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Senate Bill Aims to Repeal ‘Burdensome’ NFA Tax

The Senate bill would remove the $200 tax required to obtain NFA items, such as silencers, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles.

A group of U.S. senators filed a bill last week to remove the tax required to obtain National Firearm Act (NFA) items, such as silencers, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles. In a statement, Sen. Tom Cotton, the Republican representing Arkansas who filed the bill, called the $200 tax "an undue financial burden on would-be gun owners."

Twelve other Republican senators have already signed on to the "Repealing Illegal Freedom and Liberty Excises (RIFLE) Act" and a companion measure was filed in the House. In statements, Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, both Republicans representing Wyoming, said they're supporting the bill to protect and preserve the "right to keep and bear arms."

However, Cotton's statement adds that the tax has remained unchanged since the NFA was enacted in 1934. At the time, that amount of money was meant "to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions" of machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. If it had been adjusted, the tax would currently be $4,648. But, again, it's still $200.

NFA items, especially silencers (or firearm suppressors), have grown in popularity over the past decade. Since 2012, the number of applications for NFA items received by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has increased almost 600 percent, jumping from 152,079 to 1,061,068 in 2023.

According to the statement, the bill is meant to chip away at the NFA law, specifically by removing the tax, but the background check and registration requirements will remain.