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Old October 22, 2010, 07:56 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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carrying that "not a gun" into places that prohibit guns ???

maybe this has been covered before here ( I don't normally venture into this door of the forum )...

I'm starting to get old, & a couple years ago, got a permit to carry for MN... that's all good & fine...

... a couple years ago, I started collecting early black powder cartridge revolvers, specifically CCW type pocket guns... most of these range from antique spur triggers to S&W "lemon squeezers" that were made from the middle / late 1800's well into the early 1900's... I've become so enamored with a pair of antique spur trigger snubbies, one in 32 S&W, & one in 38 S&W, that I've begun to carry these, since I live a pretty low risk lifestyle... ( I've made modern conceiled carry holsters for each one ) ( I know the "don't reload your CCW ammo" mantra, but these are technically antiques ) I have tested & now load a medium charge with light weight, for bore, cast bullets, & am getting both diecent velocities, & acceptable accuracy... neither are super powerhouse loads, but still fall within some of the smaller modern mouse gun loads as far power

the other day I ran across a blurb of info on the internet, that I think was based towards cap & ball revolvers, in such, that one did not need a carry permit in the state of MN, for cap & ball revolvers ( because the state uses the federal definitions of what defines a gun )... well iregardless, I have no ambition to carry a cap & ball revolver, but that got me thinking, that the 2 snubbies I dearly love to carry, are not considered guns by the feds, they are antiques... so in theory, I could carry these without a permit ???... Um... but I already have a permit... but following further down that slippery slope... then that should mean, that I could carry these "antiques" into areas that are typically no gun areas ???

I guess I can see a big trial, & lots of legal fees... if I got caught, or pushed it, & of course any place where there is a metal detector could create issues, but being as the antique is conceiled, I guess I don't normally see a problem...

BTW... I'm friends with several local LEO's, & none of them were aware of any exception for cap & ball revolers, let alone antique cartridge revolvers...

just curious as to everyones thoughts on the subject...
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Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; October 22, 2010 at 08:05 AM.
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Old October 22, 2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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I think I'd be interested to see a test case, but I also think there's no way I'd be the one to test it, as I'm pretty sure how it'll end up. There are other options in places that prohibit carry that are good to have in a fight, but won't get you tossed in jail.
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Old October 22, 2010, 09:21 AM   #3
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I think you're treading on very shaky ground. I understand that the 68 GCA doesn't define antiques as firearms- I've posted explanations of the definitions a couple of times in the C&R subform- but most carry bans rely on state law, which usually defines a firearm as any device that goes BANG, or doesn't define the word at all.

I think that most courts will use the state-law definition or the definition in common usage. Let's face it, if you were to hold up a 19th-century S&W .32 single-action revolver in a courtroom and ask "is this a firearm?", we all know the answer you're going to get from almost anyone who's not an FFL or a BATFE agent.
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Old October 22, 2010, 09:27 AM   #4
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as I mentioned, I have several friends that are LEO's, so I'm not "looking" to break any laws...

but if in fact ( as that internet blurb I ran across, but of course didn't save ) were true, & the state of MN uses the federal guidelines to define "what" a gun is, it should be "technically" legal to carry my antiques around, both with out a permit ( as mentioned, already have the permit ) & in places that ban guns, but don't ban antiques
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Old October 22, 2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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I'm kinda with zoomie on this. I'd like to read about the test case, but I wouldn't want to be the test case. It's an interesting legal theory. On the other hand, as a practical matter, I don't want to be the guy on the receiving end of a flying tackle by Deputy Hefty, courtroom bailiff and part-time semi-pro wrassler, who neither knows nor cares whether my antique pistol qualifies as a "firearm" under current law.
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Old October 22, 2010, 09:56 AM   #6
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Magnum, I see your logic, and understand it. But, as said earlier, I wouldn't want to be the 'test case'. I kinda feel that, if most civilians can't distinguish between an AR and an AK, they are also not gonna know that Buffalo Bill could have carried your revolver. They will see a barrel and cylinder and say GUILTY. My 2 cents.
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Also, I do know of a gunsmith that carries a black powder double barrel shotgun in his vehicle, just because it is not clasified as a gun. However it may turn out, one day, he may experience the full wrath of the police, which may be as unaware as the officers you speak of.
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:05 AM   #7
aarondhgraham
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This came up in California in the 1980's,,,

California defined a "firearm" in such a way that black-powder cap & ball handguns were "technically" not covered,,,
For many years the 31 caliber Remington Pocket Pistol was the carry gun of choice.

There was even a copy of an opinion by the California Attorney General floating around the fax machines,,,
In the letter the AG upheld the definition that a cap and ball handgun was not a "firearm",,,
The law was rewritten in the mid/late 1980's to include Cap & Ball guns,,,
They did it by stating ammunition was in fact "readily available".

My ex was a dispatcher for a small town PD,,,
The Chief couldn't talk the county sheriff into giving his dispatchers carry permits,,,
So he wrote a very formal letter on department stationary quoting the existing law and citing the AG's opinion.

My wife carried a 5-shot .31 caliber Remington Pocket Pistol in her purse using that justification and her PD ID Card as her "back-door" permit.

I've slept since then but I do remember the part about ammunition not being readily/commercially available making a lot of difference in the interpretation of the legal definition of a firearm.

.
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:09 AM   #8
carguychris
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Quote:
...as a practical matter, I don't want to be the guy on the receiving end of a flying tackle by Deputy Hefty, courtroom bailiff and part-time semi-pro wrassler, who neither knows nor cares whether my antique pistol qualifies as a "firearm" under current law.
+1, and it would not surprise me if many law enforcement groups oppose this theoretical test case because identifying many "non-firearm" antiques would be totally unworkable in the field. Although many antiques are fairly obvious, others are indistinguishable from post-1898 versions without close examination by an expert; the Colt Model 1892 New Army & Navy revolver springs to mind.
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:18 AM   #9
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I understand being hard to tell... I have some double action centerfire pocket revolvers that are antique, only distiquishable as antiques by the serial number...

I wish I'd bookmarked that blurb, as they outlined the federal rules as to the issue weather ammo was currently available, & if I rember correctly, it doesn't matter to the BATF, only the year of manufacture ????
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:19 AM   #10
carguychris
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Quote:
I've slept since then but I do remember the part about ammunition not being readily/commercially available making a lot of difference in the interpretation of the legal definition of a firearm.
It's part of the 68 GCA definition of an antique.
Quote:
Antique firearm... any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
Ironically, the problem with this is the proliferation of "boutique" reloaders offering their wares on the Internet. The moment Eddie's Reloading Service in Bootstrap, MT* decides to make a batch of cartridges in 10.3mm Portuguese Naval Revolver* and puts them on the Internet, you're screwed.

*I made these names up for humorous effect.
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:27 AM   #11
Magnum Wheel Man
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... um... reading your quote sounds as if it's not an antique... yet about 50% of my antique center fire revolvers have been shipped to me in person, most of these were bought on line, but from FFL licence holders... so about 1/2 of of them are unable to determine the exact definition of the law...

& which BTW... should easily make any original cap & ball fire arm, "not a rifle, pistol, or shotgun" ??? since it doesn't have "ammo" ... but that blurb didn't address modern replica cap & ball revolvers, though that must be defined else where, as AFAIK they can be shipped directly to a purchaser...
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:35 AM   #12
Magnum Wheel Man
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BTW... I could expect there could be riskier places than others... for example our local post office ( typical small town post office ) with no gun warning signs posted ( only about shipping guns, not carrying ), & the local high profile gang murder trial in county court, are probably 2 different extremes...
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carguychris



It's part of the 68 GCA definition of an antique.
Quote:
Antique firearm... any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
That is not the definition in GCA 68. It's from the National Firearms Act and only pertains to machine guns and other items controlled by the NFA.

The Gun Control Act regulates other firearms and the definition of an antique firearm is different.

Quote:
TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, AND FIREARMS

CHAPTER II--BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

PART 478_COMMERCE IN FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION--Table of Contents

Subpart B_Definitions

Sec. 478.11 Meaning of terms.

Antique firearm. (a) Any firearm (including any firearm with a
matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition
system) manufactured in or before 1898; and (b) any replica of any
firearm described in paragraph (a) of this definition if such replica
(1) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional
centerfire fixed ammunition, or (2) 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.
Note that the fixed ammunition restriction only applies to replicas of antique firearms, not to actual antiques.
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Old October 22, 2010, 10:46 AM   #14
Magnum Wheel Man
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SEE... I'm corn fused already

I'm sure as far as practicality, it's only as good as the local LEO's interpretation of the law, or as deep as your pockets... I've begun to have discussions with my LEO buddys, I wonder if there isn't a "less risky" way to test the waters, than to put myself into the hot oil of the frying pan ???

I guess I need to start going to a different poker game & playing with one of the local judges that I know pretty good, to pick his brain a little ???
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Old October 22, 2010, 11:49 AM   #15
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Many of the laws/codes/regulations that prohibit firearms in a location also prohibit "dangerous weapons". Below is the portion of 39 CFR 232.1 that prohibits firearms on post office property:
Quote:
Weapons and explosives. Notwithstanding the provisions of any
other law, rule or regulation, no person while on postal property may
carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either
openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for
official purposes.
18 USC 922(q) (Gun Free School Zone Act) specifically prohibits "firearms" in and around schools (with exceptions). However, 18 USC 921(3) defines firearms, as used in the chapter, as:
Quote:
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.
18 USC 930 is the federal code that prohibits firearms in federal buildings. Note that the code also prohibits "other dangerous weapons":
Quote:
Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
The state laws that I briefly checked that prohibit firearms in certain locations also prohibit "dangerous weapons", much as do the federal laws.

I think a person would have a difficult time arguing in court that a cap and ball pistol, carried for protection, is not a dangerous weapon.
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Old October 22, 2010, 04:43 PM   #16
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This is an interesting discussion for me. I have never been involved with antique guns or black powder shooting. I have shot some modern muzzle loaders but that's the extent of it. I had no idea that antique weapons were treated any different than any other weapon.

I am not sure that at the end of the day it makes any real difference. If you carried a "not a gun" into an establishment or area where concealed weapons were prohibited and were found to have it I'm afraid you would have some trouble convincing the park ranger/security officer/local LEO that it wasn't really a gun. If you unholstered your "not a gun" or used it in this situation, convincing a judge or jury that it was "not a gun" seems unlikely. Being alive to face charges or defend yourself in a law suit might be the upside.
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Old October 23, 2010, 01:35 PM   #17
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I'm not sure of the relevance of the federal statutes unless your state uses them in its own definitions of what is permissible/impermissible as far as lawful carry.

And my own concern would be that the average LEO you encounter isn't necessarily versed in the definitions of antique vs. non-antique firearms, and not terribly interested in being educated, either. If he thinks you're carrying illegally, you're getting a ride in the back seat of a police car, and a very long night.
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