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Old February 22, 2013, 12:33 AM   #10
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,701
Originally Posted by rc
California has a lot of convoluted laws. Apparently when the state outlawed private party sales of firearms they forgot to change the law that said antique guns more than 50 years old didn't count as firearms under the law....
Good God! That is really lousy information.
  1. The OP's primary problem arises under federal law, not California law. Under federal law, any transfer (with a couple of narrow exceptions not relevant here) of a firearm from a resident of one State to a resident of another State must go through an FFL.

  2. A firearm that is 50 years old is classified as a Curio and Relic (C&R). It is still a firearm and in general all rules that apply to the transfer of newer firearms also apply to C&R firearms, with some exceptions:

    • In California (until 1 January 2014), as long as the transferee and transferor are both residents of California, a C&R long gun may be transferred face-to-face, i. e., without the necessity of going through a dealer. But in California private party transfers of even C&R handguns must go through a dealer.

    • Under federal law a special form of FFL is available for collectors of C&R firearms. It's much easier and cheaper to get than a dealer FFL and allows the holder to take a number of significant short cuts in the acquisition and shipping of C&R firearms.

  3. In general, an antique firearm is one made prior to 1898 (or replica thereof). California law apparently doesn't include a specific definition. The federal law definition is found at 18 USC 921(a)(16) and reads:
    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or

    (B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—
    (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or

    (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
    (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper

Last edited by Frank Ettin; February 22, 2013 at 01:43 AM. Reason: clean up
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