Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Understanding the Designation of AOW Shotguns

In the United States, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms enforces the laws relating to the ownership and use of firearms within the United States. In this regard, the ATF has developed a classification system relating to guns. Included within that system is the classification of AOW shotguns. When it comes to AOW shotguns and the AOW classification, AOW represents “those weapons that are not considered to be a rifle, pistol or machinegun.”

The designation AOW shotguns actually stands for what is commonly known as “sawed off shotguns.” In the United States, a sawed off shotgun is illegal as a general rule.

The designation AOW shotguns can also stand for short barreled shotguns that are not of the sawed off variety. There are some shotguns that are manufactured with shorter barrels and that have not been altered after purchase. In some instances, the possession of these manufactured shorter barreled shot guns are permissible in the United States.

Manufactured (as opposed to altered) AOW shotguns are known as Class III NFA items. This means that the transfer of such weapons between individuals is highly regulated by the ATF. Indeed, the ATF must approve any transfer of such a weapon in advance of the transfer itself. The transfer request is processed on what is known as a ATF Form-4.

Statutes and regulations governing the possession and ownership of different types of firearms always seem to be in flux in the United States. This includes statutes and regulations relating to AOW shotguns. Therefore, when it comes to owning, possessing or transferring any weapon in the United States, including AOW shotguns, it is important to make certain that you are up to speed on the current state of the law governing a particular type of gun or weapon.