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Sorry Obama, you’re wrong about how gangbangers get guns CNN/Screenshot

In his town hall meeting on firearms President Obama faced tough questions from a diverse set of citizens and CNN host Anderson Cooper.

But perhaps his most egregious mistake was when he brought up “sawed off” shotguns, short-barreled rifles, and silencers. The president made it seem like Americans were using shady “trusts and shell corporations to purchase the most dangerous weapons,” essentially skirting gun regulations.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

To legally purchase or own short-barreled rifles, shotguns or silencers, you must go through significant legal hurdles, background checks, pay hundreds of dollars in registration, and so much more—whether doing so as an individual or with a legal entity like a trust.

Short-barreled firearms and silencers are regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and are thus referred to as NFA devices. The process for purchasing these items as an individual requires that you fill out the ATF’s Form 4, which includes providing passport pictures, fingerprints, and the signature of your local chief law-enforcement officer (though this changed due to the executive mandates). Oh—and $200 for each device, on top of the $1,000 or so you’ve already forked over for your firearm or silencer.

Once you’ve filled out your application through the mail, you’ll wait for months as the ATF scrutinizes your application. If they approve your application, they will mail you a stamped form showing that your device is legal.

Finally, you can head to the specifically authorized dealer (you must have a license to sell NFA items) to acquire your NFA devices. You must then keep a copy of your stamped form with your devices, at all times, ready for inspection. You’ll also need to ask the ATF for permission to travel with NFA devices across state lines and alert them to any change of address.

Forming a trust or other legal entity can streamline this difficult process, but only by making it more expensive. Individuals will either use a lawyer or purchase a pre-made trust, which could cost an additional $50 to $200 or more then file the ATF’s Form 1.

The president’s newest executive action now requires all members of a trust to submit fingerprints and passport pictures.

So why utilize a trust? Trusts are able to file their applications online, while individuals are not, reducing the wait time for those applying via trust by several months. Dana Loesch summarizes it best:

NFA device owners who use a trust must go through all the same regulations, background checks, registration, and other requirements—no matter the purchase process. Legally acquiring these items are among the most expensive and difficult firearms in the US.

Violating these laws carries a felony charge with up to $10,000 fine and five years in jail.

Criminals aren’t going to pay $200 to apply to the ATF, hire a lawyer, and register their NFA devices with the government. They’re just going to grab a hacksaw and ignore the law entirely.

If the president isn’t even familiar with the process his days-old executive action addresses, how can we trust any other knowledge he claims to have on the issue?

The NFA process is hardly the dark, backroom shadiness the president makes it out to be, casting further doubt on his intentions and actions to promote gun control.

Mike Morrison About the author:
Mike Morrison is the Director of Communications for American Majority, a non-partisan training institute whose mission is to identify and mold the next wave of liberty-minded new leaders, grassroots activists and community leaders. Follow him on Twitter @MikeKMorrison
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