A firearm is defined as any device (including a starter gun) that is designed, or may readily be converted, to expel a projectile by an explosion, a spring, or other mechanical action, or by air or gas pressure with sufficient force to be used as a weapon.
Pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person (for example, short–barreled shotguns and short–barreled rifles) are defined as handguns. The following definitions apply:
- Pistol or Revolver. A pistol or revolver is a handgun designed to be fired by the use of a single hand.
- Short–Barreled Rifle. A rifle having one or more barrels less than 16 inches long is defined as a short–barreled rifle. This includes any weapon made from a rifle (by alteration or modification) resulting in an overall length of less than 26 inches.
- Short–Barreled Shotgun. A shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18 inches long is defined as a short–barreled shotgun. This includes any weapon made from a shotgun (by alteration or modification) resulting in an overall length of less than 26 inches.
An antique firearm (including one with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) is any firearm manufactured in or before 1898, or a replica of such a firearm, that meets either of the following conditions:
- It is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition.
- It uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition that is no longer manufactured in the United States and that is not readily available through commercial trade channels.
A rifle is a shoulder weapon having a barrel that is 16 inches or more in length. A shotgun is a shoulder weapon having a barrel that is 18 inches or more in length. Rifles and shotguns have an overall length of 26 inches or greater and cannot be concealed on a person.
A manufacturer of firearms or a bona fide dealer in firearms is one duly licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), U.S. Department of the Treasury, under the Gun Control Act of 1968.