Information sourced from atf.gov
DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE (DD) INFORMATION
Defining what qualifies as a Destructive Device is a bit complicated because it covers a vast number of possibilities.
There are two primary categories that address specific types of munitions. Each category describes the devices subject to the definition based on the material contained in the item, the dimensions of the bore of certain weapons, and a combination of parts for use in converting the described items into destructive devices.
The first portion of the definition deals with explosive, incendiary and poison gas munitions. The definition specifies that any explosive, incendiary or poison gas bomb, grenade, mine or similar device is a destructive device.
This portion of the definition includes a rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces and a missile (projectile) having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce.
NOTE: Missiles (projectiles) less than caliber 20mm generally are not large enough to accommodate more than one-quarter ounce of explosive or incendiary material. In the case of 20mm high explosive (HE) or high explosive incendiary (HEI) projectiles, it is imperative to determine the model designation of the specific item as some 20mm HE and HEI projectiles contain more than one-quarter ounce of explosive or incendiary material and are destructive devices. Other 20mm HE and HEI projectiles do not contain more than one-quarter ounce of explosive and are not destructive devices. Therefore, it is incumbent upon persons interested in 20mm HE and HEI ammunition to determine the amount of explosives contained in a specific projectile. HE and HEI missiles (projectiles) larger than 20mm generally contain more than one-quarter ounce of explosive or incendiary material and are destructive devices.
LARGE CALIBER WEAPONS:
The second section of the definition states that any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore diameter of more than one-half inch in diameter is a destructive device. This portion of the definition specifically excludes a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes. ATF has issued rulings classifying specific shotguns as destructive devices because they have a bore of more than one half inch in diameter and were found to not be particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
The majority of weapons covered by this portion of the destructive device definition are large caliber military weapons such as rocket launchers, mortars and cannons.
It is important to note that the large caliber firearms covered by this section are defined as weapons that expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant. This is the only place in the GCA and NFA where a propellant other than an explosive must be considered when classifying a weapon. Examples of weapons having a bore diameter of more than one-half inch in diameter and that expel a projectile by means other than an explosive are mortars that utilize compressed air as a propellant and some rocket launchers.
In addition to defining destructive devices, the definition also specifically excludes certain items from that classification. As previously stated, any shotgun or shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes is not a destructive device. Additionally, the following items are also excluded from the definition:
- Any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon.
- Any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety or similar device.
- Surplus ordnance sold, loaned or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the
provisions of 10 U.S.C. 4684(2), 4685, or 4686.
- Any other device which the Attorney General finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique, or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.
It should not be assumed that any device meeting the above descriptions is automatically excluded from the definition of a destructive device. ATF has ruled that certain pyrotechnic devices are destructive devices.20 ATF should be contacted to confirm the classification of any items that appear to meet the above exclusions. Additionally, many of the items excluded from the definition of destructive device may contain a firearm receiver and would still be a firearm as defined in the GCA.
Always double-check your national and local state laws
LEGAL DD OWNERSHIP CRITERIA
To legally purchase, make, or possess a Destructive Device (DD) you must:
- Be 21+ years of age to purchase a DD from a dealer.
- Be 18+ years of age to purchase a DD from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws).
- Be 18+ years of age to make and register a DD on a Form 1 (contingent on state laws).
- Be 18+ years of age to possess a DD as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation (contingent on state laws).
- Be a resident of the United States.
- Be legally eligible to purchase a firearm.
- Pass a BATFE background check.
- Pay a one-time $200 tax to register or transfer the item.
- Reside in a state that currently allows ownership of DD’s.
Information required to be sent in with application form
HOW TO PURCHASE A DD
In addition to meeting the legal Destructive Device (DD) ownership criteria above (always following your specific state laws), you must submit the following information to the ATF and your local CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer), varying slightly depending upon your method of purchase.
Note that when buying an existing DD on a Form 4 transfer, you typically first purchase (pay for) the item from the seller, but not physically take ownership immediately. The seller must hold the item while you complete the NFA application process and wait to receive your application approval and tax stamp. After you receive official approval and your tax stamp, you can then legally pick up and take ownership of the item.
|ATF Form (in duplicate)||•||•|
|FBI FD-258 Fingerprint Cards||•||•|
|ATF Form 5320.23||•|
|Copy of Trust Documents||•|
|$200 Tax (per DD)||•||•|
|Send CLEO Notification||•||•|
|… with copy of ATF Form 4||•||•|
|… with copy of ATF Form 5320.23 (from all Responsible Persons)||•|
|Wait For ATF Approval||•||•|
When building a DD on a Form 1
IMPORTANT LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS
If you are planning to build a Destructive Device (DD) on a Form 1, make certain to observe and follow ALL national and state laws to keep yourself out of trouble. Ideally, to ensure 100% that you are following legal requirements, do not purchase or manufacture any components until after you receive approval and your tax stamp.