Grenade Launchers: Are They Legal?

If you sit down and decide you want to enjoy an action film marathon, chances are, you will see a grenade launcher in at least one of the movies.

Grenade Launchers Are They Legal

Watching someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger pick up and shoot at his enemies is always entertaining to see in movies.

While you may not immediately think, “oh, I wonder if I can buy a grenade launcher,” many movie and weapon enthusiasts have dreamed of owning their own powerful weapons.

Throughout human civilization, people have invented all kinds of weapons. Whether these have been to hunt animals or in warfare, weapons also fascinate many of us.

While being a gun owner is relatively common in many areas of the US, owning weapons such as rocket or grenade launchers is not as widespread.

That’s not to say, however, that some of these battlefield weapons have not been used for other purposes, such as in agriculture and demolition. 

Today, debate rages on surrounding gun control and gun laws in the US. With many lobbying against the use of guns, it is perhaps bewildering to think that some people own deadly weapons such as grenade launchers.

Surely, owning such weaponry can not be legal, right?

Well, the truth is probably going to surprise you. Read on as we discuss whether grenade launchers are legal throughout the US and the laws surrounding other military based weapons.

The Grenade Launcher: Is it Legal To Own?

When you try to think of a deadly weapon other than a gun, you will soon think of rocket or grenade launchers. Often used in military combat, you would think there is not much use for them otherwise. 

But, owning a grenade launcher in the US is permitted under federal law.

Yep, you read that right! You can legally own a grenade launcher. However, there are some restrictions attached.

The grenade launcher is classified as a destructive device by the National Firearms Act.

Nevertheless, this specially designed, large caliber projectile weapon is legal to own in many parts of the country. But, to own one, you must register the weapon correctly and pass all required background checks.

There have been numerous reports of police finding grenade launchers alongside a whole host of military grade weapons in the US.

For instance, in 2019, a man in New Jersey was arrested for having a grenade launcher as well as other weapons, such as two assault rifles in his hotel room.

While the rifles were not a shock, most people were astonished to find out a regular guy could get his hands on a grenade launcher. 

In 2005, the Seattle bomb squad was called to a car after reports of a rocket launcher being spotted inside. But, when it was found to be unloaded, no charges were pressed as it was legal to own. 

How Do People Get Grenade Launchers? 

The question is, ‘how do people come across grenade launchers?’ You may think it requires some shady business, but it can actually be as simple as a quick phone call, acquiring  a permit, and waiting to be approved.

Once checks have been done, you may be able to legally own a grenade launcher. 

ABC News did an investigation to see how easy it would be for a citizen to buy a grenade launcher. 

Reporters contacted an online seller via the phone and, according to the vendor, you could buy a grenade launcher if you lived in a state that allows the weapon and if you have an ATF license. 

After ordering the grenade launcher, customers would wait around two and a half months for it to be shipped. They would first pay by credit card and fill in some paperwork to receive their ATF permit.  

Within just six weeks, you could become the owner of your very own grenade launcher with very little background checks. 

The registration required for a grenade launcher is typically $200 tax, and the waiting period for your ATF license can drag on for much longer than six weeks.

As for the grenades themselves, these are inherently expensive, while the HEDP rounds are considered illegal for all intents and purposes.

Each round of explosive ammunition is classified as a destructive device and subject to the same restrictions as grenade launchers, 

The cost of a grenade launcher is very high, however. That is perhaps the main reason why so many people struggle to own the weapon. 

Other Weapons Legal In the US

You may be surprised to know that there are a number of other highly dangerous weapons that are legal in the US.

Grenade Launchers Are They Legal (1)

Here is a list of some:

  1. Cannons – Under the 1934 National Firearms ACT (NFA), cannon shells are also classified as destructive devices in the US. These have to be registered and, although legal under federal law, some states prohibit ownership.
  2. Crossbows – Often used in hunting, crossbows have no federal law attached to them.
  3. Katanas – Katana swords are legal in parts of the US, but with restrictions. That said, some people have been seen walking the sidewalks with these swords. 
  4. Sap caps – As small as a baseball cap, these are dangerous little weapons but are pretty cheap to buy.
  5. Umbrella swords – Banned in New York, California, and Massachusetts, umbrella swords are legal in all other states and 15-inch blades can be bought for small prices.
  6. Miniguns – These have been legal to own in the US since a law was passed in 1986.
  7. One-handed flails – This medieval looking weapon is legal in all parts of the US except for New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
  8. Chain whips – Easily concealable, chain whips are legal in most states.
  9. Flamethrowers – Often used in agriculture, flamethrowers can be privately owned in the US, unlike most countries. In the UK, you could go to jail for ten years if found in possession of a flamethrower.

In Summary

Grenade launchers are just one of an array of surprisingly legal weapons in the US. As long as you meet the criteria to own one, it’s possible to get your hands on a grenade launcher in less than two months. 

Surprised? Let us know your comments below.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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