Private ownership of machine guns made after 1986 is banned by federal law. All pre-1986 automatic weapons must be registered with the ATF and require extensive background checks before private citizens may own them.
The horrific mass shooting of scores of people in Las Vegas on Sunday has once again re-ignited the gun control debate in the U.S. News reports indicate that the shooter, who opened fired on a crowd of concertgoers on Sunday night, killed at least 50 people and wounded more than 200. Audio recordings of the shooting, which captured rapid fire bursts, suggest that the shooter used a fully automatic weapon. The speculation that the shooter may have used fully automatic weapons set off frenzied demands that the government do something to ban these weapons and charges that the so-called gun lobby was responsible for making machine guns legal and easy to buy.