Preparing for a Private Gun Transfer Ban

There is some bad news from the halls of the U.S. Congress: H.R. 8 has been introduced by Representative Mike Thompson–Democrat of California. Dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, this is horrible piece of legislation that is likely to become law! The word from the District of Criminals is that this Private Gun Transfer Ban bill is on the fast-track through committee, for passage. Ominously, it quickly gained 225 co-sponsors. And President Trump has given mixed messages about whether or not he would sign such a bill. Uh-oh!

A Private Transfer Ban, But it Sounds So Reasonable

The mass media is using soft-sounding phrases like “Universal Background Checks”, “Reasonable Step”, and “Closing the Gun Show Loophole”.  But with H.R. 8 what we’d get is a Private Gun Transfer Ban with the tyranny of bureaucracy poking its nose into our gun closets. It would make it illegal to sell, give, or even lend a gun to a neighbor without Federal paperwork. And it would make gun shows as we now know them and newspaper ads for used guns quaint things of the past.

Most Americans have not considered the full implications of a nationwide private transfer ban.  This would essentially end the privacy of firearms ownership. Nearly all transfers would have to go through an FFL, (for a fee) with an FBI background check. Whether it is a sale, a gift, a trade, or a loan, all gun transfers would have to be “papered” on a ATF Form 4473. The only exceptions would be gifts (not sales) within an immediate family, and transfers of antique (pre-1899 manufactured) guns. All other transfers would require a background check and completion of a dreaded Form 4473!

The Coming Pre-1899 Boom

Since 1992, I have extolled investing in Federally-exempt pre-1899 guns. I wrote a FAQ on the subject that has been updated several times and that is widely cited and cross-posted. You should take the time to read it, but here is the most pertinent point: A December 31, 1898 threshold was set in stone, with passage of the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968  (GCA-68). Per the Federal law, any guns made on or before December 31, 1898 are legally exempt “antiques”, but those made on or after January 1, 1899 are controlled “firearms.”  While state and local laws often differ, under Federal law any antiques can be freely transferred across state lines with no paperwork required.  But less than 1/2 of 1% of the guns in the United States are pre-1899 antiques.

I predict that if a nationwide private transfer ban is enacted, suddenly everyone would wake up to the significance of the scarce pre-1899 cartridge guns. There would then be a huge rush to by them. However, since there is such a tiny supply, prices will double with two years. And within five years, their prices will triple. I’m not kidding: I mean a genuine 300% gain. The law of supply and demand is inescapable. Those wishing privacy for cartridge gun purchases will only have one really viable option: Pre-1899 antiques.  Buying anything else would require paperwork and an FBI background check.

Start Looking for Pre-1899 Cartridge Guns!

I recommend that you attend a lot of gun shows this winter and spring, before enactment of the Private Gun Transfer Ban.  Also watch and like a hawk. There, watch for auctions for any of following cartridge guns that are being sold as “No FFL antique” (Federally exempt) guns:

Colt Lightning Rifles, all large frame are pre-1899; Medium frame:
serial numbers below 84,000; Small frame: serial numbers below 35,334

Colt Single Action Army (SAA) and Bisley revolvers with serial numbers under 182,000. I consider SAAs with serials between 165,000 and 182,000 (1896 to 1898 production) the most desirable, since they have steel frames (and are thus safe to shoot most modern smokeless loads), yet they are Federally exempt.

Colt Model 1878 Double Action Frontier revolvers (serial numbers below 41,000)

Colt Model 1889 Navy .38, all are pre-1899

Colt “New Army” or “New Navy” .38 and .41 (serial # below 115,000)

Colt New Service, first year of production (1898) only. (Serial # below 250)

Fox (A.H. Fox) shotguns – all are modern

Hopkins and Allen Mfg. marked guns are ALL pre-1899 because the company changed its name (and rollmark) to Hopkins and Allen Arms in 1898.

Ithaca Baker Model shotguns – all are pre-1899

Ithaca Crass Model shotguns  (serial # below 38,399)

Ithaca Hammer shotguns – other – (serial # below 33,011)

Ithaca Hammerless shotguns – other – (serial # below 32,988)

Marlin rifles–serial number groups not consecutive!  The only models that ended production before 1899 are the Model 1881, 1888, Model 1889, and 1891. All others must have a serial number under 161,200.  (Note: Marlin did not start a new block of serial numbers staring  at 1, like most makers.  Instead, their number were mixed. But the approximate # for those Marlins produced before the end of 1898 is 161,200.)

Marlin-Ballard rifles, all are pre-1899

Martini-Henry Rifles, all are pre-1899

Mauser M1896 “Broomhandle” pistols  (serial # below 15,000–these were mostly made with  “cone” (pyramidically step-sided) hammers or large ring hammers–are pre-1899.

Pre-1899 Mauser Bolt Action Rifles: 

See the following listings by model year/country. Note that any Mauser marked “Ludwig Loewe” or “Loewe, Berlin” is pre-1899, because Loewe was merged into DWM in 1897):

M1889 Belgian, most rifles are pre-1899. However, most carbines made with Yatagan bayonet mounts are post 1899 and thus legally modern.

M1890 Turkish contract, all are pre-1899

M1891 Argentine contract rifles and carbines, all are pre-1899

M1891 Columbian contract (Argentine Pattern) most are pre-1899

M1891 Ecuadoran contract (Argentine Pattern) most are pre-1899

M1891 Peruvian contract, all are pre-1899

M1891/1892/1893 Spanish rifles, all are pre-1899

M1893/M1895 Spanish *carbines* –see date on receiver ring.

M1893 Turkish contract rifles, all are pre-1899 (Note: Many of there were re-barreled to 8 x57 Mauser at Ankara in the 1930s (and re-stamped on the receiver ring with their re-arsenalization year, but they are still legally “pre-1899” antiques.)

M1894 Brazilian contract, all are pre-1899

M1894 Swedish carbines–see date on receiver ring–Less than 40% are  pre-1899

M1895 Bolivian contract (M1891 Argentine pattern) all are pre-1899

M1895 Chilean contract by Ludwig Loewe –all are pre-1899

M1895 Chilean contract by DWM–Many later examples are post-1899, However, it has been determined with certainty that early DWMs with A through K prefix serial numbers are
pre-1899. Special thanks to The Dutchman in Indiana for the first “in captivity” report on a K-prefix M1895 DWM that is cartouched 1898. Also thanks to  Ed Albers, who spotted another, with serial number  K7023.  Since then, I found three others that were cartouched 1898, also with a K prefixes.

M1895 Chinese contract (Chilean Pattern)–all are 1899.

M1895 Costa Rican contract (Chilean Pattern) by Ludwig Loewe are
pre-1899 (DWMs with “L” or higher serial # prefix are not!)

M1895 El Salvadoran contract (Chilean pattern) by DWM. Most are
post-1899 except early production guns with three digit serial numbers.

M1895/96/97 Orange Free State contracts (Marked “O.V.S.” Some also have Chilean crests.  These are original Boer war contract guns and quite sought after by collectors!) All are pre-1899.

M1895 Paraguayan contract (Chilean pattern) by  DWM. Most are post-1899

M1895 Persian contract (Chilean Pattern) by Ludwig Loewe are pre-1899 (DWMs with “L” or higher serial # prefix are not!)

M1895 Peruvian contract (Chilean Pattern) by Ludwig Loewe are pre-1899 (DWMs with “L” or higher serial # prefix are not!)

M1895 Uruguayan contract (Chilean Pattern) by Ludwig Loewe are pre-1899 (DWMs with “L” or higher serial # prefix are not!)

M1896 Swedish rifles –see date on receiver ring–only about 1% are pre-1899, since 1899 was the first year of full production on this model Mauser, Oberndorf, and 1898 was the first production year at Carl Gustafs Stads Gevarsfaktori.

Merwin Hulbert revolvers, all are pre-1899

Mosin-Nagant rifles–see date marked UNDER the rear tang, near the action screw.  You have to take off the wood to see it.  The date that one first sees on top is actually on the rear of the BARREL, not on the receiver itself. Many of these receivers were made pre-1899. Even a lot of the “later”  Finnish M-91/30s and Model 39s (with barrel dates in the 1940s) have  receiver tangs dated in the 1890s! Note:  Some of the tang dates are two digits, such as 95 (for 1895) or 9^6 for 1896–with a vertical arrow between the digits.) Thanks to Dennis Kroh of Empire Arms for this information!

Nagant revolvers: Those produced at Liege, Belgium (serial number under 20,000) are pre-1899.  But virtually all of those produced at the Tula arsenal are legally modern.

Parker shotguns (serial # below 89,350)

Remington Model 1875 revolvers, all are pre-1899

Remington Model 1890 revolvers, all are pre-1899

Remington Model 1889 Shotguns (serial # below 89,124)

Savage Model 1895.  See: for details

Schmidt Rubin (Swiss) Rifles. Model 1889 – all are pre-1899

Schmidt Rubin (Swiss) Model 1893 Carbines (serial # below 5,000)

Schmidt Rubin (Swiss) Rifles. Model 1889/96 or 96/11 (which were built on pre-existing 89/96 receivers) are pre-1899 if they have a serial number less than 236,500.  Note: ONLY the 96/11 (and later models) are safe to use the high pressure M11 cartridge!

Schmidt Rubin (Swiss) Model 1897 “Cadet” short rifles (serial # below 2,100)

S&W DA .38 top break revolvers with hammer (serial # below 382,022)

S&W DA .38 top break hammerless (“lemon squeezer”) revolvers (serial # below 119,900)

S&W DA First Model revolver, all are pre-1899

S&W DA “Frontier” revolvers, all are pre-1899

S&W DA “Favorite” revolvers, all are pre-1899

Important Note: An article by Roy Jinks (S&W factory historian), some years ago reported that all of the *frames* for the large frame top-break S&Ws were made prior to 1899, and hence all New Model #3’s, .44 DA 1st Models,  DA Frontiers, and related models are considered “antique” by the BATFE, even though they may have been cataloged and even assembled well into the early 20th century.  Special thanks to Roy Jinks and the S&W Collector’s Association for this information.

Swift revolver (Made by Iver Johnson), all are pre-1895
U.S. (“Trapdoor”) Springfield .45-70, all are pre-1899

U.S. .30-40 Krag bolt actions (serial # below 152,670)

Webley Mk. I and Mk. II .455 Revolvers. All Mark I and Mark II revolvers are antique. (The Mark II was adopted in 1894, production ceased entirely in 1897 in favor of the Mark III which replaced it.  Most Mark IIIs and all subsequent Marks are post-1898.)

Winchester Model 1873  (serial # below 525,923)

Winchester Model 1876, all are pre-1899

Winchester Model 1885  (serial # below 84,701)

Winchester Model 1886  (serial # below 119,193)

Winchester Model 1887  (all were produced before 1899).

Winchester Model 1890  (serial # below 64,521)

Winchester Model 1892  (serial # below 165,432)

Winchester Model 1893  (serial # below 34,204)

Winchester Model 1894  (serial # below 147,685)

Winchester Model 1895  (serial # below 19,872)

Winchester Model 1897  Shotgun (serial # below 63,633 — some sources say 64,668, but better to use the lower number as your guide).  That is a just a small fraction of the total of 1,024,700 M1897s produced!  A TAKEDOWN Model 1897 that is pre-1899 is VERY rare, since they were a factory special order item.  They already command a big premium in price.

Winchester M1894 Takedown .30-30

Important Note: It is not just the model number that determines whether or not a gun is antique. You will need to do some research for most models, to determine the antique threshold serial number.  For example, just a very few Winchester lever actions were made in or before 1898.   See my FAQ on pre-1899 antiques for details on other models and the serial number ranges that qualify as pre-1899 federally exempt antiques.

Again, I recommend that you look for your pre-1899 guns soon, before the anticipated rush that will soon follow enactment of the Private Gun Transfer Ban!

The Devious Wording of H.R. 8

The Private Gun Transfer Ban bill is cleverly worded. The key portions of the H.R. 8’s wording are as follows:

SEC. 3. Firearms transfers.

Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by striking subsection (s);

(2) by redesignating subsection (t) as subsection (s); and

(3) by inserting after subsection (s), as redesignated, the following:

“(t) (1) (A) It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s).

“(B) Upon taking possession of a firearm under subparagraph (A), a licensee shall comply with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the inventory of the licensee to the unlicensed transferee.

“(C) If a transfer of a firearm described in subparagraph (A) will not be completed for any reason after a licensee takes possession of the firearm (including because the transfer of the firearm to, or receipt of the firearm by, the transferee would violate this chapter), the return of the firearm to the transferor by the licensee shall not constitute the transfer of a firearm for purposes of this chapter.

“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—

“(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;

“(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren; [Emphasis Added]

“(C) a transfer to an executor, administrator, trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death of another person;

“(D) a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm;

“(E) a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

“(F) a temporary transfer if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively—

“(i) at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting;

“(ii) while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the transferor—

“(I) has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in a place where it is illegal; and

“(II) has reason to believe that the transferee will comply with all licensing and permit requirements for such hunting, trapping, or fishing; or

“(iii) while in the presence of the transferor. [Emphasis Added]

“(3) (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.

“(B) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring licensees to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (1).

“(C) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring persons not licensed under this chapter to keep records of background checks or firearms transfers.

“(D) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision placing a cap on the fee licensees may charge to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (1).

“(4) It shall be unlawful for a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer possession of, or title to, a firearm to another person who is not so licensed unless the importer, manufacturer, or dealer has provided such other person with a notice of the prohibition under paragraph (1), and such other person has certified that such other person has been provided with this notice on a form prescribed by the Attorney General.”.

Each violation of this law would be a felony that could be punishable by 5 to 10 years in federal prison.  And along with that, of course the loss of voting rights and the loss of the right to possess any modern firearm or ammunition.

In Case of Disaster

As a prepper, I am particularly concerned about H.R. 8 requiring an FFL in the loop for 99% of gun sales. This means a phoned-in FBI National Instant Check System (NICS) background check for all sales of post-1898 guns. If there is ever a natural or man-made disaster that takes down either the power grid or the phone networks, then there will be no sales of modern guns until those systems are restored!  And even a government shutdown or a localized emergency that affects FBI administrative functions could bring gun sales to a halt, nationwide.

Lastly, this law would essentially ruin gun shows as we currently know them–reducing them to flea markets where you can buy ammo, jerky, and pepper spray, but not much else. (You know, like gun shows these days in California or New Jersey…) Presently, the majority of gun show tables are operated by private parties, rather than Federally-licensed dealers. But if a Private Gun Transfer Ban becomes law then many of those vendors will likely quit renting tables.

This Legislation Must Be Stopped!

Note! When I last checked, H.R. 8 had 225 co-sponsors, including its 9 original sponsors.

Please, contact your congressman and senator, and do so often, and politely. Don’t just tell them that you dislike H.R. 8.  Instead, explain to them how and why it is 100% unconstitutional:

The H.R. 8 Private Gun Transfer Ban relies on the Interstate Commerce Clause. But a ban on inherently intrastate commerce (sales of used merchandise between private party residents of the same state) by stretching the meaning of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Clearly, there is no INTERstate commerce involved, since an INTRAstate sale of a used gun is beyond and past any interstate commerce! No federal nexus means no federal jurisdiction!

When you contact your congressman and senators, make it clear that they will not be-re-elected if they vote for any anti-gun legislation, including the H.R. 8 (or its inevitable but not yet named Senate equivalent). I recommend that you mark your calendar to make contacts once every two weeks for the foreseeable future. I suggest that you alternate between phone calls, snail mail, faxes, and e-mails. When you make your calls, pay attention to when your representatives are back in their districts, on legislative breaks. Make your calls to their in-state offices during those breaks.

Again, please do your best to stop this horrible legislation.  But… it is wise to hedge your bets and buy few pre-1899 guns.

Addenda: I’m adding this in response to some of the first comments posted. Please don’t misconstrue my advice on pre-1899s. I’m recommending them as a supplementary investment, not as a primary firearms assortment for your family. By all means, continue to stock up on modern guns, magazines and ammunition. But for those of you that already have a capable battery of modern guns, please see the wisdom of also finding a few pre-1899 antiques. If not for your own use, then as guns that you will legally be able to freely buy/sell/trade if the private transfer ban becomes law. Paperless sales of everything else will become a felony. The time may come when your Johnny-Come-Lately neighbor comes begging to buy a gun.

Also, consider that concealed carry and vehicular carry laws may change for the worse, even at the Federal level. Owning a gun that is not a “firearm” per Title 18 of the U.S. Code could become an advantage. In the coming age of “Universal Background Checks”, you will be able to have access to the parallel unregulated universe of pre-1899 guns. – JWR


    1. @Joshua,

      You can bet on it. Here in CA we’re already coping with the upcoming July 1 deadline, upon which ammo purchases will require background checks and your name/data/purchase being held in the CADOJ database (for which the text of the law contains no sunset date, meaning your info might legally be held indefinitely for years). And to add more salt to the wound, the “instant” check is only against the state’s AFS, meaning if you don’t already have a gun registered with the state, you aren’t in their system and won’t pass the $1 “quick check”. You’ll then have to pay $19 to go through the full CADOJ check, which takes up to 10 days. All to buy a simple box of ammo.

      Unfortunately, not a single fellow CA shooter I’ve spoken with over the past few months has been following events and taken the step of stockpiling in advance. I began a few years ago (under Obummer’s reign), so that I now have enough to last me several years under my current consumption rate (regular training). The shelves are still stocked at our local discount sporting store, but I expect they’ll go bare soon. The CRPA (CA Rifle and Pistol Assoc.) has filed suit to have this overturned as unconstitutional, but it’s mired in the courts and could take a long time to sort out.

      Keep close watch on your own state politicians and let them know immediately if they try any of these shenanigans.

  1. I’ll do just like I do all other stupid laws, I’ll ignore it.

    I have owned a lot of pre 1899 guns. I have reloaded for years so all of these old odd ball cartridges are fun to play with. Don’t be afraid of reloading with black powder either, you can get exceptional results with it.

  2. I think people need to buy as many private sale MODERN guns as they can afford. I my state it’s not required to exchange any personal information for a private sale. The seller can require it if he chooses but most people just want to see that you are a resident (drivers license) and a concealed carry permit helps show you are in good standing with the law…. then it’s cash and carry. There are always guns for sale due to death, financial hardship etc. and now is the time to get them in long term hands to be passed down to close family members. I have a large family and have been planning for this for decades long before the kids were born.

    1. True story…

      A few years ago, our area’s largest gun range/shop acquired a Winchester rifle made in 1897 on consignment sale. I considered purchasing it, so I asked the nearest employee if I could make an offer. Very quickly into the conversation, I sensed that the employee wasn’t very knowledgeable about firearms, so I asked him (just to be certain) to confirm that this would be a cash sale with no paperwork. He looked at me like I was a potential criminal, and I explained the GCA to him and the pre-1899 cutoff. He had no idea what I was talking about, so I asked to speak with the store manager. A silver-haired man came over, and also(!) didn’t know what I was talking about, and insisted that all gun sales need to undergo a mandatory background check and registration. No matter how much I pressed him to check the GCA (and CADOJ website) to see for himself that an 1897 rifle isn’t considered a “firearm”, he refused and said there’s no way any gun isn’t a firearm.


  3. I agree with Joshua wuttke, it’s not practical for everyone to invest in old guns i’m trying to save money to increase my modern gun collection as it is.

    thanks for the article and God Bless

      1. Sadly, I agree. I’ll be buying some 80% blank AR lowers this week to keep on hand, given the possibility that Trump will use our 2A as a bargaining chip to gain traction on the border wall.

        1. You are on the right track. Buy all the 80% possible. We need 80% bolt guns, 80% .50 bmgs etc. Of course there is already legislation in the works to ban 80% firearms. Best of luck to all of us, the tree needs to be watered soon.

  4. If you are a resident of Kentucky please call write or e-mail Senator McConnell’s office and urge him to prevent this bill from being voted on in the Senate. He has this power as Senate Majority leader.
    I share Mr. Rawles concerns regarding President Trump’s position on this matter. While I am very glad he is our President instead of that other person, I must say his position on our precious Second Amendment Rights is not as strong as I would like.

  5. Washington State will not let you legally transfer an antique firearm if it has a serial number, without going through an FFL. I questioned this with the FFL when I sold a M-39 MN dated 1894, and asked about them making erroneous entry into their books with an antique. It seems that FFL’s are willing to do this to comply with State law.

  6. Get ready. Republicans will cave. Trump will cave. Get it yet? Do your remember something about ‘our duty’ in our Declaration of Independence? Never mind, go back to fighting your Boogeyman Muslims like good little distracted sheep…

    1. I concur. We are in a ‘Civil War’ now. It just hasn’t got to the shooting part.
      The socialists are determined to get there. When it turns hot, will not be the
      time to start preparing.

      1. Yes sir. The powers that wish all this upon us have much worse in store for us in the long run if they can incrementally get their way now. The tree needs to be watered sooner or later.

  7. I just don’t see the rush to pre-1899 guns. For what purpose? Investment? No thanks. I can only imagine the difficulty in stocking up on odd ball ammo calibers.

  8. I am with these posters. Time to invest in modern guns and ammo. The restrictions on coming on high capacity magazines, and firearms. Ammo will be next with limitations on volumes and calibers. This current government over reaching of our rights is going to continue due to the indoctrination of our youth. God Bless America or what is left of it.

    1. Please don’t misconstrue my advice on pre-1899s. I’m recommending them as a supplementary investment, NOT as a primary firearms assortment. By all means, continue to stock up on modern guns, magazines and ammunition. But for those of you that already have a capable battery of modern guns, please see the wisdom of also finding a few pre-1899 antiques. If not for your own use, then as guns that you will LEGALLY be able to freely buy/sell/trade if the private transfer ban becomes law. Paperless sales of everything else will become a felony. The time may come when your Johnny-Come-Lately neighbor comes begging to buy a gun. Also, consider that concealed carry and vehicular carry laws may change for the worse, even at the Federal level. Owning a gun that is not a “firearm” per Title 18 of the U.S. Code could become an advantage. In the coming age of “Universal Background Checks”, you will be able to have access to the parallel unregulated universe of pre-1899 guns.

      1. I can see the validity of that qualification indeed. From my perspective it is splitting hairs legally when faced with how a cop is going to react to you having any firearm on you at all, whether regulated or not. More than likely the trend will be to simply take the firearm on the pretense that he doesn’t know if it is regulated or not, and you can always make the case for getting it back later, assuming you have enough money to pursue the legal action, and they don’t summarily destroy it beforehand. CAF says he can do that without sufficient cause, and it will be on you to remedy the situation via an attorney and court time. Same will happen if they come to your house to take any regulated firearms. They aren’t going to evaluate whether each one qualifies or not, they are just going to take them all. If you have a gun and you can’t immediately show it was legally transferred when confronted about it, whether it is regulated or not, you are going to lose it once this bill becomes law. Cops simply are not equipped to make technical evaluations out in public. They will leave that to the courts after they have “impounded” your property.

        But I am all for buying more guns, any guns, as long as they work. I have priorities based on my experience and perceived needs. YMMV.

      2. Guess we should be building millions and millions of 80% percent firearms as well??? Surely Mr. Rawles you must realize that the people that wish to foist all of this upon us do not have our best interest at heart??

  9. I don’t understand ! Where is the “ We will never give up our gun rights “ rhetoric? The idea of even making plans to concede to such legislation and trying to prepare for the inevitable legislation throws up the white flag. If the answer is to buy firearms that pre-1899 date is the answer, count me out, at some point we are going to have to stand and say no or get in line and get some money for the firearms we have because we’ve conceded defeat.

    1. The black market will always be there–if you can trust anyone. And you really cannot trust “Johnny-Come-Lately.” He’s probably a mole. So sell him a bolo knife.

  10. I think a far better recommendation right now would be to invest in/purchase as many modern firearms as you can today, before such a bill becomes law. Even so, this feels like a mostly unenforceable law should it ever pass.

    The one I am more concerned about is a national red flag law that gives the govt yet another excuse to come and get your guns. Of course, they can do that now anyways, anytime they want. Louisiana during hurricane season is a good example of that. Civil Asset Forfeiture is another good one.

    You need to prepare for the eventuality of the govt coming to get your guns. Nothing prevents them from doing it now, regardless of any new laws being passed. They already have that ability and use it whenever they see fit. Adding another law to the books that says they can doesn’t really change anything.

    I will stick with a modern firearm arsenal myself, and prepare as though the govt will eventually be coming for my guns sooner or later, regardless of whether they are relics or something competitive. When they come to get them, they aren’t going to care whether they are federally exempt or not. They will take all they can find, for any reason, for no reason, just because they can.

  11. Will be totally unenforceable like the NJ magazine ban which has seen ZERO magazines turned in / destroyed. I agree it’s absolute garbage legislation but means nothing if people do not abide by it. They can’t enforce it.

  12. Trump got elected on the gun issue in my opinion. If he pisses off gun owners where will he get the votes for reelection?
    Many will not vote for a president that ended private sales. Obama didn’t even do that.
    I think what we face is nearly certain restrictions SOON, either through legislation now or an election in less than 2 years.
    Anyone who hesitates to purchase now is a fool. Prices are low and most things are very available.

  13. Are antique firearm reproductions not included under the pre-1899 law as well?

    I have a few I bought from a box store, and I don’t remember any paperwork at all. I think you can still mail order them even, depending on your state. I’m talking about the Pietta/ Traditions stuff here.

    No offense to JWR, but why in the blue blazes would you buy an actual 120+ year old firearm when you could just buy a Traditions for $200-$300? The value would still surely skyrocket, and be just as legal under the Orwell scenario.

    1. My post focused on pre-1899 CARTRIDGE guns. The Federally-exempt reproductions that you are referring to are all muzzle-loaders. Those are NOT suitable for self defense. But a pre-1899 Mauser bolt action rifle is plenty capable of slaying either man or beast.

        1. Yes, but we live in the age of repeating firearms (Pump, bolt, lever-action, semi-auto…) In the modern context, bringing a muzzleloader to a gun fight is not much better than “bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

          1. Mostly agreed. You still have the option of revolvers, even in blackpowder. I’ll circle back in a second.

            I thought the foucus of your article was related to the possibility of modern guns being unavailable/ confiscated by BATFE. Although not ideal, I’ll take a black powder revolver over a pointy stick any day.

        2. Some would say that a few hundred thousand Northerners and Southerners could attest to the fact that “black powder weapons have killed plenty of men and beasts in self defense situations.”
          And there are more than a few who have been killed with centerfire black powder weapons in the decades that followed, so I’ve been told. 🙂

          Me? Were I headed to a gunfight, I’d stick to my HK, AR, M1911, Glock and Sig.

      1. Quick addition, I’ve never used one so I had to Google, but you can buy pre-1899 reproduction blackpowder lever action rifles. Revolvers and lever-action aren’t the best, especially with black powder velocities, but they are a heck of a lot more affordable.

  14. Stupid question….is it possible that this bill is being fast tracked so that the Dems can use it as a bargaining chip with the border wall funding fight? Telling Trump they’ll give in on the border wall if he signs this bill?

  15. I disagree. An unjust law is no law at all. Ignore it.

    The technology is now at the point where you can make your own gun at home for just a little more than you can get at the store. Soon, it’ll be cheaper to make one than buy one.

    I think the main issue will be ammo. How to make modern gunpowder. How to source the material. How to make bullets. Because that’s where this is headed.

    And also, get it now, as much as possible.

    1. I found PSA AR kits for $299 and free shipping, only lacking your lower receiver – so you’re looking at $350 or a little more to DIY. Try finding a new AR for that price point.

  16. I was wondering if maybe someone could do a form letter with all of the pertinent language to send to our representatives. It could be posted here for all to use. That way we could send a letter with knowledge and concise information concerning this new law.

  17. What if it isn’t a sale but a gift ? Nothing exchanged in receiving this – how does this legislation handle that ? The same question with gun trades (I’ll give you my Glock for that S&W – fair enough?)

    I just see this as an effort for firearm use to go underground. No more public shooting for fear of being stopped by The Authority. No more teaching new shooters the how-tos = less future shooters. No more target practice – disuse becomes no use = less future shooters. Shooting / hunting becomes the forgotten in dust bins of the mind = less future shooters.

    1. Under this legislation, any trades or gifts (other than within an immediate family) would require getting an FFL involved, filling out a Form 4473, and calling the FBI for an Official Okey-Dokey. They are calling all such commerce “Interstate Commerce”, which is absolute nonsense. When I sell my neighbor a USED gun, it has no connection to interstate commerce whatsoever. The Federal government is seriously overstepping their bounds!

      1. Time for the 80 percent business to kick into high gear. .50 bmgs, accurate long range bolt guns, everything. Best not to leave any serial numbers behind on a battlefield

        1. Unless you live here in CA, lol. I’ve built my fair share of 80% guns, but beginning this month it’s now a misdemeanor to possess any firearms that don’t have serial numbers. Nobody would ever know or care, unless you use an unserialized gun in a defense incident that ends up in a police report. I’m still getting more blank lowers, though, to at least have them in hand for the future.

  18. If I may offer my .02, I don’t know much about “antique” firearms, and can’t speak intelligently about the wisdom or lack thereof of acquiring them (though I’m not against buying anything that goes bang), but I personally would offer the following advice now: Buy as much and as many as you can, quickly. Because whether Trump wins or loses in 2020, at some point, another Dem will be in the White House, and when that happens, it will be payback time, and you can bet your bottom dollar (or bottom 1894 Mosin), that at the very least we’re getting an AWB and Mag ban, and there will be no sunset clause on this one. What I started doing last year was assembling my list of wanted firearms, organizing them from most expensive to least, and working down. I am now 2 firearms away from having the full collection I am comfortable saying “If I can never buy another gun again, I’m satisfied with what I have for myself and my heirs”. BC a day may very well be coming when prices aren’t low and availability is

  19. You may want to have a few old bolt actions in your collection, and not for reselling. Some of those old Mausers were very well made and very strong actions. If I could afford to buy ten Argentine Mausers (7.65×53), I would. I look at them as sort of a back up plan C.

    IF, I say IF, you ever needed to improvise ammunition, that old bolt action can handle anything from squib loads to magnum loads and everything in between… your modern self loading rifle is going to be a very picky eater by comparison (meaning it might be hard to dial in the correct load to cycle it, especially if you have to cook up your own “kyhber pass” powder).

    I can hear someone saying, “Heck, I’ve got 5000 rounds safely stored under my bed”. What are you going to do when President Kamala Harris signs a bill limiting your ability to buy ammo to 20 rounds a month, or 100 rounds a year? Or maybe ammo sales stop completely one day. Ok, so, you’ve got enough to keep you going for the next twenty years, and then you take your dirt nap. What are your kids or their kids or their kids going to do? Think 50 years into the future.

    I’m not saying ditch your AR’s or AK’s, I’m saying have a lower technology back up plan.

  20. 2013 CT An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety
    Compliance: 4 to 15 %

    2013 NY UnSafe Act
    Compliance 2.2%

    2019 NJ Magazine Ban
    Compliance 0%

    Gee, these politicians just don’t get it, do they?

    I am of the opinion that there is no reasoning or compromising with people whose sole ambition in life is to disarm me and leave my family and me as defenseless sheep amid government wolves.

    Write to your congress critters if you want to, but remember that Chairman Mao Tse Tung was right about one thing when he said,

    “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

    In Connecticut, we already have Red Flag Laws. As a matter of fact, I think it originated here. No private party sales without going through a FFL since our 2013 “assault weapon ban”, all to protect the children, of course. Fingerprints and mug shots are now required to get state issued certificates to purchase pistols, long guns AND ammunition. Lots of us took up reloading after that last one.

    The statists are getting tired of instituting tyranny state by state. It’s taking too long. They’re really want that big enchilada of federal civilian disarmament.

    I think JWR is right when he advises buying Antiques as an investment. Besides, just being able to explain to your gunphobe in-laws that it’s not a firearm and can’t be regulated as a firearm should be enough fun to entice you to buy one.

    But I’m not giving up any of my modern arms to some state or federal thug and going to the fight with a 130 year old Mauser when they’ll have MP5s. I’m not going to play their game.

    First get your main battle rifle and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Buy it privately if you can, but buy it now. If your state or federal government decides later that you need to register it or turn it over to them, and you do either of those, then we have lost this battle before it even started.

    In Connecticut, 5.56×45 AR15s are illegal to purchase, but a 7.62×51 M1A without a flash suppressor is perfectly legal. Go figure!

  21. Many are correct, and most all are in the ballpark in their comments. Just finished reading about the evolution of the 2nd amendment by Stephen P. Halbrook. A lot of it had to do with the ratification of the 14th amendment. Numerous references to court cases wherein the courts definitively not only agreed the 2nd meant ALL citizens not convicted of a crime (felony) had the right to keep and bear (carry) arms. Primarily for self defense but to come to the aid and defense of the states (as in militia) as well. Some cases had to do with state militias confiscating arms held by freed slaves. Not only did the courts uphold the 2nd as pertaining to the feds, they also, almost to every single one stated the 2nd applied to the states as well. Meaning neither the feds nor the states can control your right to keep and bear arms. Their main objective regarding the 2nd is to PROTECT that right!!!!

    ALL regulations and laws restricting an individuals right to keep and bear arms are illegal, with the exception of those convicted of a felony. As stated in the Constitution. As for the criminals that introduce and support these illegal bills, they are quite simply in violation of their Oath and need to be removed from office mui pronto, if not sooner. It matters not who they are or what they say they stand for. Violate ANY portion of the Constitution and your history. Hell, write in your cousin, nephew, neighbor, doesn’t matter, get the bums gone.
    The time has past where patriots and believers in our God given rights and Constitution had another complete gov waiting in the wings to take over once we finally get the cahones to, as our Declaration states:
    “That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing it’s Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    For a modern updated view of how this is done in the most peaceful manner, simply look to our neighbor to the South, Venezuela, and the transition that they are trying desperately to make happen. Maduro is no longer recognized and a “transition” gov is trying to take hold in order to bring the country back into some semblance of order in the hopes of peacefully voting in an entire new gov.
    This is, to a degree, what happened here in 1775. Their biggest detriment is that only the military has arms. Which is where our present politi-criminals want us.

    Never ever ever give up your arms for any reason. Any laws passed contrary to the duly ratified amendments are null and void. But they can throw you in jail! Sure they can, if you let them. And can they really throw everyone in jail? Who are they gonna bully then? And I do agree with Mr. Rawles view on trying to obtain arms of pre-1899 vintage. At the very least you will be preserving items of historical value.

    I’m just sorry I don’t have the organizational abilities or knowledge to get this started. It takes minds more versatile than mine.

  22. I already have guys in pawnshops here in Idaho telling me that all private sales are now illegal. If you do a private sale at a gun show you will be arrested by the ATF. And they cite the recent training they have received from the ATF as the source of this information. Appears to me the government is going ahead with this ban on private sales already — irregardless of whether the legislation has been passed or not.

    The real problem we need to consider — this shutdown goes on for another month — the ATF goes out of business. And so do many gun dealers since they won’t be able to sell guns due to lack of ability to background check. And in this climate do you think that the government will be that eager to issue new dealer permits or do anything to encourage the gun sales industry?

    1. I think that either that pawn shop counter clerk or the ATF agent that trained him were blowing smoke. The ATF has NEVER been willing to fully define for the public record what “engaged in the business” means. They cite it only amorphously, when attempting to charge people in dealing is firearms without a license. The ATF is never willing to cite any firm “number of guns per month” or “number of Dollars per month” or “percentage of annual income” figure, even in sworn testimony when on the witness stand in a court of law. They don’t want to go on record as setting those as standards. Just like the IRS, they only want to meet want scared, complaint, bleating, Sheeple.

  23. Yes the ATF is blowing smoke. and the FFL holders are listening. Either that or risk losing their license. An idle threat is still a threat. It’s a page from the Obama, Holder play book. And the Dems are pushing it in the face of new legislation. It’s how the Dems are circumventing the Senate and Trump’s veto power. Just make it happen, don’t ask me how. Just do it. And the ATF dutifully does. Smoke and mirrors.

  24. The good news in all this is that America’s upper crust will be safe behind their walls guarded by gun bearing personnel. Guns, grenades and rockets will be available along the southern border. Too bad the average American won’t possess them.

    Or will they?

  25. Just know that getting a loan from a pawn shop with guns as the collateral is the same as selling them to them, I did it once years ago in Ca and had to fill out FFL background check papers and pay the fee on EACH one once I was able to bail them out. And no, they didn’t tell me this until I went to get them out.

  26. It seems the agenda is brutally wicked. Get the people to use their limited funds to buy more and more weapons.
    Than President Trump (since most people here think he will cave), will trade gun rights for a wall that will never be built.
    Question, will President Trump order pure confiscation or will it be what Oregon is proposing now.

    1. It doesn’t matter to Trump or the global elite if he is a one term president. They are all sold out and they all have their damage to do to America, the constitution and we the people. Can you spell FREEMASON

  27. Nice list of US antiques. Now give me advice on my 1878 Martini, the Rudyard Kipling famed gun.

    Hundreds were pulled out of Paki and India armories and brought home with us from the Kabul Bazaars.

    Where can we get the old brass casings, bullet casting tools, and what powder should we use?

    Anyone, please give recommendations. Thanks and God Bless

  28. I wonder if there are enough of us left to make a difference anymore. Our elected officials do not have our best interests at heart, only enriching themselves, increasing their wealth and solidifying their power. That goes for both parties, they’re all politicians at their core. Either the American people will say “Enough!” and we will have our Bunker Hill moment, or they will bend over and take it, without so much as a fight.

  29. How can a revolution against tyrants be fought with pre 1899 weapons?
    If this totally unconstitutional law is passed it is null and void from the start per the 2nd amendment! Why do we keep honoring laws that are easily seen as unconstitutional and illegal?

  30. I have learned a lot from JWR over the years and his recommendations are not to be taken lightly. I am now in the process of researching these pre-1899 firearms, not only for investment, but as in a previous comment above, for “Plan C.” While a bolt action does not offer a semi-auto’s volume and rapid fire, in trained hands and adequate caliber it is still a very formidable weapon…think Scout Rifle advocated by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper.
    However, as a priority I am also taking JWR’s advice to stock up on ammo and magazines…especially with current prices so low this is a no brainer. I am also attempting to standardize my firearms into .308, 5.56, 9mm, and of course .22LR along with as much ammo in these calibers as I can afford. As to other pieces in my possession I will keep them clean and preserved along with a more limited ammo supply for either barter or for specialty uses…like .300 BLK.
    All laws that restrict a citizen’s keeping and bearing of arms are, by definition, unconstitutional. That has not stopped the statist criminal politicians and bureaucrats (and their enablers in law enforcement) from ignoring any part of the constitution they deem inconvenient to our enslavement. There is a saying that “when the time comes to bury our guns, the time has come to dig them up.” I believe that time is approaching like the proverbial train coming out of the tunnel.
    Those of us who put faith and trust in Donald Trump have been sorely disappointed. Whether or not his heart is in the right place I cannot determine…but I know he has been largely ineffective on the main promises of his campaign…and to a large extent we have allowed him to stand alone against the Marxist inspired aspirations of the Democrats and their Republican collaborators.
    I do not know at what point we will need to “unbury” our guns but I know if we wait too late there will be an even bigger price to pay for not doing so (think Venezuela). It is more important than ever to solidify our personal understanding of the principals of life, liberty and property. We need to apply these principals to every aspect of our life, public and private.
    I am attempting to emulate Christ by persuading others by teaching and example…not by force except as when the temple needs a bit of cleaning due to abuse of power by the temple masters.
    I will look for ways to influence politicians to avoid the temptation of making even more burdensome rules and regulations. I attempt to befriend police officers in hopes of reminding them of their oath to the constitution. If I am ever called to jury duty I will use that opportunity to “jury nullify” any charges that violate the Christian principals of personal liberty and property. For example, while I do not use, or advocate the use of drugs, I will vote to acquit for any violations of laws that prevent consenting adults from engaging in whatever commerce they mutually wish to participate in. I will certainly nullify in any situation in which there are charges of firearms violations.
    I pray the time to ultimately “unbury” our guns does not come, but I also pray to know the time, and have the courage to act, if it does.

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