A double-barreled shotgun is a type of shotgun with a break-open action and two barrels arranged in either a side-by-side or over-and-under configuration. Double-barreled shotguns usually have capacity for one shell
in each of the two barrels, which must be manually loaded and then extracted after firing. The gun is cocked by using a manually-operated hammer behind the barrels. Double-barreled shotguns are commonly used for hunting and target shooting.
Partly due to the simplicity of their action, double-barreled shotguns can be converted into sawed-off shotguns. The conversion process can be as simple as taking off pieces of the barrel and gun stock with a hacksaw
, shortening both to the user's preference. This conversion retains the power of the original gun and makes it more concealable and easier to use in confined spaces, but decreases its effective range and accuracy. Due to their nature, sawed-off shotguns are subject to special firearms regulations in many jurisdictions, including the United States. It is illegal in the US to posses a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length and a total length of less than 26 inches unless the owner has a tax-stamped permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. This permit requires a fee of $200 and an extensive background check, and must be renewed every time the gun is transferred to a new owner.