Belt-fed guns are a type of firearm that uses a continuous belt or link to feed rounds of ammunition into the chamber. It’s perhaps best known for its use in military weapons, such as the M249 light machine gun and the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). But are belt fed guns legal for civilian ownership? Let’s take a look.
In the United States, belt fed guns are legal for civilian ownership, but regulations vary by state. Federal laws govern their possession, while states may have additional restrictions. Always check local laws before acquiring one.
Are Belt Fed Guns Legal | What You Need To Know
Federal Law on Belt Fed Guns
In the United States, belt-fed guns are regulated by federal law. According to the National Firearms Act (NFA), civilians can own belt-fed guns manufactured before 1986, provided they register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
However, registering an NFA firearm can be a long and expensive process—and even after it’s completed, there are still additional restrictions on where and how you can use your gun.
State Laws on Belt Fed Guns
In addition to federal laws, individual states have laws governing belt-fed guns. Some states allow ownership with few or no restrictions; others have more stringent regulations.
For example, in California, possessing any belt-fed weapon that was not registered prior to 1989 is illegal, even if you took steps to register it with the ATF afterward. Therefore, checking your state’s laws before attempting to purchase or use a belt-fed gun is essential.
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Can Civilians Own Belt-Fed Machine Guns?
The short answer is yes; civilians can own belt-fed machine guns in some states in the US. However, a few stipulations must be followed before you can legally own one. First, you must be at least 21 years old and have a valid federal firearms license (FFL).
Additionally, you will need approval from your local law enforcement agency and register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to purchase a belt-fed machine gun.
The process for purchasing a belt-fed machine gun is lengthy and involves submitting an application with the ATF and passing a background check. You must also pay an additional tax on any fees associated with purchasing the gun and any accessories, such as ammunition or magazines, you may need to purchase. You must also adhere to state or local laws regarding firearm ownership in your area.
For example, some states may restrict certain weapons or require additional paperwork or registration before allowing you to possess them. Therefore, it’s essential to research all applicable laws before purchasing a belt-fed machine gun to ensure that you are following all necessary regulations and not inadvertently breaking any laws.
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Can A Shotgun Be Belt-Fed?
The short answer to whether a shotgun can be belt-fed is yes! Although not many people are familiar with this type of shotgun, it does exist – and has been used by militaries for decades.
Typically, in military applications, these shotguns feature a unique design allowing multiple rounds to be loaded on a belt at once. This makes them incredibly useful for situations where an overwhelming amount of firepower needs to be unleashed in a very short period.
Furthermore, since the ammunition is already connected to the belt. It becomes extremely easy to maintain a continuous rate of fire – making the weapon even more effective. All-in-all, given the right circumstances, a shotgun absolutely can be belt-fed.
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So are belt fed guns legal? While owning a belt-fed gun is undoubtedly possible for civilians in certain parts of the US, it’s essential to know and understand all applicable laws before attempting to do so. In addition, the process of purchasing one can be lengthy and costly due to federal registration requirements and state-level restrictions.
So make sure you do your research first! Nevertheless, owning a belt-fed gun can be an enjoyable experience for those interested in firearms history or military-style shooting competitions if you meet all legal requirements and take appropriate safety precautions.