U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives
Washington, DC 20226
Semiautomatic Assault Weapon (SAW) Ban
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
September 13, 2004
Q: What was the semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) ban?
A: The SAW ban was enacted on September 13, 1994, by PL 103-322, Title IX, Subtitle A, section 110105. The ban made it unlawful to manufacture, transfer, or possess SAWs. The law defines SAWs as 19 named firearms, as well as semiautomatic rifles, pistols, and shotguns that have certain named features. The ban was codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(v). SAWs lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994 were not covered by the ban. There also were certain exceptions, such as possession by law enforcement.
Q: Was the SAW ban permanent?
A: No. The law enacting the ban provided that it would expire 10 years from the date of enactment, which was September 13, 1994. Therefore, effective 12:01 a.m. on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law will cease to apply.
Q. What was the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device (LCAFD) ban?
A: The LCAFD ban was enacted along with the SAW ban on September 13, 1994. The ban made it unlawful to transfer or possess LCAFDs. The law generally defined a LCAFD as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device manufactured after September 13, 1994 that has the capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The ban was codified at 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(w). As with SAWs, there are certain exceptions to the ban, such as possession by law enforcement.
Q: Was the LCAFD ban permanent?
A: No. The LCAFD ban was enacted by the same law as the SAW ban. Therefore, like the SAW ban, it expires 10 years from the date of enactment. Therefore, effective 12:01 a.m. on September 13, 2004, the provisions of the law will cease to apply.
Q: What provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) besides the bans contained in sections 922(v) and (w) are no longer effective?
The definition provision for “semiautomatic assault weapon”, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(30).
The penalty provision for violating 922(v), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(B).
The penalty provision for violating 922(v) during the commission of a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(B);
The requirement that SAWs and LCAFDs manufactured after September 13, 1994, be marked with a date of manufacture next to the serial number, codified in 18 U.S.C. § 923(i). (ATF regulations (27 C.F.R. § 478.92(a)(2)) implement section 923(i) and require, effective July 5, 1995, SAWs and LCAFDs manufactured after September 13, 1994 to be marked “Restricted law enforcement/government use only” or, for weapons manufactured for export, “For export only”. These requirements also are no longer in effect.)
Q: Does expiration of the ban affect records maintained by licensed manufacturers, importers and dealers?
A. Yes. Federal firearms licensees are no longer required to collect special records regarding the sale or transfer of SAWs and LCAFDs for law enforcement or government sales. However, existing records on SAWs and LCAFDs must still be maintained for a period of 5 years. Moreover, records of importation and manufacture must be maintained permanently and licensees must maintain all other acquisition and disposition records for 20 years.
Q: Are SAWs and LCAFDs marked “Restricted law enforcement/government use only” or “For export only” legal to sell to civilians in the United States?
A: Yes. SAWs and LCAFDs are no longer prohibited. Therefore firearms with the restrictive markings are legal to transfer to civilians in the United States and it will be legal for non-prohibited civilians to possess them. All civilians may possess LCAFDs.
straight from the source