Gun debate: Machine guns for sale

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 25 at 11:40 PM

STAFFORD, Texas -- There's been a lot of talk about semi-automatic weapons, but the general consensus has always been you couldn't buy a "fully automatic" weapon. While they are legal, they are virtually impossible to find -- that is until you find Houston Armory.

“Everyone wants something that someone else can't have,” Cris Parsons, owner of Houston Armory. “So if you are willing to go through the extensive background checks and wait time and pay the prices that you pay, that is what you get."

At Houston Armory, a standard 16-inch gun and even a massive fully automatic machine gun are all for sale.

“It is very private. We keep it very close knit,” said Parsons. “The people that want these types of weapons are looking for these type of weapons. They find us."

The guns are milled, painted and assembled, but they’re not cheap. One of the price tags says $2,800.

Money alone won’t get you one. There is an extensive background check and a six-month wait. Plus, you pay an extra $200 tax stamp directly to the ATF for each item you purchase.

Because these guns have built in silencers, it is a type of gun covered by the National Firearms Act or NFA. The 1934 law restricted fully automatic machine guns, but with the right paperwork and background checks, they've never been illegal.

But what about the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban?

"It did not affect the NFA at all,” said Parsons. “There was no ban or restrictions on any NFA weaponry."

So far, nothing in current proposals affects them. The ATF says it has no record of an NFA weapon ever being used in a crime.

"These things could cause an obscene amount of damage,” said Parsons, “as opposed to what a Bushmaster AR-15 from Academy could do, but it just doesn't happen."

That may be because of what it takes to get them.

The manufacturing of fully automatic machine guns was banned in 1986, but they can still be bought and sold; however, they can still be made for the military and police -- just not civilians.

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