Process for Transporting an NFA Item Across State Lines

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Process for Transporting an NFA Item Across State LinesFrom the desk of eSilencers CEO, John Rich

Have you ever wondered whether you could take an NFA item with you out of state? Or maybe you did know the answer but did not know what you had to do to be able to legally do so. Or maybe you were moving to another NFA friendly state but did not know the process to properly relocate your NFA items. 

In this blog we go over the process and some tips on how to legally transport an NFA item across state lines.

First off, know the laws regarding NFA items in the state you will be going to. There are a few states out there where certain or all NFA items are not legal. You will first need to Google “NFA laws by state” to see whether it’s lawful to possess or own NFA items.

Note: Just because it might be legal to own a certain NFA item in a state does not necessarily mean you can own or possess every NFA item.

The process:

First off, as long as its legal to own or possess a Suppressor in the state you are traveling to, then you will NOT have to get permission from the ATF to transport your Suppressors to that state.

The following NFA items are the ones you will have to get permission first:

  1. SBR’s (Short Barrel Rifles)
  2. SBS’s (Short Barrel Shotguns)
  3. MachineGuns
  4. 4.Destructive Devices
  5. AOW’s

There are two different ways to get permission to transport an NFA item across state lines:

First way- You can type up a letter requesting permission. The letter must include all necessary info which includes:

  • Make, Model, Serial Number, length, caliber, and type of NFA item.
  • Name of Trust or individual including address and the phone number the NFA Item belongs to.
  • Date you will be transporting NFA item, and the date you will be returning to the original address.
  • The address you are transporting from and to.
  • Reason for transporting NFA item.
  • The way of transporting i.e.: by car, plane, etc. And info on the carrier.

Note: If you are permanently moving the NFA item to the new location, you will need to state “this is permanent”, and include dates that the NFA item will be in transit.

Second way- The ATF has a Form(5320.20). Which is ‘Application to transport interstate or to temporarily export certain NFA firearms. This is the easiest way to request permission from the ATF. This form is set up in a very easy to follow format, and ask the same info that you need if your typing a letter. You will need to fill out numbers 1 thru 8, and 12-13 on the form. You will need two copies of this form sent to the ATF.

Note: If you submit a request stating that the new address will be temporarily, but decide to permanently keep the NFA item, or keep the NFA item passed the return date at the new location, you will need to submit a new form/letter to the ATF.

Note: Google is the easiest way to get access to this form. In the search engine, type ‘ATF form 5320.20 PDF. This will bring up this form. You should mail, email, or fax two copies of either the official forms or letter.

Note: You will need to keep a copy of the approved form/letter in the carrier that you are transporting the NFA item in. It’s also wise to paper clip a copy of the approved form/letter with your Form 4.

Mailing address: Attention: NFA Branch, 244 Needy Road, Martinsburg, WV 25405

Fax number: 304-616-4501


If you have any further questions about this process, feel free to contact us at!



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  1. It is not required to inform the ATF that you are transporting a Suppressor from Ohio to a Arizona, but do I need to tell them about a change of permanent residency ?

    Thank you for any help,


  2. You stated as long as its legal to own and possess a suppressor in the state you are traveling to, then you would not have to get permission from the ATF to transport your suppressor to that state. I plan on driving my personal car from Indiana to South Dakota and back. My question is can I legally transport my suppressor in my car thru Illinois where it is illegal to own and/or possess a suppressor?

    1. Yes you can, The Firearm Owners Protection Act covet you while transporting items through non friendly states as long as you don’t stop more than you have to for gas food bathrooms, and as long as your final destination is not with in that state

  3. Ok, seriously? Brad Olson asked if he could transport his silencer from Indiana to South Dakota and pass through Illinois where it is illegal to own and or possess a suppressor and it appears that 2 answers came back to him, one saying no you can’t, and one saying yes you can. I am in need of this same information. Is it legal to pass through anti-suppressor states when traveling from one suppressor legal state to another or not?

    1. Here is the final answer from us at Just like you will need to do if your wanting to transport a Handgun in a state that does not recognize your state’s permit. You will need to refer to the State’s Transportation Guidelines. So, for example in Illinois, they might have a different way of transporting a Silencer through their state than New York. This is why it is important that you contact any state that is not part of the 42 Silencer Legal States before transporting. Each state might have a different means of transporting. Never assume without verifying with that state. Sorry for the confusion!

  4. If I move from ND to AZ, do I have to notify anyone in the state of AZ about suppressor ownership? I realize the 5320.20 is necessary.
    Thank you.

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