Federal Firearms Law

I am not a lawyer. I am not qualified in any way to give you legal advice. This page contains links to other sources and general information. State law is in addition to federal law. YOU are responsible for complying with the law.


ATF Who's Bringing The Chips?

The agency responsible for enforcing federal firearms law is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commonly referred to as ATF.

ATF web site.

ATF federal firearms regulations reference guide. (PDF)

Some sections of the ATF reference guide of particular interest to gun owners:

Note: The term license, as used in the ATF guide, refers to federal licenses to conduct business and are not related to state licenses to carry firearms.

  • 922d - (Page 9 of the guide) Disqualifiers (Who can't have a gun?) Generally not if you are: Under indictment for, or convicted of, a crime punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year. A fugitive from justice. An unlawful user of, or addict of a controlled substance (drugs). Judged a mental defective or sent to an institution by a court. An illegal or non-immigrant alien. Dishonorably discharged from the military. A person who renounced his/her US citizenship. The subject of a restraining order. A convict of a domestic violence crime.
  • 922q2A - (Page 11 of the guide) Guns are prohibited in school zones. There are exceptions to the federal law but state law may be more strict!
  • 926a - (Page 24 of the guide) Rules for transporting guns out of state in your car. Generally OK if you are legal where you came from, legal where you are going, they are unloaded, and locked in the trunk or a hard container not readily accessible (ammo too). (NOT the console or glove box!) Caution! Some states will arrest you anyway and make you defend yourself in court or try to get you to plea bargain.
  • 930 - (Page 25 of the guide) Firearms are prohibited in federal facilities, courts and post offices.
  • Questions and Answers - (Page 169 of the guide)

Federal Law also covers Federal Firearms Licenses, (FFLs), which are not about carrying guns but about firearms business.

FFLs are required for:

  • Importers
  • Manufacturers
  • Dealers
  • Gunsmiths - If you are going to be in the business of repairing or modifying guns.
  • Collectors - A license is not required to be a collector, but it could make it easier to acquire certain firearms.

Wikipedia article on gun law.