Machine Gun FAQ


By Bruce Colodny, The California Gun Attorney

 Revised & Copyright © 2017


Can I Legally Possess A Machine Gun In California?

Technically, yes but practically speaking, no. Not only must the machine gun be properly registered with the ATF, a permit or license from the California Department of Justice is also required. However, the machine gun in violin caseCalifornia Code of Regulations limit issuance to persons or companies who either manufacture or sell machine guns to law enforcement agencies or the military, or, provide machine guns as props for motion picture or television productions. Obtaining a California machine gun license or permit is very difficult and the various requirements include a background check and that the applicant demonstrate, by "clear and convincing evidence" that there is a bona fide market or public necessity sufficient to justify issuance. Each year to renew, you must demonstrate that you are actually operating a business.

Are Machine Gun Violations Serious Offenses?

YES! You can be prosecuted in Federal or California court. The base offense level in Federal Court is a level 18 which means a base recommended sentencing range of 27 to 33 months. Under California law, simple possession can be charged as either a misdemeanor (rare and misdemeanor conviction results in a 10-year California firearm prohibition) or as a felony punishable by up to three years in state prison. Under California law, making or selling a machine gun, or converting a firearm into a machine gun, is much more serious; this is a felony punishable by up to eight years in state prison.


This article is general information; it is not legal advice. The information contained within, is subject to change as a result of future court decisions and/or new legislation.

If you have questions concerning a specific item or your personal situation, you should consult
The Law Offices of Bruce Colodny 800-560-8000.  800-560-8000