Curio and Relic/Licensed Collectors

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Curio and Relic/Licensed Collectors and COE

Definition of a Curio and Relic Firearm

To be recognized by ATF as a C&R firearm, a firearm must fall into at least one of the following three categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured more than 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.

Curio and Relic Collectors License (FFL 03)

A special type of FFL is available to collectors of curio or relic (C&R) firearms. C&R firearms are defined in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 478.11 as those "which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons."

Some examples of C&R firearms are most manually-operated and semi-automatic firearms used by a military force prior to 1946. This includes most firearms used by the warring nations in World Wars I and II. However, the firearm must normally also be in its original configuration in order to retain the C&R designation, so for example, an unaltered Mauser Kar98k rifle used by the German Army in World War II would be considered as a C&R firearm, while the same rifle having been "sporterized" with a new stock and finish would generally not be considered a C&R firearm. This is an ambiguous point in how the license is currently administered. Some firearms that were altered by the militaries that issued them have been confirmed by the BATFE to retain C&R status, though whether this applies to all such conversions (the examples given by the BATFE were the Spanish M1916 Guardia Civil, FR-7, and FR-8 Mausers) also remains ambiguous. As long as the receiver (the part of the firearm that is regulated by the BATFE) is over 50 years old the firearm qualifies as a Curio & Relic--the BATFE states explicitly that, in addition to newer firearms it individually approves, firearms automatically achieve C&R status upon turning 50. Certain automatic weapons have been designated as C&R firearms, and although a C&R FFL can be used to acquire these as well, they are also subject to the controls imposed by the National Firearms Act of 1934. ATF maintains a current list of approved C&R firearms on its website.

Curio & Relic Compliance Inspections "(D) At the election of a licensed collector, the annual inspection of records and inventory permitted under this paragraph shall be performed at the office of the Attorney General designed for such inspections which is located in closest proximity to the premises where the inventory and records of such licensed collector are maintained." ATF 2005 Regulations page 18. (ATF Publication 5300.4) The licensed collector may also elect to have the inspection conducted at their home. While C&R compliance used to consist of just bringing the bound book to the appropriate office, Inspectors are now (2009) often requiring that the collector bring their inventory (collection) to their office if they can not inspect them in the home.

Getting a license

Request an Application Form "F 7CR" from the ATF Website

Intrastate Transactions


California requires that all in-state handgun transactions go through an "01" FFL.

Long Guns

Prior to 2014, C&R long guns sold in-state did not require a report to the California Department of Justice. That changed with AB1609

Penal Code 27966 is the big change:

27966.  Commencing January 1, 2014, if all of the following
requirements are satisfied, Section 27545 shall not apply to the
sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm:

(a) The sale, loan, or transfer is infrequent, as defined in Section 16730.

(b) The firearm is not a handgun.

(c) The firearm is a curio or relic, as defined in Section 478.11
of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or its successor.

(d) The person receiving the firearm has a current certificate of
eligibility issued pursuant to Section 26710.

(e) The person receiving the firearm is licensed as a collector
pursuant to Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United States Code and
the regulations issued thereto.

(f) Within 30 days of taking possession of the firearm, the person
to whom it is transferred shall forward by prepaid mail, or
deliver in person to the Department of Justice, a report that
includes information concerning the individual taking possession
of the firearm, how title was obtained and from whom, and a
description of the firearm in question. The report forms that
individuals complete pursuant to this section shall be provided to
them by the department.

The appropriate form is Collector's Report of Instate Acquisition of Curio or Relic Long Gun (BOF 961)

The C&R + COE route is an exception to Penal Code 27545 requirements; violation is a misdemeanor.

Interstate Transactions

Licensed collectors (who have been issued a C&R FFL) may acquire C&R firearms in interstate commerce, e.g., via mail or phone order or the Internet, or in person. (This is especially important for collectors of pistols and revolvers since they may not otherwise be acquired outside a collector's state of residence.) However, the selling FFL dealer or collector must have a copy of the buyer's C&R FFL before the C&R firearm can be shipped to the licensed collector. Licensed collectors are not considered to be FFL dealers and have no special privileges concerning non-C&R firearms, nor may they "engage in the business" of regularly selling C&R firearms to persons who do not have an FFL. The purpose of the C&R license is to enable a collector to acquire C&R firearms for his/her personal collection and not to become a firearms dealer.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Exception to the 10 day waiting period

Holders of a C&R License and a COE are exempt from the 10 day wait requirement for all C&R firearms. However, many FFLs are not aware of this 10 day wait exemption...

COE is basically a pre-background check - apply with Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Application and Live Scan Request Form ( More info here:

Acquiring and disposing of long arms

Acquiring handguns

Exception to the 1 handgun in 30 days law

Holders of a C&R License and a COE are exempt from the 1 handgun every 30 day requirement for all handguns (not just C&R handguns.)

 12072 (a)(9)(A)No person shall make an application to
purchase more than one pistol, revolver, or other firearm
capable of being concealed upon the person within any 30-day
 (B)Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any of the following:
 (ix)Any person who is licensed as a collector pursuant to
Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the
United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto
and who has a current certificate of eligibility issued to him
or her by the Department of Justice pursuant to Section 12071.

See this discussion thread at Calguns for a 'how-to' for FFLs.

Acquisition/Disposition log book