Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine and Ammunition Laws

By Jim Shults

High Capacity Gun Magazines
High Capacity Gun Magazines
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Grand Junction, CO –-( Beginning in 2013 we can expect a flood of state and federal bills/laws to restrict or flat out outlaw certain firearms, ammunition, magazines, accessories and even attachments (such as bayonet lugs, etc.).

Here is something most people do not know and we hope readers will help to make this info much more public. First, many legislatures will write bills/laws that have a grandfather clause in them so as to make the law more palatable to the opposition and citizens. But if they can ram the particular law through without a grandfather clause, they will (Colorado will become a new and primary target for ram through tactics). However, and again if compromise is necessary to pass the particular law they may put in a grandfather clause.

But what does that really mean?
A grandfather clause may imply that if you already own that newly banned or restricted firearm, magazine, ammunition, etc. that your stuff is exempt from the bill or new law. Thus, you may think you and your currently owned stuff is protected. It’s sort of a feel good thing “whew I already own it so I am safe.” But wait, there’s more!

Here is the catch. The grandfather clause is defined by the precise specific legal language or definition –or lack thereof– in the particular bill or law. A grandfather clause can easily be defined or not defined (in detail) depending on how the bill/law is written–the devil is really in the details.

It can mean you can keep the item(s), if you can prove your absolute ownership (to their satisfaction) prior to the law; or that if you have it you can keep it regardless, but under penalty of law you may be forbidden to give away, sell or in any manner transfer the grandfathered item to anyone else–period! You can’t take it to a gun show, sell it privately, or even put it in your will. It is all illegal.

Editors Note: New Jersey has the classic example of this in their high capacity magazine ban. If you owned a high cap mag before the ban you now are an automatic felon, as the law prevents you from destroying, selling, modifying, transfering or having in your possession a high cap mag.

And as stated previously, depending on how the law is written or structured (and it can be very cleverly worded) a person possessing the item may have to absolutely prove that they obtained the item before the ban went into effect–or they may (again depending precisely on how the law and exemptions are or are not worded) be in prima facie violation (like possessing a stolen gun) and open to prosecution. The choice to prosecute is up to the applicable district attorney or federal prosecutor’s office. If convicted it can mean a criminal record, loss of all firearms, jail or prison, fines, etc. and, regardless of the penalty the banned/grandfather item(s) will be confiscated.

Still feel good about grandfather clauses? If not, then put out the word about how they work and be prepared to recognize and fight against this political scam.

This short white paper was prepared courtesy of Shults Media Relations, LLC.  A PR firm for and a friend of the firearm industry and firearm owners.


Jim Shults understands shooting and has a strong background as an experienced shooter. He has won hundreds of NRA local, state, regional and national shooting championships and set four national records. He is DCM/NRA Distinguished Rifleman, NRA Master in multiple-disciplines, outdoorsman, and has trained and consulted SWAT and counter-terrorism units around the world.

For more information please contact:
Jim Shults
Shults Media Relations, LLC

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If my fiancee past away and didnt have a will which left me with an apparently illegal firearm . I have been charged with possession of an illegal firearm and inproper storage of a firearm. Does the clause come in to effect for that i am hoping as i no nothing really of firearms ?? Please need some advice first time in trouble and this is what i get charged with.?????


Someone please help, I’m uneducated on guns and the laws but my daughter’s dad was arrested and had a pistol in his car. They immediately took him to a federal holding and is now looking at 10 yrs federal time. I’ve heard something about a grandfather law about if the gun was passed down generation through generation he may stand a chance?! Anyone with any info please help. Thanks in advance

VT Patriot

Hi Heather. Depending on the state or city, he may be in a lot of trouble. Sad, but true. The ‘grandfather’ law that you’re referring to has nothing to do with heritage or hand me downs. It is in reference to a legally owned firearm or accessory that a person acquired legally that becomes illegal or restricted due to new ‘laws’. An example would be a 30 round magazine that a state decides is now illegal, or an AR 15 that some jurisdiction decides should be illegal. If I own one, and it is discovered, am I a felon even… Read more »


I have spent a great deal of time just reading up on ohio laws. Doesn’t matter when the crime,mental illness or drug charge was. Or if a cop lined you up with 20 charges and a public attorney tells you to plea bargain for just one of them. Which ps avoid public defenders. Doesn’t matter if your wife started a fight and got you arrested for DV. Or if you were prescribed narcotics yesterday or 20 years ago. The new gun laws are profiling and stereo typing individuals to eventually remove guns from every one hands. Its like ohio allows… Read more »


All those laws violate my Constitutional Rights, no state shall pass an ex post facto law, The 2nd amendment shall not be infringed.The 4th amendment seizure of property illegally. The 5th Amendment nor shall property be taken for public use without compensation, 10th amendment violation , 2nd amendment guarantees the right to bear arms therefore illegal for states to regulate.


I would really appreciate the answer to the above question.



What was the date when everyone had to register weapons to your Local state Police/FFL and/or any government entity?


I am new to Ammo Land. To what Chuck said on Dec 15 about the media giving too much attention to the shooter, I totally agree, they are John Doe to me and anyone, sane or not, that does this type of act are cowards. Guns are not the issue. Too many people forget the real root of the particular problem in Colorado and in Connecticut, they were on Medication that is known to have suicidal side effects and then some. Let Congress talk about that and go after the medications. Next is how many drinks can be served at… Read more »


Anything that fires more than 5 rounds, looks military, ever been used by military……will be banned! Probably by executive order. Manufacturers will be put out of business unless Barry decides they can be winners in his group. You can keep your concealed, assault , pre ban items…they will need to be registered with law enforcement at some ridiculous priced yearly permit fee……to pay for the new school security system to be put in place, TSA type power grab. If you don't register weapons it will be a felony. Confiscation? not until Barry can have the UN do it….lead from behind,… Read more »


So much for proving beyond a reaasonable doubt…. this would get dismissed by any legitimate judge oh wait….cant have justice on stolen land


Either way, grandfathered/not, if a Fine-swine AWB2013 bill becomes law it's not about guns, it's about the start date of something big & bad.

No one will be safe, even those with professional full-time security, unless they hunker down and let those outside the bunker run everything.



Everyone needs to write their Senators and congressman to let them know there are is still strong opposition to any gun ban. I am fine with mandating background checks at gun shows, improving the current background check system, cracking down on people buying guns for someone else, and having better mental health treatment. However, there is no way I will support any ban on guns or certain types of guns or magazines(especially not the 30 round magazines they are calling high caps)


Who needs guns? The Oklahoma bomber used still Easily obtained products to build a bomb that killed over 160 people.


Bluedog, to answer you question, most liberals don't know the difference between any firearm. Watch a spy movie and see them install a "silencer" on a revolver…rediculous. A true "Assault Rifle" is fully automatic, so as to keep the enemies head down while others advance. a commercially sold sami-automatic rigle, no matter how it looks, is the civilian version of it's military cousin, but it fires no different then my Marlin .22 tube fed semiauto rifle.


chuck, You hit a home run on this. What I want to know is I thought that this JERK kiled all thes children with two hand guns. Why are these people wanting to ban so called assult rifles? Dont they know the difference between the two? ( I guess not)


We don't back down from gun control in any shape or form. The grandfather clause restricts what you can buy in the future. It is saying you are a criminal and can't be trusted with this item. These people who do these kind of things are just using guns as a tool to get fame and glory. When the media flashes their names and pictures across the TV screen they give them this for forever. Even if they die it is always there. These people should only be called John Doe. Their pictures or real names should never be known.… Read more »


@Jules, So, if someone lets you have Glock with a standard magazine, you are going to murder a room full of kindergartners. Perhaps the police and a shrink need to talk to you.


Johnston, you can get them at my house, if you have the balls. Who knows, you may even walk away with them.


Don't need a gun: Mass Knife attack at school

Frank Johnston

Wow, these high-capacity magazines look like just the ticket if, say, you needed to blow away a room full of potentially threatening kindergartners before killing yourself.

Do you guys sell these directly? If not, where can I get them.