Question to the FFL's here or anybody knowledgeable about the antique firearm class
I recently decided that I need to add an original 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle (2 band musket) to my eclectic herd. I owned a carbine and a musket many years ago, but got them for nothing in a car trade while in college and sold them for a good profit about 6 months later. Besides they were a buck for a boxcar load back in the early 60's when this took place.
I looked a bit at the Tulsa show, but didn't start doing so until a bit too late on Sunday, and I got pressed for time. So, yesterday I started browsing the on line sites like Gunbroker. I found quite a few good candidates, but probably will wait until the reference book I ordered on Amazon arrives tomorrow just to give me a little more of an edge on what to look for.
However, in searching I noticed that around one out of every three sellers required that their item be sent through an FFL. From what I've read, the Springfield trapdoors were only produced from 1873 to 1893, so they are all legally antiques or in effect non-firearms by law since they stopped production well before the 1898 cut off. The only exceptions would of course be modern (post 1898) reproductions of such firearms.
It seemed to make no difference if the seller was an FFL themselves or not---because I would note both types of sellers from the same states--one requiring an FFL and the other not doing so. I realize that some states have different laws concerning what constitutes an FFL regulated firearm versus an antique, but most do not.
I also realize that the section of the GCA of 1968 pertaining to the antique classification reads like a small print crap created by a lawyer to totally obfuscate what it really means . I had to read a Wikipedia explanation of it before I was able to parse it out. However, I would assume that anyone who decides to apply for an FFL is going to work all of that out before they start selling.
I'm seeing listings from Texas, Alabama, and Kentucky to name a few, where some sellers list the gun as requiring an FFL transfer and others from the same state do not. To the best of my knowledge none of those states define an antique firearm any differently than the federal law.
Are these sellers just ignorant of the law or too lazy and full of hubris to bother try to understand it---or are they so gun-shy (pun intended) of possible legal issues that they just take a shotgun approach (pun again intended) and require an FFL transfer on any cartridge firearm they sell.
For me the decision is easy---there are more than enough sellers not requiring an FFL to allow me to simply ignore the sellers who do require one. However, if such a good deal appeared that I wouldn't mind the extra bit of bureaucracy and fees, I would in effect bite the bullet (the absolute last pun) and bid on, or buy, it.