April 23rd, 2021

Don’t Get Caught Short — Make Sure Your Barrels Are Legal Length

short barrel barreled rifle shotgun NSA tax stamp ATF legal brief guncollective.com

The Legal Brief is a feature of TheGuncollective.com that focuses on firearms rules and regulations. In this Legal Brief video, Attorney Adam Kraut explains key State and Federal regulations governing firearms, and explains how to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

This five-minute video explains barrel length rules for rifles and shotguns, and also explains the best (and most fool-proof) methods to measure your barrel. In addition, the video explains how to measure firearm overall length. A rifle or shotgun which is less than 26 inches overall can also be classified as a “Short-barreled” rifle/shotgun subject to the NFA. NOTE: Under federal law “If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock EXTENDED”.

Highlights of LEGAL BRIEF Discussion of Barrel Length and Firearm Overall Length

The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length.

How to Measure Barrel Length: Drop [a] dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length[.]

Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly.

How to Measure Overall Length:The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. … If the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. … If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended.

READ FULL ARTICLE on Ammoland.com.

Links for this episode:

ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
Firearm – 26 USC § 5845: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11

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April 10th, 2021

Gun Talk Sunday — Threats to Second Amendment Examined

Gun Talk Radio Tom Gresham

With the aggressive anti-gun stance of the Biden administration, and the President’s demonstrated willingness to rule via authoritarian Executive Orders, bypassing the legislative process, all gun owners should be concerned about serious attacks on their Second Amendment rights.

The latest gun control actions from the White House and the Democratic-party controlled Congress are the key focal points of Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk® Radio show this Sunday, April 11, 2021. In its 26th year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk show airs live on Sundays from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Eastern, and runs on more than 270 stations every week. Listen on a radio station near you or via live streaming on your computer or mobile device.

Gun Talk Radio Tom Gresham

Authoritarianism: The principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without regard to existing bodies of law[.]
— Definition from Encyclopedia Brittanica

Gun Control and 2d Amendment Sanctuaries To Be Discussed

This week, Tom talks with BearingArms.com editor Cam Edwards about recent gun control actions at both the state and federal levels, including President Biden’s recently announced gun control executive orders. Plus, Noah Davis has put together an extensive list of counties and cities that are enacting laws to protect gun rights in 2nd Amendment Sanctuaries. And Brownell’s Roy Hill joins Tom to discuss building and upgrading firearms (particularly ARs) with products showcased in the new Brownells Armory.

Tom Gresham Gun Talk Radio

Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio show airs live on Sundays from 2PM-5PM Eastern. Listen on a radio station near you or via LIVE Streaming. All Gun Talk shows can also be downloaded as podcasts through the GunTalk Podcast Center or Apple iTunes. Gun Talk is also available on YouTube and GunTalk.com. As always, call 866-TALK-GUN with your comments, questions, and range reports.

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December 29th, 2020

ATF Rescinds Official Notice about Pistol Braces

AR16 AR pistol arm brace BATFE ATF guidance ruling retraction

The NSSF reports that on December 23, 2020 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) rescinded its Notice of “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with Stabilizing Braces” that was published on December 18, 2020. One of the reasons for the change was the massive amount of comments on the proposed rule change. Over 48,000 comments were posted on the Federal Register, the overwhelming number of them critical of the ATF’s proposed policies on pistols with braces.

AR16 AR pistol arm brace BATFE ATF guidance ruling retraction

NRA Instructor and gunwriter John Crump noted:

“After tens of thousands of comments left by gun owners over the ATF’s proposed guidance over pistol braces, the agency pulled it from the [Federal Register].

The agency released the proposal and gave the public two weeks to respond. Many in the gun world believed that the ATF chose to release the document right before the Christmas holiday, hoping that the gun community wouldn’t notice it until it was too late. The American people did notice. Every firearms publication ran non stop coverage of the confusing and nonsensical proposal. YouTubers of all sizes encouraged people to write comments to the government about the new guidance.

Even the politicians got involved in rebuking the ATF’s power play. North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and 89 other Congress members signed a letter urging the ATF to reverse course[.]”

What was the main problem with the ATF’s “guidance” firearms with braces? Fundamentally it was vague, confusing, and overly complex. With so many factors listed, the “guidance” would have permitted the ATF to require registration of virtually any brace-equipped pistol based on a complex collection of factors, some quite subjective. That wasn’t good policy and gun owners saw the problem. We need clear, definite, objective standards for what is allowed and what is not.

The NSSF concurred: “NSSF has long requested the ATF to publish objective criteria by which firearm manufacturers can readily produce firearms equipped with arm braces in compliance with the law. To date, the criteria is subjective and open to interpretation on a case-by-case basis. The guidance proposed by the ATF last week did little, unfortunately, to clear the ambiguity that exists with subjective criteria.”

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December 19th, 2020

ATF Issues Notice Regarding AR Pistols — Factors to Consider

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

Do you own an AR-platform pistol, or are you considering purchasing one? Then you should read the Special Notice issued on 12/18/2020 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) concerning features of these firearms. Basically, the ATF is considering reclassifying many of these guns as “short-barreled rifles” because the attached braces effectively function like a rifle buttstock. For decades short-barreled rifles have been a registered item under ATF rules requiring an application and tax stamp. The ATF is now looking at multiple factors to consider the status of AR Pistols. These factors are listed in the ATF’s recent Special Notice: Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”.

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

Here is text taken from the ATF’s notice in the Federal Register. Take heed — this is only a partial section of the document. You should read the FULL DOCUMENT (PDF Version).

ATF has observed that the development and production of firearms with arm braces has become more prevalent in the firearms industry and, relatedly, that requests for classifications for this kind of firearm design have also increased. Therefore, ATF is publishing this notice to aid the firearms industry and public in understanding the objective design features that FATD (Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division) considers when evaluating firearm samples submitted with a stabilizing brace or similar attachment.

The objective design features ATF considers in determining whether a weapon with an attached “stabilizing brace” has been “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder” include, but are not limited to:

Type and Caliber. The type and caliber of firearm to which the stabilizing brace or similar item is installed. A large caliber firearm that is impractical to fire with one hand because of recoil or other factors, even with an arm brace, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.
Weight and Length. The weight and length of the firearm used with the stabilizing brace. A firearm that is so heavy that it is impractical to fire or aim with one hand, or so long that it is difficult to balance the firearm to fire with one hand, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.
Length of Pull. The “length of pull” refers to the distance from the trigger to the point at which a stock meets the shoulder. This is a measurement for rifles and shotguns used to accommodate shooters of different sizes. Because an arm brace need only reach the forearm, the distance between the trigger and the back of the brace is generally expected to be shorter than the distance between the trigger and the back of a stock on a weapon designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder. This measurement is not necessarily determinative of the intent of the manufacturer but is used in making an evaluation of the firearm. If a brace is of a length that makes it impractical to attach to the shooter’s wrist or forearm, then that may demonstrate that it is not designed as brace but rather for shoulder fire.
Attachment Method. The method of attachment of the stabilizing brace, to include modified stock attachments, extended receiver extensions, and the use of spacers. These items extend the distance between the trigger and the part of the weapon that contacts the shooter, whether it is a stock or stabilizing brace. Use of these items indicates that the weapon is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder because they extend a stabilizing brace beyond a point that is useful for something other than shoulder support.
Stabilizing Brace Design Features. The objective design features of the attached stabilizing brace itself are relevant to the classification of the assembled weapon, and include:

— The comparative function of the attachment when utilized as a stabilizing brace compared to its alternate use as a shouldering device;

— The design of the stabilizing brace compared to known shoulder stock designs;

— The amount of rear contact surface area of the stabilizing brace that can be used in shouldering the weapon as compared to the surface area necessary for use as a stabilizing brace;

— The material used to make the attachment that indicates whether the brace is designed and intended to be pressed against the shoulder for support, or actually used on the arm;

— Any shared or interchangeable parts with known shoulder stocks; and

— Any other feature of the brace that improves the weapon’s effectiveness from the shoulder-firing position without providing a corresponding benefit to the effectiveness of the stability and support provided by the brace’s use on the arm.

Aim Point. Appropriate aim point when utilizing the attachment as a stabilizing brace. If the aim point when using the arm brace attachment results in an upward or downward trajectory that could not accurately hit a target, this may indicate the attachment was not designed as a stabilizing brace.
Secondary Grip. The presence of a secondary grip may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because it is not designed to be held and fired by one hand.
Sights and Scopes. Incorporation of sights or scopes that possess eye relief incompatible with one-handed firing may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because they are designed to be used from a shoulder-fire position and are incompatible for the single-handed shooting that arm braces are designed and intended.
Peripheral Accessories. Installation of peripheral accessories commonly found on rifles or shotguns that may indicate that the firearm is not designed and intended to be held and fired with one hand. This includes, but is not limited to, the installation of bipods/monopods that improve the accuracy of heavy weapons designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder; or the inclusion of a magazine or drum that accepts so many cartridges that it increases the overall weight of the firearm to a degree that it is impractical to fire the weapon with one hand even with the assistance of a stabilizing brace.

The ATF concludes: “These factors are based on known stabilizing braces and similar attachments. No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis. …. Moreover, in addition to the objective design features of a submitted sample, FATD also considers the marketing of both the item and the firearm to which it is attached, compared to the manufacturer’s stated intent when submitting an item.”

CLICK HERE for BATFE General Notice in Federal Register Regarding AR Pistols

AR-Platform Pistols — Current Options on the Market

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

If you are interested in learning more about AR-platform pistols with short barrels, PewPewTactical.com has published a useful article entitled: Six Best AR-15 Pistols [2020 Complete & Build List]. That article quickly covers the legal status of such firearms, at least before the recent ATF Guidance document:

So, what exactly is an AR pistol? If you want the complex legal definition of a pistol Check ATF’s Website.

“The short version is: An AR Pistol is an AR-15 that was built from the start to be a pistol — it also has a barrel less than 16 inches in length and does not have a stock. Generally, an AR-15 Pistol will have a stabilizing brace instead of a stock, but that isn’t required.”

ATF Changes May be Coming — And You Must Consider State Laws As Well
However, PewPewTActical notes that: “The ATF is reevaluating its stance on stabilizing braces. Pew Pew Tactical is monitoring the situation and will update our readers if there are any legal changes in the future.” And… the article further cautions: “Double check your state law before embarking on this kind of build, what federally qualifies as a ‘firearm’ or ‘pistol’ might be an ‘assault pistol’ in your state.” SOURCE: PewPewTactical.com

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September 7th, 2020

Suppressors for Hunting — What You Need to Know

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.

For example, Thunder Beast Arms says its latest Ultra 9 Suppressor will reduce the report of a .308 Win to 132-134 dB: “The ULTRA 9 will suppress a typical .308 bolt-action rifle down to approx. 132-134 dB. It also has very little or no ‘first round pop’ (FRP) in most applications.” NOTE: These dB levels are measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using BK 2209 SLM offset one meter from muzzle.

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. Audiology group ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. The American Hunter article explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

Choosing a Suppressor for Hunting Use
The American Hunter article explains that there are many types of suppressors on the market. Bigger suppressors are heavier, but they normally are more effective. You also have a choice in muzzle attachments:

“For most hunting applications, direct thread is the best choice. If you intend to buy only one suppressor yet you have multiple guns, it’s advantageous to buy a model sized and rated for the largest caliber you intend to use. While a suppressor made specifically for a .223 Rem. will reduce the sound of that round slightly better than a model made for .30 caliber, for example, you can use a .30-caliber can for smaller calibers — but not vice-versa. In general, the bigger the can, the more it reduces sound. Smaller suppressors, however, are easier to carry in the woods.” — American Hunter

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. NOTE: Suppressors are legal in Connecticut and Vermont, but hunting with silencers is not allowed in those states.

How to Apply for a Suppressor
To acquire a quality suppressor, you’ll first need to shop around, comparing verified performance. Unfortunately some manufacturer’s dB claims are exaggerated. Give due consideration to size, weight, and durability. When you’ve selected a brand and model, find a Class 3 dealer authorized by the ATF to sell suppressors. You must fill out ATF Form 4, get fingerprinted, and pass a background check. Along with two completed copies of Form 4, submit your fingerprint card, passport photo and a check for $200 to the ATF. Then you wait for the ATF to process your application. American Hunter says the average ATF suppressor processing wait time is now nine months.

BENEFITS OF SILENCERS

NOISE REDUCTION
According to OSHA, the threshold for a hearing safe impulse noise is 140 dB. Without hearing protection, exposure to any impulse noise over 140 dB causes varying degrees of permanent noise-induced hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus. Most well-engineered silencers take the dB level of their host firearm well below 140 dB, making those silencers effective primary hearing safety devices. You should always still wear hearing protection (muffs or plugs) when using suppressors.

RECOIL REDUCTION
By containing the explosion at the muzzle, suppressors significantly reduce perceived recoil energy, reduce the rifle’s rearward movement on recoil, and reduce rifle torquing and muzzle flip. The reduction of recoil (and rifle torquing/hopping) lessens shooter fatigue and helps the shooter get his sight picture back on target rapidly after firing. With smaller calibers, a suppressor may enable the shooter to maintain a nearly-continuous sight picture, following the shot into the target. In addition, by reducing felt recoil (and muzzle blast), a suppressor can help inexperienced shooters avoid flinching.

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May 22nd, 2020

ATF Approves Updated Form 4473 for Background Checks

FBI NICS Forum 4473 firearms background check form new

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is set to release its newest version of the Form 4473. The Updated Form 4473 is used by all Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders to record pertinent information from persons seeking to purchase a firearm or firearms prior to the FFL performing a background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or state-approved point-of-contact law enforcement agency. FFLs may start using the new Form 4473 immediately. The FBI intends to start shipping these new forms in July 2020.

CLICK HERE to View Draft May 2020 Revised Form 4473 »

IMPORTANT: Use of the updated Forum 4473 becomes MANDATORY as of November 1, 2020, for paper applications (not using the FBI E-Check system).

The May 2020 Form 4473 includes several changes from the previous version, including:

— The warning at the top of the form includes information about illegal exportation.

— Information on the firearm/s to be transferred is now Section A, which must be completed before the transferee completes Section B.

— The Citizenship information (Country of Citizenship and US-issued alien or admission number) has been moved to precede the prohibitor questions.

— The “County” block has been changed to “County/Parish/Borough” to accommodate Louisiana and Alaska, respectively.

— The “Sex” box has been revised to include a third option of “Non-Binary”. [Comment: Really? And how does this prevent crime? Thank you SJWs.]

— Item 26b, which previously applied to situations in which the identification document did not show the current residence address of the transferee, has been updated to include situations in which the identification document does not include the full legal name of the transferee.

— New item 26c has been included for the recording of official military orders establishing permanent change of station.

OTHER Changes: A detailed summary of ALL Form 4473 changes has been prepared by Orchid Advisers, which provides ATF and ITAR compliance services to manufacturing, distribution, and retail FFLs.

FBI NICS Forum 4473 firearms background check form new

Expected Delivery Dates and Pre-Order Links
Use of the May 2020-approved Form 4473 will be mandatory for all FFLs beginning November 1, 2020. FFLs may use supplies of their current Form 4473s (October 2016 version) until that date. The new Form 4473 and continuation sheets are available for preorder in both English and Spanish. FFLs can expect their preorders to begin shipping in late July 2020. In addition, ATF expects to ship 50-quantity starter packs of the new Form 4473 to all FFLs in late July 2020, and the agency intends to have an updated eForm 4473 up and running during that same time period for those FFLs utilizing the FBI’s NICS E-Check system instead of the paper Form 4473.

CLICK HERE to Pre-Order Revised FBI Form 4473 »

NSSF has ordered both Spanish and English overlays for the new Form 4473 and we will notify our members when they are in stock and available through the member portal. These overlays, which complement an FFL’s compliance best practices, help improve accuracy and completion of this critical form and are available free to NSSF members.

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June 23rd, 2019

Don’t Get Barrel-Busted! Federal Barrel Length Requirements

short barrel barreled rifle shotgun NSA tax stamp ATF legal brief guncollective.com

The Legal Brief is a feature of TheGuncollective.com that focuses on firearms rules and regulations. In this Legal Brief video, Attorney Adam Kraut explains key State and Federal regulations governing firearms, and explains how to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

This five-minute video explains barrel length rules for rifles and shotguns, and also explains the best (and most fool-proof) methods to measure your barrel. In addition, the video explains how to measure firearm overall length. A rifle or shotgun which is less than 26 inches overall can also be classified as a “Short-barreled” rifle/shotgun subject to the NFA. NOTE: Under federal law “If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock EXTENDED”.

Highlights of LEGAL BRIEF Discussion of Barrel Length and Firearm Overall Length

The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length.

How to Measure Barrel Length: Drop [a] dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length[.]

Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly.

How to Measure Overall Length:The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. … If the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. … If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended.

READ FULL ARTICLE on Ammoland.com.

Links for this episode:

ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
Firearm – 26 USC § 5845: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11

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May 10th, 2019

Rules of Firearms Gift Transfers — How to Stay Out of Trouble

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th, and Father’s Day is just a month away. Perhaps you’re thinking about giving your parent(s) a firearm for sporting use or self-protection. While gifting a gun is allowed in most jurisdictions, there are important state and Federal laws with which you must comply. And while Federal laws cover the whole country, the rules on firearms gift transfers vary significantly from state to state.

Bottom line here — you need to know the law BEFORE you deliver that shiny new firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative.

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF. This story is based on an NSSF Article.

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend who lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

ATF Firearms gun giftsConsider a Gift Card Instead of Direct Gift
The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store and buying the gun on your own, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate/card from your favorite gun retailer. Then give that gift card as the present. That way the recipient can choose the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase. The Gift Card option avoids any “straw purchaser” issues.

(more…)

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December 23rd, 2018

What You Need to Know about Firearms Gift Transfers

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF. This story is based on an NSSF Article.

‘Tis the season of gift-giving (and Christmas Day is nearly here). Perhaps you’re considering giving a a first rifle to your grandson or perhaps a carry pistol to a spouse. When making a gun gift to a friend or family member, however, there are some very important legal considerations. Also the rules on firearms gift transfers vary from state to state. Bottom line here — you need to know the law BEFORE you deliver that shiny new firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative.

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend who lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

ATF Firearms gun giftsConsider a Gift Card Instead of Direct Gift
The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store and buying the gun on your own, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate/card from your favorite gun retailer. Then give that gift card as the present. That way the recipient can choose the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase. The Gift Card option avoids any “straw purchaser” issues.

Intra-Family Transfers and Antique Arms
What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even intra-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

Regulations on Firearms Shipping to Third Parties
When you intend to transfer a gun, there are important rules on interstate shipping*. Generally speaking, you can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms. Also check your state laws on transfers.


*Different rules may apply to shipping to parties IN-STATE or shipping firearms to yourself in temporary care of others. Always consult your own state laws, but here are some FAQs copied directly from the ATF.GOV website:

(more…)

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August 8th, 2018

Firearms Transfers — Federal Form 4473 and Cannabis

ATF Form 4473 Marijuana Cannabis background check
Read Orchid Advisors’ Full Form 4473 Revision Report on Ammoland.com.

Dope or Guns. But Not Both…
Federal law is clear on this. Make your choice. — Dennis Santiago

You may live in a state where private use of marijuana has been decriminalized, but you still have to worry about the Federal Government. Use of marijuana (cannabis) is still prohibited under Federal law. Admitting that you smoke dope can and will prevent you from being able to purchase firearms. We raise this point because in 2016 ATF modified Forum 4473, the Federal Firearms Transaction Record, to include a new warning. The Shooting Wire explains:

ATF Form 4473 Marijuana Cannabis background check “ATF notified licensees last week that ATF Form 4473… has again been revised. There’s now a warning attached to question 11.e.

11.e is the famous question, ‘Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?’

The warning simply says that use and possession is illegal under federal statute regardless of the state’s rules. Some on social media said, ‘ATF is telling you to mark that answer “no”. Apparently they don’t remember Scooter Libby.

Lying on ATF Form 4473, as noted right above Block 14, is a federal felony — punishable by fines and a term of imprisonment. Want an all-expense paid vacation at Club Fed? If not, don’t mess with the [Federal Government].”

There are a number of other small changes and additions in the latest revision of Form 4473. These changes are reviewed in great detail by Orchid Advisors, firearms industry compliance experts. If you sell firearms, we recommend you read Orchid Advisors’ full Form 4473 Report on Ammoland.com. Below you can read all six pages of ATF Form 4473.

Download current Form 4473 from the ATF’s website at https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearms-forms. FFL dealers should note that all six pages of Form 4473 must be printed and retained as permanent transaction records.

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July 7th, 2018

Traveling with Firearms — Learn the Laws that Apply


Chrysler’s 2014 Outdoorsman Series Trucks offered an optional “RamBox” with locked rifle storage.

This summer, many of our readers will be traveling to shooting matches near and far. Many of you will drive 1000 miles or more to attend major championships at Camp Perry (Ohio) and Camp Atterbury (Indiana). Along the way you’ll cross multiple state lines, and be subject to a patchwork of different state and local laws. While traveling with firearms you want to ensure you comply with all laws and regulations, even if you’re “just passing through”.

Ford F-250 Cabelas crew cab gun storage bench seatOn the NRA’s American Rifleman website you’ll find a helpful article that provides basic tips on avoiding legal entanglements when traveling from state to state with firearms in your vehicle. The basic advice is to plan out your trip in advance, researching all state and local laws that will apply. This can be a daunting task, but a Federal law, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) does provide some protection for travelers.

According to the NRA: “FOPA shields you from local restrictions if you’re transporting firearms for lawful purposes. Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

The NRA cautions that: “Laws vary place-to-place, and if you do anything other than pass through a state, you must obey all local laws. This is especially true when you are carrying a loaded firearm in your vehicle or on your person. There’s no shortcut here. You need to map out your trip state-by-state to be sure you stay legal during your trip.”

Resources for Travelers

The American Rifleman article also lists useful print and online resources you can consult to learn more about laws that apply when traveling with firearms:

Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms (From NRA ILA.)

Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (BATFE publication.)

BATFE’s State Laws and Published Ordinances — Firearms, 2010-2011

BATFE’s Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

State Gun Laws at a Glance (Includes interactive chart with info on state laws.)

The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States (Printed handbook.)

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June 5th, 2018

NSSF Answers Tough Firearms Transfer Questions

FFL license holders questions and answers about transfersThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has published a Q & A Page about FFL transfers and other FFL-related matters. The NSSF’s experts provide answers to common questions to ensure that neither FFLs nor their customers get caught in regulatory traps. Here are some of the recent questions and answers:

1. Purchase of Firearm by Parent for Child.

Q: May a parent or guardian purchase firearms or ammunition as a gift for a juvenile (under 18 years of age)?

Yes. However, possession of handguns by juveniles (less than 18 years of age) is generally unlawful. Juveniles generally may only receive and possess handguns with the written permission of a parent or guardian for limited purposes (e.g., employment, ranching, farming, target practice or hunting), and that permission slip must be carried by the juvenile while possessing the handgun. [18 U.S.C. 922(x)]

2. May an FFL Transfer a Firearm by Way of a “House Call”?

Q: I have an elderly customer who cannot leave his home. I have a gun in my store that he wants to buy. Can I go to his house, have the Form 4473 completed, call for a background check and deliver the gun to him, providing that all the background checks clear?

A: Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are required to conduct business from their licensed “business premises.” The Form 4473, Part 1, is for an over-the-counter transaction. The buyer must appear in person at the FFL premises. Licensees may not conduct firearms transactions from locations other than their licensed premises, with the exception of gun shows or other events dedicated to the sporting use of firearms and held in the state where the FFL’s premises is located. An FFL who locates purchasers by other means must complete the transaction and all required paperwork at the business premises indicated on the FFL’s license.

3. Can the Spouse of a Transferee (Buyer) Pick Up a Firearm?

Q: A customer filled out a Form 4473 on a shotgun. The NICS background check reply was delayed, but the following day NICS approved the purchase. The customer could not get back to my store during open hours, however, so he sent his wife to pick it up. May I transfer the shotgun to her?

A: The shotgun may not be transferred to the customer’s wife, as she is not the intended transferee. The customer must return to the store himself and complete the ATF Form 4473 to receive the firearm. He must recertify that his answers in section A are still true, correct and complete by signing and dating Section C on the ATF Form 4473.

4. What Is the Procedure for an Older Firearm with No Serial Number?

Q: I have received a firearm on trade. It was made before 1968 and has no serial number. I must note the physical markings on the firearm in my records. What do I do in this case?

A: Unfortunately, marking requirements that existed before 1968 did not apply to all firearms. Many of the firearms manufactured and imported prior to 1968 bear no serial numbers or other markings. Licensees who receive these firearms should note in each descriptive column in the acquisition record the physical markings that appear on the firearms. If no serial number was placed on the firearm, it should be specifically noted that “Firearm has no serial number” or recorded “NSN.” Remember, however, it is illegal to remove or alter a firearm’s serial number, and a licensee should report such a firearm to the nearest ATF office. Refer to the ATF P 3317.2, Safety and Security Information for Federal Firearms Licensees.

5. What Should Be Done if an FFL Finds a Firearm That Was Previously Reported Lost?

Q: I’ve reported a lost firearm. I’ve done all the necessary paperwork and notifications. Now, I’ve found the firearm. What is my course of action?

A: FFLs who report a firearm as missing and later discover its whereabouts should advise the ATF, as well as their local law enforcement agency, that the firearms have been located. The ATF can be contacted at 888-930-9275. In addition, once the firearms are located, they must be re-entered into the Acquisition and Disposition (A&D) record as an acquisition entry.

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July 5th, 2017

Gun Industry Trends Revealed in Shooting Industry Magazine

Shooting Industry Magazine July 2017 NICS sales trends top manufacturers

The data-packed July issue of Shooting Industry magazine reveals key gun industry metrics — such as background checks, financial results from publicly-traded gun-makers, and the latest U.S. firearms manufacturing production data. The annual U.S. Firearms Today Report presents a comprehensive review of gun industry activity, including data on firearm production by caliber, shifts in export/import totals and the top 25 U.S. firearm manufacturers from 2015 (the latest data available).

CLICK HERE for July 2017 Shooting Industry Digital Edition »

As indicated by the ATF’s 2015 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export, the industry rebounded across several categories after a challenging 2014. Total firearms production increased from 8,692,461 in 2014 to 8,911,530 in 2015, growth of 2.5 percent. For the eighth year in a row, Ruger was the top overall U.S. firearms manufacturer with 1,667,820 firearms produced in 2015, while Smith & Wesson and Remington were the leading handgun and long-gun manufacturers, respectively. One notable trend is that Savage Arms significantly increased its production output compared to other leading rifle-makers.

Here are the top three rifle makers in 2015 with percentage change from 2014:

• Remington: 774,180 (-16.7%) | Ruger: 662,444 (-6.2%) | Savage Arms: 381,695 (+24.8%)

Shooting Industry Magazine July 2017 NICS sales trends top manufacturers

Gun Sales Trends in 2017 Compared to 2015
The Firearms Today Report reports that, contrary to some perceptions, gun sales remain strong: “Comparing the first five months of 2017 to 2015 (which was the second-largest year for U.S. firearms manufacturing), the industry is performing well. NICS background checks increased by 6.7 percent (from 5,427,494 to 5,793,571) from January through May 2017 compared to the corresponding months in 2015.”

The lastest issue of Shooting Industry (and all 2017 and 2016 monthly issues) can be accessed in their entirety online at www.shootingindustry.com/digital-version. CLICK HERE for July 2017 Digital Edition.

Story Lead from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 16th, 2017

ATF White Paper Recommends Changes in Suppressor Laws

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

In the near future, there could be changes in the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) treats sound suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”). An official government White Paper, dated 1/20/17, was recently leaked to the press and revealed by the Washington Post.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL Text of ATF WHITE PAPER

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

The ATF White Paper makes some key points about suppressors:

1. 42 States currently allow silencers.
2. Silencers are not a threat to public safety, and are rarely used in criminal activities.
3. The inclusion of suppressors in the NFA is “archaic” and should be reevaluated.
4. The definition of regulated suppressor components should be narrowed, so that only key items are regulated as opposed to “any combination of [silencer] parts”.
5. A change in Federal law removing silencers from regulation under the NFA would save resources, allowing the ATF to focus on reducing actual gun-related crime.

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

Here is the operative text of the ATF White Paper:

Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.

At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.

ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act] (GCA].

If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of [silencer] parts”, as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be useful.

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December 22nd, 2016

Giving a Firearm as a Gift? Some Reminders from NSSF

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

By Bill Brassard for NSSF
‘Tis the season of gift-giving (and Christmas Day is almost here). As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

Though there’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state, some states (such as California) require you to transfer the gun through a local firearms dealer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun.

The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it on your own and giving it to, say your father, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate from that retailer and giving it to Dad as his present. That way he’ll get the exact gun he wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.

You can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.

What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

About the National Shooting Sports Foundation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

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December 2nd, 2016

Firearms Barrel Length and Overall Length — Know the Law

The Legal Brief is a feature of TheGuncollective.com that focuses on firearms rules and regulations. In this Legal Brief video, Attorney Adam Kraut explains key State and Federal regulations governing firearms, and explains how to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

This five-minute video explains barrel length rules for rifles and shotguns, and also explains the best (and most fool-proof) methods to measure your barrel. In addition, the video explains how to measure firearm overall length. A rifle or shotgun which is less than 26 inches overall can also be classified as a “Short-barreled” rifle/shotgun subject to the NFA. NOTE: Under federal law “If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock EXTENDED”.

short barrel barreled rifle shotgun NSA tax stamp ATF legal brief guncollective.com

Highlights of LEGAL BRIEF Discussion of Barrel Length and Firearm Overall Length

The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length.

How to Measure Barrel Length: Drop [a] dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length[.]

Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly.

How to Measure Overall Length:The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. … If the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. … If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended.

READ FULL ARTICLE on Ammoland.com.

Links for this episode:

ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
Firearm – 26 USC § 5845: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11

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September 2nd, 2016

ATF Defers Change to Smokeless Powder Classifications

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose
Smokeless Powder Photo courtesy GunsAmerica.com, Reloading Powder Feature.

There has been a hue and cry on some internet sites about changes in smokeless powder classifications by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Writers have been concerned that recent interpretations by the ATF would make it much more difficult to store and transport reloading powders, which in turn could lead to price increases and/or powder shortages. Concern arose over the potential re-classification of “wetted” Nitrocellulose as a “high explosive”. Since “high explosives” are subject to more stringent rules, such re-classification would alter the way common smokeless propellants could be lawfully stored and transported.

Thankfully, there is good news. On August 31st the ATF issued an Addendum to its June 16 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter saying that its policies regarding smokeless powders containing Nitrocellulose will not change… at least for now:

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose

Based on this “Addendum”, it seems the ATF has tabled its proposal to classify Nitrocellulose-based smokeless powders as “high explosives”.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA ILA) confirms that the ATF has backed off, so that current practices for powder storage and transport can continue unchanged. Thus hand-loaders should NOT face an impending powder shortage and/or price hikes. Here is the NRA ILA’s report:

ATF Delays Any Changes to Nitrocellulose Regulation
Earlier this summer, ATF released an Explosives Industry Newsletter that changed the agency’s treatment of nitrocellulose, the primary component in smokeless powders used in modern ammunition. This change had the potential to seriously disrupt ammunition supply in the United States because it changed a long-standing ATF policy that exempted properly “wetted” nitrocellulose from treatment as an explosive under federal law.

NRA and [shooting industry representatives] raised these concerns to ATF and any change in ATF’s treatment of nitrocellulose is now officially delayed. In an addendum to the earlier newsletter, ATF announced that it “will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will NOT be affected.”

While the addendum doesn’t indicate that ATF has permanently abandoned this change to nitrocellulose regulation, smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation, at least for the time being. NRA will continue to work to ensure that any future change to nitrocellulose regulation will not affect ammunition supply.

ATF Industry Newsletter Caused Concern
The cause for firearms industry concern was the ATF’s statement about Nitrocellulose published in the June 2016 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter. The key language is shown in the right column below. According to the NRA ILA, the ATF has, at least for the time being, decided NOT to change its policies regarding the storage and transport of “wetted” Nitrocellulose. Accordingly, “smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation”.

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose

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March 20th, 2016

America Got 12.25 Million More Guns in 2014

NICS, ATF, BATFE, Statistics, Guns, Gun Sales, Background Checks

Guns and more guns — over 12.25 million guns* were added to U.S. private inventories in 2014 based on reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In 2014, 9,050,626 firearms were manufactured in the USA, while 3,625,268 firearms were imported and 420,932 firearms were exported. The total of guns made and imported in 2014 (minus guns exported that year) works out to 12,254,962 firearms, bringing the total U.S. cumulative stock to over 375 million! Yes that means there were over 375 million firearms in the USA as of the end of 2014. That’s more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. And a lot more were added in 2015…

While the number of guns added in 2014 was impressive, it appears that the number of guns added last year (2015) may exceed the 2014 figures, breaking all-time records.

Dean Weingarten explains: “You see, 2015 was a record year for NICS checks, at 23,141,970. It will take another year before we find out if the number of firearms added to the private stock exceeded the record set in 2013, of 16.031 million. I expect that another 13.422 million will have been added in 2015, but it could be as high as 17.588 million, based on the 2013 ratio of NICS checks to firearms added.”

“The number of NICS checks for 2014 was 20.969 million, slightly lower than in 2013, which was 21.094 million (rounded to the nearest thousand). Many NICS checks are used to purchase firearms that are already in the private stock; a fair number are used for background checks on carry permits; and more than one firearm may be purchased with a single background check.”

Story based on report ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. For more information: Link to Gun Watch.

*This 2014 firearms total includes rifles, shotguns, handguns and others, “others” being mostly receivers that might become either rifles or handguns when finished. It does not include firearms produced for the military services.

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February 21st, 2016

ATF Changes Rules on Firearms Lost or Stolen in Transit

BATFE ATF lost stolen firearm weapon FFL Rule transit 3310.11

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has issued updated regulations regarding firearms lost or stolen in transit. The new standards require FFLs to report in-transit theft or loss of firearms within 48 hours of discovery. Each licensee shall report the theft or loss by telephoning ATF at 1–888-930–9275, and by preparing and submitting ATF Form 3310.11. The disposition entry should indicate whether the incident is a theft or loss, the ATF-Issued Incident Number, and the Incident Number provided by the local law enforcement agency. If any of the firearms are later located, they should be re-entered into the A&D Record as an acquisition entry. A comprehensive, 12-page discussion of the new rule, which went into effect on February, 11, 2016, is set forth in the Federal Register.

The BATF has provided compliance instructions on its website. The NSSF anticipates these instructions will be updated in the near future to reflect the new regulations. In the meantime, we suggest that FFLs read the Rule Change Notice in the Federal Register.

Official Summary of Rule Change for Firearms Lost or Stolen in Transit
SUMMARY: The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) concerning the statutory reporting requirement for firearms that have been stolen or lost. The final rule specifies that when a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) discovers a firearm it shipped was stolen or lost in transit, the transferor/sender FFL must report the theft or loss to ATF and to the appropriate local authorities within 48 hours of discovery. The rule also reduces an FFL’s reporting burden when a theft or loss involves a firearm registered under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and ensures consistent reporting to ATF’s NFA Branch.

In addition, the rule specifies that transferor/sender FFLs must reflect the theft or loss of a firearm as a disposition entry in their required records not later than 7 days following discovery of the theft or loss; moreover, if an FFL reported the theft or loss of a firearm and later discovers its whereabouts, the FFL must advise ATF that the firearm has been located and must re-enter the firearm into its required records as an acquisition or disposition entry as appropriate.

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October 24th, 2015

No More NFA for Suppressors? Hearing Protection Act Would Change Everything…

suppressor silencer sound moderator NFA 1934 ATF hearing protection

New legislation by Congressman Matt Salmon* (R-AZ) would make it much easier to purchase a suppressor (aka “silencer” or “sound moderator”) for use with firearms. The new Hearing Protection Act (HPA), H.R. 3799, will remove suppressors from the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA), replacing the current burdensome federal transfer process with a standard NICS background check. Under the proposed law, acquiring a suppressor would be like purchasing a firearm — you would obtain the suppressor from an FFL dealer after passing a background check. There would still be a background check, but suppressor purchasers would no longer be required to fill out extensive paperwork, be fingerprinted, and pay for a $200.00 tax stamp. The HPA also includes a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchase a suppressor after October 22, 2015.

Many older hunters and sport shooters suffer from hearing loss. Greater access to suppressors would help prevent that health problem. “Suppressors significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss for anyone who enjoys the shooting sports,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs. In addition to hearing protection, suppressors also mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges and hunting lands.

Because suppressors safeguard hearing and reduce “noise pollution”, suppressors are widely used in many countries, including the United Kingdom. In most parts of Europe, suppressors are readily available at reasonable cost. According to the NRA-ILA, “Many European nations place no regulations on [suppressor] acquisition or use.” In the “enlightened” European view, sound moderators are considered a “good thing”. Is it time for the USA to change its laws?

It’s Time to Remove Unnecessary Burdens to Suppressor Ownership
Suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. The NFA regulates the transfer and possession of certain types of firearms and devices, including suppressors. Currently, prospective buyers must send in a Form 4 application to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax per suppressor, undergo the same background check that is required to purchase a machine gun, get a “CLEO Signoff”, and wait months for the ATF to process and approve the paperwork.

The American Suppressor Association (ASA) states that: “[The] Hearing Protection Act will fix the flawed federal treatment of suppressors, making it easier for hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing in the 41 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 37 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. This legislation will remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns.”

suppressor moderator silencer hearing protection act HPA

There has been a huge growth in the number of registered suppressors in the USA. From 2014 to 2015, the number of NFA-registered suppressors rose from 571,150 to 792,282. That’s a 39% increase in just one year! It’s remarkable that there are nearly 800,000 suppressors now registered in the USA. These stats are based on data published in the latest Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) Firearms Commerce Report.

*Joining Rep. Matt Salmon as co-sponsors of H.R. 3799, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), are ten other U.S. Representatives: Frank Guinta (R-NH), John Carter (R-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Chris Collins (R-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Mia Love (R-UT), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Chris Stewart (R-UT).

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