A Brief Overview of the Implications of HR 1112
for Re-enactors of the American Civil War and other 18th- and 19th-Century American Wars
House Resolution 1112, also known as the "Antique Firearm Safety
Act", was introduced to the U.S. Congress on March 20, 2001 by the
Mr. HOEFFEL, Mr. CONYERS, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. FATTAH, Mr.
MARKEY, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. FRANK, Mr. BECERRA, Mr. BORSKI, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania,
Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. NADLER, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Mr.
ENGEL, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Mrs. MINK of Hawaii, and Mr. WEXLER)
The bill was then referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it still
sits as of this writing (April 3, 2001).
This bill is very brief. It would change Sections 921 and 922 Title 18,
Chapter 44 of the United States Code in exactly two places so that antique
firearms (including replicas of antique firearms such as the ones we use) would
be subject to the same laws restricting sale, manufacture, ammunition,
possession, etc., as modern firearms. Currently antique firearms are mostly
exempt from the restrictions of Chapter 44.
Below is my interpretation of the changes in store for us as re-enactors if
this bill is made law. Please note that I am not an attorney -- I am a
reasonably intelligent layperson trying to make my way through the legislative
jargon of the U.S. Code to see what this short bill actually does.
Changes for reenactors if HR 1112 becomes law
Note: the word "musket" as used herein
generally includes any firearm, antique or otherwise. Also, the word
"ammunition" is poorly defined in Chapter 44, U.S. Code so that it is
unclear to me whether blank (or live, for that matter) cartridges and the like
would be considered ammunition for the purposes of Chapter 44. I assume that
they would be, but that is an assumption.
It would be unlawful to:
- transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver your musket or
ammunition to someone who does not reside in your state or otherwise engage
in interstate or foreign commerce with your musket or ammunition (licensed
dealers, importers, and manufacturers excepted);
- ship or transport a musket interstate to anyone other than a licensed
dealer, importer, manufacturer, or collector (except for the same to return
a musket to the person who shipped it -- e.g. a dealer shipping a musket
back to an individual after repairing it);
- transport or ship a musket acquired outside of your home state back to
your home state (licensed dealers, importers, collectors, and manufacturers
- transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver your musket to anyone
that you know or have reasonable cause to believe to not live in your state;
Additionally, it would be unlawful for a licensed importer, manufacturer,
dealer, or collector to sell or deliver:
- a musket to anyone they believe to be under the age of eighteen;
- ammunition for any firearm OTHER than a rifle or shotgun to anyone they
believe to be under the age of twenty-one.
Note: It is my opinion that antique firearms are
excluded from the Title 18, Section 921 definition of "rifle" or
"shotgun", but that is only my opinion. The reality is somewhat
- Licensed importers, manufacturers, dealers, and collectors would be
required to keep a record (pursuant to Section 923 of Title 18) of all
- Mail-order purchases of muskets would have to be preceded by a signed,
sworn statement in a prescribed form that the buyer can legally purchase the
musket, and a copy of the statement would be required to be forwarded to the
chief of police or county sheriff in the buyer's town via registered or
certified mail, with the shipment of the musket to be delayed until at least
seven days following the seller receiving a delivery receipt of the copy of
the sworn buyer's statement from the local law enforcement official, and the
seller would be required to retain documentation of all of the above
paperwork in accordance with section 923;
- Anyone wishing to sell or otherwise dispose of a musket or ammunition
would need to run a background check on the buyer to make sure that they
- under indictment for, or convicted of, a crime punishable by a jail
sentence of one year or more;
- a fugitive;
- an unlawful user of or an addict of any controlled substance;
- adjudicated of being a mental defective or a committee of a mental
- an illegal alien;
- dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces;
- a U.S. citizen who had renounced their citizenship;
- subject to a restraining order to prevent violence against an intimate
partner or the child of an intimate partner; or,
Note: there are some additional qualifiers
regarding this, as well...
- convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.
- Anyone who meets the laundry list in the above paragraph (or who knowingly
is in the employ of such a person) would also be prohibited from possessing
a musket or ammunition.
- It would be illegal for you to be in possession of or to ship or transport
out of state a musket which has had the manufacturer's serial number altered
or removed (i.e. defarbed) and has been, at any time, been shipped or
transported out of state Note: considering that
most muskets used by reenactors are made overseas, this would apply to us.
- Licensed dealers, importers, and manufacturers would be required to
conduct an "instant criminal background check" before transferring
a musket to any individual who is not themselves licensed.
There may be other restrictions that I have overlooked, but I think that's
the bulk of it.
If you want to read more about the bill, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and
enter "HR 1112" under the bill number.
If you want to see the text of Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, go to
Article copyright (c) 2001 by Michael Heggen. All rights
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