; or (d) a person authorized to purchase a machine gun under the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (4) of Louisiana’s Statutes Section 40:1752, if the person presents a written permit to purchase and possess a machine gun, signed by the sheriff of the parish in which the manufacturer or merchant has his place of business or delivers the machine gun. La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1753. ⤴︎
  3. La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1754. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Maine

Maine law prohibits knowingly possessing a machine gun; however, this prohibition does not apply to machine guns manufactured, acquired, transferred, or possessed in accordance with federal law.1 Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.  Maine enacted a law in 2015 that will restrict local or state law enforcement’s authority to deny the transfer and registration of a machine gun if an applicant meets minimal criteria.2

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 17-A §§ 1051-1052. ⤴︎
  2. 2015 Me. S.B. 333. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Maryland

Maryland requires that any person possessing a machine gun register his or her gun with the Secretary of Maryland State Police (“DSP”) within 24 hours of acquiring the machine gun, and annually thereafter.1 Registration applications must contain the:

  • Make, model, serial number, caliber, type, barrel length, finish, and country of origin of the machine gun;
  • Name, address, race, gender, date of birth, Maryland driver’s license number, and occupation of the person in possession of the machine gun; and
  • Name of the person from whom the machine gun was acquired and the purpose for acquiring the machine gun.2

Manufacturers of machine guns also must keep a register of each machine gun manufactured or handled by the manufacturer.3 This register must contain the:

  • Method of manufacture and serial number of the machine gun;
  • Date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery, and receipt of the machine gun from the manufacturer; and
  • Name, address, and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given or delivered, or from whom the machine gun was received, and the purpose for which the machine gun was acquired.4

A manufacturer of a machine gun must allow a marshal, sheriff, or police officer to inspect the manufacturer’s entire stock of machine guns, parts, and supplies, including the register, on demand.5

A court may issue a warrant to search for and seize a machine gun possessed in violation of Maryland criminal law under the same procedure as for issuance of a warrant for stolen property.6 Moreover, a court may order, at the request of the State’s Attorney, the confiscation or destruction of a legally seized machine gun or the transfer of the machine gun to a Maryland peace officer or political subdivision.7

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-403(c)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-403(c)(3). ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-403(a)(1). ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-403(a)(2). ⤴︎
  5. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-403(b)(1). ⤴︎
  6. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-402(c)(1). ⤴︎
  7. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-402(c)(2). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Massachusetts

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

No person may carry or possess a machine gun in Massachusetts without a specially issued machine gun license. The licensing authority or the colonel of state police may issue a machine gun license to: (a) a firearm instructor certified by the municipal police training committee for the sole purpose of firearm instruction to police personnel; or (b) a bona fide collector of firearms upon application or upon application for renewal of such license.1

“Machine gun” is defined as “a weapon of any description, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged by one continuous activation of the trigger, including a submachine gun.”2

Massachusetts law also prohibits the sale or transfer of a machine gun to anyone not issued a machine gun license.3

Finally, Massachusetts prohibits any person from using any type of fully automatic machine gun or submachine gun for hunting purposes.4

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131(o). ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 121. ⤴︎
  3. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Eighth). ⤴︎
  4. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 131, § 64. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Michigan

Michigan prohibits the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, or possession of a machine gun or any other firearm that “shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than 1 shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”1 Note, however, that this prohibition does not apply to a person licensed by the federal government to manufacture, sell, or possess a machine gun.2 Federal law allows private citizens to obtain permission from the federal government to purchase or possess any machine gun lawfully owned prior to May 19, 1986.

The state also generally prohibits any person from knowingly: 1) manufacturing, selling, distributing, or possessing, or attempting to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess, a device designed or intended to be used to convert a semiautomatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm; or 2) demonstrating to another person, or attempting to demonstrate to another person, how to manufacture or install a device to convert a semiautomatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm.3 A “fully automatic firearm” is a firearm employing gas pressure or force of recoil to mechanically eject an empty cartridge from the firearm after a shot, and to load the next cartridge from the magazine, without renewed pressure on the trigger for each successive shot.4

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224(1)(a). ⤴︎
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 740.224(3). ⤴︎
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224e(1)(a), (b). ⤴︎
  4. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224e(4)(a). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Minnesota

Minnesota prohibits the ownership, possession, or operation of a machine gun, trigger activator or machine gun conversion kit.1

Minnesota does allow certain persons to own or possess a machine gun, including:

• Persons possessing machine guns that have been determined by the superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to be primarily collector’s items, relics, museum pieces or objects of curiosity, ornaments or keepsakes, and are not likely to be used as weapons, based on the date of manufacture, value, design or other characteristics of the weapons; or

• Federally-licensed dealers and manufacturers who have authority to buy, sell and/or manufacture machine guns and who either use the machine guns in peace officer training under courses approved by the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, or are engaged in the sale of machine guns to federal and state agencies or political subdivisions.2

Private persons, dealers or manufacturers owning or possessing a machine gun are required to submit reports of the gun to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Dealers and manufacturers must, by the tenth day of each month, file a written report showing the name and address of the dealer or manufacturer and the serial number of each machine gun acquired or manufactured during the previous month.3 Any private person, within ten days after acquiring ownership or possession of a machine gun, must file a written report showing his or her name and address, official title and position, a description of the machine gun sufficient to enable identification thereof, the purpose for which it is owned or possessed, and any additional information as the Bureau may reasonably require.4

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 2. “Machine gun” is defined as “any firearm designed to discharge, or capable of discharging automatically more than once by a single function of the trigger.” Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 1(a). A “trigger activator” is a removable manual or power driven trigger activating device constructed and designed so that, when attached to a firearm, the rate at which the trigger may be pulled increases and the rate of fire of the firearm increases to that of a machine gun. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 1(d). A “machine gun conversion kit” means any part or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 1(e). ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 3. ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 4(b). ⤴︎
  4. Minn. Stat. § 609.67, subd. 4(a). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Missouri

Missouri prohibits the knowing possession, sale, manufacture, transportation or repair of a machine gun, if the possession, sale, manufacture, transportation or repair is “in violation of federal law.”1 However, federal law generally allows private citizens to acquire and possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.020.1(6). Missouri defines a machine gun as any firearm that is capable of firing more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.010(14). See also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.080 (making a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(b) a state crime). 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(4) refers to the transfer of machine guns. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Montana

Montana does not criminalize mere possession of a machine gun. It is legal to possess a machine gun in Montana:

  • For a scientific purpose;
  • If the machine gun is not usable as a weapon and is possessed as a curiosity, ornament, or keepsake; or
  • For a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.1

However, possession or use of a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of not less than 10 years.2 Moreover, possession or use of a machine gun in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a crime of violence is a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term of not less than 20 years.3

Possession or use of a machine gun is presumed to be for an offensive or aggressive purpose when the machine gun is used or possessed by a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence4 in any court of record, state or federal, in the U.S. or its territories.5

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mont. Code Ann § 45-8-307(2) and (3). ⤴︎
  2. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-304. ⤴︎
  3. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-303. ⤴︎
  4. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-302 defines a “crime of violence” to include any of the following offenses or an attempt to commit any of the following offenses: forcible felony, robbery, burglary, and criminal trespass. ⤴︎
  5. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-305. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Nebraska

In Nebraska, any person who transports or possesses any machine gun commits a Class IV felony.1 This does not apply to any person qualified under federal law to possess or transport machine guns.2

Machine gun means “any firearm, whatever its size and usual designation, that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”3

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1203(1). ⤴︎
  2. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1203(2). ⤴︎
  3. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1201(7). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Nevada

Nevada generally prohibits the manufacture or causing to be manufactured, importation into Nevada, keeping, offering or exposing for sale, or giving, lending, possession or use of a machine gun, unless authorized by federal law.1

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.350(1)(b). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in New Jersey

New Jersey prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a machine gun, or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without a state license.1

The state also prohibits any person from manufacturing, causing to be manufactured, transporting, shipping, selling or disposing of any machine gun without being registered or licensed under state law.2

Any person seeking to purchase, possess or carry a machine gun in New Jersey may apply for a license to do so by filing a written application with his or her county’s superior court, setting forth in detail the reasons for desiring such a license.3 “No license shall be issued to any person who would not qualify for a permit to carry a handgun…and no license shall be issued unless the court finds that the public safety and welfare so require.”4

Finally, any person who offers to sell a machine gun by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within New Jersey, where the advertisement does not specify that the purchaser is required to possess a valid New Jersey license to purchase and possess a machine gun or a valid Firearms Purchaser Identification Card to purchase and possess an automatic rifle, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.5

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat Ann. § 2C:39-5a. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-9a. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5a. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5b. Licenses expire one year from the date of issuance, and may be renewed under the same conditions as the original applications for two years. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5d. The superior court shall provide such conditions and limitations to the machine gun license as it deems to be in the public interest. Id. For more information on machine gun licenses, see N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-5. See N.J. Admin. Code §§ 13:54-5.1 – 13:54-5.4, 13:54-5.6 for further information on machine guns. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-15. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in New York

New York penalizes any person who possesses any machine gun or any other firearm or weapon simulating a machine gun and which is adaptable for such use.1 It also penalizes any person who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, transports, ships, or disposes of any machine gun.2

The presence in any room, dwelling, structure, or vehicle of any machine gun is presumptive evidence of its unlawful possession by all persons occupying the place where such machine gun is found.3

A person who possesses any machine gun as an executor, administrator, or any other lawful possessor of such property of a decedent must deliver the machine gun to an appropriate official or to the superintendent of state police within 15 days.4

As used in New York law “machine gun” means “a weapon of any description, irrespective of size, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged from a magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a sub-machine gun.”5

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.02(2) and (3). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.10(1), (2), (3) and (6). ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.15(1). ⤴︎
  4. Such officer must hold it and thereafter deliver it on the written request of the executor, administrator, or other lawful possessor of such property to a named person, provided such named person is licensed to or is otherwise lawfully permitted to possess the same. If no request to deliver the machine gun is received within one year of the delivery, such official must dispose of it. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.20(1)(f). ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(1). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in North Carolina

With certain exceptions, North Carolina prohibits any person, firm, or corporation from manufacturing, selling, giving away, disposing of, using, or possessing any machine gun or submachine gun, unless the person lawfully possesses or owns the weapon in compliance with federal law.1 Federal law generally allows private citizens to possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered, and are not prohibited by state or local law.

Although North Carolina law explicitly grants a sheriff discretion in executing the paperwork required by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to allow such a person to obtain the weapon,2 the state enacted a law in 2015 that requires the chief law enforcement officer to provide the required certification within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited by State or federal law from receiving or possessing the firearm and is not the subject of a proceeding that could result in the applicant being prohibited by law from receiving or possessing the firearm. Although the 2015 law did not repeal the existing section granting the chief law enforcement officer discretion in executing the certificate, the law states that the officer may not refuse to provide certification based on a generalized objection to private persons or entities making, possessing, or receiving firearms or any certain type of firearm the possession of which is not prohibited by law.3

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-409(b). Subsection (a) of the same statute defines “machine gun” or “submachine gun” as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.” ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-409.41(b). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in North Dakota

North Dakota prohibits anyone from purchasing, selling, having, or possessing a machine gun or fully automatic rifle unless that person has complied with the National Firearms Act, which only requires that the firearms be registered.1 In 2015, North Dakota enacted a law that will require local law enforcement to approve the registration of a machine gun if the person meets minimal requirements.2

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-05-01. ⤴︎
  2. 2015 N.D. S.B. 2274. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Ohio

Ohio law defines the term “[d]angerous ordnance” to include any “automatic firearm.”1 “Automatic firearm” means any firearm designed or specially adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger.2 “Automatic firearm” also means any semi-automatic firearm designed or specially adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other than a firearm chambering only .22 caliber short, long, or long-rifle cartridges.3

It is generally unlawful to knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use any dangerous ordnance without a license or permit.4 Ohio law allows the sheriff of a county or safety director or police chief of a municipality to, in his or her discretion, issue a license or temporary permit to acquire, possess, carry, or use dangerous ordnance to any responsible person, so long as the dangerous ordnance was lawfully acquired, possessed, and carried, and is used for a legitimate research, scientific, educational, industrial, or other proper purpose.5 The applicant must reside or have his or her principal place of business in the county or municipality, must be age 21 or over, and it must appear that the applicant has “sufficient competence to safely acquire, possess, carry, or use the dangerous ordnance, and that proper precautions will be taken to protect the security of the dangerous ordnance and ensure the safety of persons and property.”6 The issuing authority may list any “restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carriage, or use of the dangerous ordnance as the issuing authority considers advisable to protect the security of the dangerous ordnance and ensure the safety of persons and property.”7 The issuing authority must forward a copy of all such licenses and permits to the state fire marshal.8

Anyone who is transferring any dangerous ordnance to another must require the transferee to exhibit the license of permit, and must take a complete record of the transaction and forward a copy of that record to the sheriff of the county or safety director or police chief of the municipality where the transaction takes place.9

Ohio law also penalizes any person who, in acquiring, possessing, carrying, or using any dangerous ordnance, negligently fails to take proper precautions to secure the dangerous ordnance against theft, or against its acquisition or use by any unauthorized or incompetent person, or to insure the safety of persons and property.10

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.11(K). ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.11(E). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.17. ⤴︎
  5. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(A). ⤴︎
  6. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(C). ⤴︎
  7. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(D). ⤴︎
  8. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(G). For further information about these permits and licenses, see Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18. ⤴︎
  9. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.20(A)(4). ⤴︎
  10. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.19(A). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Oklahoma

Oklahoma law prohibits any person convicted of a felony to possess or control a machine gun, or have one in any vehicle the person is operating or riding in as a passenger, or at his or her residence.1

The state also prohibits any person previously adjudicated as a delinquent child or a youthful offender for commission of an offense that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult to possess or control a machine gun within 10 years after such adjudication, or to have one in any vehicle which he or she is driving or riding in as a passenger, or at his or her residence.2

Federal law generally allows the possession of a machine gun manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as the firearm is registered.

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(A). ⤴︎
  2. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(D). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Oregon

Oregon prohibits any person from knowingly possessing any machine gun, unless it is registered under federal law.1 Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.272. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law prohibits the possession of machine guns, unless the machine gun was registered under the National Firearms Act, or falls within some other exception.1 Note that the National Firearms Act generally allows private citizens to register and possess machine guns so long as they were manufactured prior to May 19, 1986, and are not prohibited by state or local law.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 908(a), (b)(1). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Rhode Island

Rhode Island generally prohibits the manufacture, sale, purchase, or possession of a machine gun.1

The Rhode Island Attorney General may, however, issue to any person, firm, or corporation engaged in manufacturing in the state a license or permit to manufacture and sell machine guns and any or all machine gun parts.2

See our Machine Guns and Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-8(a). ⤴︎
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-19. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in South Carolina

South Carolina prohibits any person from transporting a machine gun within the state.1 Keeping, storing, possessing, selling, renting, or giving away a machine gun are also generally prohibited activities, unless the possessor is authorized to possess a machine gun by the federal government, among other exceptions.2 Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

South Carolina allows persons in dangerous professions, such as law enforcement, corrections, or the military, among others, to possess a machine gun if the person registers the machine gun per state law.3 In addition, the state issues special limited licenses for the possession, transportation and sale of machine guns to: 1) authorized representatives of a machine gun manufacturer or dealer engaged in demonstrating and selling such guns to agencies authorized by law to possess them; or 2) persons engaged in professional movie-making or providing services to professional movie-makers who use machine guns for special effects purposes.4

See our Machine Guns policy summary for further information. 

Notes
  1. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-220. ⤴︎
  2. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-23-230, 16-23-240, 16-23-250. ⤴︎
  3. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-330. ⤴︎
  4. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-370. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in South Dakota

South Dakota prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a machine gun, except any person who:

  • Is a law enforcement officer or member of the armed forces of the U.S. or South Dakota National Guard acting in the lawful discharge of duties;
  • Possesses the gun briefly after having found it or taken it from an offender; or
  • Has a valid state or federal license issued pursuant to law for the machine gun or has registered the gun with the proper state or federal authority pursuant to law.1

Note, however, that federal law generally allows private citizens to register machine guns so long as the machine guns were manufactured prior to May 19, 1986.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-6. “Controlled weapon” includes any machine gun. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-1-2(8). “Machine gun” means “any firearm, whatever its size and usual designation, that automatically discharges two or more cartridges by a single function of the firing device.” S.D. Codified Laws § 22-1-2(23). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Tennessee

Tennessee law generally penalizes anyone who intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells a machine gun.1 However, it is a defense to prosecution that the person’s conduct involved acquisition or possession of a machine gun that is validly registered to the person under federal law in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records.2 Federal law generally allows private citizens to acquire and possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered. Tennessee law simply requires a person who acquires or possesses a firearm registered as required under federal law to retain proof of registration.3

Tennessee law requires the sheriff or chief of police of the city where a person purchasing any machine gun (or other firearm required to be registered under the National Firearms Act) resides to execute within 15 business days all documents required to be submitted by the purchaser if the purchaser is not prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to Tennessee law.4

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1302. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1361. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Texas

Texas law prohibits intentionally or knowingly possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing, or selling a machine gun.1 However, it is a defense to prosecution if the machine gun was properly registered under federal law.2 Note that federal law generally allows private citizens to register machine guns so long as the machine guns were manufactured prior to May 19, 1986.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Tex. Penal Code § 46.05(a)(2). ⤴︎
  2. Tex. Penal Code § 46.05(b), (c). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in the District of Columbia

(This section was last updated September 20, 2010.)

The District of Columbia deems machine guns unregisterable, thereby prohibiting possession of these firearms.1 Unregisterable firearms cannot be sold or transferred in the District.2 The District defines a machine gun as:

[A]ny firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term “machine gun” shall also include the frame or receiver of any such firearm, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a firearm into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.3

District law also provides that any manufacturer, importer or dealer of a machine gun will be held strictly liable for any direct and consequential damages resulting from injuries or death caused by these weapons:

Any manufacturer, importer, or dealer of a[]…machine gun shall be held strictly liable in tort, without regard to fault or proof of defect, for all direct and consequential damages that arise from bodily injury or death if the bodily injury or death proximately results from the discharge of the…machine gun in the District of Columbia.4

Any defense available in a strict liability action is available as a defense to an action brought under the District’s machine gun strict liability laws.5

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(2). See also D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4514(a) (prohibiting possession of a machine gun in the District). ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2505.01, 7-2505.02(a). ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2501.01(10). ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.02. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2551.03(d). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Utah

Utah law does not prohibit the possession or transfer of machine guns. Utah law only provides that no person under age 18 may possess a “fully automatic weapon,” which includes a machine gun.1

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered, and the requirements of state and local law are met.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-509.4. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Virginia

Virginia law allows the possession of a machine gun for scientific purposes or for any purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.1 However, Virginia law requires every machine gun to be registered with the Department of State Police within 24 hours after its acquisition.2 Possession or use of a machine gun is presumed to be for an offensive or aggressive purpose when: (i) the machine gun is on premises not owned or rented for bona fide permanent residence or business occupancy by the person in whose possession the machine gun may be found; (ii) the machine gun is in the possession of, or used by, a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence; (iii) the machine gun has not been registered as required by Virginia law; or (iv) empty or loaded shells which have been or are susceptible of use in the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity thereof.3

An application to register a machine gun must be notarized and show the model and serial number of the gun, the name, address and occupation of the person in possession, and from whom and the purpose for which the gun was acquired or altered.4 The Superintendent of State Police must furnish the registrant with a certificate of registration, which is valid as long as the registrant remains the same. Certificates of registration must be retained by the registrant and produced by him or her upon demand by any peace officer.5 Any peace officer may, without warrant, seize any machine gun if the owner does not comply. Upon transferring a registered machine gun, the transferor must notify the Superintendent, in writing, setting forth the date of transfer and name and address of the transferee. Registration data is not subject to inspection by the public.6

Every manufacturer or dealer must keep a register of all machine guns manufactured or handled by him or her that shows the model and serial number, date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery or receipt of every machine gun, the name, address, and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given or delivered, or from whom it was received.7 Upon demand every manufacturer or dealer must permit any marshal, sheriff, or police officer to inspect his or her entire stock of machine guns, parts, and supplies therefor, and shall produce the register for inspection.8

“Machine gun” means “any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”9

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-293.1. Unlawful possession or use of a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose is a Class 4 felony. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-290. ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-295. See also Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-293.1. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-291. ⤴︎
  4. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-295. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-294. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-288(1). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Washington

Washington prohibits any person from manufacturing, owning, buying, selling, loaning, furnishing, transporting, or having in his or her possession or under his or her control any: 1) machine gun; or, 2) any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in a machine gun.1 It is also unlawful to convert a weapon into a machine gun, or to assemble or repair any machine gun.2 However, it is an affirmative defense to a prosecution brought under this section that the machine gun, was acquired prior to July 1, 1994, and is possessed in compliance with federal law.3 Federal law generally allows private citizens to possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

In Washington, all machine guns, or any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in a machine gun, to convert a weapon into a machine gun are declared to be contraband, and all peace officers and members of the armed forces are required to seize machine guns or machine gun parts.4

Finally the state prohibits any person, in the commission or furtherance of a felony, to discharge, menace or threaten another person with a machine gun.5

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.190(1). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.190(3). ⤴︎
  4. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.220. ⤴︎
  5. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.225. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in West Virginia

West Virginia prohibits any person from carrying, transporting, or possessing any machine gun, submachine gun, or fully automatic weapon unless they have complied fully with all applicable federal laws.1 However, federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. W. Va. Code § 61-7-9. ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, no person may sell, possess, use, or transport any machine gun or other fully automatic firearm.1 The state also prohibits modifying a firearm so that it discharges more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.2

These prohibitions do not apply to, among other things, the restoration of such weapons by a person having a license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to collect firearms as curios or relics.3

Manufacturers of machine guns must keep a register of all such guns that shows the model and serial number; date of manufacture, sale, loan, gift, delivery, or receipt; name, address and occupation of the person to whom the machine gun was sold, loaned, given, or delivered or from whom it was received; and the purpose for which it was acquired.4 Manufacturers must also allow any marshal, sheriff or police officer to inspect the stock of machine guns, parts, and supplies, and must produce the register for inspection.5

“Machine gun” means:

  • Any weapon that shoots, is designed to shoot or can be readily restored to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger;
  • The frame, receiver or any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting any weapon into a of any machine gun or “full automatic firearm;” or
  • Any combination of parts from which a machine gun or “full automatic firearm” can be assembled, if those parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”6

The aforementioned machine gun restrictions do not prohibit possession of a machine gun for any scientific purpose, possession as a curiosity, ornament, or keepsake (if the gun is not usable as a weapon), or possession (other than a machine gun adapted to use pistol cartridges) for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.7

See our Machine Gun policy summary for comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(1)(a). ⤴︎
  2. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(1m). ⤴︎
  3. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(3). ⤴︎
  4. Wis. Stat. § 941.25. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Wis. Stat. § 941.25. ⤴︎
  7. Wis. Stat. § 941.26(5). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Wyoming

Wyoming only prohibits possession of any fully automatic weapon in state game fields or forests.1

Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered, and the requirements of state and local law are met.

See our Machine Guns policy summary for comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wyo. Stat. § 23-3-112 (a). ⤴︎