Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Definitions of "Firearms"

    As I have seen in some recent postings, it seems that using the term "firearm(s)" in a sentence is tough, it depends on which definition you are referring to...

    This may be a bit long but here's a few definitions that may be of help when referring to "firearm(s):

    Title 27 CFR Chapter II Part 478

    Firearm.
    Any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or any destructive device; but the term shall not include an antique firearm. In the case of a licensed collector, the term shall mean only curios and relics.

    Firearm frame or receiver. That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.

    Firearm muffler or firearm silencer.
    Any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

    Title 27 CFR Chapter II Part 479

    Firearm.
    (a) A shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (b) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
    (c) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
    (d) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
    (e) any other weapon, as defined in this subpart;
    (f) a machine gun;
    (g) a muffler or a silencer for any firearm whether or not such firearm is included within this definition; and
    (h) a destructive device.

    The term shall not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machine gun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the Director finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector's item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.

    For purposes of this definition, the length of the barrel having an integral chamber(s) on a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or breech block when closed and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked. The overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.

    PA Title 18 Chapter 61 (Uniform Firearms Act)
    Section 6102 Definitions


    Firearm: "Any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or ant pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches. The barrel length of a firearm shall be determined by measuring from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt or cylinder, whichever is applicable."

    PA Title 18 Chapter 61 (Uniform Firearms Act)
    Section 6105 Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms.


    "Firearm".--As used in this section only, the term "firearm" shall include any weapons which are designed to or may readily be concerted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.

    The Average Person.

    Firearm: Any Handgun, Rifle or Shotgun.


    If the mods think that this might be helpful in the future as a ready/handy reference they may move it to where it will do the most good.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    this should be stickied.

    That term has various meanings depending on what law you're discussing.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Quote Originally Posted by knight0334 View Post
    this should be stickied.

    That term has various meanings depending on what law you're discussing.
    Agreed & done.
    *Ruining it for everybody since 2007

    Buy my laptop (ASUS FX504 - Gaming)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    this reminds me of a question that i forgot about. what about a pistol with a barrel longer than 15 inches? certin models of the s&w 500 had 18 inch barrels, IIRC. what would they be classified as?
    i got shot, you should buy my stuff

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Quote Originally Posted by eells View Post
    this reminds me of a question that i forgot about. what about a pistol with a barrel longer than 15 inches? certin models of the s&w 500 had 18 inch barrels, IIRC. what would they be classified as?
    To the Feds its still a handgun - 21yo to purchase/transfer. To PA, its not a "firearm". It doesn't require the PSP transfer paperwork and can be sold from a FFL with only the Fed 4473 being filled out. Between individuals, it can be sold/transferred/given away just like any rifle or shotgun.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Quote Originally Posted by knight0334 View Post
    To the Feds its still a handgun. To PA, its not a "firearm". It doesn't require the PSP transfer paperwork and can be sold from a FFL with only the Fed 4473 being filled out. Between individuals, it can be sold/transferred/given away just like any rifle or shotgun.
    thats what i thought. thanks!
    i got shot, you should buy my stuff

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Quote Originally Posted by Xringshooter View Post
    As I have seen in some recent postings, it seems that using the term "firearm(s)" in a sentence is tough, it depends on which definition you are referring to...

    This may be a bit long but here's a few definitions that may be of help when referring to "firearm(s):

    Title 27 CFR Chapter II Part 478

    Firearm.
    Any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or any destructive device; but the term shall not include an antique firearm. In the case of a licensed collector, the term shall mean only curios and relics.

    Firearm frame or receiver. That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.

    Firearm muffler or firearm silencer.
    Any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

    Title 27 CFR Chapter II Part 479

    Firearm.
    (a) A shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (b) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
    (c) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
    (d) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
    (e) any other weapon, as defined in this subpart;
    (f) a machine gun;
    (g) a muffler or a silencer for any firearm whether or not such firearm is included within this definition; and
    (h) a destructive device.

    The term shall not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machine gun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the Director finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector's item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.

    For purposes of this definition, the length of the barrel having an integral chamber(s) on a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or breech block when closed and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked. The overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.

    PA Title 18 Chapter 61 (Uniform Firearms Act)
    Section 6102 Definitions


    Firearm: "Any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or ant pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches. The barrel length of a firearm shall be determined by measuring from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt or cylinder, whichever is applicable."

    PA Title 18 Chapter 61 (Uniform Firearms Act)
    Section 6105 Persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms.


    "Firearm".--As used in this section only, the term "firearm" shall include any weapons which are designed to or may readily be concerted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon.

    The Average Person.

    Firearm: Any Handgun, Rifle or Shotgun.


    If the mods think that this might be helpful in the future as a ready/handy reference they may move it to where it will do the most good.
    Does all this mean that a Rifle is not considered a firearm?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Different parts of the law books (US and PA) define it as a firearm, other parts do not. It depends on what that section is used for

    Websters New Dictionary and Thesaurus define a firearm as: any hand weapon from which a shot is fired by explosive force, as a rifle or pistol.

    The average person uses the above definition because they typically are not getting into the nuances of the law which comes up when some entity (police, BATFE, etc.) thinks that someone has broken the law.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    Here's a definition of mine that I tossed out at someone who said "Your just a gun radical who only cares about his assualt weapons!"

    I don't own any assault weapons, reason being nothing I have has ever been used for assault purposes.

    I own repeating firearms.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Definitions of "Firearms"

    hi Everyone...
    this is jdkillson...!!
    I also agree

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