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ATF on Shotguns, Pistol-Grip Shotguns, and Short-Barrel Shotguns

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Bubbles, Nov 10, 2010.

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  1. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    Summary of the two letters: a pistol-grip shotgun that never had a shoulder stock is regulated simply as a firearm, not as a shotgun. FFL's may not transfer them to buyers who are 18-20 year olds.

    So, what if one were to take a pistol grip shotgun that never had a shoulder stock installed, and chop the barrel down to 17 inches, but maintain an overall length greater than 26 inches (not easily concealable)? Is it a DD, and AOW, an SBS, or a Title I firearm?

    ATF answer: Title I firearm

    http://www.nfaoa.org/documents/PistolGrippedShotgunLike.pdf

    http://www.nfaoa.org/documents/testttt20001.pdf
     
  2. Echo9

    Echo9 Member

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    Definitely illegal. It's still considered a shotgun. On the 4473, I believe the weapon needs to be described as both "pistol grip firearm" and "'shotgun' pistol grip firearm."

    Basically, it fits the definition of a shotgun but is governed by the laws regarding handguns.
     
  3. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Did you read the ATF letters linked to?

    I had this same discussion (though I no longer have copies of my letters as they went with the shotgun when I sold it) with the ATF, and I can tell you that the OP is correct.

    PGO shotgun, with barrel under 18", but OAL > 26" *IS* legal. It becomes AOW if you add a buttstock or the OAL is less than 26". With a "birds head" style grip you can sometimes go shorter than 17" with the barrel depending on the receiver used (AS LONG AS IT WAS MANUFACTURED AS A PGO).
     
  4. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    Despite the ATF letters, I wouldn't want to be trying to explain this one to Deputy Fyfe on the side of the road.
     
  5. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    There are only three choices on the 4473 - long gun, handgun, and other.
     
  6. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    The Mossberg 500 Cruiser comes in three PGO versions with a 18.5" barrel. The three different models (50440, 50450, 50455) vary in overall length; 28.75", 28", 29.5" respectively due to different chamberings (12ga, 20ga, 410ga).

    So in those cases, you could cut anywhere from 2" to 3.5" off the barrel and still meet the 26" overall requirement. In one instance, you'd have cut a 18.5" barrel down to 15" and still hold a 26" gun.
     
  7. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    One VERY important thing to point out here, though... This is Federal law we're talking. Your State's law may be more restrictive, and would absolutely apply.
     
  8. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    The reason for some of these odd regulations is that handguns were originally included in the NFA. Restrictions on removable stocks or short barrels on long guns are designed to keep you from altering a long gun to make it into a more concealable "handgun" like the double barrel 12ga pistol used in the St. Valentines Day Massacre. When handguns were removed from the bill due to public pressure, all the restrictions on making long guns concealable were not, even though they no longer made sense because you can still buy a concealable handgun that will usually outpreform a choped, stockless long gun.
     
  9. Blackhawk30

    Blackhawk30 Member

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    Could someone post the text that is linked to?All I get is a white page.Thanks.
     
  10. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    PDF documents are still not foolproof when viewed by something not designed for the purpose (such as viewing it in a browser).

    For best results, right click the link and "Save as", and read it in an actual PDF viewer on your local machine.
     
  11. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Member

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    ATF: Shotgun with a pistol grip is not a shotgun

    http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-...on-on-pistol-grip-shotguns-creates-new-danger

    It would seem that Nov. 2009 ruling by the BATF states that a shotgun with a pistol grip is not technically a shotgun under the GCA.

    So what is it?

    So far I've heard no issues with people being harassed by the ATF and various manufacturers still sell pistol gripped shotguns. But the ATF has cracked down on firearms sold legally and confiscated them or forced registration in the past. Think about the USAS 12ga, Strikers, etc.

    I don't get how we allow an agency reinterpret the laws as they see fit without any oversight. It's useless getting a letter from the ATF to verify your firearm is legal because the next day they can change their mind and make you a felon.
     
  12. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    The article is misleading if not factually incorrect.
    ATF didn't issue a "ruling" in November 2009......that's the date on the FFL Newsletter that had an article regarding "pistol grip only" shotguns.

    The legal definition of a shotgun in the Gun Control Act of 1968 says:
    (you can't blame ATF on this.......blame our congress in 1968)


    ATF issued a revised Form 4473 in August 2008, effective beginning in November 2008, that created another category "type" on the 4473. Previously there were three choices for an FFL to select: Handgun, Long Gun or Both. The 4473 revised in August '08 eliminated "Both" and replaced it with "Other Firearm". Each 4473 has instructions on what constitutes an "Other Firearm" (basically firearms that are neither handguns or long guns- such as PGO shotguns, frames, receivers, lowers)

    We allow an agency to interpret Federal law because our elected representatives passed legislation in 1934. ALL Federal agencies interpret laws and always have- that's the way government works. It is way too easy to blame ATF when the real fault lies with the National Firearms Act of 1934. ATF is REQUIRED to enforce that legislation. We can whine about the evil ATF all we want, but it's an exercise in futility unless NFA '34 and GCA '68 are overturned.

    As far as "oversight".........our system of government provides the judicial system to provide such oversight. If a law or it's enforcement by ATF is unconstitutional or if you disagree with an ATF ruling or determination letter you have the right to invoke the aid of the courts. (re Thompson Center vs ATF)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Threads merged
     
  14. dogsoldier0513

    dogsoldier0513 Member

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    At a Nashville gun show in December of 2009, a dealer had, for sale, an older 'Coonan Snake Charmer' in .410. The original abbreviated thumbhole stock had been cut down to only a crude pistol grip configuaration, bringing the weapon drastically UNDER the over all legal limit. The BATFE agents at the show saw 'nothing wrong' with it. Go figure.....
     
  15. tkopp

    tkopp Member

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    There's still that restriction on firearms over .50cal not otherwise designated for sporting purpose, no?
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You're thinking of "Large Bore Destructive Devices." Yes, that is still part of the NFA, Title II. It hasn't been frequently applied to shotguns, with the exception of a few like the "Street Sweeper" which were specifically named as DD's.

     
  17. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Member

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    The law seems to say that only shotguns can have >.5" bores and not be DD's if they're found to be sporting, but I know some large bore rifles (those chambered in the Nitro Express series are a good example) have DD exemptions too.
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes, it is odd how that's worded -vs.- the reality of the way the exemptions have been made.

    From what I've read, .600 NE is exempt (though I've read somewhere that .700 NE, being vanishingly rare anyway, never was) along with various old elephant gun cartridges in the .577 class, etc.

    Interestingly, JD Jones has received an exemption for his .570" wildcat 14.5mm JDJ: http://www.sskindustries.com/14_5.htm.
     
  19. TNT in Round Rock

    TNT in Round Rock Member

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    I'm still confused .. so what about putting a modified stock, either just a pistol grip or folding stock on an existing gun, like a Moss 500 or Rem 870 ?
     
  20. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    This thread has nothing to do with your question.

    So long as you're in a free state, have fun playing Barbie with your gun furniture.
     
  21. TNT in Round Rock

    TNT in Round Rock Member

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    wow .. thanx for the help :cool:
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Nalioth has it right. This doesn't change anything about modifying an existing (pump) shotgun.*** If you buy a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 it will either come to you as a "shotgun" on the form 4473 (if it has a full or folding butt-stock) or an "other firearm" if it comes as a pistol-grip-only. Those available for sale through your local dealer all have at least 18" barrels. You could swap back and forth between stocks to your heart's content as no combination you could come up will be less than the 26" overall length required to stay with Title I of the NFA.

    This thread only covers the legality of shortening the barrel of a shotgun (technically an "other firearm" on the 4473) that came from the factory with a pistol-only-grip instead of a real buttstock and which has never had a buttstock installed at any point. It appears that it is legal to cut down the barrel of such a weapon as short as you want so long as the total length of the gun remains over 26". This is because the original weapon was never technically a "shotgun" under the definition in the NFA, so making it's barrel less than 18" does not cross into Title II territory.

    *** ONE CAVEAT: I don't think the same thing could be said universally about double-barreled shotguns. If you have a full-stocked double with 18" barrels, I'd imagine that cutting down or changing the stock to a pistol- or birds-head grip could very easily bring that weapon's total length below 26" which would make it an NFA Title II regulated item. For example, a Stoeger 20" barreled coach gun is 36-1/2" overall. You can cut two inches off those barrels and still be legal. That's 34-1/2" OAL. If you were to cut down the buttstock to the most minimal grip possible, it is not hard to picture losing another 8-1/2"+ in the process, and violating that 26" overall rule.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  23. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    It's an intentionally arbitrary, confusing, myriad of perplexing laws created to harrass and confuse gun owners, so that "probable cause" warrants can be issued to search and seize and arrest...

    You may ultimately be found to be technically right, but at what cost? Or during the search something else illegal may turn up, due to the aforementioned myriad of technical and confusing arbitrary rules...

    Don't go chopping nothin' up is my advice...
     
  24. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    how does this apply to owner modifications?

    Wasn't this a letter to a manufacturer Historic Arms LLC ln modifying a factory original PGO shotgun to 26+a little inches regardless of barrel length?

    The ATF FTB response to the letter of 2 Aug 2010 with sample shotgun that, if I read correctly, is not an NFA AOW nor an NFA SBS (Title II) but is a GCA "other firearm" not concealable, not a shotgun, but still a GCA (Title I) firearm.

    I accept that ATF will accept an "other" made as a PGO only shotgun nonconcealable over 26" overall but under 18" barrel transferred on 4473 as "other" than a long gun or handgun. How would this affect an end owner modifying a PGO only shotgun to under 18" barrel but keeping overall over 26"?
     
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question, but why would it matter WHO did the modification?
     
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