Federal Firearms Act of 1938

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Federal Firearms Act of 1938
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to regulate commerce in firearms.
Acronyms (colloquial)FFA
NicknamesFederal Firearms Act
Enacted bythe 75th United States Congress
EffectiveJune 30, 1938
Public law75-785
Statutes at Large52 Stat. 1250
Legislative history

The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 (FFA) imposed a federal license requirement on gun manufacturers, importers, and persons in the business of selling firearms. The term federal firearms licensee (FFL) is used to refer to those on whom the license requirement is imposed.[1] "FFL" is also used to refer to the license itself.[2]

In addition to the licensing component of the FFA, the law required licensees to maintain customer records, and it made illegal the transfer of firearms to certain classes of persons, such as convicted felons. These classes of persons are commonly referred to as "prohibited persons." The circumstances resulting in the prohibition (such as a felony conviction) are often referred to as "disabilities." The FFA was repealed by the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), though many of its provisions were reenacted as part of the GCA, which revised the FFA and its predecessor, the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA).[1]

The FFA was enforced by the Alcohol Tax Unit, one of the precursors of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Key Congressional Acts Related to Firearms". smartgunlaws.org. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. May 21, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "ATF:How to Become a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)". atf.gov. U.S. Department of Justice. 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "ATF:1934-1952". atf.gov. U.S. Department of Justice. 2014. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2014.

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