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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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Firearms Verification

Gun Control Act Definitions

18 U.S.C., § 921(a)(3)

Note: This section is intended to provide basic guidance in understanding firearm terminology. Please bear in mind that these illustrations do not necessarily depict importable firearms.

The term “Firearm” means:

  1. 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; A Firearm expelling a projectile. A Starter Gun converted to expel a projectile is a Firearm.

  2. The frame or receiver of any such weapon; A Frame or Receiver constitutes a Firearm.

  3. Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or Examples of Destructive Devices. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

  4. Any destructive device.

Firearm Frame or Receiver

That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel. 27 CFR § 478.11.


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