- What qualifies as an antique firearm?
- Is there a specific license which permits a collector to acquire firearms in interstate commerce?
- 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?
- Does a license as a collector of curio or relic firearms authorize the collector to engage in the business of dealing in curios or relics?
- 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?
- Are licensed collectors required to execute ATF Form 4473 for transactions in curio or relic firearms?
- Are licensed collectors’ transfers of curio or relic firearms subject to the Brady law, including the provision for making background checks on transferees?
- 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?
- 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?
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:
- Savage Model 10ML (early, 1st version).
- Mossberg 500 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
- Remington 870 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
- Mauser 98 rifle with muzzle loading barrel.
- SKS rifle with muzzle loading barrel
- RPB sM10 pistol with muzzle loading barrel.
- H&R/New England Firearm Huntsman.
- Thompson Center Encore/Contender.
- 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).
Yes. A person may obtain a collector’s license. However, this license applies only to transactions in curio or relic firearms.
[18 U.S.C. 923(b), 27 CFR 478.41(c), (d), 478.50(b) and 478.93]
No. A licensed collector has the same status under the GCA as a non-licensee except for transactions in curio or relic firearms.
[18 U.S.C. 27 CFR 478.93]
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]
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.
No. However, licensed collectors are required to keep a “bound book” record.
[18 U.S.C. 27 CFR 478.125(f)]
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)]
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]
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]