How to Get a Class 3 License
Ok, first off, there’s really no such thing as a “Class 3 License.”
Instead, someone who has a Federal Firearms License, must become a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) in order to deal, manufacture, or import a certain category of firearms called NFA Firearms/Title II firearms. This special category of firearms includes Silencers (suppressors), Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs), Short Barreled Shotguns (SBS), Full-Auto Machine Guns, and “Any Other Weapons” (AOWs).
What is an SOT?
An SOT is a taxpayer (entity) with an FFL that has registered with the federal government and paid an annual tax. The status as an SOT applies to the entity (business). This means that a business can get more than one FFL and it can rely on its status as the same SOT.
The SOT tax must be paid every year by July 1st, and the cost of the FFL and SOT registration varies per FFL Type and, in some cases, by annual sales. Unfortunately, if you decide to become an SOT on June 1st, you’ll either need to pay again for the next year on July 1st or you’ll need to wait until July 1st to start the next SOT tax year.
Depending on the activity the FFL wants to engage in with NFA Firearms, they must become one of 3 classes of SOT and have a certain type of FFL.
SOT Class Activity
|Activity||SOT Class||FFL Types|
|Buy/Sell NFA Firearms||Class 3||1, 2, and 9|
|Make NFA Firearms||Class 2||7 and 10|
|Import NFA Firearms||Class 1||8 and 11|
This is why your local gun shop which sells NFA firearms is sometimes called a “Class 3 Dealer.” They don’t have a “Class 3 license,” but rather are likely a Type 1 FFL who has become a Class 3 SOT.
There’s really no such thing as a “Class 3” firearm either.
Yes, an FFL must be a Class 3 dealer (is a Class 3 SOT) in order to sell NFA firearms. However, the NFA firearms themselves aren’t “Class 3.” As you can see in the above chart, every NFA Firearm was either imported by a Class 1 Importer (is a Class 1 SOT) or it was made by a Class 2 Manufacturer (is a Class 2 SOT). Therefore, the same NFA firearm likely passes through different Classes of SOTs.
How to Become a Class 3 Dealer
This is what most people are wondering about when they ask “How do I become a Class 3 License?”
The first step is to become a Federal Firearm Licensee. In another article we’ve broken down how to get your FFL in 4 easy steps and we offer classes which help you get your FFL.
After you have your FFL, you’re ready to register as an SOT and pay the appropriate tax:
Becoming an SOT
So, there you have it.
You don’t want a Class 3 License – instead, you might want to be a Class 3 SOT with a Dealer License or a Class 2 SOT with a manufacturer’s license.
In four simple steps, you can become a licensed firearm manufacturer, dealer, and/or international arms exporter or importer of NFA firearms as a Class, 1, 2, or 3 special occupational taxpayer (SOT).
I’m looking forward to having you in our industry,