Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine, & Ammo Laws

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 you in your capacity will make 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?

Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine, & Ammo LawsA 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.

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.

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A short white paper prepared courtesy of Shults Media Relations, LLC

A PR firm for and a friend of the firearm industry and firearm owners

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Acknowledgements: Shults Media Relations, LLC


4 Responses to Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine, & Ammo Laws

  1. Joshua T December 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    This is great info. If you are going to stock up you’d better do it now.

  2. carolinafan December 15, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    And keep your receipts, to prove “absolute ownership”.

  3. mbogo December 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Registration of some sort would be a precursor to the requirement of proof of prior ownership.

  4. TheNightmareMan December 31, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    In addition to keeping receipts, I would go as far as to take pictures of everything, seal the negatives in one envelope and the pictures in another and mail them back to yourself. Keep both post marked envelopes sealed, but hide the negatives envelope in an undisclosed location, such as a friends house in his attic, etc. DO NOT use a safety deposit box, or onsite security vault. That way in the event your pictures just happen to, “vanish,” along with you post marked, sealed envelope. Your friend can get the negatives, to your attorney, and or the media and blow the entire scandal wide open publicly clearing your name. Even digital pictures would work, but no negatives as a back up. I would feel better about have a second envelope tucked away safely elsewhere, not to mention the fact the developer would have record of the pictures being developed as well as the negatives themselves be sequentially numbered. Note, you should also use a PO Box when developing the pictures, instead of your own as well. No sense in making it easy for someone to see what you have.

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