Intro to NFA (Class 3) Items

by Erik  

This article will cover the basics on NFA items or as they are also called Class 3 items.  The term weapon is usually used in conjunction with Class 3 or NFA.  As you may also hear NFA weapon or Class 3 weapon.  I will refer them to items as things such as suppressors alone are not actual weapons.  While any object could be used as a weapon, a suppressor by itself is about as dangerous as a flash light.

NFA items are things that have been deemed by the BATFE as exceptions to the National Firearms Act. The 3 common items are the following:
  • Silencers
  • Short barrel rifles/shotguns (SBR/SBS)
  • Fully automatic weapons (machine guns)

The National Firearms Act allows civilians to own the following items provided these items are also legal at the state level.  For example, silencers are legal in 39 of the 50 states.  Some states will allow short barrel rifles, but not silencers, and vice versa.  Check state laws to see exactly what is legal in your state.  Although, if you live in New York or California those states are the worst if you want any cool gun stuff. 

There are other things that are classified as NFA items.  These are called "destructive devices" and "any other weapon."  Examples of these include fully automatic shotguns, pen guns, and grenade launchers.  Those items are not cover in this article.

Let's talk paperwork...  NFA items are strictly controlled and carefully tracked.  The completion of paperwork usually takes anywhere from 6-8 months.  Each NFA item will require a check for $200 so the government can waste more of your money. Once the check is cashed and the paperwork is approved, you will receive a tax stamp proving you have satisfied the federal requirements to own such item.
There are 3 ways to apply for an NFA tax stamp. There is some controversy over which method is preferred but they are listed below. Follow the link to learn more about each method.

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