Status of the Bump Fire Stock Ban

I receive calls almost every day from clients asking for an update on the status of the bump fire stock ban.

The ban is currently scheduled to go into effect (with items surrendered or destroyed) on March 26, 2019 unless one of the four legal challenges succeeds in postponing or overturning the regulatory ‘redefinition’ of bump fire stocks as machineguns.

For those who are not familiar with the history and ongoing status of the attempted ban, the following is a simplified timeline of the steps which lead us here.

Until we get a final answer, this post will contain updates as they occur.  However, it isn’t looking good for law-abiding gun owners.

In the meantime, Firearms Policy Foundation attorney Joshua Prince has published a guide to surrendering your bump stock to the ATF under protest.

The ATF has also ‘helpfully’ provided a Bump Fire Destruction Guide.

Posted in Administrative Law, ATF, ATF Ruling, BATFE, Bump Fire Stocks, Federal Law, Machine Guns, Regulatory Rulemaking | Comments Off on Status of the Bump Fire Stock Ban

The NFA Branch has a new mailing address for Form 1 and Form 4 submissions

The ATF recently announced that they have a new mailing address for both Form 1 and Form 4 submissions (although if you are still doing paper Form 1 submissions then you should strongly consider taking advantage of the return of Form 1 to eForms).

As for the change of address, just to be clear, the NFA Branch is not moving from their Martinsburg, West Virginia location.  The change of address merely reflect a change in the payment processing locations to which forms are initially sent before being forwarded to the NFA Branch for processing.

Formerly, paper Form 1 and Form 4 submissions were mailed to the NFA Branch’s lockbox service in Atlanta, GA which was handled by Bank of America.  Starting February 1, they have changed this service to U.S. Bank in Portland, Oregon.

Any forms sent to the Atlanta address until approximately May 1 will be forwarded to the new Portland address.  After that, the forms will be returned to the sender.

They have released updated copies of the Form 1 and Form 4 which have the new address.

The New Address Is:
National Firearms Act Division (ATF Forms 1 and 4)
P.O. Box 5015
Portland, OR 97208-5015
Posted in ATF, BATFE, Form 1, Form 4, NFA Transfers, NFA Trusts | Comments Off on The NFA Branch has a new mailing address for Form 1 and Form 4 submissions

Can those with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction own muzzle loaders?

This question involves the intersection of two complex areas of firearms law:

  1. The federal prohibition triggered by a misdemeanor conviction of a crime of domestic violence; and
  2. Whether black powder firearms are considered ‘firearms’ under state and federal law.

Let’s start with #1 – What triggers this ban?

The ban on purchase and possession of firearms by those who have been convicted of a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence’ is based in federal law.  It is codified at 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(9)(purchase) and 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) (possession).  There is NO equivalent ban under Virginia law.

These two sub-sections generally prohibit the acquisition, possession, and transportation of firearms by any person “who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

This leads us then to #2.  Are muzzle loaders considered ‘firearms’ under federal law?

Federal law, at 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), defines a firearm as:

(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.

‘Antique firearm’ is specifically exempted from the definition.  But what exactly does that term mean?  Further in the same code section, we find the following:

(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.

Note that even under federal law, any firearm “which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof” is not considered an ‘antique firearm’ and would be considered a ‘firearm’ for purposes of federal prohibitions.  The same is true for any firearm that incorporates the frame or receiver of a firearm such as a Remington 870 with a muzzle loading barrel or a Thompson Contender.

However, if you are careful when selecting your muzzle-loading firearm, then the answer to the question presented is:

Yes.  Those with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence may purchase, possess, and hunt with an appropriate muzzle-loading firearm under federal and Virginia law.

DISCLAIMER:  I am only licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and this advice is focused on federal law and the laws of Virginia.  Your state may have additional restrictions and you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in your state if you are not a Virginia resident.

Posted in Black Powder Firearms, Criminal Law, Domestic Violence, Federal Law, Hunting, MCDV, Muzzle Loading Firearms, Purchasing Firearms, Virginia Law | Comments Off on Can those with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction own muzzle loaders?