ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Firearms

Firearms FAQs

ATF receives numerous telephone and electronic inquiries on a daily basis. In an effort to provide individuals with the most up-to-date information, ATF has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and provided answers to those questions.

Conduct of Business

May a same-sex spouse of a deceased licensee (including a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer) carry on the licensed firearms (or explosives) business for the remainder of the term of the license?

Yes. ATF interprets the term “spouse” in 27 CFR 478.56 and 479.42 (as well as 555.59), to mean a same-sex or opposite sex spouse whose marriage is valid in the jurisdiction in which it was performed. A surviving spouse of a deceased licensee may carry on the licensed firearms or explosive business for the remainder of the term of the license as long as the state in which the real or personal property associated with the license is located, including the licensed business premises, recognizes the spouse as an individual with a legal right to the property of the licensed business. ATF regulations do not address the devolution of real or personal property. As provided by regulation, the successor must also furnish the license for that business to ATF for endorsement within 30 days from the date on which the successor begins to carry on the business.

Where can I obtain the Form 3310.12?

Licensed dealers and pawnbrokers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas received one copy of the ATF Form 3310.12 from ATF via the United States Postal Service. Upon initial receipt, those licensees should immediately photocopy the form and make additional copies as needed. In addition, ATF encourages licensees to access the fillable form through our website at https://www.atf.gov/files/forms/download/atf-f-3310-12.pdf. The fillable form allows licensees to enter the information, print the completed form and report the multiple sales via e-mail to multiplelonggunsalesforms@atf.gov. The Form 3310.12 may also be obtained through the ATF Distribution Center, 13882 Redskin Drive, Herndon, VA 20171, (703) 870-7526 or (703) 870-7528, or online at http://www.atf.gov/content/distribution-center-order-form. Please note that in response to your order, the ATF Distribution Center will issue a quantity of five Forms to those affected licensees.

How should I retain the Form 3310.12 as part of my ATF records?

ATF encourages that licensed dealers and pawnbrokers retain one copy of the Form 3310.12 and attach it to the Firearms Transaction Record, Form 4473, executed upon delivery of the rifles.

Do licensed dealers and pawnbrokers need to provide a copy of the ATF Form 3310.12 to their designated state or local law enforcement agencies?

No, licensed dealers and pawnbrokers are not required to submit the Form 3310.12 to their designated state or local law enforcement agencies.

Where do you submit the Form 3310.12?

The ATF Form 3310.12 must be submitted to the National Tracing Center no later than the close of business on the day the multiple sale or other disposition took place. The Form may be emailed to multiplelonggunsalesforms@atf.gov, faxed to (877) 283-0288, or mailed to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, National Tracing Center, P.O. Box 0279, Kearneysville, WV 25430-0279.

When do you submit the ATF Form 3310.12 (Form), Report of Multiple Sales or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles?

The Form must be submitted whenever a licensed dealer or pawnbroker sells or otherwise disposes of, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, two or more semiautomatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine, and with a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber) to an unlicensed person. The Form must be filed with ATF no later than the close of business on the day the multiple sale or other disposition took place.

Is the reporting of multiple sales applicable to transfers made to law enforcement officers?

Yes, multiple sales to law enforcement officers must be reported to ATF.

Is Form 3310.12 required for pawn redemptions, return of repaired rifles or the return of consignment rifles?

No, the Form 3310.12 is not required for the return of multiple rifles to the same person from whom they were received—such as the return of multiple consigned, pawned, or repaired rifles.

When does the reporting begin?

The reporting requirement is effective for all such sales that occur on or after August 14, 2011. Please note that reporting multiple sales for the specified rifles must continue until ATF provides written notice to stop.

Licensed dealers in the four southwest border states subject to the multiple sales reporting requirement for certain rifles, have not received a letter notifying they are subject to the reporting requirement. Are they still required to submit the reports?

No. Licensees who are subject to the reporting requirement will receive a letter at the premises address indicated on your Federal firearms license notifying you of the reporting requirement and when you are required to begin submitting reports. The letter will be sent via certified mail. Do not submit multiple sales reports unless you receive specific direction from ATF to do so. If you moved to a different address and failed to notify the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) as required by 27 C.F.R. § 478.52, you should immediately contact the FFLC at (866) 662-2750.

Who is required to report the multiple sales of rifles?

The reporting of multiple sales for rifles requirement is applicable to licensed dealers and pawnbrokers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. However, all licensees remain obligated to submit reports of multiple sales or other dispositions of handguns when the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of two or more pistols or revolvers or any combination of pistols or revolvers totaling two or more, to an unlicensed person at one time or during any five consecutive business days. The reporting of multiple sales for pistols and revolvers is a separate requirement from the reporting of multiple sales of certain rifles.

Are rifles equipped with parts/accessories that encase/enclose the magazine release button (i.e. “bullet button”) required to be reported?

The criteria for rifles that are subject to the multiple sales reports are (1) semiautomatic rifle; (2) capable of accepting a detachable magazine; and (3) caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber). Rifles with receivers that will accept a detachable magazine meet criterion (2). Such rifles include those weapons that have parts and/or accessories that allow the exchange of detachable (including clip or drum-type) magazines, such as the “bullet button.” Contact the Firearms Technology Branch at (304) 616-4300 for determinations as to whether particular rifles are subject to the reporting requirements.

What types of rifles are required to be reported?

The rifle transactions that must be reported are dispositions of semiautomatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber) to an unlicensed person. However, the reporting requirement does not apply to receivers for such rifles. You may contact the Firearms Technology Branch at (304) 616-4300 if you are unable to determine if the rifles are subject to the reporting requirements.

What is a multiple sale of certain rifles?

A1. A multiple sale occurs when a licensed dealer or pawnbroker sells or otherwise disposes of, at one time or during any five consecutive business days, more than one semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber) to an unlicensed person.

Example 1. A licensee sells two rifles in a single transaction to an unlicensed person. This is a multiple sale and must be reported not later than the close of business on the date of the transaction.

Example 2. A licensee sells a rifle on Monday and sells a rifle on the following Friday to the same unlicensed person. This is a multiple sale and must be reported no later than the close of business on Friday. If the licensee sells another rifle to the same unlicensed person on the following Monday, this would constitute an additional multiple sale and must also be reported not later than the close of business on Monday. In addition, the licensee would check ‘Yes’ in Item 2c and place Friday’s date in Item 2c on the ATF Form 3310.12.

Example 3. A licensee maintaining business hours Monday through Saturday sells a rifle to an unlicensed person on Monday and sells another rifle to the same person on the following Saturday. This does not constitute a multiple sale and need not be reported because the sales did not occur during five consecutive business days.

NOTE: Some possible ways to detect multiple sales include, but are not limited to: (a) daily review of ATF Forms 4473 spanning the past five days; (b) daily review of disposition records spanning the past five days; (c) maintaining a calendar of daily sales to unlicensed persons (ideally with each purchaser listed alphabetically); and (d) maintaining a record of daily sales to unlicensed persons (ideally with each purchaser listed alphabetically)

Does the requirement to post a sign on the licensed premises about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who only disposes of handguns to nonlicensees who do not appear at the dealer's premises?

No. The sign posting requirement does not apply where the licensee only disposes of handguns to non-licensees who do not appear at the licensed premises (for example, the licensee only ships repaired or replacement handguns to non-licensees).

[27 CFR 478.103]

Does the requirement to give written notification to handgun transferees about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who returns firearms to their owners, for example, handguns that the dealer repaired?

Yes. The requirement to give written notification to non-licensees applies to the return of handguns, as well as to their sale. It applies even if the licensee ships the repaired firearm to the customer.

[27 CFR 478.103]

What is my responsibility to respond to a request to trace a firearm?

A licensee must provide the requested information immediately and in no event later than 24 hours after receipt of a request by ATF. Failure to respond to the request for trace information can result in monetary fines, imprisonment, and/or revocation of the licensee’s Federal firearms license.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(7), 27 CFR 478.25a]

How many copies of the ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, must be completed and what becomes of each copy?

ATF Form 3310.4 must be completed in triplicate (3 copies). The original is sent to ATF’s National Tracing Center by fax at 1-877-283-0288 or by mail to P.O. Box 0279, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430-0279. A copy is to be sent to the designated State police or the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the sale took place. The remaining copy is to be retained in the records of the dealer and held for not less than 5 years.

[27 CFR 478.126a and 478.129]

If my firearms are stolen or lost, what do I do about my records?

Take an inventory of stock on hand and enter “stolen” or “lost” and the date in the disposition section of the “bound book” for those stolen or lost firearms. In addition, at the time a licensee reports the theft or loss on the ATF toll free line, the licensee will be provided a control number that should be placed in the records as well as on ATF Form 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report.

To whom does an FFL report stolen or lost firearms?

A theft or loss of firearms must be reported to your local police as well as to ATF within 48 hours after the discovery. Licensees should notify ATF on the 24-hour, 7 days a week toll free line at 1-800-800-3855 and by preparing and submitting ATF Form 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report.

Theft or loss of NFA firearms should also be reported to the NFA Branch immediately upon discovery.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(6), 27 CFR 478.39 and 479.141]

Who may ship handguns through the U.S. Postal Service?

Federal firearm licensees may send an unloaded handgun in the mail to another FFL in customary trade shipments. Handguns also may be mailed to any officer, employee, agent, or watchman who is eligible under 18 U.S.C. 1715 to receive pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person for use in connection with his or her official duties.

However, postal service regulations must be followed. Any person proposing to mail a handgun must file with the postmaster, at the time of mailing, an affidavit signed by the addressee stating that the addressee is qualified to receive the firearm, and the affidavit must bear a certificate stating that the firearm is for the official use of the addressee. See the current Postal Manual for details.

The Postal Service recommends that all firearms be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms. (See also questions “May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?” and “May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?”)

What may a licensed dealer do at an out-of-State gun show?

A licensed dealer may sell and deliver curio or relic firearms to another licensee at an out-of-State gun show. With respect to other firearms transactions, a licensed dealer may only display and take orders for firearms at an out-of-State gun show. In filling any orders for firearms, the dealer must return the firearms to his or her licensed premises and deliver them from that location. Any firearm ordered by a non-licensee must be delivered or shipped from the licensee’s premises to a licensee in the purchaser’s State of residence, and the purchaser must obtain the firearm from the licensee located in the purchaser’s State. Except for sales of curio or relic firearms to other licensees, sales of firearms and simultaneous deliveries at the gun show, whether to other licensees or to non-licensees, violate the law because the dealer would be unlawfully engaging in business at an unlicensed location.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(1), (b)(3), 923(a) and (j)]

May licensed dealers sell firearms at gun shows?

Generally, a licensee may sell firearms at a gun show located only in the same State as that specified on the seller’s license. However, a licensee may sell curio or relic firearms to another licensee at any location.

[18 U.S.C. 923(j), 27 CFR 478.100]

Is a license required to engage in the business of selling small arms ammunition?

No. A license is not required for a dealer in ammunition only, but a manufacturer or an importer of ammunition must be licensed.

[18 U.S.C. 922 (a)(1)(B)]

May a licensee continue to deliver to a business whose license has expired?

Yes, for a period of 45 days following the expiration date of the license. After the 45-day period, the transferor is required to verify the licensed status of the transferee with the Chief, Firearms Licensing Center. If the transferee’s license renewal application is still pending, the transferor must obtain evidence from the Director of Industry Operations that a license renewal application has been timely filed by the transferee and is still pending.

[27 CFR 478.94]

Must a multi-licensed business submit a certified copy of each of its licenses when acquiring firearms?

No. It need only provide the seller a list, certified to be true, correct and complete, containing the name, address, and license number and expiration date for each location.

[27 CFR 478.94]

In transactions between licensees, how is the seller assured that a purchaser of a firearm is a licensed dealer?

Verification must be established by the transferee furnishing to the transferor a certified copy of the transferee’s license and by any other means the transferor deems necessary (such as the FFL eZcheck).

[27 CFR 478.94]

May a licensee sell interchangeable ammunition such as .22 cal. rimfire to a person less than 21 years old?

Yes, provided the buyer is 18 years of age or older, and the dealer is satisfied that it is for use in a rifle. If the ammunition is intended for use in a handgun, the 21-year-old minimum age requirement is applicable.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1), 27 CFR 478.99(b)]

Does a customer have to be a certain age to buy firearms or ammunition from a licensee?

Yes. Under the GCA, long guns and long gun ammunition may be sold only to persons 18 years of age or older. Sales of handguns and ammunition for handguns are limited to persons 21 years of age and older. Although some State and local ordinances have lower age requirements, dealers are bound by the minimum age requirements established by the GCA. If State law or local ordinances establish a higher minimum age, the dealer must observe the higher age requirement.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1), 27 CFR 478.99(b)]

As a licensed dealer, must I advise ATF if I sell more than one handgun to an individual?

If you sell or dispose of more than one handgun to any non-licensee during a period of 5 consecutive business days, the sale must be reported on ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, not later than the close of the business day on which you sold or disposed of the second handgun. The licensee must forward a copy of the ATF Form 3310.4 to the ATF office specified thereon, and another copy must be forwarded to the State police or local law enforcement agency where the sale occurred. A copy of the Form 3310.4 also must be attached to the firearms transaction record, ATF Form 4473, documenting the sale or disposition of the second handgun.

A business day for purposes of reporting multiple sales of pistols or revolvers is a day that a licensee conducts business pursuant to the license, regardless of whether State offices are open. The application of the term “business day” is, therefore, distinguishable from the term “business day” as used in the NICS context. Example: A licensee conducts business only on Saturdays and Sundays, days on which State offices are not open. The licensee sells a pistol to an unlicensed person on a Saturday. If that same unlicensed person acquires another handgun the next day (Sunday), the following Saturday or Sunday, or the Saturday after the reporting requirement would be triggered, the subsequent acquisition of a handgun would have to be reported on a Form 3310.4 by the close of the day upon which the second or subsequent handgun was sold.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(3), 27 CFR 478.126a]

May an employee of a licensed dealer, such as a manager or clerk, who is under 21 years of age, sell handguns and ammunition suitable for use in handguns for the licensee?

Yes, if the employee is not a prohibited person (e.g., a felon). However, to sell handguns, a person less than 18 years of age must have the prior written consent of a parent or guardian and the written consent must be in the person’s possession at all times. Also, the parent or guardian giving the written consent may not be prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. Moreover, State law must not prohibit the juvenile from possessing the handguns or ammunition.

[18 U.S.C. 922(x)]

May a dealer sell firearms to law enforcement agencies and individual officers in another State?

Yes. Sales and deliveries of firearms to out-of-State police and sheriff departments are not prohibited by the GCA. A dealer may also sell or ship firearms, other than NFA firearms, to an individual law enforcement officer, regardless of age, if the dealer has a signed statement from the officer’s agency, stating that the items are to be used in the buyer’s official duties and that the officer has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. No ATF Form 4473 or NICS check is required; however, the bound book must be properly posted, and the signed statement included in the dealer’s records. You should contact your State’s Attorney General’s Office to ensure there is no State prohibition on such sales.

[18 U.S.C. 925(a) (1), 27 CFR 478.134 and 478.141]

May a licensed dealer sell a firearm to a non-licensee who is a resident of another State?

Generally, a firearm may not lawfully be sold by a licensed dealer to a non-licensee who resides in a State other than the State in which the seller’s licensed premises is located. However, the sale may be made if the firearm is shipped to a licensed dealer whose business is in the purchaser’s State of residence and the purchaser takes delivery of the firearm from the dealer in his or her State of residence. In addition, a licensee may sell a rifle or shotgun to a person who is not a resident of the State where the licensee’s business premises is located in an over-the-counter transaction, provided the transaction complies with State law in the State where the licensee is located and in the State where the purchaser resides.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(3)]

Does the Federal firearms law require licensees to comply with State laws and local published ordinances when selling firearms?

Yes. It is unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver any firearm or ammunition to any person if the person’s purchase or possession would be in violation of any State law or local published ordinance applicable at the place of sale or delivery.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(2), 27 CFR 478.99(b)(2)]

Is a Social Security card a proper means of identification for purchasing a firearm from an FFL?

No. A Social Security card, alien registration card, or military identification alone does not contain sufficient information to identify a firearms purchaser. However, a purchaser may be identified by any combination of government-issued documents which together establish all of the required information: Name, residence address, date of birth, and photograph of the holder.

[27 CFR 478.11 and 478.124(c)]

Records Required - Licensees

May a licensee maintain computer records in lieu of the "bound book?"

Yes. Pursuant to ATF Ruling 2008-2 licensees may use computerized records in lieu of the “bound book” provided that all conditions of the ruling are met. However, The Director of Industry Operations or other designated ATF official must approve a request for a recordkeeping variance before a licensee may use computerized records that do not meet all of the conditions set forth under ATF Ruling 2008-2 .

[27 CFR 478.22, 478 478.122, 478.123, 478.125(e), 478.125(h)]

May a licensee who has firearms in his or her private collection sell any of these firearms without making firearms record entries?

A licensee may sell a firearm from his or her personal collection, subject only to the restrictions on firearm sales by unlicensed persons, provided the firearm was entered in the licensee's bound book and then transferred to the licensee's private collection at least 1 year prior to the sale. When the personal firearm is sold, the sale must be recorded in a “bound book” for dispositions of personal firearms, but no ATF Form 4473 is required.

[27 CFR 478.125a]

Are rental firearms subject to record-keeping control?

Yes, if the firearms are taken off the premises of the licensee. However, the record-keeping is not imposed on the loan or rental of firearms for use only on the premises of the licensee.

[27 CFR 478.97]

Are the ammunition record-keeping requirements the same as for firearms?

No. No records are required for ammunition other than armor piercing ammunition. Disposition records must be kept by licensed manufacturers, importers, and collectors for transactions in armor piercing ammunition.

[27 CFR 178.125]

How much time does a dealer have to record acquisitions and dispositions of firearms in his or her "bound book?"

Generally, licensees have to enter the acquisition or purchase of a firearm by the close of the next business day after the acquisition or purchase and shall record sales or other dispositions within 7 days.

However, if commercial records containing the required information are available for inspection and are separate from other commercial documents, dealers have 7 days from the time of receipt to record the receipt in the “bound book.”

If a disposition is made before the acquisition has been entered in the “bound book,&rdquo the acquisition entry must be made at the same time as the disposition entry.

[27 CFR 478.125]

What is the dealer's responsibility where a variance from normal regulatory practice has been authorized?

The ATF letter authorizing the variance must be kept at the licensed premises and available for inspection. For businesses with more than a single licensed outlet, each outlet covered by the variance must have a copy of the letter authorizing the change.

[27 CFR 478.22 and 478.125(h)]

May a dealer keep more than one "bound book" at the same time?

Yes. A dealer in firearms is not limited to using only one “bound book.” It may be convenient for a dealer to account for different brands or types of firearms in separate “bound books.”

What is a "bound book?"

A “bound book” is a permanently bound book or an orderly arrangement of loose-leaf pages which must be maintained on the business premises. The format must follow that prescribed in the regulations, and the pages must be numbered consecutively.

[27 CFR 478.121 and 478.125]

Nonimmigrant Aliens

Answered Item 10.a on the ATF Form 4473 . Do I have to answer 10.b. as well?

Yes. You must select at least one race in item 10.b. regardless of ethnicity designation selected in item 10.a. Both items must be answered. Ethnicity and race are further defined below:

  • Ethnicity–This refers to a person’s heritage. Persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race, are considered Hispanic or Latino. Any other ethnicity that does not fall within those indicated, please select the closest representation.
  • Race–More than one response may be selected.
    • American Indian or Alaska Native- A person having origins in any of the originalpeoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community attachment.
    • Asian- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • Black or African American- A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander-A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
    • White- A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
Does a nonimmigrant alien lawfully present in the United States with or without a visa have to comply with the 90 day residency requirement?

No. The 90 day residency requirement is no longer in effect. However, a nonimmigrant alien who is lawfully present in the United States must comply with State of residence requirements as required by the Federal government. For more information, see ATF Ruling 2010-6 at: .

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program enables nationals from participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Participating countries can be found at the Department of State website available at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html.
.

I’m a nonimmigrant alien lawfully present in the United States without a visa . May I purchase or possess a firearm in the United States?

A nonimmigrant alien who is lawfully admitted to the United States without a visa (e.g. Visa Waiver Program), may acquire or possess a firearm in the United States, provided that he or she is not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition in the U.S. In addition, a nonimmigrant alien legally in the United States with or without a nonimmigrant visa may lawfully acquire a firearm only if he/she meets State of residence requirements as required by the Federal government. For more information, see ATF Ruling 2010-6 at: https://www.atf.gov/files/regulations-rulings/rulings/atf-rulings/atf-ru.... These requirements are irrespective of the licensed status of the individual from whom the alien is purchasing the firearm. An unlicensed individual is prohibited from selling a firearm to an out-of-State resident. A Federal firearms licensee (FFL) is prohibited, with few exceptions, from transferring a firearm to an out-of-State resident.

If I’m a nonimmigrant alien legally in the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, what documentation must I provide to the Federal firearms licensee (FFL) prior to acquiring a firearm?

It is unlawful for a FFL to sell or deliver any firearm to any nonlicensee who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the State in which the licensee’s place of business is located. Exceptions are provided for over-the-counter transfers of a rifle or shotgun to out-of-State residents if the transfers fully comply with the State laws of the buyer and seller, and for loans and rentals of a firearm for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes. To acquire a firearm, you must demonstrate the intention of making a home in a particular State. The intention of making a home in a State must be demonstrated to a Federal firearms licensee by presenting valid government issued
identification documents indicating an address in the state in which the licensee’s place of business is located. Such documents include, but are not limited to, driver’s licenses, voter registration, tax records, or vehicle registration. For more information, see ATF Ruling 2001-5 available at: http://atf.gov/regulations-rulings/rulings/atf-rulings/atf-ruling-2001-5.... In addition, you must also demonstrate that you fall within one of the exceptions outlined in 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(2). (Refer to Question #3 above).

May a nonimmigrant alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant alien visa purchase or possess a firearm in the U.S. ?

An alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa is not prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm if the alien falls within one of the following exceptions: (1) is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued by the Federal Government, a State, or local government, or an Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is valid and unexpired; (2) was admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes; (3) has received a waiver from the prohibition from the Attorney General of the United States; (4) is an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; (5) is en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited; (6) is an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or (7) is a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.

In addition, a nonimmigrant alien legally in the United States with or without a nonimmigrant visa may lawfully acquire a firearm only if he/she meets State of residence requirements as required by the Federal government. For more information, see ATF Ruling 2010-6 at: https://www.atf.gov/files/regulations-rulings/rulings/atf-rulings/atf-ruling-2010-6.pdf.

How does the reinterpretation of the Gun Control Act’s firearms disabilities for certain nonimmigrant aliens impact nonimmigrant aliens?

There is no change with respect to nonimmigrant aliens who were admitted under a nonimmigrant visa. The interpretation of the Gun Control Act affects aliens who are lawfully in the United States without a nonimmigrant visa. Nonimmigrant aliens lawfully admitted to the United States without a visa (e.g. Visa Waiver Program), will not be prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition, provided that they meet State of residency requirements and are not otherwise prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms.

Who is a nonimmigrant alien?

Generally, “nonimmigrant aliens” are tourists, students, business travelers, and temporary workers who enter the U.S. for fixed periods of time; they are lawfully admitted aliens who are not lawful permanent residents. In order to meet the definition of a nonimmigrant alien, the individual MUST hold a nonimmigrant visa. The definition does NOT include permanent resident aliens, aliens legally admitted to the U.S. with a visa other than a nonimmigrant visa, or aliens legally admitted to the U.S. without a visa.

Unlicensed Persons

Does the Government sell a record book for licensees to use in recording their receipts and dispositions of firearms?

No. Certain trade associations have them available at nominal cost. Your supplier should be able to tell you about this.

Does the expiration of the SAW ban change laws regarding assembly of nonsporting shotguns and semiautomatic rifles from imported parts?

No. The provisions of section 922(r) of the GCA and the regulations in 27 CFR 478.39 regarding assembly of non-sporting shotguns and semiautomatic rifles from imported parts still apply.

Does the expiration of the SAW ban change laws regarding assembly of nonsporting shotguns and semiautomatic rifles from imported parts?

No. The provisions of section 922(r) of the GCA and the regulations in 27 CFR 478.39 regarding assembly of non-sporting shotguns and semiautomatic rifles from imported parts still apply.

How do I obtain a classification from ATF for my "potato gun?"

Any person desiring a classification of a “potato gun,” “spud gun” or similar device must submit a written request (not e-mail) to the Director and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to: Bureau of ATF, Firearms Technology Branch.

What record-keeping procedures should be followed when two private individuals want to engage in a firearms transaction?

When a transaction takes place between private (unlicensed) persons who reside in the same State, the Gun Control Act (GCA) does not require any record keeping. A private person may sell a firearm to another private individual in his or her State of residence and, similarly, a private individual may buy a firearm from another private person who resides in the same State. It is not necessary under Federal law for a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) to assist in the sale or transfer when the buyer and seller are “same-State” residents. Of course, the transferor/seller may not knowingly transfer a firearm to someone who falls within any of the categories of prohibited persons contained in the GCA. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and (n). However, as stated above, there are no GCA-required records to be completed by either party to the transfer.

There may be State or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Contact State Police units or the office of your State Attorney General for information on any such requirements.

Please note that if a private person wants to obtain a firearm from a private person who resides in another State, the firearm will have to be shipped to an FFL in the buyer’s State. The FFL will be responsible for record keeping. See also Question B3.

Are curio or relic firearms exempt from the provisions of the GCA?

No. Curios or relics are still firearms subject to the provisions of the GCA; however, curio or relic firearms may be transferred in interstate commerce to licensed collectors or other licensees.

May a parent or guardian purchase firearms or ammunition as a gift for a juvenile (less than 18 years of age)?

Yes. However, possession of handguns by juveniles (less than 18 years of age) is generally unlawful. Juveniles generally may only receive and possess handguns with the written permission of a parent or guardian for limited purposes, e.g., employment, ranching, farming, target practice or hunting.

[18 U.S.C. 922(x)]

May aliens legally in the United States buy firearms?

Please read the Questions and Answers – Revised ATF 4473 (April 2012 Edition) for the answer to this and other nonimmigrant alien questions.

May a person (who is not an alien) who resides in one State and owns property in another State purchase a handgun in either State?

If a person maintains a home in 2 States and resides in both States for certain periods of the year, he or she may, during the period of time the person actually resides in a particular State, purchase a handgun in that State. However, simply owning property in another State does not qualify the person to purchase a handgun in that State.

[27 CFR 478.11]

What constitutes residency in a State?

The State of residence is the State in which an individual is present; the individual also must have an intention of making a home in that State. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty is a resident of the State in which his or her permanent duty station is located. If a member of the Armed Forces maintains a home in one State and the member’s permanent duty station is in a nearby State to which he or she commutes each day, then the member has two States of residence and may purchase a firearm in either the State where the duty station is located or the State where the home is maintained. An alien who is legally in the United States is considered to be a resident of a State only if the alien is residing in that State and has resided in that State continuously for a period of at least 90 days prior to the date of sale of the firearm. See also Item 5, “Sales to Aliens in the United States,” in the General Information section of this publication.

[18 U.S.C. 921(b), 922(a) (3), and 922(b)(3), 27 CFR 478.11]

May a person who is relocating out of State move firearms with other household goods?

Yes. A person who lawfully possesses a firearm may transport or ship the firearm interstate when changing his or her State of residence.

Certain NFA firearms must have prior approval from the Bureau of ATF before they may be moved interstate. The person must notify the mover that firearms are being transported. He or she should also check State and local laws where relocating to ensure that movement of firearms into the new State does not violate any State law or local ordinance.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(4) and 922(e), 27 CFR 478.28 and 478.31]

May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?

Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.

May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?

A nonlicensee may ship a firearm by a common or contract carrier to a resident of his or her own State or to a licensee in any State. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun. In addition, Federal law requires that the carrier be notified that the shipment contains a firearm and prohibits common or contract carriers from requiring or causing any label to be placed on any package indicating that it contains a firearm.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(2)(A), 922(a) (3), 922(a)(5) and 922(e), 27 CFR 478.31 and 478.30]

May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?

A nonlicensee may not transfer a firearm to a non-licensed resident of another State. A nonlicensee may mail a shotgun or rifle to a resident of his or her own State or to a licensee in any State. The Postal Service recommends that long guns be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms. Handguns are not mailable. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun.

[18 U.S.C. 1715, 922(a)(3), 922(a)(5) and 922 (a)(2)(A)]

Do law enforcement officers who are subject to restraining orders and who receive and possess firearms for purposes of carrying out their official duties violate the law?

Not if the firearms are received and possessed for official use only.

The law prohibits persons subject to certain restraining orders from receiving, shipping, transporting or possessing firearms or ammunition. To be disabling, the restraining order must:

  1. specifically restrain the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an “intimate partner” of the person (e.g., spouse);
  2. be issued after a hearing of which notice was given to the person and at which the person had an opportunity to participate; and
  3. include a finding that the person subject to the order represents a credible threat to the “intimate partner” or child of the “intimate partner” OR explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of force against the partner.

However, the GCA has an exception for the receipt and possession of firearms and ammunition on behalf of a Federal or State agency. Therefore, the GCA does not prohibit a law enforcement officer under a restraining order from receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition for use in performing official duties. Possession of the firearm for official purposes while off duty would be lawful if such possession is required or authorized by law or by official departmental policy. An officer subject to a disabling restraining order would violate the law if the officer received or possessed a firearm or ammunition for other than official use. (See question on officers’ receipt and possession of firearms and ammunition after a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The government exception does not apply to such convictions.)

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(32), 922(g)(8) and 925(a)(1)]

Are there certain persons who cannot legally receive or possess firearms and/or ammunition?

Yes, a person who —

  1. Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;
  2. Is a fugitive from justice;
  3. Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
  4. Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution;
  5. Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
  6. Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  7. Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship;
  8. Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner; or
  9. Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  10. Cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.

A person who is under indictment or information for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year cannot lawfully receive a firearm.

Such person may continue to lawfully possess firearms obtained prior to the indictment or information.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), 27 CFR 478.32]

May an unlicensed person obtain ammunition from an out-of-State source?

Yes, provided he or she is not a person prohibited from possessing or receiving ammunition.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n)]

May an unlicensed person obtain a firearm from an out-of-State source if the person arranges to obtain the firearm through a licensed dealer in the purchaser's own State?

A person not licensed under the GCA and not prohibited from acquiring firearms may purchase a firearm from an out-of-State source and obtain the firearm if an arrangement is made with a licensed dealer in the purchaser’s State of residence for the purchaser to obtain the firearm from the dealer.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and 922(b)(3)]

From whom may an unlicensed person acquire a firearm under the GCA?

A person may only acquire a firearm within the person’s own State, except that he or she may purchase or otherwise acquire a rifle or shotgun, in person, at a licensee’s premises in any State, provided the sale complies with State laws applicable in the State of sale and the State where the purchaser resides. A person may borrow or rent a firearm in any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(b)(3), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA?

A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may sell or transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

If I manufacture a gun and export it to another country, should I report it under section 8, section 9 or both section 8 and 9 of the form?

You should report all firearms that were manufactured and exported under section number 9 for exportation.
Example:

  • If you manufacture 1000 firearms, sell 300 in the US and export the other 700, you should record 300 in the designated area of section 8 and 700 in the designated area of section 9, which will account for all 1000 firearms produced and sold.

SAWs and LCAFDs

Does the expiration of the ban affect State law?

Expiration of the Federal law will not change any provisions of State law or local ordinances. Questions concerning State assault weapons restrictions should be referred to State and local authorities.

Can tribal law enforcement entities now possess SAWs and LCAFDs?

Yes.

Does the expiration of the SAW ban affect firearms under the National Firearms Act?

All provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA) relating to registration and transfer of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, weapons made from rifles, short-barreled shotguns, weapons made from shotguns, any other weapons as defined in 26 USC section 5845(e), silencers, and destructive devices still apply. However, it is now lawful to possess NFA firearms that are also semiautomatic assault weapons, as long as all provisions of the NFA are satisfied.

For example, USAS-12 and Striker12/Street-sweeper shotguns are still classified as destructive devices under ATF Rulings 94-1 and 94-2 and must be possessed and transferred in accordance with the NFA.

Does the expiration of the SAW ban and the LCAFD ban affect importation?

LCAFDs are no longer prohibited from importation, but they are still subject to the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act. An approved Form 6 import permit is still required.

Non-sporting firearms are still prohibited from importation under sections 922(l) and 925(d)(3) of the GCA. Because the vast majority of SAWs are nonsporting, they generally cannot be imported.

Temporary importation of SAWs and LCAFDs is now lawful under the provisions of 27 CFR section 478.115(d) because firearms that are temporarily imported are not required to meet sporting purpose requirements.

Are SAWs and LCAFDs marked “Restricted law enforcement/government use only” or “For export only” now legal to sell to civilians in the United States?

Yes. SAWs and LCAFDs are no longer prohibited. Therefore, firearms with the restrictive markings are legal to transfer to civilians in the United States, and it is legal for non-prohibited civilians to possess them. All civilians may possess LCAFDs.

Does expiration of the ban affect records maintained by licensed manufacturers, importers and dealers?

Yes. Federal firearms licensees are no longer required to collect special records regarding the sale or transfer of SAWs and LCAFDs for law enforcement or government sales. However, existing records on SAWs and LCAFDs must still be maintained for a period of 5 years. Moreover, records of importation and manufacture must be maintained permanently, and licensees must maintain all other acquisition and disposition records for 20 years.

Was the LCAFD ban permanent?

No. The LCAFD ban was enacted by the same law as the SAW ban. Therefore, like the SAW ban, it expired 10 years from the date of enactment. Therefore, effective 12:01 a.m. on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law ceased to apply.

What was the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device (LCAFD) ban?

The LCAFD ban was enacted along with the SAW ban on September 13, 1994. The ban made it unlawful to transfer or possess LCAFDs. The law generally defined a LCAFD as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device manufactured after September 13, 1994, that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The ban was codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(w). As with SAWs, there were certain exceptions to the ban, such as possession by law enforcement.

Was the SAW ban permanent?

No. The law enacting the ban provided that it would expire 10 years from the date of enactment, which was September 13, 1994. Therefore, effective 12:01 a.m. on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law ceased to apply.

What was the semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) ban?

The SAW ban was enacted on September 13, 1994, by PL 103-322, Title IX, Subtitle A, section 110105. The ban made it unlawful to manufacture, transfer, or possess SAWs. The law defined SAWs as 19 named firearms, as well as semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that have certain named features. The ban was codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(v). SAWs lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994, were not covered by the ban. There also were certain exceptions, such as possession by law enforcement.

National Firearms Act (NFA) - Silencers

If a silencer is found to be defective due to the manufacturing process, may it be replaced?

A silencer may be replaced only under the following circumstances:

  1. A manufacturer of silencers licensed as a manufacturer under the GCA who has paid special (occupational) tax under the NFA;
  2. prior to the time the silencer has left the manufacturer’s premises;
  3. determines that a silencer of its own manufacture is defective.

If all the above criteria are satisfied, the manufacturer may destroy the defective silencer and replace it with another silencer. If the silencer has already been registered, the replacement silencer may be marked with the same serial number and markings as the original silencer. If the destruction is prior to registration on ATF Form 2 (5320.2), the replacement silencer may be marked with the same serial number or another serial number. See also “May a Federal Firearms Licensee repair a silencer by replacing worn or damaged components?”, “May the outer tube of a registered silencer be repaired due to damage? If so, may the repair be done by someone other than the original manufacturer?” and “If the outer tube is destroyed or damaged beyond repair, may it be replaced?”.

May a repair change the dimensions or caliber of a silencer?

If alterations to a silencer would increase the overall length or change the diameter or caliber of a silencer, this is the making of a new silencer, as opposed to a repair. The new silencer must be registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and the GCA. Alterations to a registered silencer that result in a minimal reduction in the overall length for purposes of rethreading are permissible as repairs. However, the reduction in length may not result in the removal, obliteration, or alteration of the existing serial number, as this would violate 18 U.S.C. § 922(k). If such a repair is necessary, the damaged silencer should be destroyed or returned to the registrant. If it is destroyed, destruction should be reported to the NFA Branch. Any replacement silencer must be registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and the GCA. See also “May a Federal Firearms Licensee repair a silencer by replacing worn or damaged components?” and “May the outer tube of a registered silencer be repaired due to damage? If so, may the repair be done by someone other than the original manufacturer?” for further information on repairs.

If the outer tube is destroyed or damaged beyond repair, may it be replaced?

Unless the outer tube is replaced by the manufacturer prior to its removal from the manufacturing premises for purposes of sale or distribution (see “If a silencer is found to be defective due to the manufacturing process, may it be replaced?”), the replacement of the outer tube amounts to the making of a new silencer. For the registered owner to fabricate a new outer tube, he or she must submit an ATF Form 1 (5320.1), Application to Make and Register a Firearm, pay the making tax of $200, and receive ATF approval. The application to make should indicate that the new tube is being fabricated for use in replacing a damaged outer tube on a registered silencer, and the application should indicate the make, model and serial number of the registered silencer. It would be helpful for the applicant to include a copy of the approved registration for the silencer. Assembly of the newly fabricated tube with the other parts of the registered silencer does not require an additional application to make nor payment of another making tax, as the one Form 1 will provide permission to fabricate the new tube and to assemble it with the old silencer parts. The replacement tube must be marked in accordance with 27 C.F.R. § 479.102. The registrant may use the same serial number that appeared on the damaged tube.

If the registered owner wishes to acquire a replacement tube from a person other than a qualified manufacturer, the replacement tube must be registered as a new silencer by the other person and transferred to the registered owner in accordance with the NFA and GCA. The other person must submit an ATF Form 1, pay the $200 making tax, and receive ATF approval to make the replacement tube. The replacement tube must be marked in accordance with 27 C.F.R. §§ 478.92 and 479.102. The other person would then transfer the replacement tube to the owner of the damaged silencer, subject to the transfer tax, in accordance with the NFA and GCA. The new tube may be then be assembled with the other parts. The original damaged silencer should be reported to the NFA Branch as destroyed.

Alternatively, a qualified manufacturer may replace the tube, report the manufacture on ATF Form 2 (5320.2), Notice of Firearms Manufactured or Imported, and transfer the replacement tube to the owner in accordance with the NFA and GCA. The transfer must comply with the $200 transfer tax and all other provisions of the NFA, as it would be a new silencer. The replacement tube must also be marked in accordance with 27 C.F.R. §§ 478.92 and 479.102. The required markings include an individual serial number and the name, city, and State of the manufacturer who replaced the tube. The replacement tube may not be marked with the name, city, and State of the original manufacturer of the silencer, as this would be a false marking. Although the new tube is a new silencer for purposes of the NFA, it would be a replacement firearm of the same type as the original silencer, and it may be returned directly to the registrant in interstate commerce in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(2). The original damaged silencer should be reported to the NFA Branch as destroyed.

May the outer tube of a registered silencer be repaired due to damage? If so, may the repair be done by someone other than the original manufacturer?

A damaged outer tube may be repaired by any Federal firearms licensee qualified to perform gunsmithing or by the registered owner. The repair may not alter the dimensions or caliber of the silencer, except that the length of the outer tube may be reduced, as set forth above. The repair may not be performed if it results in the removal, obliteration, or alteration of the serial number, as this would violate 18 U.S.C. § 922(k). In that case, the silencer may be returned to the registered owner in its original, damaged condition or destroyed. A replacement silencer must be registered and transferred to the registrant of the damaged silencer in the same manner as a new silencer, subject to the registration and transfer procedures of the NFA and GCA.

May a Federal Firearms Licensee repair a silencer by replacing worn or damaged components?

A person who is licensed under the Gun Control Act (GCA) to manufacture firearms and who has paid the special (occupational) tax to manufacture National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms may replace a component part or parts of a silencer. Repairs may not be done if they result in removal, obliteration, or alteration of the serial number, as this would violate 18 U.S.C. § 922(k). If a silencer part bearing the serial number, other than the outer tube, must be replaced, the new part must be marked with the same serial number as the replacement part.

The term “repair” does not include replacement of the outer tube of the silencer. The outer tube is the largest single part of the silencer, the main structural component of the silencer, and is the part to which all other component parts are attached. The replacement of the outer tube is so significant an event that it amounts to the “making” of a new silencer. As such, the new silencer must be marked, registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA.

In the event that identical replacement parts for a silencer are not available, new and different component parts may be used as long as the silencer retains the same dimensions and caliber. In addition, the repair may result in a minimal reduction in the length of the outer tube due to rethreading, but repair may not increase the length of the outer tube. Increasing the length of the outer tube significantly affects the performance of the silencer and results in the “making” of a new silencer. As stated above, a new silencer must be marked, registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA. Reducing the length of the tube by a minimal amount in order to repair a silencer is often necessary to replace damaged end caps, as the tube must be rethreaded. Such minimal reduction of the length of the tube uses all of the original parts, does not significantly affect performance of the silencer, and may be done as part of a repair process without making a new silencer.

Persons other than qualified manufacturers may repair silencers, but replacement parts are “silencers” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(24) that must be registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA.

What part of a silencer must be marked?

The silencer must be marked in accordance with 27 C.F.R. §§ 478.92 and 479.102. The regulations require that the markings be conspicuous and legible, meaning that the markings may be placed on any external part, such as the outer tube or end cap.

ATF strongly recommends that manufacturers place all required markings on the outer tube of the silencer, as this is the accepted industry standard. Moreover, this practice eliminates the need to remark in the event an end cap bearing the markings is damaged and requires replacement.

National Firearms Act (NFA) - Short Barreled Rifles and Shotguns

May a FFL or an individual legally possess the parts to manufacture an SBR or SBS as long as no firearms are actually assembled?

A FFL (Type-7 or Type-10) who pays the Special Occupational Tax (SOT) may possess parts required to assemble NFA firearms. A non-licensee or FFL who has not paid the SOT is required to register any NFA firearm via an ATF Form 1 (5320.1) prior to acquisition of the parts required to assemble such firearm.

If removal and destruction or disposition of the short barrel removes the firearm from the purview NFA, is there a minimum time period the barrel must remain unattached for the firearm to not be regulated under the NFA?

The temporary removal of the barrel for repair or change of caliber does not remove a NFA firearm from the purview of the NFA. If the registrant maintains control of the parts required for assembly of a SBR, he or she must maintain the registration as a SBS or SBS regardless of the length of time that the barrel is unattached.

How do I properly record the sale or disposition of a receiver that is registered in the NFRTR but is no longer a NFA firearm? Will ATF Industry Operations Investigators be aware that the NFA firearm (SBR or SBS) no longer exist?

A FFL should note a disposition in the A&D record only when the firearm is transferred out of his/her inventory. Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations, part 478.125 does not require an annotation declaring that a firearm is a GCA or NFA firearm. Any such notation would be at the FFL’s discretion. If the firearm is subject to the NFA at the time of transfer, the licensee is required to comply with the applicable transfer and possession regulations. Any inventory report should reflect the firearms currently registered to the FFL under the NFA. Therefore, ATF recommends written notification to the NFA Branch when a firearm is removed from the purview of the NFA.

Who is responsible for notifying the NFA Branch when I transfer the GCA firearm to a FFL or another individual?

There is no requirement that the transferor or transferee of a GCA firearm notify the NFA branch of a transfer or that either party determine whether the firearm was previously registered under the NFA. There is no also no requirement for the registrant or possessor of a NFA firearm to notify ATF of the removal of features that caused the firearm to be subject to the NFA; however, ATF recommends the owner notify the NFA Branch in writing if a firearm is permanently removed from the NFA.

May I transfer the receiver of a short-barrel rifle or shotgun to an FFL or to an individual as I would any GCA firearm?

Yes. A weapon that does not meet the definition of a NFA “firearm” is not subject to the NFA and a possessor or transferor needn’t comply with NFA requirements. The firearm is considered a GCA firearm and may be transferred under the provisions of that law.

May the short barrel on an SBR or SBS be replaced with a long barrel for hunting or other purposes, with the intent of replacing the short barrel?

Yes, and you will not be required to again register the firearm before replacing the short barrel. ATF recommends written notification to the NFA Branch when a firearm’s configuration is permanently changed or removed from the purview of the NFA.

If I remove the short barrel from my SBR or SBS, may I move the firearm across state lines without the submission of ATF Form 5320.20, Application to Transport or to Temporarily Export Certain Firearms?

If the registrant retains control over the parts required to assemble the SBR or SBS, the firearm is still be subject to all requirements of the NFA. ATF recommends contacting law enforcement officials in the destination state to ensure compliance with state and local law.

Is it necessary to send notification to ATF and receive acknowledgement that the SBR or SBS has been removed from the purview of the NFA before it may be sold as a GCA firearm?

There is no requirement for the possessor of a registered NFA firearm to notify ATF that the firearm has been removed from the purview of the NFA. However, ATF recommends the possessor notify the NFA Branch of such changes in writing so that the possessor is not mistakenly identified as the owner if the firearm is later used in a crime. If, at the time of transfer, the firearm does not meet the definition of a SBR, it should be transferred without filing the NFA transfer application and without payment of the transfer tax.

Does the installation of a barrel over 16 inches in length (SBR) or 18 inches in length (SBS) remove the firearm from the purview of the NFA? If so, is this considered a permanent change?

Installation of a barrel greater than 16 inches in length (SBR) or 18 inches in length (SBS) will remove the firearm from the purview of the NFA provided the registrant does not maintain control over the parts necessary to reconfigure the firearm as a SBR or SBS.

If I remove the short barrel from the registered SBR or SBS, is the receiver still subject to NFA transfer and possession regulations?

If the possessor retains control over the barrel or other parts required to assemble the SBR or SBS, the firearm would still be subject to NFA transfer and possession regulations. ATF recommends contacting State law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with state and local law.

I possess a properly registered SBR or SBS. I intend to strip the receiver and remove the barrel prior to selling the receiver. Is the bare receiver still subject to regulation under the NFA as a SBR or SBS?

A stripped receiver without a barrel does not meet the definition of a SBR or SBS under the NFA. Although the previously registered firearm would remain registered unless the possessor notified the NFA Branch of the change, there is no provision in statute or regulation requiring registration of a firearm without a barrel because its physical characteristics would make it only a GCA “firearm” pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)(B). If the subsequent owner buys the receiver as a GCA firearm and installs a barrel less than 16 inches in length (SBR) or 18 inches in length (SBS), the firearm would be subject to a $200 making tax and registration under the NFA by the manufacturer or maker of the SBR or SBS. Because registration depends upon the stated intent of the applicant, there is no provision to allow registration of a NFA firearm by anyone other than the maker or manufacturer.

What is the registered part of a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) or Short Barreled Shotgun (SBS)?

While a receiver alone may be classified as a “firearm” under the Gun Control Act (GCA), SBRs and SBSs are classified in totality under the National Firearms Act (NFA). A firearm that meets the definition of a SBR consists of a rifle that has a barrel less than 16 inches in length. A SBS consists of a shotgun that has a barrel less than 18 inches in length. The serialized receiver is recorded for registration in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).

National Firearms Act (NFA) - Processing Times

When filing an ATF Form 4, Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, or ATF Form 5, Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, the applicant must also submit ATF Form 53

No, only the transfer application must be submitted in duplicate, as required by the National Firearms Act. Neither the regulations in 27 CFR Parts 478 or 479, nor the instructions for Form 4, Form 5, or Form 5330.20 state that Form 5330.20 must be submitted in duplicate. Accordingly, ATF needs only one copy of Form 5330.20 to be submitted with a Form 4 or Form 5 transfer application. See July 29, 2010, Open Letter posted on the ATF website.

I am a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer and would like to obtain a copy of the NFA firearms inventory registered to me as recorded in ATF National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). How do I o

To request an NFRTR listing of your NFA firearms, submit a dated and signed, written request to the Chief, NFA Branch. If you are a sole proprietor, provide the following identifying information when making your request: your name, trade name (if any), premises address, date of birth, Federal firearms license number(s), and Employer Identification number. If you are requesting on behalf of a corporate entity, provide the corporate name, trade name (if any), premises address, Federal firearms license number(s), Employer Identification number, your name, and your title with the corporation. Also include your contact information, such as a telephone number at which you can be contacted, and your email address if you can receive the inventory electronically in a spreadsheet.

How long does it take for ATF to process my NFA application?

The processing time for NFA applications varies depending on the type of application submitted. Certain applications require the processing of making or transfer taxes while others are tax-exempt. Some applications require the prospective transferee to pass Federal background checks based on both name and fingerprints while transferees such as law enforcement agencies or foreign military agencies are exempt from background checks. ATF also must ensure that a proposed transfer would not violate State or local law in the transferee’s place of residence. The time needed to research and verify State and local requirements can vary greatly depending on the legal complexity of laws governing the type of firearm sought or the business structure and status of applicants other than individuals. In addition, the sheer volume of applications submitted for ATF review has dramatically increased in recent years. In fiscal year 2005, for example, ATF processed 41,579 NFA applications of all types. By FY 2013, while that number had increased to 163,691, ATF had limited staff available to process the paperwork. Currently, ATF processes the Application to Make and Register a Firearm (Form 1), and the Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm (Form 4), approximately 10 months after receipt of a properly executed application. It is important to keep in mind that incomplete or incorrect applications hamper ATF’s ability to take final action. Questions regarding NFA transfers can be directed to the NFA Branch at 304-616-4500.

National Firearms Act (NFA) - Machine Guns

Does the fact that two licensed manufacturers are wholly-owned by the same parent corporation allow them to transfer post-1986 machineguns between the corporations without either having a Government contract or law enforcement sales demonstration request?

Because the licensed manufacturers are separate legal entities, any NFA firearm would have to be transferred between the entities subject to an ATF-approved application. However, under 27 CFR 479.105(d), a machinegun made or imported on or after May 19, 1986, may only be transferred to the U.S. Government (USG) or a law enforcement agency, or to a Federal firearms licensee for use as a USG or law enforcement sales sample. The transfer of a post-1986 machinegun between licensed manufacturers solely for the performance of a manufacturing sub-process in furtherance of finishing the product, without meeting the requirements of 27 CFR 479.105(d), is not permissible.

To accomplish the sub-process without conducting a transfer of the firearm, an employee of the entity to which the machinegun is registered must accompany the machinegun to the secondary manufacturer’s premises and remain with it, maintaining dominion and control, while the sub-process is being performed. If the sub-process requires more than one day to complete, the registrant may store the firearm overnight at the secondary manufacturer’s premises in a locked container to which only the registrant’s employee has access. In this scenario, no transfer between the primary and secondary manufacturer takes place, and both parties would comply with 18 U.S.C. 922(o).

May machine guns be transferred from one registered owner to another?

Yes. If the machine gun was lawfully registered and possessed before May 19, 1986, it may be transferred pursuant to an approved ATF Form 4 (5320.4).

[18 U.S.C. 922(o)(2), 26 U.S.C. 5812]

May an unlicensed person make a machine gun?

Generally, no. However, if documentation can be provided, along with the Application to Make a Machinegun, which establishes that the weapon is being made for distribution to a Federal or State agency, an individual may be permitted to make the machine gun.

[18 U.S.C. 922(o)(2), 27 CFR 479.105(e)]

National Firearms Act (NFA) - Firearms

If I discontinue business as an importer, manufacturer, or dealer in NFA firearms must I dispose of my inventory of NFA firearms?

For more detailed information on this matter, please refer to item 10(f) of the General Information section of ATF P 5300.4, Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide 2005, which has been provided to all FFLs and may also be found on the ATF website (www.atf.gov).

In general, any NFA firearm in inventory may be retained by the taxpayer upon the termination of the NFA business (meaning the person no longer pays the special tax and/or no longer has an FFL to import, manufacture, or deal in firearms) except for a machinegun for which its possession is restricted by the provisions of Title 18, U.S.C. § 922(o). A machinegun with this type of restriction on possession is commonly known as a ‘post-1986’ machinegun. As provided by 27 CFR § 479.105(f), a ‘post-1986’ machinegun must be disposed of prior to the discontinuance of the business as an importer, manufacturer, or dealer.

However, if the business structure was other than a sole proprietorship, such as, for example, a corporation or partnership, and the corporation or partnership dissolves, then the NFA firearms in inventory must be transferred prior to the dissolution. A corporate officer or director or partner cannot retain the NFA firearms registered to the corporation or partnership without proper transfer.

What is the process for renewing the tax payment for the next Tax Year?

ATF will automatically send you a renewal return on ATF Form 5630.7R, NFA Special Tax Renewal Registration and Return, six to eight weeks prior to the end of the Tax Year. This return allows the taxpayer to confirm the taxpayer information, make corrections to the preprinted taxpayer information, and to note any change in ownership status. The renewal package also includes ATF Form 5630.5RC, Special Tax Location Registration Listing, on which the taxpayer verifies the business location.

If you are continuing in business, sign the return and send it with the remittance to the address on the renewal form. If you are discontinuing business, note that on the renewal form and return it to the address on the form.

How do I claim a refund of special tax paid?

You will need to file a claim with the NFA Branch. Please note that the fact that you did not make any acquisitions or dispositions of NFA firearms during the Tax Year does not mean that you can claim a refund of special tax. A refund can only be made if you were not in the NFA business at all during the Tax Year.

What if I change my address during the tax year?

You are required to file an amended return (ATF Form 5630.7) with a letter request for the amendment of your special tax stamp. You must also amend your FFL. Business cannot be commenced at the new address until the change of address is noted. You will also need to amend your FFL.

Can I use a trade name?

Yes, and it should appear on the special tax stamp, which means you will need to include it on the special tax return. If you use a trade name, it must also appear on your FFL. If you add (or delete) a trade name during the Tax Year, you are required to file an amended return (ATF Form 5630.7) with a letter request for the amendment of your special tax stamp. You must also amend your FFL.

What if I change my business structure?

A change to the business structure may result in a new entity, thus creating a need for a new FFL, a new special tax liability, and a transfer of any inventory of NFA firearms. For example, a change from operating as a sole proprietor to an LLC incurs special tax liability for the LLC. The change will also require that any NFA firearms to be used in the LLC business must be transferred to the LLC from the sole proprietorship. Both the sole proprietorship and the LLC must be special taxpayers for the same Tax Year in order for the transfer of the NFA firearms to be made tax exempt on Form 3.

Do I need an Employer Identification Number and, if so, how do I get one?

Persons who pay the special tax must be assigned an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and it must be shown on the special tax return. An EIN is obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Information may be obtained from your local IRS office or the IRS website (www.irs.gov).

Does a single payment entitle a person to import and manufacture NFA firearms?

No, a separate special tax payment must be made for each activity. However, a person who has paid the special tax to import NFA firearms or to manufacture NFA firearms is also qualified to deal in NFA firearms without paying an additional special tax.

Does payment of the tax qualify me to import, manufacture, or deal in NFA firearms?

No, the taxpayer must also have the appropriate Federal Firearms license (FFL). In order to import NFA firearms, the person must have an FFL as an importer of firearms under the Gun Control Act (GCA). Similarly, to manufacture NFA firearms, the person must have an FFL as a manufacturer of firearms under the GCA. To deal in NFA firearms, the person must have an FFL that allows him/her to deal in firearms under the GCA (see next question, too). Please note that importers may also be required to register under the Arms Export Control Act. For further information, please refer to the FAQs dealing with the importation of firearms (Section L).

What do I get to show I paid the special tax?

ATF will issue you a special tax stamp as a receipt as evidence of payment of the special tax. The stamp will show the Tax Year for which paid, the class of tax paid, and identify the taxpayer.

What are the classes of special tax and the rates?

Class 1 is for an importer of NFA firearms. Class 2 is for a manufacturer of NFA firearms. Class 3 is for a dealer in NFA firearms.

The current tax rates are shown in the table in the question “When must firearms special (occupational) taxes be paid and how much are the taxes?”.

When is the special tax due?

Payment of the tax is required on or before the date of commencing business and on or before July 1st for following tax years. The tax is not prorated, so the full amount must be paid when commencing business.

How is the special tax paid?

The tax is paid by filing ATF Form 5630.7, Special Tax Registration and Return – National Firearms Act (NFA), to:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
National Firearms Act Branch
P.O. Box 403269

Atlanta,
Georgia
30384
USA

Please make the remittance payable to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and write the taxpayer’s Employer Identification Number on the remittance.

Who is liable for the tax?

Any person who engages in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in NFA firearms is required to pay special tax. Special tax must be paid for each location at which business is conducted.

Which agency collects the special (occupational) tax from persons who wish to import, manufacture or deal in National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms?

ATF collects this special tax. ATF, specifically the NFA Branch, assumed the responsibility for the collection of the special tax imposed on NFA importers, manufacturers, and dealers during Tax Year 2005. Questions should be directed to the NFA Branch, 244 Needy Road, Suite 1250, Martinsburg, West Virginia 25405 or by telephone at (304) 616-4500. The Tax and Trade Bureau of the Department of Treasury remains responsible for administrating the collection of special tax relating to the alcohol industry.

Are Paintball and/or Airgun Sound Suppressers NFA firearms?

The terms “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

Numerous paintball and airgun silencers tested by ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch have been determined to be, by nature of their design and function, firearm silencers. Because silencers are NFA weapons, an individual wishing to manufacture or transfer such a silencer must receive prior approval from ATF and pay the required tax. See also “What are the required transfer procedures for an individual who is not qualified as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer of NFA firearms?” and “How does an individual obtain authorization to make an NFA firearm?” for application details.

If you have any further questions as to the classification of a paintball or airgun silencer, please send a written request to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a), 27 CFR 479.11]

What is a "conversion kit?"

A conversion kit is any part or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun. A conversion kit is a machine gun for purposes of the NFA. See also “Are parts which would convert a firearm into an NFA firearm subject to registration?” for additional information.

[26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 479.11]

Are grenade and rocket launcher attachments destructive devices?

Grenade and rocket launcher attachments for use on military type rifles generally do not come within the definition of destructive devices. However, the grenades and rockets used in these devices are generally within the definition.

[26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 479.11]

Are muzzleloading cannons classified as destructive devices?

Generally, no. Muzzleloading cannons not capable of firing fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 and replicas thereof are antiques and not subject to the provisions of either the GCA or the NFA.

[26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 479.11]

What is the status of unloaded or dummy grenades, artillery shell casings, and similar devices?

Unloaded or dummy grenades, artillery shell casings, and similar devices, which are cut or drilled in an ATF approved manner so that they cannot be used as ammunition components for destructive devices, are not considered NFA weapons.

Does the owner of a registered NFA firearm have to have any evidence to show it is registered lawfully to him or her?

Yes. The approved application received from ATF serves as evidence of registration of the NFA firearm in the owner’s name. This document must be kept available for inspection by ATF officers. It is suggested that a photocopy of the approved application be carried by the owner when the weapon is being transported.

If a person has a pistol and an attachable shoulder stock, does this constitute possession of an NFA firearm?

Yes, unless the barrel of the pistol is at least 16 inches in length (and the overall length of the firearm with stock attached is at least 26 inches). However, certain stocked handguns, such as original semiautomatic Mauser “Broomhandles” and Lugers, have been removed from the purview of the NFA as collectors’ items.

[26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 479.11]

May a transferor submit an application to transfer an NFA firearm prior to the date on which the transferor receives the weapon?

No.

If an individual is changing his or her State of residence and the individual's application to transport the NFA firearm cannot be approved because of a prohibition in the new State, what options does a lawful possessor have?

NFA firearms may be left in a safe deposit box in his or her former State of residence. Also, the firearm could be left or stored in the former State of residence at the house of a friend or relative in a locked room or container to which only the registered owner has a key. The friend or relative should be supplied with a copy of the registration forms and a letter from the owner authorizing storage of the firearm at that location.

The firearms may also be transferred under the procedures referred to in “What are the required transfer procedures for an individual who is not qualified as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer of NFA firearms?” or abandoned to ATF.

Does the registered owner of a destructive device, machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle need authorization to lawfully transport such items interstate?

Yes, unless the owner is a qualified dealer, manufacturer or importer, or a licensed collector transporting only curios or relics. Prior approval must be obtained, even if the move is temporary. Approval is requested by either submitting a letter containing all necessary information, or by submitting ATF Form 5320.20 to the Bureau of ATF, NFA Branch. Possession of the firearms also must comply with all State and local laws.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) (4), 27 CFR 478.28]

If the chief law enforcement official whose jurisdiction includes the proposed transferee's residence refuses to sign the "law enforcement certification", will the signature of an official in another jurisdiction be acceptable?
Is the chief law enforcement officer required to sign the law enforcement certification on ATF Form 1 or ATF Form 4?

No, law enforcement officers can be compelled to sign the law enforcement certification under Federal or State law. However, ATF will not approve an application to make or transfer a firearm on ATF Forms 1 or 4 unless the law enforcement certification is completed by an acceptable law enforcement official who has signed the certification in the space indicated on the form. See “What law enforcement officials’ certifications on an application to transfer or make an NFA weapon are acceptable to ATF?” for more information.

What law enforcement officials' certifications on an application to transfer or make an NFA weapon are acceptable to ATF?

As provided by regulations, certifications by the local chief of police, sheriff of the county, head of the State police, or State or local district attorney or prosecutor are acceptable. The regulations also provide that certifications of other officials are appropriate if found in a particular case to be acceptable to the Director. Examples of other officials who have been accepted in specific situations include State attorneys general and judges of State courts having authority to conduct jury trials in felony cases.

[27 CFR 479.63 and 479.85]

Are parts which would convert a firearm into an NFA firearm subject to registration?

Yes. Examples:

How does an individual obtain authorization to make an NFA firearm?

Prior to making a firearm, the individual must submit ATF Form 1 (5320.1), Application to Make and Register a Firearm, to the Bureau of ATF, NFA Branch, and receive approval. The applicant must follow the procedures described in the question “What are the required transfer procedures for an individual who is not qualified as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer of NFA firearms?” concerning photographs, fingerprints and certifications. The applicant must forward the original and a duplicate of the form along with a check or money order for $200 made payable to the Bureau of ATF, National Firearms Act Branch, P.O. Box 530298, Atlanta, GA 30353-0298. If the application is approved, the original of the form with the cancelled stamp affixed showing approval will be returned to the applicant. If the application is denied, the tax will be refunded.

Applications to make a firearm will not be approved if Federal, State, or local law prohibits possession of the firearm.

[26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 479.61-65]

May a licensed collector obtain NFA firearms in interstate commerce?

Only if the firearms are classified as curios or relics, are registered, and are transferred in accordance with the provisions of the NFA. See also “What are the required transfer procedures for an individual who is not qualified as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer of NFA firearms?”

Does a single special (occupational) tax payment entitle a person or firm to import and manufacture firearms?

No. A separate special (occupational) tax payment must be made for each of these activities. However, Class 1 (importer) and Class 2 (manufacturer) special (occupational) taxpayers are qualified to deal in NFA firearms without also having to pay special (occupational) tax as a Class 3 dealer.

[27 CFR 479.39]

When must firearms special (occupational) taxes be paid and how much are the taxes?

These taxes must be paid in full on first engaging in business and thereafter on or before the first day of July. The current taxes are set out in the following table.

Special (Occupational) Tax Rates Under The NFA
Class of Taxpayer Annual Fee
1. Importer of Firearms (Including “Any Other Weapon”) $1000.00
2. Manufacturer of Firearms (Including “Any Other Weapon”) $1000.00
3. Dealer of Firearms (Including “Any Other Weapon”) $500.00
1. Importer of Firearms (Including “Any Other Weapon”) REDUCED* $500.00
2. Manufacturer of Firearms (Including “Any Other Weapon”) REDUCED* $500.00

REDUCED = Rates which apply to certain taxpayers whose total gross receipts in the last taxable year are less than $500,000

How does a person qualify to import, manufacture, or deal in NFA firearms?

The person must be licensed under the GCA and pay the required special (occupational) tax imposed by the NFA. After becoming licensed under the GCA, he or she must file ATF Form 5630.7 with the appropriate tax payment in the entire amount with ATF. In addition, an importer (except importers of sporting shotguns and shotgun ammunition) must also be registered with ATF under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

[26 U.S.C. 5801, 18 U.S.C. 923, 27 CFR 447.31, 478.41 and 479.34]

Are there any exemptions from the making or transfer tax provisions of the NFA?

Yes. These are noted below, along with the required form number, if any, to apply for the exemption. Completed forms must be approved by the NFA Branch prior to the making or transfer:

  1. Tax-exempt transfer and registration of a firearm between special (occupational) taxpayers: ATF Form 3 (5320.3).
  2. Tax-exempt making of a firearm on behalf of a Federal or State agency: ATF Form 1 (5320.1). Tax-exempt transfer and registration of the firearm on behalf of a Federal or State agency: ATF Form 5 (5320.5).
  3. A licensed manufacturer under contract to make NFA firearms for the U.S. Government may be granted an exemption from payment of the special (occupational) tax as a manufacturer of NFA firearms and an exemption from all other NFA provisions (except importation) with respect to the weapons made to fulfill the contract. Exemptions are obtained by writing the NFA Branch, stating the contract number(s) and the anticipated date of termination. This exemption must be renewed each year prior to July 1.
  4. Tax-exempt transfer and registration of an unserviceable firearm which is being transferred as a curio or ornament: ATF Form 5 (5320.5).
  5. Tax exempt transfer of a firearm to a lawful heir: ATF Form 5.
  6. Tax-exempt transfer by operation of law (e.g., court order).

[26 U.S.C. 5851-5853, 27 CFR 479.69, 479.70 and 479.88–91]

What should a person do if he or she comes into possession of an unregistered NFA firearm?

Contact the nearest ATF office immediately.

What can happen to someone who has an NFA firearm which is not registered to him?

Violators may be fined not more than $250,000, and imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. In addition, any vessel, vehicle or aircraft used to transport, conceal or possess an unregistered NFA firearm is subject to seizure and forfeiture, as is the weapon itself.

[49 U.S.C. 781-788, 26 U.S.C. 5861 and 5872]

May a private citizen who owns an NFA firearm which is not registered have the firearm registered?

No. The NFA permits only manufacturers, makers, and importers to register firearms. Mere possessors may not register firearms. An unregistered NFA firearm is a contraband firearm, and it is unlawful to possess the weapon. The possessor should contact the nearest ATF office to arrange for its disposition.

[26 U.S.C. 5861(d)]

What happens when a State acquires an unregistered NFA firearm through seizure or abandonment?

When a State wants to keep such NFA firearms for official use, they must be registered by filing ATF Form 10 (5320.10) with the Bureau of ATF, NFA Branch.

Since approval of the Form 10 is conditioned on an “official use only” basis, subsequent transfers will not be approved except if the transfer is to another government agency for official use.

[27 CFR 479.104]

What is an unserviceable firearm?

An unserviceable firearm is defined as one which is incapable of discharging a shot by means of an explosive and which is incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition.

An acceptable method of rendering most firearms unserviceable is to fusion weld the chamber closed and fusion weld the barrel solidly to the frame. Certain unusual firearms require other methods to render the firearms unserviceable.

An unserviceable NFA firearm is still subject to the controls of the NFA, but may be transferred tax free as a curio or ornament.

[26 U.S.C. 5845(h) and 5852, 27 CFR 479.11and 479.91]

How do I identify myself or my company when completing a National Firearms Act application?

When completing an NFA application as a licensee under the Gun Control Act of 1968, the license name and trade name used, if any, must be consistent with what is shown on your Federal Firearms License (FFL). The license name and trade name also must match what is shown on your Special Occupational Tax (SOT) stamp, if any. When a business changes or adds trade names, notification should be made to both the National Firearms Act (NFA) Branch (for SOT purposes) and the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (for FFL purposes).

If a licensee utilizes a trade name, either the trade name or both the trade name and licensee name must be shown on the NFA application. If a licensee does not utilize a trade name, the business should be identified on an NFA application by the name under which the FFL is held. Applications submitted to the NFA branch not in conformity with this policy may be returned for correction.

When completing an NFA application as an unlicensed legal entity (i.e., trust, corporation, LLC , partnership), an applicant should identify itself using the full name of the legal entity. If completing an NFA application as un unlicensed person you should identify yourself on the application using both your first and last names.

Applicants lacking FFLs and/or tax stamps held by the same person or legal entity may not be eligible to have their NFA applications approved without first meeting the eligibility requirements applicable under the law.

How is this tax paid?

A money order or check made payable to the Bureau of ATF together with the application forms are to be mailed to the Bureau of ATF, NFA Branch.

What is the tax on making an NFA firearm?

The tax is $200 for making any NFA firearm, including “any other weapon.”

How can an individual legally acquire NFA firearms?

Basically, there are 2 ways that an individual (who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from receiving or possessing firearms) may legally acquire NFA firearms:

  1. By transfer after approval by ATF of a registered weapon from its lawful owner residing in the same State as the transferee.
  2. By obtaining prior approval from ATF to make NFA firearms.

[27 CFR 479.62-66 and 479.84-86]

The types of firearms that must be registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record are defined in the NFA and 27 CFR, Part 479. What are some examples?

Some examples of the types of firearms that must be registered are:

  • Machine guns;
  • The frames or receivers of machine guns;
  • Any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting weapons into machine guns;
  • Any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for converting a weapon into a machine gun;
  • Any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if the parts are in the possession or under the control of a person;
  • Silencers and any part designed and intended for fabricating a silencer;
  • Short-barreled rifles;
  • Short-barreled shotguns;
  • Destructive devices; and,
  • “Any other weapon.”

A few examples of destructive devices are:

  • Molotov cocktails;
  • Anti-tank guns (over caliber .50);
  • Bazookas; and,
  • Mortars.

A few examples of “any other weapon” are:

  • H&R Handyguns;
  • Ithaca Auto-Burglar guns;
  • Cane guns; and,
  • Gadget-type firearms and “pen” guns which fire a projectile by the action of an explosive.

[26 U.S.C. 5845]

Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence

Is an individual who has been pardoned, or whose conviction was expunged or set aside, or whose civil rights have been restored, considered convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

No, as long as the pardon, expungement, or restoration does not expressly provide that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.

Does the disability apply to law enforcement officers?

Yes. The Gun Control Act was amended so that employees of government agencies convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence would not be exempt from disabilities with respect to their receipt or possession of firearms or ammunition. Thus, law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a disqualifying misdemeanor may not lawfully possess or receive firearms or ammunition for any purpose, including performance of their official duties. The disability applies to firearms and ammunition issued by government agencies, purchased by government employees for use in performing their official duties, and personal firearms and ammunition possessed by such employees.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) and 925(a)(1), 27 CFR 478.32(a)(9) and 478.141]

What should an individual do if he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

Individuals subject to this disability should immediately dispose of their firearms and ammunition. ATF recommends that such persons transfer their firearms and ammunition to a third party who may lawfully receive and possess them, such as their attorney, a local police agency, or a Federal firearms dealer. The continued possession of firearms and ammunition by persons under this disability is a violation of law and may subject the possessor to criminal penalties. In addition, such firearms and ammunition are subject to seizure and forfeiture.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) and 924(d)(1), 27 CFR 478.152]

What should a licensee do if he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?

A licensee convicted of a disqualifying misdemeanor may not lawfully possess firearms or ammunition. In addition, a licensee who incurs firearms disabilities during the term of a license by reason of such a misdemeanor conviction may not continue operations under the license for more than 30 days after incurring the disability unless the licensee applies for relief from Federal firearms disabilities.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) and 925(c), 27 CFR 478.144 (i)]

Is a person who received "probation before judgment" or some other type of deferred adjudication subject to the disability?

What is a conviction is determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held. If the State law where the proceedings were held does not consider probation before judgment or deferred adjudication to be a conviction, the person would not be subject to the disability.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]

In order for an offense to qualify as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence", does it have to have as an element the relationship part of the definition (e.g., committed by a spouse, parent, or guardian)?

No. The “as an element” language in the definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” only applies to the use of force provision of the statute and not the relationship provision. However, to be disabling, the offense must have been committed by one of the defined parties.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]

Are local criminal ordinances "misdemeanors under State law" for purposes of sections 922(d)(9) and (g)(9)?

Yes, assuming a violation of the ordinance meets the definition of “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” in all other respects.

What State and local offenses are "misdemeanors" for purposes of 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(9) and (g)(9)?

The definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in the GCA includes any offense classified as a “misdemeanor” under Federal or State law. In States that do not classify offenses as misdemeanors, the definition includes any State or local offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of 1 year or less or punishable by a fine. For example, if State A has an offense classified as a “domestic violence misdemeanor” that is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, it would be a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. If State B does not characterize offenses as misdemeanors, but has a domestic violence offense that is punishable by no more than 1 year imprisonment, this offense would be a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]

In determining whether a conviction in a State court is a “conviction” of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, does Federal or State law apply?

State law applies. Therefore, if the State does not consider the person to be convicted, the person would not have the Federal disability.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]

X was convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence on September 20, 1996, 10 days before the effective date of the statute. He possesses a firearm on October 10, 2004. Does X lawfully possess the firearm?

No. If a person was convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence at any time, he or she may not lawfully possess firearms or ammunition on or after September 30, 1996.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), 27 CFR 478.32(a)(9)]

X was convicted of misdemeanor assault on October 10, 1996, for beating his wife. Assault has as an element the use of physical force, but is not specifically a domestic violence offense. May X lawfully possess firearms or ammunition?

No. X may not legally possess firearms or ammunition.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), 27 CFR 478.32(a)(9)]

Does application of the law to persons convicted prior to the law's effective date violate constitutional rights?

No. This provision is not being applied retroactively or in violation of the Ex Post Facto clause of the Constitution. This is because the law does not impose additional punishment upon persons convicted prior to the effective date, but merely regulates the future possession and receipt of firearms on or after the effective date. The provision is not retroactive merely because the person’s conviction occurred prior to the effective date.

What is the effective date of this disability?

The law was effective September 30, 1996. However, the prohibition applies to persons convicted of such misdemeanors at any time, even if the conviction occurred prior to the law’s effective date.

What is a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence?"

A “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means an offense that:

  1. is a misdemeanor under Federal or State law;
  2. has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon; and
  3. was committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

However, a person is not considered to have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless:

  1. the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right of counsel in the case; and
  2. in the case of a prosecution for which a person was entitled to a jury trial in the jurisdiction in which the case was tried, either —
    1. the case was tried by a jury, or
    2. the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried by a jury, by guilty plea or otherwise.

In addition, a conviction would not be disabling if it has been expunged or set aside, or is an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored (if the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held provides for the loss of civil rights upon conviction for such an offense) unless the pardon, expunction, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms, and the person is not otherwise prohibited by the law of the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held from receiving or possessing firearms.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33), 27 CFR 478.11]

Manufacturers

May a person engage in gunsmithing under a dealer’s license (type 01), or do gunsmiths need to be licensed as "manufacturers" of firearms?

Generally, a person engaged in gunsmithing requires only a dealer’s license (type 01). There are circumstances in which a gunsmith might require a manufacturing license. Generally, a person should obtain a license as a manufacturer of firearms if the person is: 1. performing operations which create firearms or alter firearms (in the case of alterations, the work is not being performed at the request of customers, rather the person who is altering the firearms is purchasing them, making the changes, and then reselling them), 2. is performing the operations as a regular course of business or trade, and 3. is performing the operations for the purpose of sale or distribution of the firearms.

Below are examples of operations performed on firearms and guidance as to whether or not such operations would be considered manufacturing under the Gun Control Act (GCA). These examples do not address the question of whether the operations are considered manufacturing for purposes of determining excise tax. Any questions concerning the payment of excise tax should be directed to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

  1. A company produces a quantity of firearm frames or receivers for sale to customers who will assemble firearms.

    The company is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms and should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.

  2. A company produces frames or receivers for another company that assembles and sells the firearms.

    Both companies are engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms and each should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.

  3. A company provides frames to a subcontractor company that performs machining operations on the frames and returns the frames to the original company which assembles and sells the completed firearms.

    Both companies are engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms and should be licensed as manufacturers of firearms.

  4. A company produces barrels for firearms and sells the barrels to another company that assembles and sells complete firearms.

    Because barrels are not firearms, the company that manufactures the barrels is not a manufacturer of firearms. The company that assembles and sells the firearms should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.

  5. A company receives firearm frames from individual customers, attaches stocks and barrels and returns the firearms to the customers for the customers' personal use.

    The operations performed on the firearms were not for the purpose of sale or distribution. The company should be licensed as a dealer or gunsmith, not as a manufacturer of firearms.

  6. A company acquires one receiver, assembles one firearm, and sells the firearm.

    The company is not manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business and is not engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms. This company does not need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

  7. An individual acquires frames or receivers and assembles firearms for his personal use, not for sale or distribution.

    The individual is not manufacturing firearms for sale or distribution and is not required to be a licensed manufacturer.

  8. A gunsmith regularly buys military type firearms, Mausers etc., and “sporterizes” them for resale.

    The gunsmith is in the business of manufacturing firearms and should be licensed as a manufacturer.

  9. A gunsmith buys semiautomatic pistols or revolvers and modifies the slides to accept new Style f sights. The sights are not usually sold with these firearms and do not attach to the existing mounting openings.

    The gunsmith offers these firearms for sale. This would be considered the manufacturing of firearms and the gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

  10. A gunsmith buys government model pistols and installs “drop-in” precision trigger parts or other “drop-in parts” for the purpose of resale.

    This would be considered the manufacturing of firearms, as the gunsmith is purchasing the firearms, modifying the firearms and selling them. The gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

  11. A gunsmith buys surplus military rifles, bends the bolts to accept a scope, and then drills the receivers for a scope base. The gunsmith offers these firearms for sale.

    This would be considered the manufacturing of firearms and the gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

  12. A gunsmith buys surplus military rifles or pistols and removes the stocks, adds new stocks or pistol grips, cleans the firearms, then sends the firearms to a separate contractor for bluing. These firearms are then sold to the public.

    This would be considered manufacturing of firearms and the gunsmith should be licensed as a manufacturer.

  13. A company purchases surplus firearms, cleans the firearms then offers them for sale to the public.

    The company does not need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

Must a licensed manufacturer pay excise taxes?

Yes. Licensed manufacturers incur excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition manufactured. See Item 17, “Federal Excise Tax” in the General Information section of this publication.

Is a person who reloads ammunition required to be licensed as a manufacturer?

Yes, if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit. No, if the person reloads only for personal use.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) (i) and 923(a), 27 CFR 478.41]

May a person licensed as a manufacturer of firearms also manufacture ammunition?

Yes. The person may also manufacture ammunition (not including destructive device ammunition or armor piercing ammunition) without obtaining a separate license as a manufacturer of ammunition.

May a person licensed as a manufacturer of ammunition also manufacture firearms?

No. A person licensed as a manufacturer of ammunition may not manufacture firearms unless he or she obtains a license as a firearms manufacturer.

Must a person who engages in the business of manufacturing and importing firearms have a separate license to cover each type of business?

Yes. A separate license is required to cover each of these types of businesses.

[27 CFR 478.41]

Licensing

Are black powder dealers required to be licensed as ammunition dealers under the GCA?

No. However, black powder dealers are subject to the provisions of 27 CFR Part 555, Commerce in Explosives, which requires that a dealer in any quantity of black powder must have a license as a dealer.

[18 U.S.C. 842]

May a licensee change the location of the licensed business or activity?

To change your location, you must file an application for an amended license, ATF Form 5300.38, not less than 30 days prior to the move. You must obtain the amended license before commencing business at the new location. The application for an amended license includes a certification of compliance with State and local laws and notification of local law enforcement officials.

[27 CFR 478.52]

May a person obtain a dealer's license to engage in business only at gun shows?

No. A license may only be issued for a permanent premises at which the license applicant intends to do business. A person having such license may conduct business at gun shows located in the State in which the licensed premises is located and sell and deliver curio or relic firearms to other licensees at any location.

[18 U.S.C. 923(a) and (j)]

Does a Federal firearms license allow the licensee to carry a firearm in the course of business?

No. A Federal firearms license confers no right or privilege to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise. Permits to carry are issued by State or local authorities.

May a successor owner of a business entity, other than one who is a successor under the provisions of 27 CFR 478.56 (for example, the surviving spouse or child, or a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy), commence a firearms business prior to re

No. Each person intending to engage in business as a firearms dealer, importer or manufacturer or an ammunition importer or manufacturer must obtain the required Federal firearms license prior to commencing business.

[27 CFR 478.41]

What records am I required to forward to ATF upon discontinuance of my business?

The records consist of the licensee’s bound acquisition/disposition (A/D) records, ATF Forms 4473, ATF Forms 3310.4 (Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers), ATF Forms 3310.11 (Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report), records of transactions in semiautomatic assault weapons, records of importation (ATF Forms 6 and 6A), and law enforcement certification letters. If the licensee was granted a variance to use a computerized record-keeping system, the licensee is required to provide a complete printout of the entire A/D records.

[27 CFR 478.127]

Must a licensed importer's, manufacturer's, or dealer's records be surrendered to ATF if the licensee discontinues business?

If the business is being discontinued completely, the licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer is required, within 30 days, to forward the business records to the following address:

National Tracing Center
ATF / Out of Business Records Center
244 Needy Road

Martinsburg, West Virginia
25405 USA

Voice 1-800-788-7133 x 1590

Failure to surrender required records is a felony and could result in the licensee being fined up to $250,000, imprisoned up to 5 years, or both. A licensee discontinuing business also must notify the Federal Firearms Licensing Center within 30 days.

If someone is taking over the business, the original licensee should underline the final entry in each bound book, note the date of transfer, and forward all records and forms to the successor (who must apply for and receive his or her own license before lawfully engaging in business) or forward the records and forms to the ATF Out-of-Business Records Center. If the successor licensee receives records and forms from the original licensee, the successor licensee may choose to forward these records and forms to the ATF Out-of-Business Record Center.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(4), 22 CFR 478.57, 27 CFR 478.127]

If a person timely files an application for renewal of a license and the present license expires prior to receipt of the new license, may the person continue to conduct the business covered by the expired license?

Yes. A person who timely files an application for renewal of a license may continue operations authorized by the expired license until the application is finally acted upon. An application is timely filed when it is received accurate and completed at the P.O. Box listed on the application form with the appropriate renewal fee.

If a person does not timely file a license renewal application and the license expires, the person must file ATF Form 7 (5310.12), Application for License, or an ATF Form 7CR (5310.16), Application for License (Collector of Curios or Relics), as required by 27 CFR 478.44, submit the application fee applicable to a new business, and obtain the required license before continuing business activity.

[27 CFR 478.45]

Does an importer or manufacturer of firearms also need a dealer's license?

No, as long as the importer or manufacturer is engaged in the business of dealing in firearms at the licensed premises in the same type of firearms authorized by the importer’s or manufacturer’s license.

[27 CFR 478.41(b)]

May one license cover several locations?

No. A separate license must be obtained for each location. However, storage facilities are not required to be covered by a separate license, although the records maintained on licensed premises must reflect all firearms held in the separate storage facility. Firearms may be shipped directly to separate storage facilities as long as they are properly recorded as an acquisition in the licensee’s records.

[27 CFR 478.50]

How does one get a license?

Submit ATF Form 7 (5310.12), Application for License, or ATF Form 7CR (5310.16), Application for License (Collector of Curios or Relics), with the appropriate fee in accordance with the instructions on the form to ATF. These forms may be obtained from the ATF Distribution Center or your local ATF office.

[18 U.S.C. 923, 27 CFR 478.44 and 478.45]

Who can get a license?

ATF will approve the application if the applicant:

  • Is 21 years of age or older;
  • Is not prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition;
  • Has not willfully violated the GCA or its regulations;
  • Has not willfully failed to disclose material information or willfully made false statements concerning material facts in connection with his application;
  • Has premises for conducting business or collecting; and
  • The applicant certifies that:
  1. the business to be conducted under the license is not prohibited by State or local law in the place where the licensed premises is located;
  2. within 30 days after the application is approved the business will comply with the requirements of State and local law applicable to the conduct of the business;
  3. the business will not be conducted under the license until the requirements of State and local law applicable to the business have been met;
  4. the applicant has sent or delivered a form to the chief law enforcement officer where the premises is located notifying the officer that the applicant intends to apply for a license; and
  5. secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensees (“secure gun storage or safety device” is defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(34)).

[18 U.S.C. 923(d)(1), 27 CFR 478.47(b)]

Importing & Exporting

When is a firearm considered imported for purposes of calculating the 15-day period within which an imported firearm must be marked and reported to ATF on Form 6A?

A firearm (as well as ammunition and other defense articles) is imported on the day it is released from the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and brought into the United States, which may be different from the day it is physically received by the importer. The date of import is based on the Gun Control Act’s regulatory definition of importation in 27 CFR 478.11. The permissible period of time within which importers must comply with applicable marking and recordkeeping requirements is calculated using the date of importation as the starting point. See related August 27, 2010, Open Letter posted on the ATF website.

What is the excise tax and duty on an imported firearm?

ATF is no longer the Federal agency responsible for collecting excise tax on imported firearms and ammunition. Please contact the Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for excise tax information and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for import duty information.

When a firearm is imported from a country other than that in which it was manufactured, what country must be marked on the firearm by the importer, the country of origin or the country of export?

27 CFR 478.92(a)(1)(ii)(E) requires an imported firearm to be marked with the name of the country in which it was manufactured, among other information. 27 CFR 478.112(b)(1)(ii) requires the country of export to be identified on the import permit application, but this information should not be marked on the firearm.

Why are licensed importers not exempt from NFA registration requirements (ATF Form 2 and Form 5) when transferring firearms to the U.S. Government? Licensed manufacturers may obtain ATF permission to make firearms for and sell them to the U.S. Government

NFA regulations in 27 CFR 479.33 provide a special exemption for manufacturers. This section provides for relief from the payment of Special (Occupational) Tax for persons conducting business exclusively with or on behalf of the United States Government (USG). This section also relieves any person manufacturing NFA firearms solely for or on behalf of the USG from the requirement to file ATF Form 2 and Form 5. The special exemption does not extend to importers.

What options does an importer have for obtaining machineguns from overseas in fulfillment of a Federal Government contract to provide training to U.S. military personnel?

18 U.S.C. 922(o) and 27 CFR 479.105(c) restrict the importation of machineguns after May 19, 1986. Since that date machineguns may only be imported for sale or distribution to a department or agency of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof, or for use by dealers as a sales sample for such government entities. There is no provision to permanently import a machinegun for training purposes. Importers may contact the Department of State to determine if they may temporarily import a machinegun for training purposes on a DSP-61 (temporary import license). The importer must also abide by the requirements of ATF Rul. 2004-2 for any temporary importation of NFA firearms. Machineguns imported temporarily pursuant to Department of State authority still must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record with ATF and are subject to the NFA’s transfer requirements.

How should the country of manufacture be recorded on an import permit application and marked on an imported firearm when manufacture occurred in a country that no longer exists (e.g., Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, etc.)?

27 CFR 478.112(b)(1)(iv)(A) requires an import permit applicant to identify the name and address of the manufacturer of a firearm sought for import. 27 CFR 478.112(c)(2)(iii) requires an imported firearm’s country of manufacture to be identified on ATF Form 6A, Release and Receipt of Imported Firearms, Ammunition, and Implements of War. 27 CFR 478.92(a)(1)(ii)(E) requires the country in which an imported firearm was manufactured to be marked on the firearm. For the purposes of these sections of Gun Control Act regulations, country of manufacture is the name of the country where manufactured as that country existed at the time the gun was manufactured, even if that country no longer exists.

For example, the manufacturer’s address for a firearm made in Yugoslavia should include Yugoslavia in the appropriate block of the import permit application. The country of manufacture recorded on ATF Form 6A and the country of manufacture marked on the firearm would also be Yugoslavia, even though that country no longer exists.

Please note that the country of export, foreign seller address, and foreign shipper address, which are also reported to ATF as part of the import process, should reference the current name of the applicable country (e.g., Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, etc.).

What must I do to import gas masks for resale?

A commercial importer must be registered in accordance with the Arms Export Control Act. You can download the application to register, ATF F 5330.4 (4587), Application to Register as an Importer of U.S. Munitions Import List Articles, at www.atf.gov. There is a fee, and the processing time is 2-4 weeks.

Does ATF regulate the importation of gas masks?

Yes. Gas masks are “defense articles” subject to regulation under the Arms Export Control Act. ATF regulates the importation of gas masks and generally requires an ATF Form 6 import permit for lawful importation of these items. The standard processing time is 4-6 weeks from the date ATF’s Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch receives a complete Form 6 application. You can download the Form 6 at www.atf.gov/content/library/firearms-forms.

Does a licensee need an export license to export a firearm?

The GCA does not require export licenses. However, most firearms and ammunition must be exported in accordance with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act of 1976. Regulations implementing this Act generally require a license to be obtained from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, Department of State, PM/DDTC, SA-1, Room 1200, 2401 E St., N.W., Washington, DC 20037; (202) 663-1282.

The export of sporting shotguns and ammunition for sporting shotguns is regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce rather than the State Department. An export license is generally needed to export these shotguns and ammunition. For further information, contact them at their nearest district office or the Bureau of Industry and Security, Outreach and Educational Services Division, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th St. & Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20230, (202) 482-4811.

When exporting NFA firearms, ATF Form 9 must be completed and approved by ATF prior to export.

[22 U.S.C. 2778, 27 CFR 479.114 and 479.116]

May a licensed dealer who does not have an importer's license make an occasional importation?

Yes. A licensed dealer may make an occasional importation of a firearm for a non-licensee or for the licensee’s personal use (not for resale). The licensee must first submit an ATF Form 6, Part I to ATF for approval. The licensee may then present the approved Form 6 and completed ATF Form 6A to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Contact the Bureau of ATF, Firearms and Explosives Imports Branch for forms at (304) 616-4550, or download them from the ATF Web page at http://www.atf.gov/content/library/firearms-forms.

When preparing an import permit application on ATF Form 6 Part I, Part II, or Form 6NIA, do I have to report the actual barrel length and overall length of the firearm I want to import?

Yes, the barrel length and overall length of a firearm are required pieces of information on an import permit application. Gun Control Act (GCA) regulations in 27 CFR 478.112(b) and Arms Export Control Act regulations in 27 CFR 447.42(a)(1) make this information a mandatory part of completing the permit application. Effective immediately, applications which lack this information, provide only a range (e.g., 18-24 inches), or which are non-specific (e.g., 18+ inches) with respect to barrel length and overall length will be returned without action by ATF for more information from the applicant.

Barrel length and overall length are important factors in helping ATF determine whether a firearm is importable, helping U.S. Customs and Border Protection reconcile a permit to the actual shipment during the release process at a port of entry, and may be useful in assuring that the correct duty is paid. In addition, the barrel length and overall length of a firearm are determining factors in whether a firearm is subject to the additional controls of the National Firearms Act (NFA). A shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches and a rifle having a barrel of less than 16 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches are classified as NFA weapons.

I import firearms and firearm parts into the United States for general resale, and one of my foreign suppliers recently asked me to provide him with an End User Certificate, which he described as a formal document issued by the United States Government,

ATF does not have the ability or authority to issue End User Certificates certifying to whom imported articles will be distributed after their importation into the United States. Neither the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) nor the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (AECA) require importers to establish end user information prior to importation, and so ATF does not collect such information on its import permit applications. Consequently, ATF cannot issue End User Certificates when approving applications to import regulated commodities.

Gunsmiths

Is a licensed gunsmith's return of repaired or customized firearms to their owners subject to the Brady law, including the provision for making background checks on transferees?

No, but it is unlawful to transfer a firearm to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is a felon or is within any other category of person prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. (See also question “A firearm is delivered to a licensee by an unlicensed individual for the purpose of repair. Is the return of the repaired firearm subject to the requirements of the Brady law? Would the transfer of a replacement firearm from the licensee to the owner of the damaged firearm be subject to the requirements of the Brady law?”)

[18 U.S.C. 922(d), 27 CFR 478.32(d)]

Is a licensed gunsmith required to comply with the requirements to give written notification to handgun transferees and post signs on juvenile handgun possession?

The requirement that written notification on juvenile handgun possession be given to a non-licensee to whom a handgun is delivered applies to all Federal firearms licensees. It applies to the return of handguns to their owners, as well as to their sale. Thus, a gunsmith who repairs or customizes a non-licensee’s handgun must provide the notification to the non-licensee when the handgun is returned. The sign posting requirement also applies to gunsmiths, unless the gunsmith only disposes of handguns to non-licensees who do not appear at the gunsmith’s licensed premises, for example, when repaired handguns are shipped to non-licensees.

[18 U.S.C. 922(x), 27 CFR 478.103]

May a licensed gunsmith receive an NFA firearm for purposes of repair?

Yes, for the sole purpose of repair and subsequent return to its owner. It is suggested that the owner obtain permission from ATF for the transfer by completing and mailing ATF Form 5 (5320.5) to the NFA Branch and receive approval prior to the delivery. The gunsmith should do the same prior to returning the firearm.

Only the face of the form needs to be completed in each instance. ATF Forms 5 may be obtained from the Bureau of ATF, NFA Branch. ATF Form 5 is also available on the internet at www.atf.gov

May a gunsmith make immediate repairs at locations other than his or her place of business?

Yes.

Is an ATF Form 4473 required when a gunsmith returns a repaired firearm?

No, provided the firearm is returned to the person from whom it was received.

[27 CFR 478.124(a)]

Does a gunsmith need to enter in a permanent "bound book" record every firearm received for adjustment or repair?

If a firearm is brought in for repairs and the owner waits while it is being repaired or if the gunsmith is able to return the firearm to the owner during the same business day, it is not necessary to list the firearm in the “bound book” as an “acquisition.” If the gunsmith has possession of the firearm from one business day to another or longer, the firearm must be recorded as an “acquisition” and a “disposition” in the permanent "bound book" record.

Is a license needed to engage in the business of engraving, customizing, refinishing or repairing firearms?

Yes. A person conducting such activities as a business is considered to be a gunsmith within the definition of a dealer.

[27 CFR 478.11]

Firearms Technology

Is it legal to assemble a firearm from commercially available parts kits that can be purchased via internet or shotgun news?

For your information, per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.

The GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), defines the term “firearm” to include the following:

… (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive: (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

In addition, the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), defines the term “machinegun” as:

… any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. This term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Finally, the GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 922(r), specifically states the following:

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under the…[GCA]…Section 925(d)(3).as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes ….

Also, 27 C.F.R. § 478.39 states:

  1. (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes ….
  2. (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
    1. (1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or (2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of [§478.151(formerly 178.151)]; or (3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm.
  3. (c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts [tabulated below] are:
    1. (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings, or castings.
    2. (2) Barrels.
    3. (3) Barrel extensions.
    4. (4) Mounting blocks (trunnions).
    5. (5) Muzzle attachments.
    6. (6) Bolts.
    7. (7) Bolt carriers.
    8. (8) Operating rods.
    9. (9) Gas pistons.
    10. (10) Trigger housings.
    11. (11) Triggers.
    12. (12) Hammers.
    13. (13) Sears.
    14. (14) Disconnectors.
    15. (15) Buttstocks.
    16. (16) Pistol grips.
    17. (17) Forearms, handguards.
    18. (18) Magazine bodies.
    19. (19) Followers.
    20. (20) Floor plates.

As a result of a 1989 study by the U.S. Treasury Department regarding the importability of certain firearms, an import ban was placed on military-style firearms. This ban included not only military-type firearms, but also extended to firearms with certain features that were considered to be “nonsporting.”

Among such nonsporting features were the ability to accept a detachable magazine; folding/telescoping stocks; separate pistol grips; and the ability to accept a bayonet, flash suppressors, bipods, grenade launchers, and night sights.

Please note that the foreign parts kits that are sold through commercial means are usually cut up machineguns, such as Russian AK-47 types, British Sten types, etc. Generally, an acceptable semiautomatic copy of a machinegun is one that has been significantly redesigned. The receiver must be incapable of accepting the original fire-control components that are designed to permit full automatic fire. The method of operation should employ a closed-bolt firing design that incorporates an inertia-type firing pin within the bolt assembly.

Further, an acceptably redesigned semiautomatic copy of nonsporting firearm must be limited to using less than 10 of the imported parts listed in 27 CFR § 478.39(c). Otherwise, it is considered to be assembled into a nonsporting configuration per the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 925(d)(3) and is thus a violation of § 922(r).

Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR 478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.


Q: Are Glock conversion devices legal?

A Glock conversion switch is a part designed and intended for use in converting a semiautomatic Glock pistol into a machinegun; therefore, it is a “machinegun” as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). Glock conversion devices are considered post-May 19, 1986 machineguns and may only be lawfully possessed by properly licensed Federal Firearms Licensees who have paid the appropriate Special Occupational Tax (SOT) required of those manufacturing, importing, or dealing in National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms.

Conversion is fast and simple requiring no technical expertise. Conversion requires removal of the original polymer slide cover plate and replacing it with the conversion device, typically made of metal. By switching these plates, which takes less than 60 seconds, the conversion is complete. Conversion of a Glock pistol will result in a rate of fire of approximately 1200 rounds per minute.

Glock conversion deviceGlock conversion device being installed

We are aware of other variations of this conversion device. We are also aware that these devices are available from certain internet sources.

Second variation of Glock conversion deviceSecond variation of Glock conversion device being installedThird variation of Glock conversion deviceThird variation of Glock conversion device being installed
Is it legal to attach a vertical fore grip to a handgun?

"Handgun" is defined under Federal law to mean, in part, a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand… Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(29).

Under an implementing regulation of the National Firearms Act (NFA), 27 C.F.R. § 479.11, “pistol” is defined as:

… a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

The NFA further defines the term “any other weapon” (AOW) in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(e) as:

… any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.

To lawfully add a vertical fore grip to a handgun, a person must make an appropriate application on ATF Form 1 (5320.1), “Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” The applicant must submit the completed form, along with a fingerprint card bearing the applicant’s fingerprints; a photograph; and $200.00. The application will be reviewed by the NFA Branch. If the applicant is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law, and possession of an “AOW” is not prohibited in the applicant’s State of residence, the form will be approved. Only then may the person add a vertical fore grip to the designated handgun.

A person may also send the handgun to a person licensed to manufacture NFA weapons. The manufacturer will install the fore grip on the firearm and register the firearm on an ATF Form 2 (5320.2). The manufacturer can then transfer the firearm back to the individual on an ATF Form 4 (5320.4), which results in a $5.00 transfer tax. If the manufacturer is out of State, the NFA Branch will need a clarification letter submitted with the ATF Form 4 so that the NFA Branch Examiner will know the circumstances of the transfer. Questions can be directed to the NFA Branch or the Firearms Technology Branch.

Does my weapon qualify as a curio or relic (C&R)?

For your information, a regulation implementing Federal firearms laws, 27 CFR Section 478.11, defines C&R firearms as thosewhich are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons.

To be recognized as C&R items, 478.11 specifies that firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas of such firearms;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

Firearms automatically attain C&R status when they are 50 years old. Any firearm that is at least 50 years old, and in its original configuration, would qualify as a C&R firearm. It is not necessary for such firearms to be listed in ATF’s C&R list. Therefore, ATF does not generally list firearms in the C&R publication by virtue of their age. However, if you wish for a classification of your particular firearm under categories (b) or (c) above and wish your item to be listed, you may submit the weapon to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) for a formal classification.

If you desire an evaluation, ship the firearm to FTB via FedEx, UPS, or other common carrier. You must also include your carrier’s account information or a return postage label for the return of the item. Please submit any supplemental documentation such as value appraisals or curator letters that may denote the firearm as a collector’s item. The weapon would be returned with a letter detailing our examination and stating FTB’s findings concerning the weapon’s classification as a C&R firearm.

Address the parcel to:

Chief, Firearms Technology Branch
244 Needy Road

Martinsburg, West Virginia
25405 USA

Please note that firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) may be classified as C&R items, but still may be subject to the provisions of the NFA. If your C&R item is an NFA firearm and you desire removal from the NFA status (e.g., Winchester Trappers), you must submit it to FTB for evaluation and a formal classification.

Does the ATF regulate the sale and possession of air guns? Is an air gun classified as a "firearm" under Federal law?

The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include (A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon…. Based on Section 921(a)(3), air guns, because they use compressed air and not an explosive to expel a projectile, do not constitute firearms under Federal law — unless they are manufactured with the frames or receivers of an actual firearm. Accordingly, the domestic sale and possession of air guns is normally unregulated under the Federal firearms laws enforced by ATF.

We caution that ATF is not charged with enforcement or oversight of the firearms laws of States or localities. To determine possible restrictions on air guns where you reside, we recommend that you contact the office of your state Attorney General, the State Police, or other State/local law enforcement authorities for further guidance.

Curios & Relics

May semiautomatic assault weapons, which have been classified as curios or relics, be imported?

Not unless they are being imported for sale to a government agency or law enforcement officer employed by such agency for official use. Because ATF will not approve an importation that would place the importer in violation of the law, ATF would not authorize the importation of semiautomatic assault weapons, even if classified as curios or relics, unless the importer provided evidence that the weapons were being imported for sale to a governmental entity or other exempt purchaser.

[18 U.S.C. 922(v)]

May a licensed collector obtain NFA firearms in interstate commerce?

Only if the firearms are classified as curios or relics, are registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and are transferred in accordance with the provisions of the NFA.

[27 CFR 479.83 – 479.86]

Are licensed collectors required to turn in their acquisition/disposition records to ATF if their collector's license is not renewed or they discontinue their collecting activity?

No. The GCA requires the delivery of required records to the Government within 30 days after a firearm “business” is discontinued. A license as a collector of curios or relics does not authorize any business with respect to firearms. This is in contrast to firearm importers, manufacturers, and dealers who are licensed to engage in a firearms business. Therefore, the records required to be kept by licensed collectors under the law and regulations are not business records and are not required to be turned in to ATF when collector's licenses are not renewed or collecting activity under such licenses is discontinued.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(4), 27 CFR 478.127]

Can a licensed collector sell a curio or relic shotgun or rifle to a nonlicensed resident of another State?

Yes. A licensed collector is specifically authorized to sell a curio or relic shotgun or rifle to a non-licensed resident of another State so long as 1) The purchaser meets with the licensee in person at the licensee’s premises to accomplish the transfer, sale, and delivery of the rifle or shotgun; and 2) The sale, delivery, and receipt of the rifle or shotgun fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States.

[27 CFR 478.96 (c)(1)]

Are licensed collectors required to comply with the requirements that written notification be given to handgun transferees and signs be posted on juvenile handgun possession?

The requirement that written notification concerning juvenile handgun possession be given by licensees to a non-licensee to whom a handgun is delivered applies to curio or relic handguns transferred by licensed collectors. Licensed collectors may lawfully dispose of curio or relic handguns away from their licensed premises. Therefore, the signposting requirement does not apply to licensed collectors since, in the case of collectors, a requirement to post signs at the licensed premises would serve no purpose because the premises is not a business premises open to the public.

[18 U.S.C. 922 (x), 27 CFR 478.103]

Are licensed collectors required to execute ATF Form 4473 for transactions in curio or relic firearms?

No. Licensed collectors are only required to keep a “bound book” record.

[27 CFR 478.125(f)]

Is the transfer of a firearm by a licensed dealer to a licensed collector subject to the Brady law?

The Brady law does not apply to the transfer of a curio or relic firearm to a licensed collector, but a licensed collector who acquires a firearm other than a curio or relic from a licensee would be treated like a non-licensee, and the transfer would be subject to Brady requirements.

Are licensed collectors transfers of curio or relic firearms subject to the Brady law, including the provision for making background checks on transferees?

No. Transfers of curio or relic firearms by licensed collectors are not subject to the requirements of the Brady law. It is, however, unlawful to transfer a firearm to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is a felon or is within any other category of persons prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms.

[18 U.S.C. 922 (d), (t), 27 CFR 478.32 (d)]

What does "engaged in the business" mean?

The term “engaged in the business,” as applicable to a firearms dealer, is defined as a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.

[27 CFR 478.11]

Does the Federal firearms law require licensed collectors to comply with State laws and local published ordinances which are relevant to the enforcement of the GCA?

Yes. It is unlawful for any licensed collector to sell or deliver any firearm or ammunition to any person if the person’s purchase or possession would be in violation of any State law or local published ordinance applicable at the place of sale or delivery.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(2), 27 CFR 478.99(b)(2)]

Does a collector's license afford any privileges to the licensee with respect to acquiring or disposing of firearms other than curios or relics in interstate or foreign commerce?

No. A licensed collector has the same status under the Gun Control Act (GCA) as a non-licensee except for transactions in curio or relic firearms.

[27 CFR 478.93]

How does one get a collector's license?

Submit ATF F 5310.16 (Form 7CR), Application for License (Collector of Curios or Relics), with the appropriate fee in accordance with the instructions on the form. These forms may be obtained from the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Center in Atlanta, Georgia, your local ATF Office, or downloaded from ATF’s Internet site (www.atf.gov).

[27 CFR 478.41(c)]

Is there a specific license that permits a collector to acquire firearms in interstate commerce?

Yes. The person may obtain a collector’s license; however, this license applies only to transactions in curio or relic firearms. The principal advantage of a collector’s license is that a licensed collector can acquire curios or relics in interstate commerce.

[27 CFR 478.41(c), (d), 478.50(b) and 478.93]

What is a firearm curio or relic?

Firearm curios or relics include firearms which have special value to collectors because they possess some qualities not ordinarily associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Have been manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; or
  2. Be certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; or
  3. Derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

[27 CFR 478.11]

What modifications can be made on C&R firearms without changing their C&R classification?

The definition for curio or relic (“C & R”) firearms found in 27 CFR § 478.11 does not specifically state that a firearm must be in its original condition to be classified as a C&R firearm. However, ATF Ruling 85-10, which discusses the importation of military C&R firearms, notes that they must be in original configuration and adds that a receiver is not a C&R item. Combining this ruling and the definition of C&R firearms, the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) has concluded that a firearm must be in its original condition to be considered a C&R weapon.

It is also the opinion of FTB, however, that a minor change such as the addition of scope mounts, non-original sights, or sling swivels would not remove a firearm from its original condition. Moreover, we have determined that replacing particular firearms parts with new parts that are made to the original design would also be acceptable-for example, replacing a cracked M1 Grand stock with a new wooden stock of the same design, but replacing the original firearm stock with a plastic stock would change its classification as a C&R item.

Collectors

Are licensed collectors required to turn in their acquisition/disposition records to ATF if their collector's license is not renewed or they discontinue their collecting activity?

No. The GCA requires the delivery of required records to the Government within 30 days after a firearms “business” is discontinued. A license as a collector of curios or relics does not authorize any business with respect to firearms. Therefore, the records required to be kept by licensed collectors under the law and regulations are not business records and are not required to be turned in to ATF when collectors’ licenses are not renewed or collecting activity under such licenses is discontinued.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(4), 27 CFR 478.127]

Are licensed collectors required to comply with the requirements that written notification be given to handgun transferees and signs be posted on juvenile handgun possession?

The requirement that written notification concerning juvenile handgun possession be given by licensees to a non-licensee to whom a handgun is delivered applies to curio or relic handguns transferred by licensed collectors. However, the sign posting requirement does not apply to licensed collectors.

[18 U.S.C. 922(x), 27 CFR 478.103]

Are licensed collectors & transfers of curio or relic firearms subject to the Brady law, including the provision for making background checks on transferees?

No, but it is unlawful to transfer a firearm to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is a felon or is within any other category of person prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. (See also questions “Must licensed collectors comply with the Brady law prior to transferring a curio or relic firearm?” and
“Is the transfer of a firearm by a licensed dealer to a licensed collector subject to the Brady law?”).

[18 U.S.C. 922(d), 27 CFR 478.32(d)]

Are licensed collectors required to execute ATF Form 4473 for transactions in curio or relic firearms?

No. However, licensed collectors are required to keep a “bound book” record.

[27 CFR 478.125(f)]

Since a licensed firearms dealer may legally deal in curio or relic firearms, is there any reason why a dealer would need both a dealer's license and collector's license?

No. A collector’s license enables a collector to obtain curio or relic firearms interstate. A person holding a dealer’s license may also acquire curio or relic firearms interstate, and so there is no need for a licensed dealer to obtain a collector’s license.

Is there a specific license which permits a collector to acquire firearms in interstate commerce?

No. A dealer’s license must be obtained to engage in the business of dealing in any firearms, including curios or relics.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) and 923(a), 27 CFR 478.41]

What qualifies as an antique firearm?

As defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(16) the term “antique firearm” means —

  • any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
  • any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica —
    • is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
    • uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
  • any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term ‘antique firearm’ shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon, which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

ATF has previously determined that certain muzzle loading models are firearms and subject to the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). All of these guns incorporate the frame or receiver of a firearm that is capable of accepting other barrels designed to fire conventional rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition. Therefore, these muzzle loading models do not meet the definition of “antique firearm” as that term is defined in the above-cited § 921(a)(16) and are “firearms” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)

Furthermore, as firearms, the models described above, as well as other similar models, regardless of installed barrel type, are subject to all provisions of the GCA. Persons who purchase these firearms from licensed dealers are required to fill out ATF Form 4473 and are subject to a National Instant Background Check System (NICS) check. Convicted felons and certain other persons are prohibited from receiving and possessing these firearms.

The following is a list of weapons that load from the muzzle and remain classified as firearms, not antiques, under the purview of the GCA since they incorporate the frame or receiver of a firearm:

  1. Savage Model 10ML (early, 1st version).
  2. Mossberg 500 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
  3. Remington 870 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
  4. Mauser 98 rifle with muzzle loading barrel.
  5. SKS rifle with muzzle loading barrel
  6. RPB sM10 pistol with muzzle loading barrel.
  7. H&R/New England Firearm Huntsman.
  8. Thompson Center Encore/Contender.
  9. Rossi .50 muzzle loading rifle.

This list is not complete and it frequently changes; therefore, there may be other muzzle loaders also classified as firearms. As noted, any muzzleloader weapon that is built on a firearm frame or receiver falls within the definition of a firearm provided in § 921(a)(3).

ATF Form 5300.11

Do I need to file a report even if I didn’t manufacture or export any firearms last year?

Yes, you must file a report to let ATF know that you had no activity. A lack of activity is just important as significant activity because it helps provide an accurate, overall statistical profile of the firearms industry in the United States for a particular period.

Where can I get more copies of AFMER forms?

You can print or download a fillable AFMER form from ATF’s website (www.atf.gov/forms/firearms/) or obtain them from the ATF Distribution Center by calling 703-870-7526 or 703-870-7528 and asking for ATF Form 5300.11.

After filing my report with ATF I discovered a quantity error. What should I do?

You may file an amended report with ATF at any time. You should write the words “Amended Report” across the top of the AFMER form and be sure that you clearly and accurately identify the period for which you are amending your data. It is also helpful to ATF if you provide a contact name and daytime telephone number for us to use if we have any questions about your amendments.

What does ATF do with the data I report?

AFMER data is compiled into an annual statistical profile and released each January on ATF’s website (www.ATF.gov). Final release is deferred by one year, so 2009 data was not released until January 2011, for example. Published AFMER data is referenced by academic researchers, industry trade associations, regulatory agencies, the media, private interest groups, and others having an interest in the scope, vitality, and diversity of the U.S. firearms industry.

ATF Industry Operations Investigators verify compliance with the AFMER filing requirement and the accuracy of data reported to ATF when performing compliance inspections of licensed firearms manufacturers.

If I purchase a firearm and manufacture/remanufacture it into a different firearm, do I need to report this as production?

Whether or not you need to report this as production depends upon whom you received the firearm from and the nature of the modifications you make. If you received the firearm (to include a firearm frame, receiver, action, or barreled action) from a licensed firearms dealer (Type 01 FFL) or a non-licensee, then you would not report it provided your modifications didnot change the firearm’s AFMER category. If your modifications altered the firearm’s AFMER category then you would include firearm in your AFMER report in the category of firearm you produced. If you received the firearm from another licensed manufacturer, then production would be reported once you entered it into commerce.
Examples:

  • You are a licensed manufacturer and obtain a riflefrom a non-licensee or firearms dealer. You remanufacture the rifle by adding custom parts and accessories before selling it at retail as a rifle.. You would not include the firearm in your AFMER report since the firearm waspreviously reported by its original manufacturer and your modifications did not change it into a different type of firearm.
  • You are a licensed manufacturer and obtain a used rifle from a non-licensee or firearms dealer. You strip off the parts and replace the receiver with a new receiver that you acquired from a licensed manufacturer then sell the firearm at retail. You would include this on your report as a rifle, since you entered the new receiver into commerce as a rifle. IN CONTRAST, if you had purchased the new receiver from a licensed dealer you would not report it since the original manufacturer would have reported it previously. You are a licensed manufacturer and obtain receivers from a manufacturer who sold them to you through their firearms dealer’s license. You use the receivers to manufacture rifles and sell them at retail. This would not be reported since the receiver manufacturer would have included them on its report when transferring them from its manufacturing inventory to its dealer's inventory.
  • You are a licensed manufacturer and obtain a rifle from a licensed dealer or non-licenseethen remanufacture it into a pistoland sell it at retail. This would be included in your AFMER report because your modification resulted in a change to the firearm’s type (i.e., from rifle to pistol). This would also be reportable for rifles turned into short-barreled rifles, semi-automatic weapons turned into machineguns, or any other remanufacturing that changes the AFMER classification of the weapon.
I received a notice from ATF that says I did not file my AFMER report, but I believe that I did file. What should I do?

Each fall ATF sends out a final filing reminder to manufacturers for whom we have no record of having received an AFMER report for the preceding calendar year. If you believe ATF may not have received your report, you should call Program Analyst Tom DiDomenico at 304-616-4590 to resolve the situation. Always be sure to make and retain a copy of your signed and dated AFMER report for your own records. This can save work and duplicate research if re-submission of your report becomes necessary for any reason. You may contact ATF if you need to obtain copies of AFMER reports for previous reporting periods.

If I manufacture a weapon in one calendar year, but do not sell it, do I still need to report it?

No. The AFMER report is used to report the number of firearms that are produced and have entered commerce
Example:

  • If you produce 100 firearms in a calendar year but only 30 have entered commerce within that same calendar year, then you would only report 30. The other 70 firearms are still in your possession (and on your books) and would not be reported until the calendar year that they enter commerce.
Where should I report production of silencers, short-barreled rifles, or short-barreled shotguns?

Production of items that are not currently listed on the AFMER form should be recorded in section 8(g), Miscellaneous Firearms. Identify the type of miscellaneous firearm by writing it in section 8(g) or, if necessary, on a separate sheet of paper. If there are multiple types of miscellaneous firearms to be reported, please separate the totals by type instead of just providing a total for all miscellaneous firearms. Future versions of the AFMER form will provide categories for additional types of firearms. If you are uncertain where to report an item, you can contact FESD Program Analyst Tom DiDomenico at (304) 616-4590 for guidance.

What is the best way to file my form?

AFMER reports can be filed by mail, fax or email. ATF encourages email submission as the fastest and least costly method

How do I know ATF received my report?

If you file your report through email (AFMER2@atf.gov) you will receive a receipt confirmation email within a few business days. If you mail or fax your report, or if you emailed your report but did not receive a receipt confirmation email, you can contact FESD Program Analyst Tom DiDomenico at (304) 616-4590 to verify that ATF received your report. You may wish to retain your receipt confirmation email to document your timely compliance with the filing requirement during an ATF compliance inspection.

Does the AFMER form 5300.11 have any relationship with NFA Special Occupational Tax (NSOT) or the Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET) administered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)?

No, AFMER is not a tax form. It is used for statistical purposes only.

Is it okay to send in my report before the calendar year has ended?

No, you are not allowed to report before the calendar year ends unless you have permanently discontinued business, in which case you have no later than 30 days following the end of business to report.
Example:

  • You manufactured 2 firearms in July 2011 and sell only 1 of them in September 2011.
  • You decide to send in your 2011 report on December 15, 2011, but sell the last firearm on December 31, 2011. Your report would be inaccurate due to premature filing.
  • You go out of business on July 1, 2011 and turn in a final report on July 11, 2011, within the 30-day deadline. In this case, your report will be accepted because it is the last report to be filed under your license.
If I receive a firearm receiver/frame from another licensed manufacturer with the intention to incorporate the receiver into a complete firearm that I will sell but later I decide to sell the receiver as is, must I report this on my form?

Yes, section 2 (a) on the second page of the form states that separate frames or receivers, actions or barrel actions are to be included in your report when they are exported or disposed of in commerce to a person other than a licensed manufacturer. The licensed manufacturer who provided you the firearm would not include it on its own report because section 3 (b) on the second page of the form states that firearms disposed of to another licensed firearms manufacturer for the purpose of final finishing and assembly would be reported as zero.

I have a license to manufacture destructive devices (type 10), and based on instructions from the back of the AFMER form, destructive devices do not need to be reported. Should I stop filling?

No, a license to manufacture destructive devices also authorizes you to manufacturer firearms, the production and sale of which must be reported. But even if you produce only destructive devices, the filing requirement still applies to you.

When the notice is sent out, what year is ATF requesting?

ATF usually sends out the filing notice to all licensed manufacturers in late February or early March. According to Section 1(c) of the second page, manufacturers have until April 1st to submit an annual report covering the preceding calendar year’s business activity.
Example:

  • If you receive a request letter in the mail on March 5, 2012, then the notice from ATF is requesting calendar year 2011 production data.
I am a manufacturer and I gave my receiver to another manufacturer to complete and sell; should I report the receiver?

According to section 3 (b) on the second page of the form, firearms disposed of to another licensed firearms manufacturer for the purpose of final finishing and assembly need to reflect a production of zero.

What is production and what should I report?

Section 2 (a) on the second page of the form defines production as firearms manufactured during the calendar year, to included separate frames or receivers, actions or barreled actions, disposed of in commerce. A manufacturer who acquires these items from another licensed manufacturer in the assembly and production of complete firearms will include the manufacture of these firearms in their own report. Separate frames or receivers, actions, or barreled actions are to be included in this report when they are exported or disposed of in commerce to a person other than a licensed manufacturer.

Example:

  • If you manufacture and sell a firearm you are to report it.
  • If you manufacture firearms and send them to another licensed manufacturer to finish assembly and the other manufacturer sells the firearms into commerce or exports them, then you do not include these firearms on your report.
  • If you manufacture a firearms part, send it to another licensed manufacturer for further assembly, and the other manufacturer returns it to you for sale into commerce or export, then you include these firearms on your report.

ATF Form 4473

When must the ATF Form 4473 be signed?

Part I used for over-the-counter sales must be completed, signed and dated by the buyer prior to delivery of the firearm.

Part II (green form) used for intra-state non-over-the-counter sales must be completed, signed and dated in duplicate by the buyer at the time of sale.

[27 CFR 478.124(c) and 478.124(f)]

Is a Social Security card a proper means of identification for purchasing a firearm from an FFL?

No. A Social Security card, alien registration card, or military identification alone does not contain sufficient information to identify a firearms purchaser. However, a purchaser may be identified by any combination of government-issued documents which together establish all of the required information: Name, residence address, date of birth, and photograph of the holder.

[27 CFR 478.11 and 478.124(c)]

Who signs ATF Form 4473 for the seller?

ATF Form 4473 must be signed by the person who verified the identity of the buyer.

Does a dealer have to execute ATF Form 4473 to take a weapon out of the dealer’s inventory for his or her own use?

No. However, the “bound book” must reflect the disposition of the firearm from business inventory to personal use.

However, if the business is a corporation, and the firearm is being transferred to a corporate officer or director for other than business purposes, then a Form 4473 must be executed.

[27 CFR 478.124 and 478.125a]

Does an unlicensed person need an ATF Form 4473 to transfer a firearm?

No. ATF Form 4473 is required only for transfers by a licensee.

[27 CFR 478.124]

Where can a dealer get ATF Forms 4473?

They are available free of charge from the ATF Distribution Center - (703) 870-7526 or (703) 870-7528. Please order a quantity of forms estimated for 6 months use.

ATF Form 4473 — Firearms Transaction Record

Part I used for over-the-counter sales must be completed, signed and dated by the buyer prior to delivery of the firearm.

Part II (green form) used for intra-state non-over-the-counter sales must be completed, signed and dated in duplicate by the buyer at the time of sale.

[27 CFR 478.124(c) and 478.124(f)]

General

Are there any alternatives for relief from firearms disabilities?

A person is not considered convicted for Gun Control Act purposes if he has been pardoned, had his civil rights restored, or the conviction was expunged or set aside, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration expressly provides the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.

Persons convicted of a Federal offense may apply for a Presidential pardon. 28 CFR 1.1-1.10 specify the rules governing petitions for obtaining Presidential pardons. You may contact the Pardon Attorney’s Office at the U.S. Department of Justice, 500 First Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20530, to inquire about the procedures for obtaining a Presidential pardon.

Persons convicted of a State offense may contact the State Attorney General’s Office within the State in which they reside and the State of their conviction for information concerning any alternatives that may be available, such as pardons and civil rights restoration.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) and (a)(33)]

How can a person apply for relief from Federal firearms disabilities?

Under the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), convicted felons and certain other persons are prohibited from possessing or receiving firearms. The GCA provides the Attorney General with the authority to grant relief from this disability where the Attorney General determines that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and granting relief would not be contrary to the public interest. The Attorney General delegated this authority to ATF.

Since October 1992, however, ATF’s annual appropriation has prohibited the expending of any funds to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities submitted by individuals. As long as this provision is included in current ATF appropriations, the Bureau cannot act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities submitted by individuals.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g), 922(n) and 925(c)]

Does the GCA prohibit anyone from making a handgun, shotgun or rifle?

With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and approval by ATF. An application to make a machine gun will not be approved unless documentation is submitted showing that the firearm is being made for a Federal or State agency.

[18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]

Does the GCA control the sale of firearms parts?

No, except that frames or receivers of firearms are “firearms” as defined in the law and subject to the same controls as complete firearms. Silencer parts are also firearms under the GCA, as well as under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Certain machine gun parts, such as conversion parts or kits, are also subject to the NFA.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) and (24), 26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11]

What kinds of ammunition are covered by the GCA?

Ammunition includes cartridge cases, primers, bullets or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm other than an antique firearm.

Items NOT covered include blank ammunition, tear gas ammunition, pellets and nonmetallic shotgun hulls without primers.

Generally, no records are required for ammunition transactions. However, information about the disposition of armor piercing ammunition is required to be entered into a record by importers, manufacturers, and collectors.

A license is not required for dealers in ammunition only.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17) and 922(b)(5), 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.125]

Do antique firearms come within the purview of the GCA?

No.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) and (16), 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.141(d)]

Does the Federal Government issue a license or permit to carry a concealed weapon?

No. Neither ATF nor any other Federal agency issues such a permit or license. Carrying permits may be issued by a State or local government.

Does the law regulate who can be in the business?

Yes. The Gun Control Act (GCA), administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of the Department of Justice, contains Federal licensing standards for various firearms businesses (manufacturers, importers, and dealers).

An example of these standards is that the applicant must have a business premises.

[18 U.S.C. 923(d), 27 CFR 478.47]