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Antique Firearm Definitions GCA vs NFA?

ChrisInTempeChrisInTempe Member Posts: 15,562
edited November 2010 in General Discussion
I am intending to sell some of my pre-1899 firearms and have found conflicting definitions of what constitutes an "Antique".

The definition of Antique is different in Chapter 44 of Title 18 (GCA 1968, as amended) and Chapter 53 of Title 26 (NFA 1934, as amended). Both references are used on ATF web pages and downloadable documents. I do not understand which one to use, or if one over rules the other? Or under what circumstances? Or if both must be followed?

You see, where Title 18 declares all pre-1899 firearms to be antiques and applies a cartridge availability test only to replicas of antique firearms, Title 26 applies the cartridge test without regard to replica or pre-1899 original.

However, in an earlier section Title 26 also gives the Attorney General (previously the Secretary of the Treasury) power to decide if a gun is an antique or not under very broad parameters. If the Attorney General or the (Secretary of the Treasury) ever issued a rule on this, I have not found it.

So, under Title 18 my original 1889 rifle in caliber .44-40 is an Antique, as is my original 1870's era .22 rimfire revolver. Title 18 calls them antiques because both were made "in or before 1898" and neither is a replica. Under Title 18 I should be able to sell these guns to an out of state buyer without the aid of an FFL dealer, reducing the cost of the sale.

However under Title 26, neither is an antique because ammunition is commercially available. So under Title 26 I must use an FFL dealer on the receiving end to complete a sale to an out of state buyer. For some old top break revolvers of the late 1890's, the values are so low that the FFL fee becomes a major part of the sale.

Seeking clarity I have searched the ATF website and found that both the Title 18 and Title 26 definitions are used by them to tell us what constitutes an "Antique" under their rules. Here are two Title 26 examples:
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/importation-verification/firearms-verification-nfa-antique-firearm.html

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=RETRIEVE&FILE=$$xa$$busc26.wais&start=20391331&SIZE=9737&TYPE=TEXT

Here are two Title 18 examples:
http://www.atf.gov/publications/newsletters/ffl/ffl-newsletter-2005-02.pdf

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/collectors.html#antique-definition

So I am stuck, not knowing which definition applies. Unless I find something more definitive than the ATF's conflicting online documents, I think I have to err on the side of caution and ship any pre-1899 gun I sell to an FFL just as if it were a clearly modern firearm.

Anybody have more info?

Chris

Comments

  • nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,372 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Read this thread on ATE, especially the explanation of Mark Christian:

    http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=482305

    My understanding is that both rifles you name are considered antiques, unless they ALSO meet the definition of an NFA firearm, in which case they would be removed from the antique firearm category.

    Neal
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 33,015 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The definitive info that I have states that if the gun was made before 1899 it is an antique regardless of whether ammo is available or not.

    Many dealers go by this definition and do not get in trouble with ATF.

    Empirarms.com sells all kinds of pre-1899 military guns as antiques, Swede Mausers and lots of Mosins. Ammo is readily available for these guns.

    You might email Dennis Kroh over there and ask him to clarify this for you as he has put his career and liberty on the line on this issue.
  • Lonewolf77Lonewolf77 Member Posts: 339 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ChrisInTempe
    I am intending to sell some of my pre-1899 firearms and have found conflicting definitions of what constitutes an "Antique".

    The definition of Antique is different in Chapter 44 of Title 18 (GCA 1968, as amended) and Chapter 53 of Title 26 (NFA 1934, as amended). Both references are used on ATF web pages and downloadable documents. I do not understand which one to use, or if one over rules the other? Or under what circumstances? Or if both must be followed?

    You see, where Title 18 declares all pre-1899 firearms to be antiques and applies a cartridge availability test only to replicas of antique firearms, Title 26 applies the cartridge test without regard to replica or pre-1899 original.

    However, in an earlier section Title 26 also gives the Attorney General (previously the Secretary of the Treasury) power to decide if a gun is an antique or not under very broad parameters. If the Attorney General or the (Secretary of the Treasury) ever issued a rule on this, I have not found it.

    So, under Title 18 my original 1889 rifle in caliber .44-40 is an Antique, as is my original 1870's era .22 rimfire revolver. Title 18 calls them antiques because both were made "in or before 1898" and neither is a replica. Under Title 18 I should be able to sell these guns to an out of state buyer without the aid of an FFL dealer, reducing the cost of the sale.

    However under Title 26, neither is an antique because ammunition is commercially available. So under Title 26 I must use an FFL dealer on the receiving end to complete a sale to an out of state buyer. For some old top break revolvers of the late 1890's, the values are so low that the FFL fee becomes a major part of the sale.

    Seeking clarity I have searched the ATF website and found that both the Title 18 and Title 26 definitions are used by them to tell us what constitutes an "Antique" under their rules. Here are two Title 26 examples:
    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/importation-verification/firearms-verification-nfa-antique-firearm.html

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=RETRIEVE&FILE=$$xa$$busc26.wais&start=20391331&SIZE=9737&TYPE=TEXT

    Here are two Title 18 examples:
    http://www.atf.gov/publications/newsletters/ffl/ffl-newsletter-2005-02.pdf

    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/collectors.html#antique-definition

    So I am stuck, not knowing which definition applies. Unless I find something more definitive than the ATF's conflicting online documents, I think I have to err on the side of caution and ship any pre-1899 gun I sell to an FFL just as if it were a clearly modern firearm.

    Anybody have more info?

    Chris


    Im on your side in this, HOWEVER! knowing that politicians and so called " people in power" have no grey matter to speak of and know about as much about ammuniton as Obama knows the bible, trying to stick ANY modern ammunition into those guns of yours will swiftly and totally turn them into hand grenades! the guns you speak of were made ONLY for BP ammo ONLY... To end this Id have to tell you that your guns ARE ANTIQUES and I have dealt with guns as yours as well as many others over the last 35 years or so thru mail, face to face etc, without issue. I do advise you to pursue a second opinion however; if you are still undecided.. BTW when was the last time you heard of a drive by done with a blunderbuss???[:D][}:)]
  • ChrisInTempeChrisInTempe Member Posts: 15,562
    edited November -1
    Thanks, I looked at the web page for Empire Arms:
    http://www.empirearms.com/

    The first thing that leaps out at me is that they sell and ship only to FFL holders. So they are avoiding any confusion with that policy, can't say I blame them for it.

    Chris

    - - - - - - -
    quote:Originally posted by allen griggs
    The definitive info that I have states that if the gun was made before 1899 it is an antique regardless of whether ammo is available or not.

    Many dealers go by this definition and do not get in trouble with ATF.

    Empirarms.com sells all kinds of pre-1899 military guns as antiques, Swede Mausers and lots of Mosins. Ammo is readily available for these guns.

    You might email Dennis Kroh over there and ask him to clarify this for you as he has put his career and liberty on the line on this issue.
  • ChrisInTempeChrisInTempe Member Posts: 15,562
    edited November -1
    Yeah, I understand about the blackpowder versus smokeless issue. But there are cartridges made for some of these guns that are simply loaded to lower pressures. Such as various .32's and .38's.

    Elderly .22's are a different story. Stuff a .22 LR hyper velocity into a little 1870's pocket gun and some serious discomfort is about to take place! Even standard .22 Long Rifle ammo today is a real bad idea in a 130 year old gun.

    But still, ammo is made that fits in the gun and the NFA says what it says ... so ... what next?

    I do know that people have been selling and shipping old stuff like mine without concern for years. But darn it when I go to the ATF website they have FAQS telling me completely different things. So what happens if some mood change comes along and they decide to lean more heavily to NFA instead of GSA?

    I have some time to kill before selling / shipping anything, so will keep digging and listening.

    Chris

    - - - - - -
    quote:Originally posted by Lonewolf77

    Im on your side in this, HOWEVER! knowing that politicians and so called " people in power" have no grey matter to speak of and know about as much about ammuniton as Obama knows the bible, trying to stick ANY modern ammunition into those guns of yours will swiftly and totally turn them into hand grenades! the guns you speak of were made ONLY for BP ammo ONLY... To end this Id have to tell you that your guns ARE ANTIQUES and I have dealt with guns as yours as well as many others over the last 35 years or so thru mail, face to face etc, without issue. I do advise you to pursue a second opinion however; if you are still undecided.. BTW when was the last time you heard of a drive by done with a blunderbuss???[:D][}:)]
  • ChrisInTempeChrisInTempe Member Posts: 15,562
    edited November -1
    Thanks, I read that thread and commented in there earlier. I deleted my original post when I realized it was really off-topic. Oops.

    Mark Christian did answer me there, and I appreciated his effort of doing so. But the open question remained as his answer was quoting Title 18, while Title 26 says something different.

    The ATF uses and cites both laws when telling us what makes an "Antique" an "Antique". Which is darned rude I think. You go to their website for answers and depending on which page you land on you either find that what you want to do is perfectly legal or very much not legal!?

    Now that's just bad manners!


    Chris
    - - - - -
    quote:Originally posted by nmyers
    Read this thread on ATE, especially the explanation of Mark Christian:
    http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=482305
    My understanding is that both rifles you name are considered antiques, unless they ALSO meet the definition of an NFA firearm, in which case they would be removed from the antique firearm category.
    Neal
  • NwcidNwcid Member Posts: 10,674
    edited November -1
    I am with nmyers.

    Any gun made prior to Jan 1, 1899 IS an antique firearm. By made that means the serial number HAS to date from before Jan 1, 1899, not the model. There are many models of guns that were made on both sides of that date which is why it is by serial number.

    When it comes to NFA stuff if there is no exemption for age. Any firearm and an antique is considered a firearm has to meet NFA rules.

    I read though the links you posted and what I just said (prior to looking) is what they say. What part of them are you confused on? If I can understand what part you dont understand maybe I can help better.


    Also remember that any gun 50 years old or older (again by serial number) is considered C&R. There are many C&R holders out there so the is no "extra" transfer fees associated.
  • BarzilliaBarzillia Member Posts: 21,912 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    "because ammunition is commercially available"


    That is not the law.
    "Anger has two children -.hope, and courage." Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

    "Und es wird nicht hineingehen irgend ein Gemeines und das da Greuel tut und Luge,
    sondern die geschrieben sind in dem Lebensbuch des Lammes."
  • NwcidNwcid Member Posts: 10,674
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ChrisInTempe


    The definition of Antique is different in Chapter 44 of Title 18 (GCA 1968, as amended) and Chapter 53 of Title 26 (NFA 1934, as amended). Both references are used on ATF web pages and downloadable documents. I do not understand which one to use, or if one over rules the other? Or under what circumstances? Or if both must be followed?



    I think I just figured out your problem.

    Both are correct. As long as your guns are NOT NFA items, http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=365687 then they ARE Antique Firearms. IF your guns, no matter the age, ARE NFA items then they ARE NFA items.
  • mark christianmark christian Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 23,010 ******
    edited November -1
    Read the definition of shotgun, particularly the highlighted area where it clearly says fixed shell:


    (d) Shotgun

    The term ``shotgun'' means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or
    remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or
    redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell.


    Now read the definition of Short Barreled Shotgun, especially the high lighted area:

    The term "short-barreled shotgun" means a shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.
    [18 USCS ? 921]

    Notice the specific word shotgun? Now look again at the definition of shotgun and see that this includes any smooth bore shoulder piece that fires a fixed shell. These is no exclusion for shotguns of any age which fire fixed ammunition...They are SBS under the law no matter when they were produced.
  • ChrisInTempeChrisInTempe Member Posts: 15,562
    edited November -1
    Ah, I think you nailed it here. That's what gets lost when searching for definitions, the searches leap past the context and it is not always obvious when it happens.

    So the National Firearms Act of 1934 (Title 26) applies to only a limited number of shortened weapons, concealable weapons, machine guns and other items they were bothered about way back then. Not to firearms in general.

    For firearms generally, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Title 18) is what controls them.

    Apparently ...

    Thank You,
    Chris

    PS: Personally, I think if something is older than me it's an Antique. If it is as old as me, it is clearly a Curio, possibly a Relic and beyond all doubts a Collectible :)

    quote:Originally posted by Nwcid
    I think I just figured out your problem.
    Both are correct. As long as your guns are NOT NFA items, http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=365687 then they ARE Antique Firearms. IF your guns, no matter the age, ARE NFA items then they ARE NFA items.
  • NwcidNwcid Member Posts: 10,674
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ChrisInTempe
    Ah, I think you nailed it here. That's what gets lost when searching for definitions, the searches leap past the context and it is not always obvious when it happens.

    So the National Firearms Act of 1934 (Title 26) applies to only a limited number of shortened weapons, concealable weapons, machine guns and other items they were bothered about way back then. Not to firearms in general.

    For firearms generally, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Title 18) is what controls them.

    Apparently ...

    Thank You,
    Chris

    PS: Personally, I think if something is older than me it's an Antique. If it is as old as me, it is clearly a Curio, possibly a Relic and beyond all doubts a Collectible :)

    quote:Originally posted by Nwcid
    I think I just figured out your problem.
    Both are correct. As long as your guns are NOT NFA items, http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=365687 then they ARE Antique Firearms. IF your guns, no matter the age, ARE NFA items then they ARE NFA items.




    IF it is a Rifle, Pistol, or Shotgun it is considered a Title 1 Firearm. For the simple answer these fall under the GCA.

    IF it is a SBR, SBS, AOW, MG, Silencer, DD it is a Title 2 Firearm and ALSO has to follow the NFA rules.

    There are ONLY 9 types of firearms by definition (3 Title 1, and 6 Title 2). So you have to find out what type of firearm you have and follow those rules.

    You have a Rifle and a Pistol, by definition so you need to ONLY follow the rules of GCA.
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 33,015 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ChrisInTempe
    Thanks, I looked at the web page for Empire Arms:
    http://www.empirearms.com/

    The first thing that leaps out at me is that they sell and ship only to FFL holders. So they are avoiding any confusion with that policy, can't say I blame them for it.

    Chris

    - - - - - - -
    quote:Originally posted by allen griggs
    The definitive info that I have states that if the gun was made before 1899 it is an antique regardless of whether ammo is available or not.

    Many dealers go by this definition and do not get in trouble with ATF.

    Empirarms.com sells all kinds of pre-1899 military guns as antiques, Swede Mausers and lots of Mosins. Ammo is readily available for these guns.

    You might email Dennis Kroh over there and ask him to clarify this for you as he has put his career and liberty on the line on this issue.



    Read more closely, grasshopper.
    It says they only sell FIREARMS to FFL holders. By that they mean modern firearms.

    http://www.empirearms.com/antique.htm

    As I said, Empire Arms sells all kinds of ANTIQUE guns without use of a FFL, and they charge a premium for shootable antique guns, why mess with a FFL if you don't have to.

    In other words, a savvy dealer like Empire Arms may have a Finnish M39 Sako made in 1902, and another M39 Sako made in 1896.
    The guns are identical and take the same ammo, which is , of course, readily available.
    Empire Arms will charge 25 percent more for the antique Mosin and people gladly pay it.
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