Carolina Bay Shooting Center

Yes you can own a suppressor or fully automatic weapon!



(As of 10/24/2011)



Laws that went into effect in May, 1986 made it illegal for 'civilians' to own fully automatic firearms that were manufactured after that date. Most fully automatic weapons manufactured and registered before May, 1986 may be owned and sold to individuals. The full-auto guns that may be owned by individuals are called 'transferable'. 

To purchase a transferable machine gun, you must meet certain requirements (generally the same as when you purchase another gun), fill out special paperwork (called a 'Form 4'), and pay a one-time transfer tax per weapon.  The tax is $5.00 for all other weapons (AOW), or $200.00 for a silencer, machine-gun, destructive device, short barreled rifles (SBR), or short barreled shotguns (SBS).



Class III includes, but is not limited to: machine guns, silencers, destructive devices, all other weapons (AOW: cane guns, pen guns, etc.), short-barreled rifles (SBR), short-barrel shotguns (SBS). 

1. You must be at least 21 old and legally able to buy a handgun (meaning no felonies, violent misdemeanors, dishonorable discharges, etc.).

2. If you live in Aiken County, Sheriff Mike Hunt will sign your Form 4 as required by BATFE. We have checked with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office their procedures are what are listed below. You must follow them in order to obtain his signature.

3. Complete lines 13 thru 15 on the reverse side of the BATFE Form 4 that declares why you wish to possess the item. Most folks say "collector of firearms" or “target shooting.”

4. Get two 2" X 2" color passport photographs. Attach one to the reverse side of each of the two copies of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms & Explosives(BATFE) Form 4 at line 16 (Carolina Bay Shooting Center supplied). These photos typically cost $5 to $10 and are commonly done at places like Kinkos and Walgreens.

5. Take the two copies of Form 4, with pictures attached and your section completed, to the Aiken County Sherriff’s office (420 Hampton Avenue, NE., and Aiken, SC 29801. Also take the two blank FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards included in your packet (you must use these cards; ACSO does not have them so make sure you take them with you). The ACSO does fingerprinting ONLY on Tuesday between 9:00 am and 11:00 am and Wednesday between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  There is a $6.00 fee for this service and must be paid in cash with exact change. There are NO exceptions to the times or method of payment, so don’t ask.

Once you have the fingerprint cards completed put all the paperwork back in the packet and leave the packet with the front receptionist.  He or She will get it to Sherriff Hunt for his signature. DO NOT plan to wait for this.  You can expect a 3 to 4 day turnaround time. In some cases it could take longer, depending on the Sheriff’s calendar for the week.

Sheriff Hunt will sign off and complete section 17 on the reverse side of the Form 4. This merely attests that you are not wanted locally and that the official knows of no law which will be broken if you are approved by the government.

6. Bring the two copies of the Form 4 and both completed fingerprint cards with a money order or certified check made out to the BATFE ($5.00 for an "AOW" or $200.00 for silencer, machine-gun, destructive device, SBR, SBS). This is a one-time fee for life!  Note that each firearm, device, etc. requires that a separate tax be paid.  E.g., a machinegun with a suppressor would require a tax payment for the machinegun (actually for the receiver) and another tax payment for the suppressor.

7. You also have to send in a form called the Certification of Compliance, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B), BATFE Form 5330.20, which simply states that you are a United States citizen (supplied in packet). 

8. The BATFE will first remove the money order and examine the paperwork for completeness. It will be assigned to an agent, who will have a nationwide FBI background check performed on you. Once you pass this (all legal folks over 21 should pass it), the BATFE will mail back one certified copy of the Form 4. On this copy will be a stamp that looks like a postage stamp. This is a Federal tax stamp indicating the transfer tax is paid and the item is officially yours.

9. When Carolina Bay Shooting Center receives this Form 4 back with the stamp on it (generally 90-120 days after it is mailed in), You will be notified and advised to come in as soon as possible to complete the process. You will have to complete a BATFE Form 4473 at the store.  The 4473 is not called in for a background check since that has already been done, but is kept on file at the store in compliance with BATFE regulations.  We will then transfer the item to you along with the original Form 4 with the tax stamp attached.

You should immediately make several copies of the Form 4 and carry one with you at all times when you have the product with you. Be sure to put the original in a safe place.




1. Once you have legal possession of the Class III item (except suppressors/silencers for which this does not apply) you may not take the item across state lines unless you notify the BATFE in writing with the BATFE Form 5320 before doing so. These forms are available on the Internet, or we can make a copy for you. You are not asking for their approval but, instead, merely letting them know you are taking a Class III item across state lines and when you will depart and return. 

2. You may not loan this Class III item to anyone.

3. You may not store this item at a friend's home who has access to it.

4. This is a restricted distribution item. To possess it requires (at the very least) an extensive background check. You are obligated by law (and common sense) to prevent unqualified people from gaining access to it. You may let others use the item if they remain in your physical presence.

5. If you decide to sell the item you should bring the item to a Class III dealer to legally effect the transfer. Not all transfers require dealer assistance, but the law is confusing and the best way to ensure and demonstrate compliance is to enlist the help of a professional Class III dealer.  The buyer then has to go through all the steps described above and pay the required transfer tax(s).




Class III purchase: 

1. Customer must pay, in full, for the price of designated firearm. 


Class III transfers: 

1. The process is same as for a regular transfer, except Class III paperwork is used. 

2. Purchaser must be a South Carolina resident. 

3. Transfer fee for Class III weapons is $100. 

4. Transfer fee for Class III silencers is $50. 

5. Carolina Bay Shooting Center may also broker or consign a class III sale for a 15% fee unless other express arrangements are made by Carolina Bay Shooting Center senior staff. 


*Class III / PICS DENIALS *  All Class III sales are final.  Refunds will be awarded solely at the discretion of Carolina Bay Shooting Center. Full refund of sales amount (total charge) minus a restocking fee up to 25%, depending on the item cost, applies to all denials or cancellations.*  Carolina Bay Shooting Center retains the Class III item and may dispose of it immediately. 

 *Charges must be assessed to compensate for overhead, forms, PICS check, surcharges, taxes, credit card fees, and loss of salability during the transaction period, as well as other miscellaneous expenses.

The information on this page regards purchases as an individual. For info on NFA Trust Purchases see the NFA Trust Info Page. The process is similar but there are differences.
We have a full time Notary Public on staff to assist with your trust or other notary needs
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