ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

General Questions

  1. Does the law regulate who can be in the business?
  2. Does the Federal Government issue a license or permit to carry a concealed weapon?
  3. Do antique firearms come within the purview of the GCA?
  4. What kinds of ammunition are covered by the GCA?
  5. Does the GCA control the sale of firearms parts?
  6. Does the GCA prohibit anyone from making a handgun, shotgun or rifle?
  7. How can a person apply for relief from Federal firearms disabilities?
  8. Are there any alternatives for relief from firearms disabilities?


Q: 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]


Q: 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.


Q: 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)]


Q: 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]


Q: 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]


Q: 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]


Q: 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)]


Q: 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)]