Pistol vs 'handgun' in Federal law?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by LAR-15, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    Are the definitions of 'pistol' and 'handgun' different in federal gun laws?

    Thanks
     
  2. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Member

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    18 USC 921 only defines "handgun", although it does use the term "pistol" in the definition of antique firearms.
     
  3. Quiet

    Quiet Member

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    US Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 44 Section 921
    (a) As used in this chapter—
    (29) The term “handgun” means—
    (A) a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand; and
    (B) any combination of parts from which a firearm described in subparagraph (A) can be assembled.


    Code of Federal Regulations Title 27 Chapter II Subchapter B Part 478 Subpart B Section 478.11
    When used in this part and in forms prescribed under this part, where not otherwise distinctly expressed or manifestly incompatible with the intent thereof, terms shall have the meanings ascribed in this section. Words in the plural form shall include the singular, and vice versa, and words importing the masculine gender shall include the feminine. The terms “includes” and “including” do not exclude other things not enumerated which are in the same general class or are otherwise within the scope thereof.

    Handgun.
    (a) Any firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand; and
    (b) Any combination of parts from which a firearm described in paragraph (a) can be assembled.

    Pistol.
    A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

    Revolver.
    A projectile weapon, of the pistol type, having a breechloading chambered cylinder so arranged that the cocking of the hammer or movement of the trigger rotates it and brings the next cartridge in line with the barrel for firing.

    Semiautomatic pistol.
    Any repeating pistol which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.
     
  4. EOD Guy

    EOD Guy Member

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    The definitions for handgun, pistol, and revolver are identical in 27 CFR §478.11, covering firearms regulated under the Gun Control Act, and in 27CFR §479.11, for firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act.
     
  5. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    They don't look identical to me and I cannot find the term 'handgun' in the NFA regualtions??
     
  6. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Again proving the utter stupidity of gun laws, the above is not possible.

    If a "pistol" has the chamber as an integral part of the barrel or permanently aligned with the bore, how can a revolver be a pistol?

    Yet this law defines a revolver as "of the pistol type".

    Stupidity in action.
     
  7. EOD Guy

    EOD Guy Member

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    My bad.:eek: You are correct. Pistol and revolver are covered in both but the definition for handgun only appears in 178.11.

    However, not all definitions are identical in both sections. For instance, the definition for antique firearm is different in the two acts.
     
  8. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    Thank you EOD Guy
     
  9. deadin

    deadin Member

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    May I be so forward as to ask, "What difference does it make?" Is there a perceived "loophole" hidden in there somewhere? Looks to me like all avenues are covered regardless of the wording.:confused:
     
  10. LAR-15

    LAR-15 Member

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    The term 'handgun' is not found in the NFA
     
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