Send an Email Today »
FFL, SOT, Class 3, Form 3, etc… – What are they?
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the world of suppressors – and a lot of this confusion stems from the licenses required to sell them. Since this information is a bit complicated, I want to be 100% clear that we’re talking about the requirements to SELL suppressors – not to buy them. A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that you need a “Class 3 License” in order to purchase a suppressor; but, once again, that is incorrect since that license is only required in order to be in the business of selling NFA items (like suppressors).
For you geeks who want to know what the acronyms mean – I’m going to try to define and demystify them in this post.
First, and probably already the best understood, is the FFL. FFL stands for Federal Firearms License and is required before a person or business can become involved in either the selling or transferring of firearms. If you purchase a rifle or handgun from a business, then that business has an FFL. If you buy from a gun store or person in another state, then they will transfer to an FFL in your area. (Note that, in many states, there is no problem with an individual selling one of his personal firearms to another individual in the same state.)
There are actually several different types of FFLs that a person or business could have; but, the types that are relevant to this discussion are:
- Type 1 – This license allows the dealer to sell or transfer firearms
- Type 7 – This license allows the dealer to manufacture new firearms as well as selling or transferring existing firearms
Although an FFL will allow a person or business to become involved in the firearms business, it isn’t enough if you want to deal with NFA weapons. NFA stands for the National Firearms Act, and covers full-auto weapons, short barrel rifles & shotguns, and suppressors.
In order to get involved with selling or transferring NFA items, an existing FFL holder needs to also obtain an SOT. SOT stands for Special Occupational Tax, and is required in order to become involved in the selling or transferring of NFA items (like suppressors). (Once again, an individual can sell his personal NFA weapons to another individual in most states; but, they must complete the appropriate ATF transfer process.)
As I already mentioned, there are two types of FFLs that impact us in this discussion: Type 1 & Type 7. The type of FFL that a person or business has when they apply for their SOT will impact the Class of SOT:
- A Type 1 FFL will become a Class 3 SOT – which means they can deal or transfer either standard or NFA weapons
- A Type 7 FFL will become a Class 2 SOT – which means they can manufacture, deal, or transfer either standard or NFA weapons
An FFL/SOT can only transfer NFA items to residents of the state they are licensed in; which, in our case means: if you live outside of Texas, we will need the name of an FFL/SOT who lives in your area so we can transfer the suppressor to them. (We can help you locate one if you don’t already have someone in mind.)
When it comes to transferring to another FFL/SOT, we really don’t need anything from the customer. All we need to complete the transfer is a copy of the FFL & SOT licenses from the dealer who is going to receive the suppressor. Just give them our fax or email and they will send us their license.
Once we have the FFL & SOT on file, we will transfer the suppressor directly to them using a Form 3. The Form 3 is used to transfer NFA weapons between dealers without requiring an additional transfer tax – it is also known as a tax-free transfer. Some people get confused by out-of-state transfers since they assume they may have to pay an additional $200 tax; but, that is not the case. In fact, unless you are buying directly from a manufacturer in your state, all suppressors will have gone through at least one Form 3 transfer before they get to your dealer.
Now that the suppressor is in the possession of your local FFL/SOT holder, they will transfer it to you using a Form 4. The Form 4 requires a $200 tax to be paid for the transfer, and you can read more details about how that process works here.
Overall, this process may seem confusing; but, once again, remember that all of this stuff is required to SELL suppressors – not to buy them.
One of our top goals at SilencerShop.com is to simplify the buying process as much as possible for the customer, so we’ll take care of all this licensing stuff while you sit back, relax, and wait for your new toy to arrive!