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Shipping a pre-1898 handgun?


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I have a S&W Model 1 1/2 for sale made between 1878 and 1895. I have a buyer. I think I can send it directly to him in another state since it was made prior to 1898. Can I put it in a flat rate USPS box with signature confirmation and send it or do I need to take it into the PO and seal it in front of them? The law states something about being an antique if ammo isn't readily available...it seems almost any gun would qualify these days!

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I second what OLG says.  USPS has deteriorated during Covid.  It's has been taking months to receive 2nd day mail.  And sometimes it doesn't show up at all.

Edited by Sarge
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You can still readily buy ammo. It in must go through an FFL unless sold FTF. 

 

From the ATF website

 

Quote

For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” means any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also 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.

 

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57 minutes ago, Irish-Pat said:

What about “curio and relic” would that apply? I had someone ship me an old Colt direct to my home a couple of years ago

 

And they broke the law unless it met the definition of an Antique Firearm
 

Quote

 

Please note that firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) may be classified as C&R items, but still may be subject to the provisions of the NFA. If your C&R item is an NFA firearm (e.g., Winchester Trappers) and you desire removal from the NFA status, you must submit it to FATD for evaluation and a formal classification.

Our division does not make determinations based on drawings, photographs, written descriptions, or diagrams. In order to render an appropriate classification, please ship the physical item and any supporting information to the following address:

 

 

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Pre 1899 is an "antique" and does not need to go through an ffl. My ffl told me it's also against the atf rules to nics an "antique".

 

Post 1898 where there is "no ammo available" is too much of a grey area. The way the atf sees it, second model Iver Johnson's were made for and proof tested with black powder ammo and since there is no black powder 32 or 38 available, they are also "antique" but that's not a loophole I would gamble on because it's just too vague, just the way the atf likes it. Made prior to 1899 is pretty clear, anything made on or before Dec 31, 1898 is not legally a "firearm".

 

What's really funny is many of the post 98 Iver Johnson's had serial numbers stamped into the trigger guard, which can be easily removed by punching out two small pins...

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With all due respect to the opinions and information provided by others, you should Go straight to the horses mouth.  Send an email to the ATF (they have a public email address on their site), explain exactly what the situation is, tell them that you want to make sure you don't want to break the law, and ask them what is legal.  I did this for an antique Winchester 1873 I bought out of state a while back. They were very helpful and told me that it was legal to ship an antique between individuals without an FFL.  The ATF are actually pretty nice guys and are happy help. Of course, you should print out and keep the email for your records. That way if someone asks you about it, you can show that you asked and were told what was legal by the ATF.  
 

 

Edited by Doc Coles SASS 1188
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In the ATF regs it says something about a pre 1898 firearm NOT being an antique if the ammo for it is readily available........

 

"For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” means any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also 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."

 

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearms-guides-importation-verification-firearms-national-firearms-act-definitions-antique

 

Edited by Rancho Roy
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1 hour ago, Rancho Roy said:

In the ATF regs it says something about a pre 1898 firearm NOT being an antique if the ammo for it is readily available........

 

"For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” means any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also 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."

 

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearms-guides-importation-verification-firearms-national-firearms-act-definitions-antique

 

The problem here is you quoted the wrong regulation, notice the words "National Firearms Act".  That was passed in 1934 regulating machine guns, silencers, short barrelled rifles, etc., also sometimes called Title II or Class 3.

 

What Cholla is asking about is a Title I gun, those are dealt with differently under this definition:

 

27 CFR Part 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.

 

You most certainly can send any non NFA, pre 1898 gun through USPS to any non prohibited possessor, as long as it is legal for them to own in their state.

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Be sure to check the buyers State Laws before even thing about shipping any antique hand gun directly to the buyer.  And I’m pretty sure, hand guns cannot be shipped to a buyer or a FFL by USPS

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For what it's worth, I had a Springfield Trapdoor made in 1886 shipped straight to my house from an FFL dealer from Pennsylvania that sold it on his internet website. And I'm in " Kalifornia".:rolleyes: I know it's not a handgun, but still a pre-1898 firearm.....

 

DB:FlagAm:

Edited by Dakota Brown
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Thanks for everyone's input. I am no less confused than I was before. Having dealt with government enforcement agencies over the years I have found their perception of the law equally varying. Again thanks for all the help.

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why not ask your favorite FFL , im assuming you , like i have a gunsmith that you trust to tell you the truth or do the service for you if required , 

 

my understanding is you can ship direct you to them but i know some states have overriding regulations that may need looking at 0 there are some states id choose not to ship to , 

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10 hours ago, John Boy said:

Be sure to check the buyers State Laws before even thing about shipping any antique hand gun directly to the buyer.  And I’m pretty sure, hand guns cannot be shipped to a buyer or a FFL by USPS

Only FFL to FFL when shipping handguns via USPS.

And only from the post office.

OLG 

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Go to the ATF website and look for "frequently asked questions" it will answer your question and if you have any doubts you can call the number listed there and find out for sure. I have purchased guns in gun stores when I was told by the owner, a retired cop and the local ATF agent that I could not. I talked the LGS owner into calling the ATF # and they explained the situation to him and stayed on the line until he and I got the paper work filled out.

What I'm saying is FFL's, PO's and even the local ATF agents may NOT know the regs.

 The gun store owner thanked me after we finished the transaction and told me he had missed several sales under the exact circumstances because he didn't know the rules.

kR

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Take the worry out of the equation and go FFL to FFL.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Tn Tombstone said:

Beware the USPS, it may end up in PA.

where it will be counted as 3 votes for Biden

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5 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

where it will be counted as 3 votes for Biden

Great! So, you're saying I'm the reason Trump lost PA?!?

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Just now, Cholla said:

Great! So, you're saying I'm the reason Trump lost PA?!?

Well, you're still alive, so you probably didn't vote democrat...

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when I shipped a gun back to Charter Arms for repair, they just sent me a box and a label and I dropped it off at the local pack and ship place, simplest thing in the world.

 

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On 12/7/2020 at 5:57 PM, Cholla said:

I have a S&W Model 1 1/2 for sale made between 1878 and 1895. I have a buyer. I think I can send it directly to him in another state since it was made prior to 1898. Can I put it in a flat rate USPS box with signature confirmation and send it or do I need to take it into the PO and seal it in front of them? The law states something about being an antique if ammo isn't readily available...it seems almost any gun would qualify these days!

No, it must be sealed before entering USPS property.  The clerk may ask you to open the package at which time you ask to borrow their knife.  If it is a federal office you’d be illegal with your pocketknife.  If it is a “contract” post office, using your knife may be legal.

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On 12/7/2020 at 3:57 PM, Cholla said:

I have a S&W Model 1 1/2 for sale made between 1878 and 1895. I have a buyer. I think I can send it directly to him in another state since it was made prior to 1898. Can I put it in a flat rate USPS box with signature confirmation and send it or do I need to take it into the PO and seal it in front of them? The law states something about being an antique if ammo isn't readily available...it seems almost any gun would qualify these days!

I'm always surprised when somebody comes to the Wire for advice on a topic such as this.  I suspect you may be mining for quotes for a "Confusing Gun Laws" article   :)

 

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6 hours ago, Nasty Newt # 7365 said:

I'm always surprised when somebody comes to the Wire for advice on a topic such as this.  I suspect you may be mining for quotes for a "Confusing Gun Laws" article   :)

 

I wasn't but that is a great idea. Thanks.

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On 12/8/2020 at 8:29 PM, Cholla said:

Thanks for everyone's input. I am no less confused than I was before. Having dealt with government enforcement agencies over the years I have found their perception of the law equally varying. Again thanks for all the help.

 

I am pretty sure .32 rim fire meets the definition of.

Quote

(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.

 

A search for .32 Rimfire only turns up a few antique cartridges in small quantities at very high prices.

 

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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Heck all guns must be legal to ship now. Seems no ammo is “readily available “ :D

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A search for .32 Rimfire only turns up a few antique cartridges in small quantities at very high prices.

Dave, GunBroker usually has 25RF and 32RF ammunition for sale and a box of 50 can run from $150 to $200.

Now, if BATF was to get real technical with their "commercial"  definition, there is now a vendor that has a complete line of CF brass that has been modified

to obsolete RF's that can be reloaded with Flobert primers

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15 minutes ago, John Boy said:

Dave, GunBroker usually has 25RF and 32RF ammunition for sale and a box of 50 can run from $150 to $200.

Now, if BATF was to get real technical with their "commercial"  definition, there is now a vendor that has a complete line of CF brass that has been modified

to obsolete RF's that can be reloaded with Flobert primers

Good point

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