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Old September 26, 2012, 10:56 AM   #1
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Would this be considered to be a real firearm?

Yesterday evening I was at my favorite watering hole,,,
I was chatting with an acquaintance about our first firearms.

I told him my first firearm was a muzzle loading rifle ala Davy Crockett,,,
This would have been around 1955-56

You stuffed a cork ball down the barrel with the ramrod,,,
Then you raised the "frizzen" and placed one paper cap under it,,,
After cocking the hammer you pulled the trigger which hit the frizzen igniting the cap.

There was a small hole going into the barrel,,,
The force of the cap sent the cork ball across our living room,,,
The Davy Crockett set came with a coonskin cap, a cork firing pistol, and a plastic knife with sheath.

In 1966-67 I went to Six Flags Over Texas,,,
I purchased a key-chain with a small pirate pistol,,,
It came with three plastic bullets and used "Greenie Stickem Caps".

That pistol worked the same way,,,
Put a cap over the touch hole to propel the bullet.

We were both discussing whether these toys would/could be called a firearm or not,,,
My point was that an explosive charge propelled the bullet from the gun,,,
That in and of itself would/could class it as an actual firearm.

As tight as the BATF makes their interpretations these days,,,
How do you think they would rule on this?


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Old September 26, 2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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I'm guessing they'd want a sample to spend a few thousand dollars on testing before saying it was a firearm.

Snarkiness aside, I would side on the idea that since it's an explosive propelling a projectile it would be considered a firearm.

On the more complex side, could a powder charge be ignited with the cap as a primer or is the ball fired by gases that are not hot enough to ignite powder? That would be my suspicion if they would not be considered firearms. Paintball guns are sold without a 4473 and they use pressurized gas to propel a projectile. Some air-soft guns do as well.
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Old September 26, 2012, 03:41 PM   #3
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They're muzzle loaders.

Plus, the ATF's own definition includes:
"Note: This definition does not apply to items such as toy guns, cap guns, bb guns, pellet guns, and Class C common fireworks."
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:00 PM   #4
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At the federal level, I don't see any problem. The BATFE is concerned with things that fire projectiles through the energy of an explosive, and whether it does so with a fixed cartridge.

While such a thing fires a projectile through the use of an explosive, it doesn't make use of a fixed cartridge, so it should be the same as a muzzleloader.

You probably wouldn't want to sell such a thing to kids these days, though.

State and local laws would be where the real issue lies.
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Old September 27, 2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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In NJ you'd probably go to jail. You have to apply for a permit to buy a bb pistol here. Oh, and slingshots are illegal
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Old September 27, 2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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My point was that an explosive charge propelled the bullet from the gun,,,
That in and of itself would/could class it as an actual firearm.

As tight as the BATF makes their interpretations these days,,,
How do you think they would rule on this?
Are they being sold today? The answer to that may hold a clue to the answer to your question ...
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