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Hello All,

I have seen the NFA rules and I am totally confused. Can an average citizen by a full size shotgun, and cut the barrel down to less than 18 inches, if the overall length is greater than 36 inches, which is the length mandated by the NFA laws? The reason I am wondering is that I noticed Wilson combat will cut a barrel down to less than 18" for their tactical shotgun packages, and I was wondering if I could just do it myself.

Thanks to all,

catmath 1911
 

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Any increment under 18" on a shotgun barrel will bring the Feds down on you. Don't you remember Ruby Ridge?

The guns Wilson is selling will go to LE or NFA holders only.

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You can possess a shotgun with a barrel less than 18" if you are willing to pay the $200 tax to the Federal government.
 

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barrel over 18" and over all length of more than 26". I believe ruby ridge was about over all length, not barrel length... but that is going from memory


Matt
 

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Probably just me, but I've always been concerned about sawing off barrels. Most manufacturers make 18 inch barrels which are easily exchanged for your current barrel. Probably just a quirk of mine, but I'd much rather have my attorney argue that a manufacturer made a mistake, and not me.
 

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If you pay the tax for the nfa gun, do you not open yourself to ATF inspections. As in class 3 ffl holders, when the ATF knocks you have to let them in.
 

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Calling this a "tax"....
You have to keep the tax rexeipt, or whatever they call it, with the firearm at all times, you have to tell them your current address, you have to tell them when you transfer it to someone and they have to pay more money and give their info....
That's not a tax.
That's gun registration.
 

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Essentially, all of the above are correct. As a former NFA/Class III shotgun owner, let me try to piece it all together for you ...

First, BOTH the barrel length AND the overall length count when determining if a scattergun is or is not an NFA weapon. This is not an either/or proposition.

Second, ANY shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18" is going to require the NFA "tax stamp." The process of getting this is neither quick nor easy, and it is the exact same drill you would have to go through to buy an MP-5, a suppressor, or a .50 BMG M2 machinegun. A class III weapon is a class III weapon, and all require a $200 tax stamp. If you want to buy yourself a short-barrelled shotgun, be prepared to cough up an additional $200, on top of whatever your purchase price is.

The only exception to this revolves around a certain group of firearms classified as "ANY OTHER WEAPON" (AOW) under the law. The AOW clause deals primarily with speciality arms like the Streetsweeper, pen or cane guns, and the like. Registering an AOW is somewhat cheaper, in that they require a special $5 tax stamp, instead of the usual $200 one. Keep in mind that the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) established these tarrifs to discourage private ownership of "gangster" weapons, and these fees have NOT increased since they were established in the 30s. Imagine trying to pay this tax in 1934 dollars! The problem here is that relatively few shotgun-type weapons fall under the AOW exemption. Here's the loophole: if an appropriately-licensed Class III manufacturer were to take a Remington 870 receiver, put a 12" barrel on it, and fit a pistol grip instead of a buttstock, he could legally sell the gun as a "smoothbore pistol," and thus an AOW. Automatic Weaponry of Brentwood, TN (Wilson's Scattergun forerunner) sold just such a weapon as their "Witness Protection" model, and the tax was only $5. Of course, you were a bit limited by this ... if you tried to put a folding stock on your AOW 870, you would be guilty of tax evasion, illegally manufacturing a class III firearm, and who knows what else.

Finally, the process of applying for an NFA weapon -- any NFA weapon -- is a rather difficult one. This is by design. Be prepared to submit your fingerprints, get a signature from your local Chief of Police, undergo an excruciatingly-thorough background check, and put up with a year-long ATF wait. Only AFTER all of these have run their course can you actually take possession of the weapon. What's more, the authorization to own it is very specific, right down to the serial number and dimensional specs. If you blow up your receiver out on the range, too bad. When you go to replace your weapon, you must undergo the entire process, all over again. Thinking about crossing state lines with your gun? Not without written ATF permission you don't. Want to sell your NFA shotgun to a friend? Forget about it. Also, remember that many, many states prohibit class III ownership outright, irrespective of what the Feds may allow.

In other words, yes, you CAN own a sawed-off shotgun (depending upon where you live), but be prepared to become something of an armchair lawyer with deep pockets (and a lot of down time) if you want to realize your dream. After owning such a weapon for more than ten years, I arrived at the following conclusion: there isn't anything that I could do with a 12" or 14.5" barrel than couldn't be done just as well (or better) with an 18" riot gun -- and the latter subjects me to a lot less scrutiny, restrictions and inconvenience.

Chuck

[This message has been edited by StormMaster (edited 11-05-2001).]
 

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Youngun,

Uh - yes, I did understate it a bit


StormMaster,

Really the 1934 NFA primarily used taxation to sidestep the then accepted limitations of the ability of Congress to legislate such things at all; i.e. the private purchase, transfer and possession of any firearm.

The "paperwork" that accompanies the "tax" really is of course a form of registration as pointed out by Youngun. But of course the government/BATF would have just refered to it as a "record of taxation". Afterall, the BATF is just a tax collection agency


Of course today, the political change agents have already (long ago) created the "popular" acceptence of the idea, and practice, of the registration of "machinguns" etc in any case.
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"The idea gleaming and dancing before one's eyes like a will-of-the-wisp at last frames itself into a plan. Why should we not form a secret society with but one object, the furtherence of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire?" - Cecil Rhodes
 
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