Shotguns come in a variety of lengths and gauges. Sawed-off shotguns are illegal to possess unless you have a Federal Firearms License, or FFL, as they are regulated by the National Firearms Act. Short barrel shotguns, like short barrel rifles, machine guns, silencers and explosives, are weapons regulated by the NFA. Any shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches is a NFA weapon. Some states ban short barrel shotguns entirely, but in Missouri you can own one if you follow federal requirements.
Obtaining a SBS
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the sale and possession of Class 3 weapons. The BAFTE permits the possession of a SBS if it has been registered through the National Firearms Act and if the owner has a Federal Firearms License. Under no circumstances can an individual manufacture an NFA weapon without approval from the ATF.
Federal Firearms License
To obtain an FFL from the ATF, mail ATF Form 7 and the application fee. You must own and operate a firearms business in order to receive a FFL, but if you operate an LLC out of your home the FFL can be registered there. The ATF will run a background check, and you'll meet with an ATF representative personally, and his recommendation will determine whether you receive the license.
Class 3 License
You don't need a Class 3 license to own a NFA firearm. As of April 2011, you must pay a $200 registration fee, sign transfer papers when you buy a SBS and get a signature from the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in your district. With ATF approval, a NFA firearm can be transferred from the original owner to a new owner, if they both live in the same state.
Considerations and Risks
The application process can last up to 60 days. The benefits may outweigh the legwork; depending on the classification, an FFL holder can conduct interstate firearms commerce and have the weapons shipped directly to his business, whether at a shop or a business run out of the home. Short barrel shotguns are handier than full-length shotguns, but the shot has a wider dispersal pattern than a longer barrel.
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