Collectors of Curio and Relic (C&R) Firearms
A special type of FFL is available to collectors of curio or relic (C&R) firearms. C&R firearms are defined in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations
, Part 478.11
[/suP] as those "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." An application for a C&R FFL is filed using ATF Form 7CR.
To be recognized by ATF as a C&R firearm, a firearm must fall into at least one of the following three categories:
- Firearms which were manufactured more than 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
- 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; or
- 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 like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.
Some examples of C&R firearms are most manually-operated and semi-automatic firearms used by a military force prior to 1946. This includes most firearms used by the warring nations in World Wars
I and II. However, the firearm must normally also be in its original configuration in order to retain the C&R designation, so for example, an unaltered Mauser Kar98k
rifle used by the German Army
in World War II
would be considered as a C&R firearm, while the same rifle having been "sporterized" with a new stock and finish would generally not be considered a C&R firearm. This is an ambiguous point in how the license is currently administered. Some firearms that were altered by the militaries that issued them have been confirmed by the BATFE to retain C&R status, though whether this applies to all such conversions (the examples given by the BATFE were the Spanish M1916 Guardia Civil, FR-7, and FR-8 Mausers) also remains ambiguous. As long as the receiver (the part of the firearm that is regulated by the BATFE) is over 50 years old the firearm qualifies as a Curio & Relicâ€”the BATFE states explicitly that, in addition to newer firearms it individually approves, firearms automatically achieve C&R status upon turning 50. Certain automatic weapons have been designated as C&R firearms, and although a C&R FFL can be used to acquire these as well, they are also subject to the controls imposed by the National Firearms Act
of 1934. ATF maintains a current list
[/suP] of approved C&R firearms on its website.
Licensed collectors (who have been issued a C&R FFL) may acquire C&R firearms in interstate commerce, e.g., via mail or phone order or the Internet, or in person. (This is especially important for collectors of pistols and revolvers since they may not otherwise be acquired outside a collector's state of residence.) However, the selling FFL dealer or collector must have a copy of the buyer's C&R FFL before the C&R firearm can be shipped to the licensed collector. Licensed collectors are not considered to be FFL dealers and have no special privileges concerning non-C&R firearms, nor may they "engage in the business" of regularly selling C&R firearms to persons who do not have an FFL. The purpose of the C&R license is to enable a collector to acquire C&R firearms for his/her personal collection and not to become a firearms dealer.
Curio & Relic Compliance Inspections "(D) At the election of a licensed collector, the annual inspection of records and inventory permitted under this paragraph shall be performed at the office of the Attorney General designed for such inspections which is located in closest proximity to the premises where the inventory and records of such licensed collector are maintained." ATF 2005 Regulations page 18. (ATF Publication 5300.4) The licensed collector may also elect to have the inspection conducted at their home. While C&R compliance used to consist of just bringing the bound book to the appropriate office, Inspectors are now (2009) often requiring that the collector bring their inventory (collection) to their office if they can not inspect them in the home.