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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Rulings

ATF publishes rulings to promote uniform application of the laws and regulations it administers. Rulings interpret the requirements of laws and regulations and apply retroactively unless otherwise indicated. Rulings do not have the force and effect of Department of Justice regulations, but they may be used as precedents. In applying published rulings, the effect of subsequent legislation, regulations, court decisions, and rulings must be considered. Concerned parties are cautioned against reaching the same conclusions in other cases unless the facts and circumstances are substantially the same.


Rulings that have an effect on previous rulings use the following defined terms to describe the effect:

AMPLIFIED is used in a situation where no change is being made in a prior published position, but the prior position is being extended to apply to a variation of the fact situation set forth in the new ruling. Thus, if an earlier ruling held that a principle applied to (A), and the new ruling holds that the same principle also applies to (B), the earlier ruling is amplified.

CLARIFIED is used in a situation where the language in a prior ruling is being made clear because the language has caused, or may cause, some confusion. It is not used where a position in a prior ruling is being changed.

DECLARED OBSOLETE is used in a situation where a previously published ruling is not considered determinative with respect to future transactions. This term is most commonly used in a ruling that lists previously published rulings that are declared obsolete because of changes in law or regulations. A ruling may also be declared obsolete because its substance has been included in regulations subsequently adopted.

MODIFIED is used in a situation where the substance of a previously published position is being changed. Thus, if a prior ruling held that a principle applied to A but not to B, but the new ruling holds that it applies to both A and B, the prior ruling is modified.

REVOKED is used in a situation where the position in the previously published ruling is not correct and the correct position is being stated in the new ruling. Rulings that have been revoked have no further effect.

SUPERSEDED is used in a variety of situations. The term may be used where the new ruling amplifies a prior ruling if both the position taken in the prior ruling and the position as amplified are contained in the text of the new ruling. The term may be similarly used where the new ruling clarifies or modifies a prior ruling. The term may also be used where, for the purpose of updating references, the new ruling does nothing more than restate the substance and situation of a prior ruling. For example, a ruling issued under former statutes and regulations may be reissued under the current statutes and regulations. Lastly, the term may be used when it is desired to republish in a single ruling a series of situations, names, etc. that were previously published over a period of time in separate rulings.

SUPPLEMENTED is used in situations in which a list, such as a list of curios and relics, is published in a ruling and that list is expanded by adding further items in subsequent rulings. After the original ruling has been supplemented to include several items, a new ruling may be published that includes the list in the original ruling and the additions, and supersedes all prior rulings in the series.

  • ATF Ruling 2013-3 – Adopting Identification of Firearms
  • ATF Ruling 2013-2 – NFA Electronic Forms
  • ATF Ruling 2013-1 – Electronic Form 6 and 6A
  • 2012-5 – Type 4 Magazine Construction
  • 2012-4 – Storage of Explosive Actuated Tactical Devices by Law Enforcement – ATF Ruling 2012-4 provides guidance on the storage of explosive actuated tactical devices for law enforcement tactical response teams. As a law enforcement sensitive document, ATF Ruling 2012-4 is not available on the ATF website. Law enforcement agencies may contact the Explosives Industry Programs Branch at (202) 648-7120, or via email at EIPB@ATF.GOV to request a copy of ATF Ruling 2012-4.
  • 2012-3 – AFMER Electronic Form
  • 2012-2 – Storage of Display Fireworks in Picking Bins
  • 2012-1 – Time Period for Marking Firearms Manufactured
  • 2011-4 – Pistols Configured from Rifles; Rifles Configured from Pistols
  • 2011-3 – Alternate Locks Authorized for Explosives Magazines
  • 2011-2 – Locking Requirements for Outdoor Type 5 Bin and Silo Magazines
  • 2011-1 – Consolidation of Required Records for Importers
  • 2010-10 – Manufacturing Operations May Be Performed by Licensed Gunsmiths Under Certain Conditions
  • 2010-9 – Supporting Documentation for Import Permit Applications
  • 2010-8 – Consolidation of Required Records for Manufacturers
  • 2010-7 – Perforating Gun Storage
  • 2010-6 – State of Residence
  • 2010-3 – Identification of Maxim Side-Plate Receivers
  • 2010-2 – Visibility of Marks on Explosives Containers Stored in Magazines
  • 2010-1 – Temporary assignment of a firearm by an FFL to an unlicensed employee does not constitute a transfer, however, temporary assignment of a firearm to an unlicensed agent, contractor, volunteer or other non-employee is a transfer
  • 2009-5 – Firearms Manufacturing Activities – Identification Markings of Firearms
  • 2009-4 – Perforating Gun Storage (renumbered as ATF Ruling 2010-7)
  • 2009-3 – Storage of Explosives in Law Enforcement Explosives Response Vehicles
  • 2009-2 – Firearms Manufacturing Activities – Installation of Drop In Replacement Parts
  • 2009-1 – Firearms Manufacturing Activities
  • 2008-3 – Electronic Version of Form 4473
  • 2008-2 – Records Required for Firearms Licensees
  • 2008-1 – Fabrique Nationale Herstal SA (FN) FNC rifle
  • 2007-4 – Alternative Methods or Procedures; Emergency Variations from Requirements
  • 2007-3 – Preloading and Temporary Storage of Blasting Agents on Bulk Delivery Vehicles
  • 2007-2 – Temporary Storage of Display Fireworks
  • 2007-1 – Maintaining Required Explosives Records in Computerized Form
  • 2006-2 – Classification of Devices That are Exclusively Designed to Increase the Rate of Fire of a Semiautomatic Firearm. The Ruling Applies to the Akins Accelerator™ and May Apply to Other Devices
  • 2006-1 – Temporary Emergency Variations from the Explosives Marking Requirements
  • 2005-4 – A ported device attached to the barrel of a paintball gun
  • 2005-3 – Meaning of Term Inhabited Building
  • 2005-2 – Meaning of Term Highway
  • 2004-5 – Minigun Ruling
  • 2004-3 – Locking Requirements for Indoor Type 4 Storage Magazines; Alternate Methods or Procedures; Emergency Variations from Requirements
  • 2004-2 – Temporary Importation of Firearms Subject to the NFA
  • 2003-6 – Use of ATF Electronic eForm 6
  • 2003-5 – Distribution of Explosives to Limited Permittees
  • 2003-4 – Importation Of Sten Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-3 – Importation Of Heckler & Koch G3 Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-2 – Importation Of Fn Fal Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2003-1 – Importation Of Browning M1919 Type Receivers For Unrestricted Commercial Sale
  • 2002-7 – Prohibited Practices
  • 2002-6 – Identification of Firearms, Armor Piercing Ammunition, and Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices
  • 2002-5 – Transfer and Possession of Machineguns
  • 2002-4 – Indoor Storage of Explosives in Business Premises Directly Adjacent to a Residence or Dwelling
  • 2002-3 – Indoor Storage of Explosives in a Residence or Dwelling
  • 2001-5 – Identification of Transferee
  • 2001-3 – Importation of Surplus Military Curio or Relic Firearms
  • 2001-1 – Destructive Device
  • 97-2 – Semiautomatic firearms resembling the Browning 1919 A-4 and A-6 machineguns are "portable weapons" within the definition of "firearm" in 27 CFR § 53.11
  • 96-2 – Estate Sale Auctioneers and FFL Requirements
  • 95-3 – 37/38 mm Gas/Flare Guns with anti-Personnel Ammunition are Defined as NFA Weapons
  • 95-1 – Parts and Accessories
  • 94-6 – Tax on Use by Manufacturer, Producer or Importer of Firearms or Ammunition
  • 94-2 – Striker 12 Shotgun Defined as NFA Weapon
  • 94-1 – USAS-12 Shotgun as NFA Weapon
  • 85-10 – Surplus Military Frames or Receivers, Alone, Denied Importation
  • 85-2 – Importation of NFA Firearms as Sales Samples
  • 83-5 – STEN MK II as NFA Weapon
  • 82-8 – SM10, SM11A Pistols and SAC Carbines as NFA Weapons
  • 82-2 – KG-9 Pistol as NFA Weapon
  • 81-4 – "Auto Sear"
  • 81-3 – Importation of Firearms Acquired Outside the U.S. by U.S. Citizens
  • 80-21 – Identification of "state of residency" for out-of-state College Students
  • 80-20 – Rifled Bore 'tasers' as Firearms
  • 80-8 – Importation of Surplus Military Firearms for Law Enforcement
  • 79-7 – Firearm Purchaser Identification
  • 77-24 – Storage Compartments on Vehicles
  • 77-1 – Gunsmithing at Shooting Events
  • 76-25 – Recordkeeping Requirements Salvaged Firearms
  • 76-22 – Qualifying Tax Free Transfers
  • 76-18 – Alternate bullet-resistant construction standards for explosives magazines.
  • 76-15 – Acquisition and Disposition of Pawned Firearms
  • 76-6 – "Tasers" as Firearms
  • 75-31 – Meaning of Terms, "Engaged in the Business."
  • 75-28 – Foreign Manufactured Serial Numbers
  • 75-27 – Renewed Federal Firearms License Conduct of Business
  • 75-21 – Construction of Storage Facilities by the Department of Defense – Concrete Floors.
  • 75-20 – Meaning of Terms, "Inhabited Building."
  • 75-7 – Small Caliber "Penguns"
  • 74-20 – Disposition of Replacement Firearms
  • 74-13 – Importation of Firearms by Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • 74-8 – NFA Firearms for Official Use Only
  • 73-19 – Bonafide Firearms Consultants and Business Premises
  • 73-13 – Gunsmithing Premises and Regular Business Hours
  • 73-9 – Federal Firearms Licensees at Multiple Locations and Common Expiration Dates
  • 69-309 (Rev. Rul.) – Importation of Longguns and Ammunition by members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • 69-59 (Rev. Rul.) – Gunshow Sales at Non-Licensed Premises