cap & ball revolvers and law ?


July 23, 2008, 05:45 PM
here's what I found lately, on the BATFE website FAQ :

R28) I am a nonimmigrant alien. Do I need a Form 6 NIA import permit to import a muzzle loading gun that is considered an antique firearm under the Gun Control Act?

No. Because antique firearms are not considered firearms for purposes of the Gun Control Act, none of the import regulations apply to the importation of antique firearms. Moreover, a nonimmigrant alien may possess antique firearms, even if the alien does not fall within an exception to the nonimmigrant alien prohibition. If you are not sure if your firearm is an antique firearm as defined by the Gun Control Act, contact ATF's Firearms Technology Branch.

Does this mean I could buy one on my next trip to the USA ???

How are cap&ball replicas considered in the USA ? When you buy one, what kind of paperwork do you need to fill ?

I know it's far from the best you can afford for "defense", but when in the USA I often went into the wild for trekkings.. and I must admit that I felt a bit insecure, totally naked, not being on top the the food chain anymore..
and I guess that a remington 1858 in .44 loaded with heavy war bullets is better than nothing (being carefull, only loading during nightime to avoid accidental discharge while walking.. )

I have many guns here (from 1911's to Glocks), including 3 o 4 cap&balls ( 1847 Walker, 1851 Navy, 1858 New A, and 1860 new A) so I am quite used to them.

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July 23, 2008, 06:09 PM
Some of this is a can of worms.
I have read posts which discuss the fact that guns designed before 189(8)? or thereabout aren't considered guns, and some people conclude that you can carry them without consequences, but apparantly these people are making an error; the above mentioned law doesn't cover what particular localities consider firearms for the purpose of carrying on one's person. That is to say, NO, you cannot carry them if you can't also carry a modern gun.

As far as purchasing them, different localities have different laws. I used to live in Connecticut, and could order them through the mail and United Parcel Service would deliver them to my home. That is no longer possible in Connecticut, though. I now live in Alabama and here I CAN still order them via the mail, or internet, and have them delivered. I could purchase them from a store sans paperwork if I bought them here over the counter.
If you are planning on coming here, and carrying them in the "wild" for protection, I strongly urge you to check on the law and what it says about it prior to actually doing it.
Just because they are old fashioned doesn't mean the law will necessarily permit them being carried concealed or openly. The law may -- or may not -- treat them just as though they were a modern Glock, Walther, or Smith & Wesson.

July 23, 2008, 06:19 PM
Thanks for the complete answer.

As you guess, it was only an idea, and I won't be doing anything that kind without being SURE that it is 100% legal where I do it.

I have no will to end up in jail, and if i had to choose, american jails are not on my favourite list ;)

if anyone has more clues about it, let me know.

Back in 2004, in Fort Laramie, I remember that a trading post owner who hunted furs in the winter, told me that he could legally sell me a Hawken replica muzzle loader.. I wondered if that was true, and I also wondered if the same statement could be applied to cap&ball revolvers..

When I foud the BATFE FAQ question regarding the muzzleloader, i thought the guy could actually be right..

the States I thought i could eventuelly do that where : Colorado/Wyoming/montana/Idaho/Utah

July 23, 2008, 06:52 PM
Beautiful states. Live in Utah currently, but plan on moving to Montana.

Ah the west, gotta love it.

July 23, 2008, 06:56 PM
I do, already :) my last trip in 2004 started from Colorado, through Wyoming, ending up in Montana.. coming back from Idaho and Utah, to Arizona, and Back to Colorado. Can't wait to get back.

here's what I found on Dixie gun works FAQ, which tend to prove that Tommygunn is a wise man ;)

Muzzleloaders, by virtue of the fact that they do not fire fixed ammunition, are considered antique firearms under The Gun Control Act of 1968 and are not restricted in trade by any federal law or regulation. This applies to both antique and new made muzzleloaders. There may be state or local ordinances which restrict our ability to ship direct to the customer. Residents of HI, NJ, MA and MI are urged to check their state and local laws for any restrictions on ordering black powder firearms.

July 23, 2008, 09:50 PM
There are 3 different jurisdictions that govern guns in the US. You've correctly identified the federal law: antiques and replicas of antiques are not considered firearms and may be bought and sold without the use of a licensed dealer. Thus under federal law you may purchase an antique/replica in the US.

The second jurisdiction is state law; some states and municipalities do not strictly follow the federal law. They impose additional restrictions on the purchase and sale of antiques/replicas. In addition, most states have laws regarding the carrying of a gun (including transporting it in a car) that apply to antiques/replicas as well as modern guns. In plain language, they may allow you to purchase it but require that it not be carried on your person and be locked in a trunk when transporting it by car.

Finally, all states have their own hunting laws that might apply to carrying the gun while hiking in rural areas. These laws are quite apart from the 'concealed carry' laws, in that they may specify the type of gun you can carry as well as the caliber and the season, month or time of day it can be carried.

Yes, a can of worms. Check with local authorities.

July 23, 2008, 10:27 PM
If you decide to come to Texas (I highly recommend the South Rim trail of Big Bend park) you would be in the clear.

If you're interested I can send you the relevant section of the Texas Penal code that covers your ability to own and carry such items.


July 24, 2008, 12:54 AM
I just wanted to mention the Open Carry Law...which also may vary from State to State. That allows a revolver to be worn openly, not concealed. I am not sure even though if can legally do it, I would surely be approached by the Local L.A. Co. Sherrif's Dept. when seen. I gotta ask a friend a mine on the L.A.S.D. Force what they'd do.
Jus' thought I'd throw that in the can o' worms.


July 24, 2008, 01:16 AM
I just wanted to mention the Open Carry Law...which also may vary from State to State. That allows a revolver to be worn openly, not concealed. I am sure even though I can legally do it, I would surely be approached by the Local L.A. Co. Sherrif's Dept. when seen. I gotta ask a friend a mine on the L.A.S.D. Force what they'd do.
Ju8s' thought I'd throw that in the can o' worms.

What are you talking about?

They would arrest you. In LA county? You cannot open carry a loaded firearm, even black powder. It is a violation of PC12031.
State law does not differentiate whether it is a cartridge arm or black powder on that. If it is loaded then open carry is generaly illegal in that county unless in a place where discharge of a firearm is legal, or on private property.
If discharging a firearm is not allowed, then open carry in public is not either.
If there is any ordinance or restriction against discharging the firearm, then it is illegal to be carrying it.

"12031. (a) (1) A person is guilty of carrying a loaded firearm when
he or she carries a loaded firearm on his or her person or in a
vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an
incorporated city or in any public place or on any public street in a
prohibited area of unincorporated territory."

The definition of prohibited area of an unincorporated territory if you happen to be out in the boonies someplace is:

"As used in this section, "prohibited area" means any place
where it is unlawful to discharge a weapon."

So any local or county ordinance can make it a prohibited area. Basicly if you cannot shoot the firearm in that public place in a recreational manner then you cannot carry the firearm openly while loaded.
So unless legaly hunting, or somewhere legal to target shoot, or on private property then open carry is prohibited.
It is legal to open carry with it unloaded in most of the state, but as has happened to someone else on this forum recently who even posted about it, that can still result in arrest.

The punishment for a black powder weapon in that circumstance could even be more severe than a cartridge firearm. That is because the punishment is a misdemeanor if the firearm is registered to you in the CA DOJ database, but since many black powder weapons will not likely be registered as they are not automaticly registered like cartridge handguns, then it can be charged as felony unless you took the extra steps to register it yourself:

"F) Where the person is not listed with the Department of Justice
pursuant to Section 11106, as the registered owner of the pistol,
revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the
person, by imprisonment in the state prison, or by imprisonment in a
county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed one
thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment."

July 24, 2008, 01:42 AM
What are you talking about?

I guuess if you didn't know you wouldn't be going on & on & on &on.
Have you heard of that self help group, On & On & On & ON?

Thanks for all the info, but never said carry What are you talkin' about?

July 24, 2008, 01:46 AM
You give a lot of incorrect legal advice, you can backtrack now and say you were talking about unloaded to save face. I don't care either way.
It is just not fair to some person that reads it and acts upon it after you assured them they could.

July 24, 2008, 01:48 AM
I didn't give anyone legal advise, I know better than to sick my nose in where it may not be wanted.


July 24, 2008, 06:05 AM
Don't get mad because of me guys. i read all of you with great interest, but I would check it twice before doing anything, so don't worry.

Thx for the tip Jenrick. I think I have to visit texas once.. last time I was there I was 10... so it's a looooooong time- On the other hand, I don't think i'd need a gun in the wild of texas, would I ? (I am talking of dangerous wild animals like I could find montana, and obviously not about evil standing, 2 footed and 2 handed mamals.. ;) )

thank you everybody for your help and complete answers.

July 25, 2008, 04:56 PM
Firearms purchase before 1898 are considered "antiques" -- curio & relics.

So if i bought it before 1898 then im in the clear. Only 1 problem.

I wasnt born yet.

I think you meant firearms sold that were made on or before 1898 are considered anitques. Firearms replicas, copies of original designs. Of firearms made before 1898 are also considered antiques.

July 25, 2008, 07:35 PM
But then I wonder what the law says about possession of such a gun by a non-resident alien, or a felon . . . etc.

Federal law says nothing, because in the eyes of FedGov, they're not firearms.

State and municipal laws may be quite different, however.

July 25, 2008, 09:48 PM
It depends on the particular jurisdiction as to the status of the weapon. Florida, for example, does not regulate antique ignition systems in the same manner as a modern design, and in fact it is legal to carry one openly with no license. They're regarded as weapons and NOT firearms under Fl. law, and unlawfully concealing one (sans license) would only result in a misemeanor charge as opposed to the third degree felonly for unlicensed carriage of a modern gun....Of course if one is used in the course of a felony then the game changes!

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