Here is the long version of the story.
First off, here is the Definition of "destructive
device" from The Gun Control Act of 1968, Public Law 90-618. Make
special note of part (B):
(4) The term "destructive device" means--
(A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas --Note that if something is a destructive device it becomes just like a machine gun in that transferring it requires paperwork, fingerprints, Police signatures, $200 transfer fees, and a 6+ month wait.
(iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,
(iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than
(v) mine, or
(vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the
(B) any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which
the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable
for sporting purposes) 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, and which has any barrel with a bore of
more than one-half inch in diameter; and
(C) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in
converting any device into any destructive device described in
subparagraph (A) or (B) and from which a destructive device may be
So, any gun with a caliber greater than 0.50" is basically illegal in the USA "other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes." Yes, each and every model of shotgun in the US is legal only because the BATF has given that model an exemption. You can find the list at the BATF web site.
The story I am told is F.I.E., trying to help its approval, called it a Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun during its US approval process. This must have helped a bit -- they can't be imported anymore, but at least the ones in the USA weren't reclassified as Destructive Devices.
The final reference would be the original Franchi manual and the Franchi factory parts list.
Also note that if you did register it,
they waived the $200 fee, and also didn't make you get your local law enforcement
officer to sign the application. I think the theory was the transfer
was a done deal, they just wanted to register them.
ATF Rul. 94-2
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has examined a firearm
identified as the Striker-12/Streetsweeper shotgun to determine whether it is a
destructive device as that term is used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26
U.S.C. Chapter 53.
The Striker-12 and Streetsweeper shotguns are virtually identical 12-gauge
shotguns with a spring-driven revolving magazine. The magazine has a
12-round capacity. The shotgun has a fixed stock or folding shoulder stock and
may be fired with the folding stock collapsed. The shotgun with an 18-inch
barrel is 37 inches in length with the stock extended, and 26.5 inches in length
with the stock folded. The shotgun is 5.7 inches in width and weighs 9.24
pounds unloaded. The Striker/Streetsweeper has two pistol grips, one in the
center of the firearm below the buttstock, and one on the forearm. The
Striker/Streetsweeper was designed and developed in South Africa as a
military, security, and anti-terrorist weapon. Various types of 12-gauge
cartridges can be fired from the shotgun, and a rapid indexing procedure allows
various types of ammunition to be loaded into the cylinder and selected for
firing. All 12 rounds can be fired from the shotgun in 3 seconds or less.
Section 5845(f), Title 26, U.S.C., classifies certain weapons as "destructive
devices" which are subject to the registration and tax provisions of the NFA.
Section 5845(f)(2) provides as follows:
(f) Destructive device.--The term "destructive device" means * * *
(2) 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 of more than
one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the
Secretary or his delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly
suitable for sporting purposes; ..."
A "sporting purposes" test which is almost identical to that in section 5845(f)(2)
appears in 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3). This provision of the Gun Control Act of 1968
(GCA) provides that the Secretary shall authorize a firearm to be imported into
the United States if the firearm is "generally recognized as particularly suitable
for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." With the exception of the readily
adaptable' language, this provision is identical to the sporting shotgun
exception to the destructive devices definition. The definition of "destructive
device" in the GCA (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(4)) is identical to that in the NFA.
In determining whether shotguns with a bore of more than one-half inch in
diameter are "generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting
purposes" and thus are not destructive devices under the NFA, we believe it is
appropriate to use the same criteria used for evaluating shotguns under the
"sporting purposes" test of section 925(d)(3). Congress used virtually identical
language in describing the weapons subject to the two statutory schemes, and
the language was added to the GCA and NFA at the same time.
In 1984, ATF ruled that the Striker-12 was not eligible for importation under
section 925(d)(3) since it is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes. In
making this determination, the 1984 letter-ruling notes that the Striker was being
used in a number of "combat" shooting events. In a letter dated June 30, 1986,
ATF again denied importation to the Striker-12, on the basis that it did not meet
the "sporting purposes" test of section 925(d)(3). This letter states that, "We
believe the weapon to have been specifically designed for military and law
In evaluating the physical characteristics of the Striker 12/Streetsweeper, ATF
concludes that the weight, bulk, designed magazine capacity, configuration,
and other features indicate that it was designed primarily for military and law
enforcement use and is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
The weight of the Striker-12/Streetsweeper, 9.24 pounds unloaded, is on the
high end for traditional 12-gauge sporting shotguns, which generally weigh
between 7 and 10 pounds. Thus, the weight of the Striker-12/Streetsweeper
makes it awkward to carry for extended periods, as in hunting, and
cumbersome to fire at multiple small moving targets, as in skeet and trap
shooting. The width of the Striker-12/Streetsweeper, 5.7 inches, far exceeds that
of traditional sporting shotguns, which do not exceed three inches in width or
four inches in depth. The large size and bulk of the Striker-12/Streetsweeper
make it extremely difficult to maneuver quickly enough to engage moving
targets as is necessary in hunting, skeet, and trap shooting. The spring driven
revolving magazine with 12-cartridge capacity is a much larger capacity than
traditional repeating sporting shotguns, which generally contain tubular
magazines with a capacity of 3-5 cartridges. The folding shoulder stock and the
two pistol grips are not typical of sporting-type shotguns. Finally, the overall
appearance and general shape of the weapon are radically different from
traditional sporting shotguns and strikingly similar to shotguns designed
specifically for or modified for combat and law enforcement use.
Section 7805(b), Title 26, U.S.C., provides that the Secretary may prescribe the
extent, if any, to which any ruling relating to the internal revenue laws shall be
applied without retroactive effect. Accordingly, all rulings issued under the
Internal Revenue Code are applied retroactively unless they specifically provide
otherwise. Pursuant to section 7805(b), the Director, as the delegate of the
Secretary, may prescribe the extent to which any ruling will apply without
Held: The Striker-12/Streetsweeper is a shotgun with a bore of more than
one-half inch in diameter which is not particularly suitable for sporting
purposes. The weight, size, bulk, designed magazine capacity, configuration,
and other factors indicate that the Striker-12/Streetsweeper is a military-type
shotgun, as opposed to a shotgun particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
Accordingly, the Striker-12/Streetsweeper is a destructive device as that term is
used in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(f)(2). Pursuant to section 7805(b), this ruling is applied
prospectively effective March 1, 1994, with respect to the making, transfer, and
special (occupational) taxes imposed by the NFA. All other provisions of the
NFA apply retroactively effective March 1, 1994.