Firearms under 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq, Antiques Excluded
18 U.S.C. § 922 et seq. does not apply to “antique firearms.” 18 U.S.C. § 921(3) (defining “firearms”in Chapter 44. An antique firearm generally includes (A) any firearm manufactured in or before 1898, (B) replicas of pre-1899 firearms which meet certain restrictions regarding the ammunition they use, and (C) certain muzzle loading firearms designed to use black powder or a substitute, but not ammunition. 18 U.S.C. § 921(16)(A).

An antique firearm does not necessarily look like an antique. The manufacture date can sometimes be found on the Internet. Although information on the Internet is not always correct, it can at least give you a basis to ask the Government to dismiss the charge, and a reason to consult an expert if the Government refuses. Recently, AFPD Dan Cronin convinced the Government to dismiss an 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) charge against his client after he found information on the Internet that the gun charged was manufactured before 1899.

Among the many websites with information on antique firearms on the Internet is www.empirearms.com, which sets out a partial list, written for collectors, of what purports to be pre-1899 firearms. (http://www.empirearms.com/pre-1899.htm). The list is reproduced here. Also, you can consult “The Gun Digest Book of Modern Gun Values: For Modern Arms Made From 1900 to Present,” ISBN: 0896-89151-8, by Dan Shiderer, Publisher: Krause Pubns Inc, Publish Date: 31 March, 2006. The Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Illinois, has the 2003 version of this book in our East St. Louis office for panel attorney use.