Gun enthusiasts may not realize that there are significant differences between owning many black powder weapons and contemporary firearms. These differences include how the weapons are loaded, handled and the laws regarding each are quite different.
Despite these dramatic differences, having an antique firearm in your home is probably tempting. However, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with weapons from an entirely different age.
Here are some of the things you should know about black powder guns.
1. Are Black Powder Weapons Antiques?
The term “antique” is an important one with regards to how the laws view black powder guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives makes a distinction between firearms and antique firearms. Any of the above-mentioned types of guns manufactured before 1898 are considered antiques. Any replicas of these weapons are also viewed as antiques.
Because “antique firearms” are considered collector items and generally used for sport, the laws about open carry and permits generally don’t apply. In many states, a convicted felon can possess an antique firearm. However, local and state laws and regulations differ.
2. Not All Black Powder Weapons Are Antiques
It’s important to understand that not every black powder weapon is considered an antique firearm. Anything design made after 1898 doesn’t qualify. Weapons that can use fixed ammunition or can be easily modified to be loaded with shells don’t enjoy federal and most state exemptions.
3. What Exactly is a Black Powder Firearm?
This class of weapons refers to any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock or percussion cap. Basically, you cannot be loaded with encased shells. They include muzzle-loaded rifles, shotguns and pistols, even some revolvers.
4. Where Can I Buy One?
Black powder weapons are readily available at sporting goods stores, gun shows and can also be purchased on the Internet. State laws vary regarding purchase and sale. A few states don’t allow such purchases and others require that come unassembled in two separately shipped boxes.
Black powder weapons provide an authentic experience about 19th century weapons that can quite nostalgic.
~ Firearm Daily