Curios and Relics – The Legal Brief ~ VIDEO

The Gun Collective
The Gun Collective

USA – -( Welcome back to The Legal Brief, the show where we CRUSH the various legal myths and misinformation surrounding various areas of the gun world. I’m your host Adam Kraut and today is the 50th episode of The Legal Brief! To celebrate, we’re covering a topic that was widely requested, you guys REALLY wanted to hear about this one. Curios and Relics.

Are you concerned about the NRA and the direction it’s heading? Want to ensure your interests are represented on the Board of Directors? If you are a NRA life member, an annual member for the past five years, or know someone who is, head on over to to get a petition to place me on the ballot for the NRA Board of Directors in 2018.

Curios and Relics, or C&R firearms, are a category of firearms that are defined in the regulations as “Firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons.” To be classified as a curio or relic the firearm must either be: 1) a Firearm which was manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; 2) Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and 3) Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that similar firearms are not available except as collector’s items, or that the value of similar firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.

Firearms automatically attain C&R status when they are 50 years old. Any firearm that is at least 50 years old, and in its original configuration, would qualify as a C&R firearm. ATF has recognized only complete, assembled firearms as curios or relics. The classification of surplus military firearms as curios or relics has extended only to those firearms in their original military configuration. Frames or receivers of those guns are not generally recognized as curios or relics. For example, a Winchester 1892 would be a C&R firearm but a replica made by Rossi would not be since it was not manufactured more than 50 years ago.

ATF also maintains a list of firearms that are curios and relics. If you’re curious that list is down in the description. The list is not all inclusive and it is not a requirement for the firearm to be on that list to qualify as a C&R firearm. Further, the appropriations bill has denied funding to ATF to update the list, so don’t expect any revisions in the near future. You can, however, always submit a firearm to ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division, or as we like to call it, FATD, for classification, if you are unsure or want peace of mind in a formal determination. Yes, that means actually sending your gun to ATF.

So what is the big deal about curios and relics? Why do you guys want to know about this? Well, you may know that ATF issues a license specifically for individuals who are collecting curios and relics. The primary advantage of obtaining one of these licenses is that a collector can acquire Curios or Relics in interstate commerce. Which means you can have a C&R gun shipped directly to your house. A licensed collector may acquire and dispose of Curios or Relics at any location, however, dispositions to nonlicensees must generally be made to residents of the same State in which the collector is licensed.

It’s important to note that it is NOT a license to do business under. This is not the same as a traditional FFL. It is for enhancing one’s own collection. If the intent is to engage in the business in dealing in firearms, which we covered in a previous episode on FFLs, click here or down in the description to see that, you would need to obtain a Type 01 FFL. Simply put, the main benefit and purpose of the collector’s license is to enable a firearms collector to obtain curio or relic firearms from outside his or her State of residence since they can be shipped directly to them. Having a C&R license does not supercede state or local laws, so if a certain type of firearm is prohibited in that jurisdiction, a C&R license does not change the ability of the individual to obtain it.

Antique Firearms Gun Collectors
Antique Firearms Gun Collectors

There are also an entire category of firearms that are C&Rs but also fall under the purview of the National Firearms Act. These firearms are able to be shipped directly to licensed collectors AFTER a Form 4 has been approved. The advantage for the licensed collector is that if the C&R NFA firearm is coming from a dealer in another state, it can be shipped directly to the collector after the form has been approved, rather than to a dealer in their state and then having to wait for another form to be approved before obtaining the firearm. So for instance a Smith and Wesson Model 76, a C&R machine gun, could be shipped directly to the collector after the Form 4 was approved. This is also true of unserviceable NFA firearms, which qualify as curios or relics and are transferred on a Form 5. ATF also has a list of firearms on their C&R list which were NFA firearms but have since been removed from the purview of the NFA because they are collectors items and classified as curios or relics by ATF.

As you can see, curios and relics are a category of firearms that grow in popularity each year. As of June of this year, there are currently 56,088 C&R licenses which are active. It is the second most popular license type that ATF issues. For some perspective, there are already some AR-15s that are C&Rs. Imagine what will be C&R firearms in the next 50 years. If you know someone who has questions about curios or relics be sure to send them this video. If you learned something new or found it informative be sure to hit that like button. And if you aren’t subscribed already, you better make that happen and be sure to ring that bell so you don’t miss an episode. Also, check out my website

And as always thanks for watching!

Links for this episode:

  • 27 C.F.R. § 478.11 – Curios or Relics Definition :
  • ATF Curios and Relic List :
  • Application for FFL :
  • Do you need an FFL – TLB :
  • 9 Types of FFL – TLB :

About The Gun Collective

The Gun Collective is dedicated to bringing you the highest quality, fast paced gun content possible. Started in June 2015 by Jon Patton, TGC has rapidly taken off to become a go-to source for the things you need to know without a bunch of BS. Please check out to learn more and see what the hype is all about!