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Class 3 Sales: What You Need to Know

Class 3 sales refer to the transfer of firearms, suppressors, and certain other NFA items that fall under the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA). These items include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and sound suppressors, among others. In this article, we will discuss the basics of Class 3 sales, including the process, the costs involved, and what you need to know before making a purchase.

The NFA and Class 3 Sales

The National Firearms Act (NFA) was enacted in 1934 as a response to the increasing use of machine guns and other firearms in organized crime. The act regulates the transfer and possession of NFA items, including Class 3 firearms and suppressors. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for enforcing the NFA and oversees the transfer and registration of these items.

Class 3 Sales Process

The process for purchasing a Class 3 item, such as a suppressor, machine gun, or short-barreled rifle or shotgun, is somewhat different than the process for purchasing a traditional firearm. The following steps outline the basic process for obtaining a Class 3 item:

Find a Class 3 Dealer:

To purchase a Class 3 item, you must first locate a Class 3 dealer. These dealers are licensed by the ATF to transfer NFA items and can help you navigate the process.

Fill out the Paperwork:
Before making a purchase, you will need to fill out the necessary paperwork. This includes Form 4 (the transfer form), which requires a signature from your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) and a $200 transfer tax.

Wait for Approval:

Once you have completed the paperwork, it will be submitted to the ATF for approval. The waiting period for approval can take several months, so it’s important to plan ahead.

Make the Purchase:

Once your transfer has been approved, you can make the purchase from the Class 3 dealer.

Register the Item:

After the purchase is complete, the Class 3 dealer will assist you with registering the item with the ATF.

Class 3 Sales Costs

The cost of purchasing a Class 3 item can vary greatly, depending on the item and the dealer. However, there are several costs associated with Class 3 sales that you should be aware of before making a purchase:

Transfer Tax:

The transfer tax is a $200 fee that must be paid to the ATF for each transfer of an NFA item. This tax must be paid regardless of the cost of the item being transferred.

Dealer Fees:

Some Class 3 dealers may charge a fee for their services, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Cost of the Item:

The cost of the item itself can vary greatly, depending on the item and the dealer. Class 3 firearms and suppressors can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Storage Fees:

If you choose to store your Class 3 item with a Class 3 dealer, you may be charged a storage fee. This fee can range from a few dollars per month to several hundred dollars per year, depending on the dealer.

What You Need to Know Before Making a Class 3 Purchase

Before making a Class 3 purchase, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding these items. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Residency Requirements:

In order to purchase a Class 3 item, you must be a resident of the state in which you are making the purchase. You cannot purchase a Class 3 item in one state and bring it to another state without prior approval from both states.

CLEO Signatures:

As mentioned earlier, a signature from your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) is required before the ATF will approve the transfer of a Class 3 item. Some CLEOs may be more willing to sign the Form 4 than others, so it’s important to do your research and find a CLEO who is supportive of your purchase.

Background Checks:

In addition to the paperwork required for Class 3 sales, you will also be subject to a background check. This background check is similar to the one conducted for traditional firearms purchases and will verify that you are eligible to own a Class 3 item.

Transport Restrictions:

When transporting a Class 3 item, it must be unloaded and in a secure container. You may only transport it to and from a range or for repairs.

State Laws:

It’s important to understand the laws surrounding Class 3 items in your state. Some states may have restrictions on the ownership of certain Class 3 items, such as machine guns, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state before making a purchase.


Class 3 sales can be a complex process, but with the right information and preparation, they can also be a rewarding experience. It’s important to understand the costs involved, the process for obtaining a Class 3 item, and the laws and regulations surrounding these items. With a little research and careful consideration, you can find the perfect Class 3 item to add to your collection.