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Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine and Ammunition Laws

AmmoLand – by Jim Shults

Grand Junction, CO –-( 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 readers will help to make this info 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?
A 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.

Editors Note: New Jersey has the classic example of this in their high capacity magazine ban. If you owned a high cap mag before the ban you now are an automatic felon, as the law prevents you from destroying, selling, modifying, transfering or having in your possession a high cap mag.

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.

This short white paper was prepared courtesy of Shults Media Relations, LLC.  A PR firm for and a friend of the firearm industry and firearm owners.


Jim Shults understands shooting and has a strong background as an experienced shooter. He has won hundreds of NRA local, state, regional and national shooting championships and set four national records. He is DCM/NRA Distinguished Rifleman, NRA Master in multiple-disciplines, outdoorsman, and has trained and consulted SWAT and counter-terrorism units around the world.

For more information please contact:
Jim Shults
Shults Media Relations, LLC


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2 Responses to Grandfather Clauses in Firearm, Magazine and Ammunition Laws

  1. Jolly Roger says:

    I didn’t finish reading the article because I don’t care what new laws they pass, or what is or isn’t grandfathered in. I’m not surrendering, or registering any firearms, because my guns, simply put, are none of the government’s business. They have no legal right to even discuss gun restrictions. I’m done with our government trying to eradicate, limit or restrict our constitutional rights. They were listed as a warning. They were never a request.

  2. Large Scale Aggressor says:

    We are all outlaws in the eyes of Amerika.

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