Are there any countries where a private citizen can legally own a machine gun?

By machine gun, I mean what the ATF would call a machine gun, any firearm capable of fully automatic fire.

I know it’s pretty easy in the United States, if you are rich. The permit only costs $200 a gun, but since transferable machine guns haven’t been made or imported for over 20 years, costs are really high, on the order of several thousand dollars for even a crappy MAC-10.

Are there any other countries where you can legally own one? I would add these stipulations:

  1. You have to be a private citizen, and not in the military or police in any regular capacity. I know in Switzerland, a lot of young guys are in the army; I saw four machine guns leaning against a wall at Hooters while the guys enjoyed some hot wings. I wouldn’t count this though, unless you get to keep your machine gun after your service is done.

  2. You don’t have to prove you need a machine gun for any particular purpose.

  3. If you need a permit, it should be affordable for a hobbyist. Let’s say less than $1000. Preferably, you are then able to purchase said gun at a fair market price, not at a price artificially inflated by legislation, as is the case in the United States.

  4. I’m only talking about countries where law is enforced to some degree. I’m sure one could have a machine gun in hand in Somalia in short order, but that’s not really what I’m talking about.

I doubt most governments post information like that on their websites. After all, making it publicly known that all citizens have easy-access to machine gun ownership doesn’t do good things for tourism. Maybe do a search to see which country has the fewest complaints-per-capita of noisy neighbors for clues. I don’t know about you, but if I knew my neighbors had access to full auto Uzi’s, rest assured, I would be very diligent in keeping the noise levels down after 10 PM :wink:

From what I have heard (but no cite), Switzerland is very tolerant on gun ownership including machine guns.

I think Somalia meets all the OP’s conditions.

If this wikipedia article is accurate, machine guns other than the ones issued by the army are not legal in Switzerland without a collector’s license.

It depends on the province, but for an Ak-47, in Pakistan, $500 will get you the liscense you need.

Is this a joke, or did you not read all the conditions?

A bona fide liscense, or is that just bribes? That is, you can buy a liscense from a propper agency, stating in no uncertain terms that you are allowed to have a machine gun?

In many countries, there’s no difference.

Yeah, I know. Does my condition 4 not show up or something?

The various cantons have varying degrees of restrictions, from fairly liberal (although requiring registration) to moderately restrictive (training requirements, restrictions on the number of weapons that can be purchased at one time or on one approval, et cetera). There has been in the last decade some efforts to harmonize laws, which has generally resulted in a slight increase in regulation. Overall, Swiss laws are, roughly speaking, about as permissive as those of American Midwestern states on average, which makes them considerably less restrictive than most of their neighbors. The per capita violent crime rate in Switzerland is as low or lower than most of its neighbors, and IIRC the firearm suicide rate is about the same as Western Europe as a whole.

Swiss citizens who perform military service (conscription of males is almost universal, although not all conscripts enter into military service) are issued a (fully automatic) battle rifle. When they muster out of regular service they are entered into the reserves, the rifle and a tin of ammunition is retained in that reservist’s home until he or she exits reserve service or dies, and the reservist is required to requalify with the weapon annually until the age of 30. The weapon is not for recreational or hunting use (for which there are penalties) so saying that a Swiss citizen “owns” the weapon may be a bit of a misnomer, though there at least used to be a program allowing the purchase of surplus rifles by reservists.


I believe that the rifle is converted to semi automatic when a Swiss solider leaves the service.

It’s legal in Iraq, and was legal before the war when the law was strictly enforced.