Below The Radar: S 443 Re-Define “Antique Firearms”

Second Amendment Activist Protest Activism Take Action
Second Amendment Activist Protest Activism Take Action

United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- Sometimes, a pro-Second Amendment lawmaker can introduce a piece of legislation where the idea makes sense, but the execution is a little off. What happens as a result is that a gain for the Second Amendment either does not happen, or it is not as big as it could be.

This is the case with S 443, introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The idea is a good one, to re-define “antique firearms” under federal law. But what Senator Cassidy does, in some ways, is actually a miss in terms of advancing our Second Amendment rights.

One thing to be noted about when it comes to antique firearms: They are less heavily regulated than modern firearms. Current federal law at 18 USC 921, enacted as the Gun Control Act of 1968, states that any firearm manufactured before 1898 is considered antique. Cassidy’s legislation changes the definition to say that if the firearm was manufactured more than 100 years ago, it is antique.

On the one hand, this is an advance, as time is marching on, and the technology of firearms is advancing over the years. It’s been 52 years since the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted, and an update of the definition is way overdue on some fronts. However, when the law was enacted in 1968, the 1898 date meant that Congress had decided that a 70-year-old firearm was antique.

In S 443, Cassidy adds 30 years to the “antique” status. So, while updating the definition of “antique firearm” is the right thing to do, Cassidy has managed to mess up on the execution of this legislation in a manner that is, effectively, a slight setback for our Second Amendment rights. This is not to say that Senator Cassidy is not supportive of the Second Amendment. On the contrary, he has a good track record in Congress. In this case, it may sound like nitpicking, but in this case, this poor execution means the gain in our Second Amendment rights is not as much as it could be.

If a gap of 70 years was good enough to declare a firearm antique in 1968, it’s more than good enough now. Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Senators and Representative and politely ask them to support S 443 if it is amended appropriately.


About Harold HutchisonHarold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.

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Bubb
Bubb
26 days ago

Good catch!

tetejaun
tetejaun
29 days ago

ALL ‘gun control laws’ are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
As they are unconstitutional, they are null and void on their face.
They only work because Americans are afraid to be Americans. Kneeling is easier than standing.
Cowardice has its consequences.
“..shall not be infringed.” is an absolute. It is NOT the “..suggestion..” the SCOTUS claims it to be.

Last edited 29 days ago by tetejaun
Bill
Bill
30 days ago

I only heard that firearms manufactured before 1898 (if not using centerfire cartridges) had been regarded as antique. I hadn’t heard that this date moved forward every year. So, Harold, if that date hasn’t budged, and now it amounts to only regarding guns that are (this year) over 122 years old as antiques, then how is this proposal, giving guns a stated age rather than a deadline year of manufacture, not a wonderful advancement? The=is seems like looking really hard to see the glass as half empty. Another way to understand the 1898 date is to realize that the lawmakers… Read more »

jack mac
jack mac
30 days ago

Harold, it makes no difference, tyrannical governing does not want anything usable for defense or those willing to defend to exist. Public servants are not to be ask, but told what not to do. That may be done “politely” if you wish.

Chuck
Chuck
30 days ago

Personally, I think that any firearm that is C & R eligible should be considered an antique. Which according to the ATF is 50 years. Making the definitions the same is the more logical decision.

Dean Weingarten
30 days ago

This is a very good idea. Just one of many incremental reforms which would continue to move the ball forward. I have suggested much the same in the past.

SoSueMe
SoSueMe
30 days ago

Celebrating small infringements on “Shall Not Be Infringed” is no victory as far as I’m concerned….

FiftycalTX
FiftycalTX
1 month ago

I’ll take a 100 year exception. Does it have to be an original firearm or a copy of a 100 year old design? I think in these times of rioters, looters and arsonists there would be a market for a copy of a 1919 or 1917 Browning MG. Problem is the originals are about $20k+ On the other hand, a modern copy would be nice. Or a copy of a Gatling gun that could be belt fed and run off an electric motor.

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
30 days ago
Reply to  FiftycalTX

There are machine guns that are considered “Curios and Relics” (50 years or older) but they still are subject to the NFA.

zeprin
zeprin
30 days ago
Reply to  FiftycalTX

I keep visualizing an Eight Pounder Napoleon loaded with Grape…or a Btry of them wheel to wheel firing down Pennsylvania Ave…. ‘Old’ doesn’t mean ineffective…

GUNFUN
GUNFUN
1 month ago

How long until a full auto design would become an antique under this law?

Nanashi
Nanashi
1 month ago
Reply to  GUNFUN

Never. “Antique Firearm” excludes explosives and full auto.

GUNFUN
GUNFUN
1 month ago
Reply to  Nanashi

Well that’s just fiddlesticking lovely.

Mystic Wolf
Mystic Wolf
30 days ago
Reply to  Nanashi

There is a loophole on that a hand cranked gatling gun is not considered a machine gun and therefore skirts parts of the nfa. A friend just got one, thing was built back in the 1890s.

Chuck
Chuck
30 days ago
Reply to  Mystic Wolf

There’s a modern version that’s still being manufactured, but it’s outside most people’s budget. Because of the design, Hand Cranked Machine Guns don’t meet the definition of Machine Gun under the ATF’s definitions. They’re not self actuating unlike a Maxim, Lewis or any of the other older designs, as they require two separate and distinct actions by the operator (pulling the trigger, and turning the crank)

kapowie
kapowie
1 month ago

Thanks for keeping up on this and helping us to be aware of it. While I appreciate the principle you’re advocating and agree, I personally support it even if it can’t be changed to a 70-year sliding window. In absolute terms, it will advance the window forward by more than 20 years and continue to slide up one year on each anniversary. That’s a net improvement, as is.