Antique firearms proposal


October 17, 2006, 03:54 PM
I have been working with my senator's office on this and they have no problems with my idea (removing antiques completely from NFA purview) I have been working on this for about a year:

To make technical and conforming changes to the definition of ‘antique firearm’ in Federal law and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the `Section 5845 Act'.


(1) The definition of ‘antique firearm’ is not the same in Federal criminal law as it is in Federal tax law.

(2) In 1954 Congress expressly made clear in Public Law 83-591 that ‘...blunderbusses, muzzle-loading shotguns, and other ancient or antique guns..’ should not be made subject to the National Firearms Act but some still are.

(3) In 1999 Congress exempted all muzzle loading black powder firearms from the Gun Control Act but not from the National Firearms Act.

(4) Many antique rifles were manufactured with barrel lengths of fifteen inches or greater.


Section 5845(g) of Chapter 53 Title 26 United States Code is rewritten to read:

‘The term “antique firearm” has the same meaning as found in Section 921(a)(16) of Chapter 44 Title 18 United States Code and includes any unserviceable antique .”


Section 5845 (a) of Chapter 53 Title 26 United States Code is amended by:

Striking ’16’ wherever it appears and replacing it with ’15

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October 17, 2006, 04:00 PM
What is the problem this is intended to solve?

October 17, 2006, 04:03 PM
Muzzleloading machine guns, as well as assault muskets, could be bought and sold without Federal restriction, perhaps?

October 17, 2006, 04:03 PM
Removing all firearms made in or before 1898 from the NFA and removing primer ignintioned muzzle loaders from the NFA.

That's all.

October 17, 2006, 04:05 PM
Which firearms made in or before 1898 are subject to the NFA?

October 17, 2006, 04:07 PM
Any that fit the NFA defintions of firearm.

Certain lever action rifles with barrels of 15 and 14 inches unless the BATFE has administratively removed them.

Shotguns with barrels under 18 inches.

Small concealable gadget guns, ect.

They are not subject to the GCA though.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 04:16 PM
There must be a few pre-1898 MGs too, right?

October 17, 2006, 04:16 PM
Its not easy to get new laws passed, so I think it would be the best to join this effort with other existing similar bills. The make suppressors title I transfer, GI bring back amnesty, national reciprocity, etc.. are all good ideas that could be put together to get more traction.

Just a thought.

October 17, 2006, 04:20 PM
Since my proposal is fairly simple and short I am trying to have it added to another bill rather than be stand alone.

If Senator so and so is introducing a bill on subject X, why can you not tack on my proposal at the end of the bill? And I mean a bill about to be introduced and has a chance of passing (it would probably be a non gun related bill but with my amendment tucked inside from introduction.)

It would never pass stand alone with all the anti gun senators currently.

I have been told that.

October 17, 2006, 04:48 PM
There must be a few pre-1898 MGs too, right?

Colt 1895 "Potato Diggers"
Early Maxims

Some others, I'm sure

October 17, 2006, 04:52 PM
See also if you can guess what the so-called 'companion amendment' does.


October 17, 2006, 04:53 PM
BTW, LAR, sounds like a good idea.

October 17, 2006, 04:56 PM

I am working with Senator Dole's (R-NC) office on this.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 05:02 PM
Good work, LAR-15. I would love to see a few chips knocked into the NFA. We would all love to see some chipping into 922o, of course, and we'll get there in an incremental way.

As for pre-1898 MGs, I found this link:

There must be handful of these still around, perhaps even in operable condition, but ammo is probably hard to find and they are museum pieces, not "shooters".

October 17, 2006, 05:05 PM

October 17, 2006, 05:07 PM
The NFA hasn't been changed for the better since 1960.

And it's still a mystery why some firearms made in or before 1898 were never exmpted from the NFA but exempted from the GCA. :confused:


October 17, 2006, 05:10 PM
See also if you can guess what the so-called 'companion amendment' does.

changes the definition of sbr from 16" to 15".

a 6.25% improvement.

October 17, 2006, 05:11 PM
And it's still a mystery why some firearms made in or before 1898 were never exmpted from the NFA but exempted from the GCA.

my guess is that 1898 was not all that long ago when the NFA was passed.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 05:11 PM
And it's still a mystery why some firearms made in or before 1898 were never exmpted from the NFA but exempted from the GCA

It doesn't make logical sense now, but when the NFA was passed in 1934 (?), there must have been plenty of pre-1898 guns in routine use, and they probably didn't seem so antiquated as they do now. By the time the GCA passed those guns were truly antiques, mostly of collector interest, and not in any kind of use.

(Yes I'm sure there's someone out there who still hunts with a pre-1898 Mauser or who carries a pre-1898 revolver of some kind, but this is very very rare these days.)

October 17, 2006, 05:16 PM

The NFA was completely rewritten in 1968 and that where antique firearms were defined and exempted per Congress's intent in 1954 to exempt antiques.

ALL firearms made in or before 1898 were exempt from the GCA but not the NFA. In 1968 (not 1934).

October 17, 2006, 05:18 PM
any way you could throw the verbage: "or faithful replicas thereof" to the firearms so that modern-made authentic replicas of pre-1899 antiques are also exempt?

any language that looks innocuous but can expand the relaxation of the ammendment you are proposing would be for the better!

too bad we can't tag on a small, hidden in the morass, line or two to to ammend NFA34 to define firearms strictly as that which launches a projectile and exempts any accessories of same- thus exempting suppressors from the NFA!

May as well use their tactics against them for a change!


October 17, 2006, 05:20 PM
Another nice thing would be a rolling date, e.g. mfg. 75 or more years before the current date.

Those old Damascus shotguns really don't need to be subject to the NFA or the GCA, for example.

October 17, 2006, 05:23 PM
My proposal merely makes the defintion of antique firearm found in the GCA the same as the one in the NFA.


October 17, 2006, 05:25 PM
A rolling date (50 yrs) is already in effect with curio and relics.

October 17, 2006, 05:28 PM
True re C&R.

I'd like to see a rolling date for "non-firearms."

A pre-1898 rifle, even if it's essentially identical to a modern one (Mauser, Marlin or Winchester lever action, etc.) is not a firearm, legally. When the GCA was passed, that meant "70 years old." Or was that added to the law later?

October 17, 2006, 05:30 PM
The original date from what I found out was 1870 or 1871.

The sponsors of the bill were forced to move it up to 1898 to pass the bill and they were forced to exempt certain replicas and any gun with matchlock, flintlock and percussion ignitions.

Sam Adams
October 17, 2006, 05:54 PM
ALL firearms made in or before 1898 were exempt from the GCA but not the NFA. In 1968 (not 1934).

Agreed. In 1968, it was considered that a 70+ year old firearm wasn't a "firearm" for registration purposes (i.e. those then-newly-created Forms 4473).

MY PROPOSAL is for the '68 GCA to be updated, so that any gun made before 1936 shall be similarly exempted now...and the updating should be constant and automatic under the terms of the law, just like the C&R status of guns is at 50 years of age. Heck, even if they made it 80 or 90 or 100 years, at least the number of guns thereby removed from governmental oversight would increase each year (instead of decrease, as is the case now). As such, within 9 years (assuming a 70-year definition of "antique") all of the boltie and semi-auto firearms used in WW2 would be "non-firearms" under the GCA, and could be purchased by anyone without any record of the transaction.

I am not as concerned with liberalizing the law related to the NFA (i.e. full autos and so-called "destructive devices") as I am with getting the government out of the business of regulating firearms as much as possible. While I'd love to be able to freely own NFA weapons (new or old) without restriction (as the Founding Fathers no doubt intended), that'd be very hard to sell once the Brady Brats, et al and their toadies and fellow travelers in the media get ahold of it. However, labeling all 70+ year-old guns as antiques doesn't sound all that bad, and it'll make a whole lot of firearms untraceable by the - which is a far more meaningful goal from the standpoint of increasing liberty in this country, IMHO.

October 17, 2006, 06:06 PM
I think right now making sure all 1898 and before firearms are totally exempt from Federal oversight is the goal

And exempting all muzzle loading guns.

I like shooting muzzle loaders.

Which is what prompted me to do something in the 1st place.

Then all we'd have to do is strike 1898 and replace it with another date (1936? 1992?)

October 17, 2006, 06:07 PM
The original date to classify a firearm as antique was 1870 in the original GCA proposal.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 06:09 PM
If guns from the 20s could be exempt from the NFA that would be a coup. There must be thousands of perfectly usable MGs from that era sitting in collections, warehouses, basements, attics and museums around the world.

I'm all in favor of chipping away at 922(o) one tiny step at a time.

October 17, 2006, 06:12 PM
If my proposal passes any changes in the GCA date would be reciprocal with the NFA.

So let's say 1898 is struck and replaced with oh '1945'.

Any machinegun made in or before 1945 is no longer a firearm for NFA purposes.

It may still be a machinegun under the GCA but not the NFA.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 06:15 PM
That sounds almost too good to be true. There must be hundreds of thousands of perfectly usable MGs from the 40s in private (illegal) collections all over the world, and in old warehouses, etc.

Personally, I would prefer a way to get more MGs into the registry than to look for ways to exempt guns from it. The reason is that I fear that if we got early '40s guns exempted, that would be too good to last. In contrast if they can get into the registry that would seem more enduring to me.

But hey I'm happy with any improvements in it! And I'm happy you are working on this.

October 17, 2006, 06:18 PM
I am not clear if antique firearms that meet the defintion of 'machinegun' as found in the GCA are exempt from 922(o) though.

Liberal Gun Nut
October 17, 2006, 06:22 PM
Ah, right, that's another question. Anyway, it would still be a great win to get dusty old guns out from under the NFA. There must be plenty of old short-barrel guns, gadget guns, etc, which are really only of interest to collectors, and which should not be in the NFA.

Also any change we make to the NFA is, in some way, good because it opens it up. The NFA should not be regarded as something which is untouchable and etched in stone. Changing it breaks that image.

Sam Adams
October 17, 2006, 06:28 PM
I think right now making sure all 1898 and before firearms are totally exempt from Federal oversight is the goal

And exempting all muzzle loading guns.

I will say again that getting additional full autos permitted for civilian ownership, let alone having them exempted from oversight, is IMHO way more than can be realistically done AT THIS TIME. It is a worthy goal, but why don't we expend our limited political capital on something achieveable and work from there. That's what the antis did, they got us one salami slice at a time...who in 1967 would've thought that we'd be where we were less than 30 years later? While I strenuously disagree with their goals, their TACTICS were brilliant.

My proposal, to simply update the definition of antique firearms (which aren't subject to any regulation, a VERY worthy goal) is far more achieveable, and if implemented with an automatic update of the definition, will remove more guns from oversight every single year.

After that we can go for other classes of guns. Believe me, I very much want to own several full autos, even if they're reproductions, because I just want them (Tommy gun and a Colt Monitor/BAR) - but it'll take time and a well-thought-out plan for doing so.

As for muzzle loaders, I'm all for your proposal. Even the antis can't demonize them too much, as the rate of fire is so low. They truly are antiques, even if made yesterday. I'm not into them, but I think that anyone who wants one or a hundred should be able to get it/them without Agent Schumckatelli sticking his ugly mug into the process.

Again, let's salami-slice the antis by expanding the definition of antiques first, and then go for other classes of guns later.

October 17, 2006, 06:30 PM
I am working with Senator Dole's (R-NC) office on this.

Is the senator's office fully informed on just what the ramifications are to this bill? If not, she might be well PO'ed if there is something there that she did not intend. It is very important to be upfront with our political friends.

I am not in favor of a rolling age limit to the antique firearm definition simply because it is unlikely to pass. I like this very simple and well defined change. It is the kind of change very few people are going to fight over, even the antis can vote for it and show their 2A support.

We need to get a few of these kind of things through every year, just to get some small incremental improvement. Over time the little improvements add up.

October 17, 2006, 06:36 PM
I've been totally upfront with the folks who deal with firearms and other legislation for her office and explained what it did, provided background info, answered their questions, ect.

They are not as informed on muzzle loading guns as I but had no problems with the legislation and were impressed as to how much I had worked on it.

I orginally attended a constituent meeting with one of her staff and gave it to him to look at and pass on to the Washington Office.

That's how it started and I think that showed I really care about this issue.

The key is to know what you want to do and how it needs to be changed. You need to be informed on the issue and know your stuff.

The key selling point was that these guns were already exempt from the GCA and most are hunting muzzle loaders.

North Carolina has a muzzle loading deer season and I do participate in it ( I shoot flintlocks).\

Because the proposal did not reach the senator's office until August little can be done this year but they tried to ask the Judiciary Committee to pass it. Apparently their menu was full.

Hence my change of tactics to try to get it added to another bill the senator might introduce.

Sam Adams
October 17, 2006, 07:02 PM
I am not in favor of a rolling age limit to the antique firearm definition simply because it is unlikely to pass.

Why? Lots of things are automatically indexed or updated each year without further legislative action - SS benefits, income tax brackets, various tax exemptions and the guns eligible for C&R status without special BATFE action. Saying that an antique is a 70-year-old gun at any point in time is a similar no-brainer, esp. since there is precedent in the regulation of C&R guns. As I said, if 70 years is unattainble, make it 75, 80, 90 or 100 years - I don't care, as long as the thing is implemented and more and more guns are removed from federal oversight. It is a one-time change.

This will be easier, IMHO, than in getting more full autos put into circulation. You need to first amend the '34 NFA, then you need to further amend the '86 FOPA provision banning the registration of additional guns. It isn't just the post-'86 guns, the BATF isn't adding ANY previously non-registered full autos to the list.

October 17, 2006, 07:08 PM
Why not propose both?

I work on mine,

You work on yours.

They are not mutually exclusive.

Master Blaster
October 17, 2006, 07:28 PM
How about something along the lines of:

The addition of a shoulder stock, which increases the overall length of any firearm by more than 8" ,shall not be considered manufacturing a shortbarreled rifle and shall not be subject to the NFA.

October 18, 2006, 10:04 AM
The term 'short barreled rifle' is only found in the GCA NOT the NFA.

In the NFA you find this:

For the purpose of this chapter—
(a) Firearm
The term “firearm” means:

(3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;

(4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;

I am just trying to exempt antique carbines and replicas by lowering the barrel limit to 15 inches.

October 18, 2006, 11:42 PM
The primer crap was allready lost in court via Knight Rifles VS The US

The only muzzleloaders on title one are the readily convertable such as the Ruger, Remington modern actions made up as muzzle loaders change the barrel and bolt and voila modern fire arm.

Getting emma gee's before 1898 of the NFA I doubt it. The short barreled rifles get removed when they are documented as original and changed to C&R status along with a few AOW style guns.

I do not see this bill being worth the effort or expense to back for any real gain to the gun world.

October 19, 2006, 09:04 AM
You still can't have a primer ignited muzzle loader with a barrel less than 16 inches without NFA registration.

It's not considered an antique for purposes of the NFA.

If it is , correct me.


Knight rifles lost that court case and the BATFE won.

Hence why in 1999 Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) had to change the definition of antique firearm in the GCA to exempt the Knight Disc Rifle and similar firearms.

I will post the NFA definition of antique firearm and you tell me if you think primer ignited muzzle loaders and smokless powder muzzle loaders are exempt.

October 19, 2006, 09:17 AM
§ 5845. Definitions

(g) Antique firearm
The term “antique firearm” means any firearm not designed or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

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