What is a "Firearm" Under Federal Law?

Under section 18 U.S.C. § 922, people convicted of some misdemeanor offenses, including domestic violence charges, and people who are subject to a Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, may be prohibited from possessing a "firearm." The term "firearm" isfirearm-prohibition-hunting defined at 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3) as being:

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.
  • Any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

The term "firearm" is very broad and includes almost everything that a person could shoot. However, an "antique firearm" is excluded from the definition of "firearm." An "antique firearm" includes:

Subject to Prohibition? You Can Hunt With Muzzleloaders.

For hunters subject to the federal firearm possession prohibition, they would not be permitted to use a normal rifle, shotgun, or pistol as those items clearly fall under the definition of "firearm." However, they would be able to use an "antique firearm," which would allow them to use most conventional muzzleloaders.

If you have questions about your Second Amendment rights or have been charged with a crime, we encourage you to call JD Law at 814-954-1094 or send our attorneys an email.