Class 4 weapons, also known as destructive devices (DD) by the National Firearms Act, are a widely debated topic in the firearms world. Famous action and suspense movies like “The Purge” further popularized this weapon class.
You may have heard of different classes of weapons and limitations regarding them, but what are Class 4 weapons exactly? Are there any other classes of weapons? Read along to find out!
What Are Class 4 Weapons?
Class 4 weapons or Class IV weapons are the final and highest class of weapons that includes DDs. Anything that shoots flames, explodes, or launches an exploding item is classified as DDs or a Class 4 weapon.
Other than duly licensed military personnel, law enforcement officers, and government officials, it is prohibited for any American citizen to sell, own, manufacture, trade, export, import, or own parts for Class 4 weapons. Bombs, nuclear weapons, grenades, flame throwers, rocket launchers, dynamite, tanks, Harrier Jets, Javelin Missile Launchers, and so on are examples of destructive devices.
Different Classes of Weapons
Let’s look into the different classes of weapons, their categories, and permits:
|Weapon Class||Description||Permit Type|
|Class 1 Weapons||Title 1 firearms are the most prevalent and include rifles with barrels of 16 inches or longer and shotguns with barrels of 18 inches or longer. Common Title 1 guns have bolt actions, semi-automatic actions, lever-actions, pump-actions, and break or hinge actions.||No federal permit is required for Class 1 (local laws might be different).|
|Class 2 Weapons||Class 2 weapons are only semi-automatic, meaning only one round can be fired from the barrel each time the trigger is pulled. This includes rifles, handguns, and shotguns made in the United States.||No federal permit is required for Class 2(local laws might be different).|
|Class 3 Weapons||Title 2 firearms, also known as Class 3 firearms, are fully automatic. An automatic firearm is described as a gun that constantly fires shots as long as the trigger is pulled or held. This comprises guns with a high rate of “burst fire.”
Also, in this class are short barreled rifles and shotguns, any other weapon (AOW) and suppressors.
|Citizenship is required. Class 3 tax stamp per weapon. Local permits/laws are possible.|
|Class 4 Weapons||The final and greatest class of weapons, often known as Class 4, is what the NFA refers to as DDs or destructive devices. DDs or Class 4 weapons cover anything that shoots flames, explodes, or launches an exploding device.||Federal permit is required for class 4 weapons.|
What Are Class 3 Weapons?
Class III weapons include short-barreled shotguns (SBSs), short-barreled rifles (SBRs), and fully automatic rifles and handguns. Short barrel weapons have a buttstock and an overall barrel length of fewer than 16 inches from muzzle to breech.
The short barrel definition makes it logical to assume that mounting any form of stock to a handgun will categorize it as an SBR and hence, a Class III weapon. Non-felon, Class III licensed citizens can own these firearms in the United States, and they can only be purchased from Class III FFL dealers.
Types of Federal Weapon Charges
A federal offense can be the most serious charge against you — you broke not only state law but also federal law.
So if you own any Class 4 weapons, here are the four different types of federal weapons charges:
Felon in Possession
If a convicted felon is found in possession of a firearm (especially class 4 weapons), they could face federal charges. This is a Class D felony that carries the following penalties:
- Three years of probation
- Up to ten years in prison
- $250,000 in fine
Selling of Illegal Firearms
Even if a person has an official license to sell firearms, certain firearms especially class 4 weapons are prohibited from being sold to anybody. The sale of machine guns, for example, is not permitted at the federal level. Furthermore, selling a firearm to a juvenile or a convicted felon is prohibited. A person guilty of these offenses could face a jail sentence of five to ten years.
You must have a government license to sell weapons except for class 4 weapon which is prohibited to sell . If you sell a firearm without a license and cross state lines, you could face criminal prosecution. A criminal convicted of selling a gun without a license might face up to five years in federal prison.
Making False Claims
Sellers aren’t the only ones who need to be cautious while dealing with firearms. A firearm buyer may be charged if they make fraudulent claims on the paperwork used during the purchase. It’s also against the law to use a straw man to represent someone who isn’t otherwise eligible to buy a gun. These gun offenses can result in a sentence of up to ten years in jail.
A federal criminal offense is automatically classified as a violent crime if a weapon especially any class 4 weapons is present at the time of the offense. As a result, even if there was no physical harm or death, the offense will be classified as a federal violent crime.
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What Are the Weapon Categories?
Weapons are divided into various categories listed below. The types of weapons you can lawfully obtain and use depend on your license type and reason for wanting the weapon in the first place.
Category A weapons include:
- Cannon with a barrel length of less than 120cm that is a muzzle-loading cannon with black powder, a naval gun, or depicts a scale model of an archaic artillery piece
- Rimfire rifles (except a self-loading rimfire rifle)
- Paintball guns
- Shotgun other than a lever-action shotgun, pump-action shotgun, or self-loading shotgun
- Single or double barrel shotguns
- Air rifles
- Rimfire rifle and break-action shotgun combination
- Air gun
Category B weapons include:
- Center-fire rifles (other than semi-automatic)
- Shotgun/rifle combinations
- Repeating center-fire rifle
- Double-barrel center-fire rifle
- One-shot center-fire rifle
- Lever-action shotgun with a magazine capacity of less than five rounds
- Break action shotgun and center-fire rifle combination
Category C weapons include:
- Semi-automatic or pump-action shotguns (less than 6 rounds) and semiautomatic rimfire rifles (less than 11 rounds)
- Semi-automatic shotgun with a magazine capacity of less than five rounds
- Pump-action shotgun with a magazine capacity of fewer than five rounds
- Semi-automatic rimfire firearm with a magazine capacity of fewer than ten rounds
Category D weapons include:
- Semi-automatic center-fire rifles
- Lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than five rounds
- Semi-automatic shotguns (greater than five rounds) and semi-automatic rimfire rifles (greater than ten rounds)
- Non-military style self-loading center-fire rifle
- Self-loading center-fire rifle developed or modified for military use or a weapon that closely resembles a gun in design, operation, or appearance
- Pump-action shotgun with a magazine capacity of greater than five rounds
- Self-loading shotgun with a magazine capacity of greater than five rounds
- Lever-action shotgun with a magazine capacity of greater than five rounds
- Self-loading rimfire rifle with a magazine capacity of more than ten rounds
Class 4 weapons are not included in this category as it is illegal for regular citizens to own one.
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What Is an ATF Form?
The ATF is a United States Department of Justice law enforcement agency. They protect society from violent criminals, illegal firearms use, criminal institutions, trafficking, illegal explosives use and storage, terrorism, arson and bombings, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
Choosing the correct ATF form is relatively straightforward. Here are some general guidelines to remember about each form:
ATF Form 1
The ATF Form 1 is used to manufacture and register NFA items. People who want to build their own NFA products generally use this form.
The fact that you can e-file this ATF form as a corporation in just a few weeks makes the entire process more enticing. This is currently the quickest way to obtain an NFA product.
ATF Form 3
This form is for tax-free transfers of NFA products between FFL dealers or between a government agency and an FFL dealer. Before an NFA item may be delivered to another FFL, the ATF Form 3 must be authorized, which means the purchase may be unduly delayed if the FFL isn’t on top of the list.
ATF Form 4
The ATF Form 4 will require you to pay $5 when transferring any other weapon or purchase a $200 federal tax stamp for an SBS, silencer, or short barrel rifle.
If you aren’t registering as a person, your agent will have you fill out this form, which will require your address and name, fingerprints, and details about your corporation or gun trust.
Unless they built their item using Form 1, every holder of an NFA weapon would use ATF Form 4 at some time during the transfer or purchase process.
What are Class 4 weapons? Anything that sprays flames, explodes, or launches an exploding item is classified as a DD or Class 4 Weapon. Class 4 weapons are only authorized for licensed law enforcement officers, military personnel, and government officials.
Ultimately, there are four classes of weapons. The most important thing to remember is that you cannot legally own any Class 4 weapons.
Owning any Class 4 weapons will put you to jail, so make sure that you don’t illegally buy one.
If you want another defensive weapons other than a gun, read our article for the best taser you can buy legally on the market.