DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226
MAR 13 1996
This is in response to your letter of recent date to the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). In your letter, you request
information regarding the legality of several wallet type holsters
which you submitted of our examination.
As defined in 26 U.S.C. section 5845(e) of the National Firearms
Act (NFA), the term "any other weapon" includes certain weapons
capable of being concealed on the person. It is unlawful to make,
possess or transfer such weapons which are not registered in
accordance with NFA controls. Further, a maker of such firearms
who has not paid the appropriate special (occupational) tax is
liable for $200 making tax for each weapon produced and $5 for each
ATF has previously determined that firearms installed in various
types of wallets, briefcases, canes, etc. may be NFA firearms as
defined. The submitted samples are rectangular leather cases,
which measure approximately 5 1/2 inches in length and 2 3/4 inches
in height. They are designed to hold an American Derringer firearm
(Model DA 38) in a fixed position with openings in the leather so
that the derringer can be operated and fired while it is in the
case. When the derringer is installed in the case, the weapon has
the exterior appearance to other "wallet guns" which have
previously been determined to be NFA firearms.
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ATF has previously determined that an American Derringer, Model DA
38, in and of itself, is a firearm subject to the provisions of the
GCA and is not a firearm subject to the NFA controls. The leather
wallet by itself is not subject to control as a firearm. However,
we have also determined that any person who might possess such a
derringer in combination with the wallet holster would be in
possession of a firearm subject to the purview of the NFA.
Any person who possess the combination would be in possession of a
firearm as defined in 26 U.S.C. section 5845(a)(5) of the NFA.
Such firearm is subject to the tax imposed under section 5821, and
the making provisions of section 5822 of the act.
Should the wallet holsters, as provided, be sold or transferred
separately from the derringers, we strongly recommend that you
advise customers regarding the status of these items.
If you would like to submit a redesigned or modified holster that
you believe would not be subject to the NFA when held in
combination with an American Derringer firearm, we will be happy to
examine it and provide you with the results. We would suggest that
the redesigned sample no longer resemble a wallet and the
modification should include cutting the top rear of the wallet,
thereby exposing the entire back strap and trigger guard area of
the inserted derringer. The cuts should follow the exact contour
of the frame of the pistol and not overlap to risk a disguised
The samples which you submitted for our examination are being
returned to you under separate cover.
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We trust the foregoing has been responsive to your inquiry. If you
have further questions concerning this matter, please contact us.
Edward M. Owen, Jr.
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch