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DOJ/ATF RIN: 1140-AA54 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Definition of "Frame or Receiver" and Identification of Firearms 

The Department of Justice proposes amending Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulations to provide new regulatory definitions of firearm frame or receiver and frame or receiver because they are outdated.  The Department also proposes amending ATF’s definitions of firearm and gunsmith to clarify the meaning of those terms, and to add new regulatory terms such as complete weapon, complete muffler or silencer device, privately made firearm, and readily for purposes of clarity given advancements in firearms technology.  Further, the Department proposes amendments to ATF’s regulations on marking and recordkeeping that are necessary to implement these new or amended definitions.

Agency: Department of Justice(DOJ)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 27 CFR 447    27 CFR 478    27 CFR 479   
Legal Authority: 18 U.S.C. 921 to 931    22 U.S.C. 2778    26 U.S.C. 5812    26 U.S.C. 5822    26 U.S.C. 7801 and 7805   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This rule is intended to clarify the definition of firearm and to provide a more comprehensive definition of frame or receiver so that those definitions more accurately reflect firearm configurations not explicitly captured under the existing definitions in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11. Further, this NPRM proposes new terms and definitions to take into account technological developments and modern terminology in the firearms industry, as well as amendments to the marking and recordkeeping requirements that would be necessary to implement these definitions. 

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Attorney General has express authority pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 926 to prescribe rules and regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of chapter 44, title 18, United States Code. The detailed legal analysis supporting the amendments in this rule are expressed in the abstract for the rule itself.


There are no feasible alternatives to the proposed rule that would allow ATF to maximize benefits.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The rule will not be economically significant; however, it is a significant regulatory action under section 3(f)(4) of Executive Order 12866 because this rule raises novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates. ATF estimates that the costs for this proposed rule is minimal. The total 10-year undiscounted cost of this proposed rule is estimated to be $1.3 million. The total 10-year discounted cost of the rule is $1.0 million and $1.2 million at 7 percent and 3 percent respectively. The annualized cost of this proposed rule would be $147,048 and $135,750, also at 7 percent and 3 percent, respectively. This rule provides for updated definitions to account for technological advances, ensures traceability regardless of age of firearm, and makes consistent marking requirements


Without this rule, public safety will continue to be threatened by the lack of traceability of firearms.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  05/21/2021  86 FR 27720   
NPRM Comment Period End  08/19/2021 
Final Action  06/00/2022 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Vivian Chu
Regulations Attorney
Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
99 New York Avenue NE,
Washington, DC 20226
Phone:202 648-7070