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 requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.2 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019.3
Arizona law addresses the transfers of firearms regulated by federal law, which includes machine guns, as discussed above. Arizona’s law provides that if a chief law enforcement officer’s certification is required to complete the transfer of such a firearm, the chief law enforcement officer shall, within 60 days of receiving a request for a certification, “provide the certification if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm or is not the subject of a proceeding that could result in the applicant being prohibited by law from receiving the firearm. If the chief law enforcement officer is unable to provide a certification as required by this section, the chief law enforcement officer shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the denial and the reason for this determination.”4 The law also allows the chief law enforcement officer to refer applicants who are requesting a certification required by federal law to the county sheriff.5
See Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms Policy Summary for for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.