What You Didn’t Know About the 1968 Machine Gun Amnesty

When the 1968 machine gun amnesty was announced in the US, it was treated with widespread suspicion among gun collectors. Some thought it would merely a pretense to find and arrest owners of unregistered machine guns. Others though it was just the first step in a prohibition and confiscation of machine guns. Both of these groups would prove to be wrong, however,r and the amnesty was in fact a true amnesty.

In fact, the amnesty was even more substantial than people recognize even today. It was not just an amnesty for possession of an unregistered machine gun, but also pretty much any crime associated with the gun. For example, it would legalize guns that had been stolen from military property rooms, and guns with defaced serial numbers. In fact, it even allowed felons to register machine guns, and retain the legal right to own them to this very day.


  1. Some of those amnesty details are incredible.

    Wasn’t there some 5th amendment self-incrimination issue about the NFA that prompted the 1968 amnesty? Some Supreme Court ruling?

  2. from what I understand, there is nothing stopping the ATF director from declaring another amnesty. make it 4 years long or so. manufacturers can go “oops..we made a machinegun!wink wink nudge nudge” and amnesty register it.

    1986 ban? what 1986 ban?

    • I thought the amnesty was intended to relieve pressure from the logistical hassles of tracking down every single automatic weapon in the country. Just think: there is WAY too much surplus from the previous world wars to round up! After all, many Pacific War veterans could hide captured guns in the attic and simply tell only their next-of-kin about the guns. Why allow some weirdos with sunglasses and badges to barge in and “inspect” the wares if you know they are likely to jail you for the next 30 or so years for “supplying gangs with military grade guns?” A gun collector had to appeal to the high court to get his stuff back. The judge finally let the guy get his guns back along with a lot of monetary compensation after seeing that the ATF warrant was based on OUTDATED information (by outdated, I mean the “contraband” collection of antique guns was sitting around in a shed for over seven years) which meant the “evidence” was no longer valid. Also, the judge saw evidence that showed the ATF agents contaminating the “crime scene” with snack bags, pop cans, and even dog poop. The judge was not happy about the obvious violation of “proper CSI procedure.” Even worse for the ATF, it turned out the agents had SMASHED all of the guns with sledge hammers, which meant that the evidence used against the collector was rendered null and void. Guess how His Honor dealt with the agents…

    • Send a letter requesting one to

      David J. Kautter
      Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy)
      Department of the Treasury
      1500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room 3120
      Washington, DC 20220

      (Why the Assistant Secretary? Sending complaints to a relevant vice president is always better than the very top. As for who he is, all I can find on him is talking about the complexity of the tax code, so appeal to that)

      • Oh and before anyone asks that address is officially publicly posted on the treasury’s website, though not particularly easy to find.

    • As side note: though I don’t know if it is applicable to full-auto weapons but according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_Game_Getter
      Bureau of Internal Revenue could (in 1939) declare weapon model having 18″ shotgun barrel to be immune to NFA 1934.
      However, it was in 1939 so I presume law was different than now and it is about barrel length.

  3. Sadly, I was not aware of the amnesty in 1968.

    Not that I could have taken advantage of it, you don’t get to buy many machine guns on a 12 year old’s finances.

    • Yeah!imagine the battery of contraband iron amassed by a 4 year old.we figure out time travel I’m going back and conning my dad into stamping a couple pkms,a snowcap maxim and some m1a1 tommys,and,,,,,

  4. I have a theory (muh tinfoil hat! muh black helicopters!) about this. (((Lyndon B Johnson))) was president at the time. If you’ve read Roger Stone’s book on him, you know… well yeah. The point of this was to disarm REAL Americans while the Black Panther dindus stockpiled arms. Believe me they still have them.

  5. Don’t forget, the Black P Stone Nation bought dozens of RPGs and LAWs from QADDAFI. They are part of the Muslim Brotherhood, just like Huma Abedin. The Black P Stone Nation are part of the Black Guerilla Famila, founded by George Jackson from the Black Panthers.

  6. The 1968 gun control act was replaced by the firearm owners protection act in 1986. The FOPA regulations apply, not the GCA regulations.

  7. Were military personal and mariners under US Coast Guard who were deployed during the short 1968 Amnesty given an opportunity to register their vet carry back machine guns at a later date?

  8. My uncle had a duffle bag full of German MP 40s and STGs but when he was on the boat they told them they would inspect every ones bags at the dock, so he tossed it over the side, and he wasn’t the only one, then at the dock they never even looked in the bags,

  9. Interestingly, the Firearms Control Act of 1968 was amended in 1993 by the Brady Firearms Violence Prevention Act, which introduced a requirement for licensed sellers to verify potential gun buyers’ identities and created a list of categories of persons who are prohibited from selling. … firearms. The Amnesty Law and Control of Weapons is an exciting period, and you can read in more detail here https://phdessay.com/free-essays-on/gun-control/ about all the not mentioned and interesting facts of that time.
    Many military collectors know that soldiers bring home mementos of their service. In fact, it is the lifeblood of our hobby. While many soldiers preferred less volatile relics such as medals, insignia, and uniforms, countless young warriors also stuffed pistols, inert explosives, or other weapons into their travel bags before returning to the United States.
    The crime was not their intention, but rather simply a “coup-plotting” on their defeated enemy. In the last century, scalping was not very popular, but the enemy’s weapons capture – for sure! If WWII or Korean War veterans between the ages of 40 and 50, or Vietnam veterans who were mostly under 30, did not take the opportunity to register their booty in 1968, then they have been forced to live like criminals ever since. This was probably not the goal of the law, but it certainly was the result.

  10. I met an old guy in Alabama that bought an MP 40 from a vet who brought it back in 1945. The vet said he took it to a police station and had it made unshootable by removing the firing pin. He said he couldn’t find any paperwork. Is there a way to find out if the gun was reported with amnesty and legal to own based on the serial number? The old man in Alabama wants to sell it and my brother has a license to own a class 3 firearm. We are trying to determine if it can only be a parts gun or can be made fully functional again.

    • Regardless if it has paperwork it can be made into a post sample machine gun by a SOT, and transferred to your brother since he has a class 3 ffl
      look up the forgotton weapons video on restoring demilled/dewot/deactivated guns that may be a viable option depending on the exact circumstances
      I would guess that you could inquire the atf to see if there is a registered mp40 with that serial number, but if the old man in question had it “deactivated” it’s unlikely it would have been… though there may be records with the PD he had it deactivated at…

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