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In this post, I discuss the different types of Title II weapons as defined by the National Firearms Act, including machine guns.

title ii weapons

Logun S-16 PCP rifle by Samuel Johnson is licensed under CC 2.0. This content uses referral links.

In a previous post, I discussed the National Firearms Act and the weapons it regulates, commonly known as Title II weapons. In this post, I will provide a general overview of what qualifies as such a weapon.

Machine Guns

The most sensational of such weapons is the machine gun. Under the NFA, any gun that fires more than one round per trigger pull is considered a machine gun—and thus a Title II weapon—whether it fires fully automatic or bursts. Title II weapons also include the receiver or any other combination of parts intended to make a machine gun. A Glock conversion switch, for example, would be considered a Title II weapon.

Short-Barreled Guns as Title II Weapons

Short-barreled guns, including both rifles and shotguns, qualify as Title II weapons. This category covers any firearm with a buttstock and either a rifle barrel under 16 inches—or 18 inches in the case of a smoothbore shotgun—or an overall length under 26 inches. Removing a factory-installed buttstock does not exempt a gun from this provision. Weapons modified in this way do not cease to be Title II weapons.

Note that this means sawing off the barrel of a shotgun qualifies as manufacturing a Title II weapon and therefore requires the submission of an application with the ATF. If you make your own sawed-off shotgun, even if you legally purchased the shotgun, you can run afoul of the National Firearms Act.

Silencers Are Title II Weapons

Otherwise known as suppressors, these devices—made famous by their attachment to James Bond’s Walther PPK—include any portable device designed to muffle or otherwise disguise the sound of a portable firearm.

Destructive Devices

Destructive devices can be further divided into two subcategories: traditional destructive devices, such as grenades and bombs, and firearms with a bore greater than .50 caliber, such as the semi-automatic version of the USAS-12 shotgun. Firearms generally recognized as being particularly suitable for sporting purposes are exempt, even where they otherwise qualify. (12 gauge shotguns, for example, are not such weapons.)

The National Firearms Act does not cover explosive materials, such as C-4, as they are regulated by a different provision of federal law.

Any Other Weapons (AOWs)

This is a catchall provision for other regulated weapons. These include, among others, smoothbore pistols and novelty guns, such as cane guns. Worthy of note, the transfer tax of these weapons is $5, rather than the $200 for other covered II weapons.


See Also:

NFA Gun Registration Requirements

Gun Trusts

Categories: Legal Blog

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