Class 3 Information

It is generally believed that owning machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles and “sawed-off” shotguns is illegal. While the validity of this statement may vary from state to state, it is not categorically true. In New Hampshire and Maine (where we are licensed to do business), there are no state restrictions limiting the ownership of these weapons (except that ownership must comply with the provisions of Federal Law).

In fact, Class 3 items, particularly select-fire or fully automatic machine guns, are among the most “recession-proof” investments you can have in your investment portfolio. Machinegun values may have stabilized during the past economic downturn of 2008-2011 but have by far out- performed the more traditional types of investment vehicles available in the stock, bond and real estate markets. As one of our customers has stated to us: “I get to play with my 401K!”

If you live in a state other than New Hampshire or Maine, please see the State by State chart of NFA Restrictions.

If after reviewing the State by State chart of NFA Restrictions you find that your state regulates ownership of one or more types of firearms, you will need to check with your local firearms dealer or other qualified individual to see what the criteria of ownership are.

If you live in New Hampshire, Maine, or one of the many other states that leaves the regulation of NFA weapons to the Feds, then all you need to know follows:

Under the provisions of Federal Law, anyone over the age of 21 who is not prohibited from owning a firearm (ie., a felon) may own NFA weapons including machine guns, silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, an esoteric type of weapon classed as an “Any Other Weapon”, and destructive devices (ie., cannons, etc.). The requirements to own are simple.

T0 purchase a NFA firearm, you must complete an ATF Form 4 – “Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm.” Typically your dealer will provide this form to you substantially completed and you will fill in the rest. The Form 4 is really nothing terribly complicated. It essentially identifies who the weapon is being transferred to, who it is being transferred from, a description of the firearm with serial number, and a section for the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification. It is submitted to the ATF in duplicate with fingerprints, a photograph, and the appropriate transfer tax ($200 for most weapons, $5 for “Any Other Weapons”). It is the CLEO certification that is the stumbling block in many localities, though this is NOT an issue for New Hampshire or Maine residents. The CLEO certification section reads:

“I certify that I am the chief law enforcement officer of the organization named below having jurisdiction in the area of residence of (your name here). I have no information indicating that the transferee will use the firearm or device described on this application for other than lawful purposes. I have no information that the receipt and/or possession of the firearm described in item 4 of this form would place the transferee in violation of State or local law.”

The general idea of the “CLEO signoff” (as it is most commonly referred to) is that the local Sheriff or Chief of Police would know whether or not possession of certain types of firearm was legal in your area, and also whether or not you were currently in trouble with the law. In many jurisdictions what it has turned into is a tool for local law enforcement to prohibit the ownership of these firearms, or at least make it more difficult…(again, NOT an issue in New Hampshire or Maine).

The best course of action is to obtain the substantially completed Form 4 from your dealer, fill in the remaining information, and then make an appointment to get fingerprinted at your local Police Department and leave the Form 4 for your Sheriff or Chief of Police to sign off on. Generally, in New Hampshire and Maine, this can be accomplished by your CLEO while you are being “printed”, or at the most, it will take a day or two (depending on your Chief’s schedule). Contact us directly to assist you with purchasing and registering a Class 3 item.