Class III

  Steps For Owning NFA (Class III) Weaponry And Silencers: 


Laws that went into effect in May, 1986 made it illegal for 'civilians' to own fully automatic firearms that were manufactured after that date. Most fully automatic weapons manufactured and registered before May, 1986 may be owned and sold to individuals. The full-auto guns that may be owned by individuals are called 'transferable'.

To purchase a transferable machine gun, you must meet certain requirements (generally the same as when you purchase another gun), fill out special paperwork (called a 'Form 4'), and pay a one-time transfer tax per weapon. The tax is $200.00 for a machine-gun $200 for a silencer/suppressor and $5 for a AOW (Any Other Weapon) such as a pen gun or a short bbl pistol gripped shotgun.


Some rules for class III ownership are:

1. You must be at least 21 old and legal buy a handgun (meaning no felonies, violent misdemeanors, dishonorable discharges, etc.).

2. Call your local CLEO (chief law enforcement officer - sheriff, police chief, etc.) and ask what his procedure is for signing Form 4 (federal applications for NFA transfer and ownership-the dealers supplies). 

Make sure that he will sign for you BEFORE you buy the class III item. If he won't sign, you can't get the item. Make sure you can own it BEFORE you buy it, as down payment at most class III dealers is at least 20% of the total pre-tax price and is non-refundable. (You have to have the serial number before any paperwork can be processed to begin the transfer on firearms or suppressors.)

3. Get two 2" X 2" color passport photographs. We will take these and print them for you. Attach one to the reverse side of each of the two copies of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) Form 4 (Dave's Pawn Shop supplied).

4. Complete a small section on the reverse side of the BATF Form 4 that declares why you wish to possess the item. Most clients say "collector of firearms" or "target shooting."

5. Take the two copies of the Form 4, with pictures attached and your section completed, to your local law enforcement agency (CLEO). Also take the two FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards we will give you. Ask the agency to officially take your fingerprints. The agency may have a small fee for completion of the fingerprint cards. 

You have to get a local CLEO to sign off and complete the section on the reverse side of the Form 4. This merely attests that you are not wanted locally and that the official knows of no law which will be broken if you are approved by the government. The official signing should be made aware that they are not held liable if you do something illegal with the item, it is stolen or you break the laws of your state.

*Local CLEOs that can be asked to sign off are: police chiefs or local law enforcement officers of the same rank, sheriffs, city or town police chiefs, state police commanders, district attorneys, state attorney generals, and judges of state courts that preside over felony trials.

If you own a corporation: you can transfer the NFA firearm to the corporation and no CLEO signature is necessary. You may also do this with a "trust". These are getting much harder as time goes on and may delay the approval of your ATF paperwork until the trust or corporation is legitimized. Any mistakes here will result in disapproval of the form 4 and you will have to redo the process.

6. Send the two copies of the Form 4 and both completed fingerprint cards with a money order or certified check made out to the BATF for $200.00. This is a one time fee. We will send in the paperwork for you. The more we can be involved in helping you through the process, the easier and faster it will go. 

7. You also have to send in a Certification of Compliance form (Dave's Pawn Shop supplied) to the Department of the Treasury. This form is called the Certification of Compliance, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B), ATF Form 5330.20, which simply states that you are a United States citizen.

8. The BATF will first remove the money order and examine the paperwork for completeness. It will be assigned to an agent, who will have a nationwide FBI background check performed on you. Once you pass this, the BATF will mail back one certified copy of the Form 4. On this copy will be a stamp that looks like a postage stamp. This is a Federal tax stamp indicating the transfer tax is paid and the item is officially yours.

9. When Dave's Pawn Shop receives this Form 4 back with the stamp on it (generally 90-180 days after it is mailed in), you have to complete a BATF Form 4473 at the store (the same form filled out when purchasing a standard class II weapon). The 4473 is not called in for a background check since that has already been done, but is kept on file at the store in compliance with BATF regulations. 

We will make you many copies of your Form 4 and even make you a miniature laminated copy to keep on your person as well as with the NFA item. Be sure to put the original in a safe place.


1. Once you have legal possession of the Class III item (except suppressors/silencers for which this does not apply) you may not take the item across state lines unless you notify the BATF in writing with the ATF Form 5320 before doing so. These forms are available on the Internet, or we can make a copy for you. You are not asking for their approval but, instead, merely letting them know you are taking a Class III item across state lines and when you will depart and return.

2. You may not loan this Class III item to anyone.

3. You may not store this item at a friend's home who has access to it.

4. This is a restricted distribution item. To possess it requires (at the very least) an extensive background check. You are obligated by law (and common sense) to prevent unqualified people from gaining access to it. You may let others use the item if they remain in your physical presence.

5. If you decide to sell the item you should bring the item to a Class III dealer to legally effect the transfer. Not all transfers require dealer assistance, but the law is confusing and the best way to ensure and demonstrate compliance is to enlist the help of a professional Class III dealer. The new buyer then has to go through all the steps described above and pay the required transfer tax.

6. NFA ownership places you in an elite group! I personally love collecting NFA items and using them on occasion. Have fun with this process, it's not really that big of a deal. Before we became a class III dealer, we just assumed that NFA ownership was too much of a hassle and too much of a headache to even deal with. It's really not! It is so fun and really a different kind of gun lover takes firearm ownership to this level. Let us help you with your journey. NFA ownership is really "like money in the bank"! There are only a limited amount of "transferables" out there and they just go up in price, kinda like a piece of property or a fine wine.