Home > Class 3 / NFA FAQ > How do I buy an NFA item? > How to register a suppressor in your own name

Depending on whether you live in Arkansas or not, the process will be slightly different.  The main difference is that we’ll do the paperwork for Arkansas buyers, and non-Arkansas buyers will have an FFL/SOT holder in their state who will fill out the paperwork.

The first thing people hear about when they’re looking at buying an NFA item, such as a suppressor, is the ATF Form 4.  The seems to cause a fair amount of stress as people worry over how they are going to fill out that dreaded form.

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to fill it out at all!

We, or your transfer dealer, will fill out two copies of this form for you and then you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Sign section 15 on both copies.
  2. Get 2 passport photos and attach one to section 16 of each copy.  You can have these taken at your local drug store, or you can take them yourself and print them on a color printer.
  3. Finally, you need to take both copies of the Form 4 to your local chief law-enforcement officer (CLEO) and have him sign section 17 on both.  Note that the CLEO should have jurisdiction where you live – and will typically be either your Sheriff or the Police Chief.  (If you want to avoid the CLEO signature and fingerprints altogether, you may want to go with the trust route)
Aside from the Form 4, you will also be provided with 2 fingerprint cards that have been stamped by the ATF.  You should NOT substitute these cards!  It’s generally easiest to just get the fingerprints done while you’re at the police dept for the CLEO signature.

The last step is to sign a copy of form 5330.20 – basically saying you are a U.S. Citizen.

Once this is done, you can put everything in an envelope and mail it to the ATF with a check for $200.  For our Arkansas customers, we provide a pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope that you can use as part of our registration packet.

At this point, you get to practice waiting.   For most people, the hardest part of buying a suppressor is having the patience to wait for that tax stamp to come back from the ATF.

For Arkansas buyers, we will receive your tax stamp and will give you a call as soon as it arrives.  Then you can either come pick it up or have us mail it to you.

For non-Arkansas buyers, the FFL/SOT holder who is handling the transfer will receive your tax stamp and will call you to come pick up your new toy!

As you can see, there really isn’t much to the process.  Once you’ve been through it once, chances are you’ll do it again – especially after you see what a blast it is to shoot suppressed!

~Reprinted, with some revisions, with the permission of Dave Matheny.