​How To Own A Class 3 Weapon

Posted Nov 13th, 2015 in Reloading

How To Own A Class 3 Weapon

Owning a class 3 weapon (machine gun / silencer) is relatively simple. There are several rules and regulations that individuals must comply with. They are very simple and one should not be intimidated by paperwork. First let me address a few questions, before you ask them.

You may only own a machine gun that was manufactured and registered with the BATF before May 19, 1986. Weapons manufactured after that date are restricted for Military and Law Enforcement use only. Economics 101, the law of supply and demand should start coming to mind by now. This is why these weapons are somewhat “pricey”, when compared to current production weapons. “Simply”, the reserves not being available, controlled commodities always make for an excellent investment. The price is only going one place, Up!

An individual purchasing a “ National Firearms Act Weapon “, NFA weapon or class 3 weapon is required to pay a one time, $200 Federal Excise Tax fee. This fee has been the same, since 1934. It has never changed or has the simple requirement for owning a NFA weapon. These rules and regulation were set forth in 1934, because of the readily availability of machine guns to people like, Bonnie & Clyde, Dillinger, etc.. They permitted the Department of Justice to prosecute criminals under Federal Law. This had a little more “bite” than local laws.

To obtain an NFA weapon, you must first select one. The reason is, forms are required to transfer the weapon from seller to buyer, requiring specific information. There are several types of forms to accommodate these transfers. A form “3”, accommodates dealer to dealer transfers (Class 3, in or out of state). A form “4”, accommodates dealer to individual transfers, within the state. Unlicensed individuals may not transfer class 3 weapons directly into their state. An active Class 3 license is required to execute the transfer. If you hold an active standard FFL, you may transfer the weapon in directly, however the law enforcement signature, photographs, and fingerprint cards are still required, as well as the $200 FET.

The form “4” is quite simple. It will be filled out in duplicate by your Class 3 dealer, showing the current owner of the weapon and address, your name and address, description of the weapon and serial number, etc.. You will be given the forms, along with a set of fingerprint cards. On the back of the form is a place for your photograph and your local law enforcement official’s signature. If you are transferring the NFA weapon to your corporation, this Law Enforcement signature is not required.

The required signature may come from a multitude of sources. The Chief of Police, the Sheriff, District Attorney, a Federal judge, State Chief of Police, etc.. Typically the person signing this form “4”, will conduct a background check on you, insuring that you are a person in good standing, within your community. If you have a criminal background or questionable past, you will be denied a signature at this point. In fact, even if you are a fine upstanding member of the community, you will find this part of the NFA weapon acquisition, the most difficult. Why? Most of the local law enforcement officials today, are no longer police officers, but unfortunately, appointed politicians. You will find that they typically do not sign such documents, with their eyes closed and will generally give a “no” response via a “clerk”, when you call up like “Lever Action Bubba” screaming that he has to sign this form, so you can have your machine gun. The “no” answer is to slow down 99% of the individuals that just think they want a class 3 weapon. If you are dealing with a clerk and not him directly, this is what you deserve. However, there is the remaining 1%, that will do something intelligent, like make an appointment to talk about the signature, maybe have a cup of coffee, etc..

After you have obtained an official signature, return the forms along with your photographs (taped to the back), your fingerprint cards, and your check for $200, (payable to The Department of the Treasury) to your dealer. All of this information, along with the FET fee, will be forwarded to the BATF and they will begin the process of transferring the ownership of the weapon to your name or corporation. No, you don’t give up all your rights at this point. It is the question that I get asked the most at this point. Search warrants are still required by law, these days, even for an individual that owns a class 3 weapon. These are “bubba” stories.