Think You Know All About NFA Forms?

Ever Heard of the “Movie Gun Transfer” Form?

Think You Know All About NFA Forms?

I became an 01, NFA Class 3 Dealer back in 1988, and throughout my firearms career of almost 40 years, I have held every license ATF has to offer, including Destructive Device Dealer/Manufacturer/ Importer, NFA Dealer/Manufacturer/Importer, etc. and even managed a Title II U.S. Customs Bonded Warehouse. In 1991, I got involved with the film industry as a theatrical armorer through some friends who were top martial artists as well as Hollywood action actors. I’m not going to get into that whole story now, but over the years, I did work for HBO, The History Channel, Screen Gems Studios, Reader’s Digest Video, and many other studios and film companies. I don’t do much in the movie industry today (although I still can and am asked to work now and then), but if you want to take a look at my old website, it's archived here: Exotic Arms for Motion Pictures.

NFA Forms
Exotic Arms for Motion Pictures’ first ad appeared in The Hollywood Reporter in 1991.

Back in the day, many of us theatrical armorers would rent machine-guns from companies like the famous Stembridge Gun Rentals, Ellis Mercantile (prop company), and a couple of others. The way we could rent a machine gun was that first you had to be a licensed 01/class 3 NFA dealer, 07/class 2 NFA manufacturer, or an 08/class 1 NFA importer – you also had to be a legitimate theatrical armorer. Instead of transferring the firearm on a tax-free dealer-to-dealer ATF Form 3, or on the more common taxed ATF Form 4, or on the tax-free Form 5 (used for estate transfers or repairs), the then-BATF had what was called the “Movie Industry Transfer of NFA Weapons” form (many of us just called it the movie gun transfer form). This form was faxed in and took less than 24 hours for approval in most cases. 24 hours!

NFA Forms
The BATF Movie Gun Transfer Form, which was approved in 24 hours and sent in via a fax machine.

However, as far as fully-automatic firearm rentals, only transferable machine guns qualified for this transfer. So, an Auto Ordnance 1928 Thompson submachine gun that sold for as low as $1,000 in 1988 (and that was two years after the unconstitutional Hughes Amendment in the FOPA), now sells for over $20,000 – that is the main reason why it's not done any longer (to my knowledge) - the guns are just too valuable to get “banged up” on a movie set. Also, the fact that both movie prop houses I mentioned sold their entire inventories is a huge reason this practice went away. The six or so MP5s (converted transferable HK94s) I used on the HBO movie Rogue Force (1998), starring Michael Rooker and Robert Patrick, would sell for over $35,000 each today. At the time the movie filmed in 1997, the value of a transferable converted HK94 was at about $3,000, the first transferable one in my gun shop went for $850 in 1988.

Today, many theatrical armorers are type 07/class 2 NFA manufacturers, so they just convert semi-autos to full auto or build machine guns from parts kits, and some have law enforcement dealer samples too. Well, since the Hearing Protection Act has been pretty much scuttled, and NFA transfer times are dragging on at a little less than one year, I know that this little bit of unknown NFA history is going to enrage a lot of people. Anyway, “That’s show biz!”


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with Hornady 4DOF

Hornady Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with Hornady 4DOF

The Hornady Kestrel 5700 combines complete onsite environmental measurements with Hornady 4DOF trajectory solutions.

Pioneer Arms PPS-43C Pistol

Pioneer Arms PPS-43C Pistol

The PPS-43 served Poland and the Russians during WWII. It is now available as a pistol for the US market.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy. Air Guns

AirForce Airguns Condor Ring-Loc Kit Review

Tom Gaylord - May 29, 2019

A $50 Ring Loc-Kit gives AirForce Condor airgunners unparalleled power and accuracy.

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

CRKT makes 17 different knife models exclusively for Ruger, from fixed hunting knives to tactical folders, and many of their models are offered in several different styles. Accessories

Ruger CRKT Knives Review

James Tarr - July 08, 2019

CRKT makes 17 different knife models exclusively for Ruger, from fixed hunting knives to...

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice would be ridiculous. 2nd Amendment

Is Red Dawn Really Just Ridiculous? If Not, Who Would Citizen Disarmament Help?

David Codrea - May 29, 2019

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice...

See More Trending Articles

More 2nd Amendment

California's ammunition background check law has been a huge flop. It has greatly inconvenienced law-abiding Golden State gun owners, infringed their right to keep and bear arms, and bounced around in the courts over constitutional challenges. 2nd Amendment

Will Ammo Background Checks Be the New Law of The Land?

Mark Chesnut - July 08, 2020

California's ammunition background check law has been a huge flop. It has greatly...

Following an incident last week in which a man was shot in the midst of a crowd vandalizing a statue in the city, Keller found a sneaky way to skirt New Mexico's firearms preemption law—he declared all parks to now be “education facilities.” 2nd Amendment

Albuquerque Mayor Skirts State Law, Bans Guns in City Parks

Mark Chesnut - June 27, 2020

Following an incident last week in which a man was shot in the midst of a crowd vandalizing a...

The recent gun-buying surge that began with the COVID-19 pandemic panic and continued through the civil unrest and riots following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody has created millions of new gun owners who will now eagerly protect their right to protect themselves and their loved ones. 2nd Amendment

CCRKBA Says Millions of New Gun Owners Will Reshape 2A Battle

Firearms News Staff - June 27, 2020

The recent gun-buying surge that began with the COVID-19 pandemic panic and continued through...

California has one of the strictest so-called “assault weapons” bans on the books, making it extremely difficult for citizens of the Golden State to practice their Second Amendment-protected rights. 2nd Amendment

Clamping Down on Gun Rights in Commiefornia

Mark Chesnut - July 02, 2020

California has one of the strictest so-called “assault weapons” bans on the books, making it...

See More 2nd Amendment

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now