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antique gift to felon?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by backbencher, Nov 20, 2012.

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  1. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    Is it legal, under Federal law, to give a felon an antique rifle, shotgun, or handgun? And, if legal, is it legal for them to possess ammunition for such an antique, and fire it?

    As an example, let us say a 7x57mm Chilean Mauser manufactured in Berlin by Lowe - clearly manufactured prior to 1899.

    Farmers Fight!

    backbencher
     
  2. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    If it's a cartridge loaded firearm

    Better prepay his legal defense fund.

    Even if the Feds don't do anything, under the state law he may get into trouble.
     
  3. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    Clearly this is somebody you care about. Unless you're absolutely certain of the legalities, don't risk getting him into trouble. I know that you have only good intentions but you should consider giving him something else he'll really appreciate.
     
  4. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    If it's an antique, why would it matter if it's cartridge loading? As this is a national board, I'm asking questions about Federal law.
     
  5. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    While you might be asking about Federal law, it might still be completely illegal for a felon to be in possession of an antique firearm according to state law. But....since you want the Federal answer:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921

    18 USC 921:

    (3) The term “firearm” means
    (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
    (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
    (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
    (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

    However, be aware that "cartridge" type ammunition certainly does apply, because while the felon may be legal to possess the antique at the Federal law level, they are still prohibited from possessing any ammunition.....

    From 18 USC 921 also:

    (17)
    (A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.
     
  6. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    As there is an exception to an "antique firearm", there is also an exception to certain "antique ammunition" cartridges. I'm not sure if the cartridge mentioned above is included; for it to be, it must be no longer made in the US (if it even ever was), and be no longer "readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade" (quite an ambiguous qualifier.)
    It's tricky.. I think I'd stick with a gift of a nice black powder revolver or pistol, assuming there are no state or local prohibitions.
     
  7. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Please provide a citation. The definition NavyLCDR cited and quoted above could be read to include antique ammunition as well as black powder, balls or bullets and caps.
     
  8. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Not to mention yourself. Not only will he get in trouble, but if it is deemed illegal, you've just provided a firearm to someone you have knowledge is a felon. Not good.
     
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    And the penalty for which, for each of you, is up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine. And, since it's a felony, it includes a lifetime loss of gun rights.
     
  10. brboyer

    brboyer Member

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    But things that go bang in an "Antique Firearm" cannot be "Ammunition" because an "Antique Firearm" is not a "Firearm".:scrutiny:

    Unless. of course, those things can also be used as "Ammunition" in a "Firearm".:uhoh:
     
  11. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Frank, here is what I saw in definition 16 (B-ii)

    Now, in re-reading this, I see where the exclusion of the mentioned cartridge ammunition from the prohibition appears to apply only in cases in which the "antique firearm" involved is a replica of one manufactured before 1899, and does not seem to include any antique firearm actually manufactured before 1899. I find that curious.
    Since there is no code reading that "antique ammunition" is exempt from the prohibition (of possession by a felon), I'd guess that, while possesion of such a defined "antique firearm" is okay, possession of its ammunition, if of a cartridge type, regardless of its age or availability, remains prohibited. If I'm right, then the gun involved in the OP would be permissible to gift (and for the felon to receive), but could never be fired lawfully by him, as he could never possess ammunition for it.
    That does also seem to apply to black-powder firearms as well; would be legal to own and possess (assuming made before, or replicating guns made before, 1899), but never to be fired, as the components required to load them are prohibited.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  12. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    For felony purposes, even an antique is typically considered a firearm, even if by other definitions it is not. So no, it is not legal for him to have it, and not legal for you to furnish it.
     
  13. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    From the ATF:
    http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf

    Page 160:

    "8. ANTIQUE FIREARMS
    Under section 921(a)(16) of the GCA,
    the term antique firearm means:
    (A) any firearm (including any firearm
    with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion
    cap, or similar type of ignition
    system) manufactured in or before
    1898; or
    (B) any replica of any firearm described
    in subparagraph (A) if such
    replica—
    (i) is not designed or redesigned
    for using rimfire or conventional
    centerfire fixed ammunition, or
    (ii) 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
    (C) 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 subparagraph (C), a
    muzzle loading rifle, shotgun, or pistol is
    not an “antique firearm” for purposes of
    the GCA if it incorporates a firearm
    frame or receiver, if it is a firearm which
    is converted into a muzzle loading
    weapon, or if it can be readily converted
    to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the
    barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination
    of such parts.
    ...
    An antique firearm as defined in both
    the GCA and NFA is exempt from all of
    the provisions and restrictions contained
    in both laws. Consequently, such an
    antique firearm may be bought, sold,
    transported, shipped, etc., without regard
    to the requirements of these laws.
    "

    Again, this applies at only the Federal Level. State laws may prohibit the possession of antique and/or black powder firearms where they are not prohibited by Federal law.
     
  14. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    A lot of it depends on state law, and how that interacts with federal law.
    Some states consider them firearms and some do not.
    Some states also consider them firearms for some purposes and not others.


    In Texas I seem to recall a statute that says felons who have gone 5 years since the offense, and 5 years since the end of thier parole/probation completion can have a firearm in the home.
    It only applies to thier residence though if I recall, they cannot have it out hunting, CCWing, or at the local range.
    While federal law would still prohibit them from owning a firearm as defined by the 1968 GCA.
    This would mean even if Texas considered black powder firearms 'firearms', they would no longer be prohibited under state law to have one at home, and could legally have an exempted non 'firearm' under federal law, in thier home after those 5 years.


    However they would not be legal under state law to take it out and use it I don't believe, just have it at home.
     
  15. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The thrust or intent of Texas law is that an out-of-jail felon has the right of armed self-defense within his residence--but ONLY there.
     
  16. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    I had heard from an unreliable source that while the antique was not prohibited, the ammunition for it was illegal for a felon to possess - thus rendering the possession of the antique useless.

    It would seem what I'm looking for is here:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

    (d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—
    (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It would appear then, while no one can supply a felon with ammunition, bullets, powder, or cartridge cases, a felon in the United States, may possess antique arms, & certain replicas of those antique arms - and may manufacture his own ammunition - practically limited to muzzle loading homemade black powder, though conceivably one could turn cartridge cases out of brass stock. I think the links provided led to the answering of my question, and I thank everyone who contributed for helping me to find the furthest edge of the box.
     
  17. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    ^^ Yep, that's what I was getting at in post 11. Antique gun okay, ammunition or components of ammunition for it not okay.
     
  18. brboyer

    brboyer Member

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    "Go bang" stuff designed exclusively for use in 'Antique Firearms" is not "Ammunition".
     
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Are you willing to bet five years in federal prison and a lifetime loss of gun rights on that?
     
  20. VPLthrneck

    VPLthrneck Member

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    Because you can still buy 7X57 Mauser ammo that is "readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade" (as the law puts it) then the possession of the ammo is clearly prohibited. So this would also mean that he couldn't fire the rifle as he would be in possession of prohibited ammunition.

    As for having the rifle itself, if it was to be used for hunting, home defense, etc then federal law makes it a no-go due to the ammo prohibition and other things. If that is the reason you want to give it to him, then buy him a can of mace and a Louisville Slugger.

    However, if you are giving it to him as a comemorative item then it is ok due to the antique firearm definition. If that is the reason you want to give it to him go the extra step and get a display rack/case and have a nice plaque made stating what the significance is (i.e.: new job, graduating college, staying sober for a certain time, etc.).
     
  21. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    VPL,

    The "readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade" seems to apply only to the classification of arms built after 1 Jan 1899, but classed as antiques - ie, a pinfire revolver replica. A felon does not seem prohibited in possessing ammunition - it would seem it's a felony for anyone to supply a felon w/ it.

    As primers are classed as ammunition, my earlier example of a felon turning his own cartridge cases out of brass stock, while legal, still leaves our felon w/ no primers. It would seem our felons are thus practically restricted to flintlock muzzle loaders using homemade black powder & self-cast bullets.
     
  22. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Brboyer writes:

    Review the text below, quoted from the USC section:


    I don't see any exclusion for "antique firearms". The phrase any firearm reads pretty clearly to me.
     
  23. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    While I could get into the debate about whether they can or cannot have various forms of things for firing...
    Lets assume they cannot buy ammunition.
    Can they make thier own components?
    Make some nitric acid and start creating thier own primers?

    While that may be beyond the ability or comfort level of many, what is the legality of creating such things for use.

    Also outside of felons what is the legality? I can just see claims of someone making such things being the next terrorist, brought up on such charges. Yet it would seem that anything needed to utilize arms protected under the Second Amendment would be protected, and the Supreme Court just said common firearms are protected and likewise the ammunition they require.
    At the same time anyone making all but tiny batches of such stuff at a time in thier home would be putting themselves and others in danger.
    So can someone legally make thier own primers from scratch?



    Actually on the contrary, the term 'firearm' specifically means a firearm as described by federal law, and such a firearm does not include various things like some muzzle loaders.
    Arguably then those nipples/primers and powder for things not defined as a 'firearm' would not be covered.
    The spirit of the law also clearly is intending to not include certain guns as 'firearms' under the law, and that would seem to indicate the spirit of the law extends to those things required by those other guns.
    (However not definitively enough that I would put myself in such legal areas. Even lawyers that prevail are costly.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  24. brboyer

    brboyer Member

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    Me too:
     
  25. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    I think the problem, as it extends to antique cartridge loaders, is primers. No one may provide a felon with loaded ammunition, bullets, cases, powder, or primers. Bullets are easily cast by our felon; black powder can be made by him; brass cases can be turned from brass stock. Primers: a felon could not, for instance, purchase shotgun primers for a 209 fired blackpowder gun.

    So, @ this point, perhaps the questions are:

    Is a percussion cap a primer for a "Federal firearm"?

    Or, is it possible for one to manufacture one's own primers?
     
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