I went to my local gun store the other day to see about ordering a Mossberg Shockwave. Imagine my surprise when the salesman told me that they’re not legal in Texas. When I asked why, he couldn’t elaborate. After some of my own investigating, it turns out that the answer is a little complicated.
First, some background. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the gun, the Mossberg Shockwave is a non-NFA firearm with a 14-inch barrel that fires 12 gauge shells. Notice I said it’s a firearm and not shotgun.
After Mossberg got the ATF’s blessing to market the Shockwave, Remington released their version, the TAC-14. Both look good to me.
According to 26 U.S. Code § 5845(d), the term “shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell.
Got that? Because the Shockwave and the the 870 TAC-14, aren’t meant to be fired from the shoulder, the ATF doesn’t view either as a shotgun. So then what are they?
Well that depends. Mossberg sent a 590 Shockwave to the ATF for a ruling. Michael Curtis of the Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (aka Santa Clause, because Christmas came early this year) was kind enough to reply.
After the puff of white smoke went up, Mossberg posted the ATF’s ruling letter here.
In the letter the ATF states that “The Mossberg, model 590, serial number V0348718 as described above, is a ‘firearm’ subject to the GCA provisions; however, it is NOT a ‘firearm’ as defined by the NFA. Please note that if the subject firearm is concealed on a person, the classification with regard to the NFA may change.”
So it’s a firearm, but not one that can be regulated under the NFA (unless you conceal one, and they they’ll have to think about it some more).
So, un-concealed, it’s not considered a short barreled shotgun. Great! I can buy one!
Well maybe. Local laws may differ from their federal counterparts. Texas law doesn’t specify that a shotgun needs to be fired from the shoulder. Because of that, the Mossberg and the Remington could still be considered short barreled shotguns…and need to be a a registered NFA items even though the ATF doesn’t see them that way.
Then on May 26th 2017 Governor Abbott signed HB1819 which included a very important amendment that some are calling “The Mossberg Amendment.” Is the Shockwave going to be illegal in Texas after 9/1/17? According to Gov. Abbott’s shot placement below, the answer is no.
The amendment says, “Amend HB 1819 (senate committee report) in Section 1 of the bill, in amended section 46.05 (a) (1), Penal Code (page 1, line 30), between “or” and classified”, by inserting “otherwise not subject to that registration requirement or unless the item is”.
So what does that mean? Lets go to 46.05 (a) (1) of the Texas Penal code.
Basically 46.05 says that machine guns, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and silencers are illegal unless registered with the ATF as an NFA item. The HB 1819 amendment adds the “otherwise not subject to” bit to 46.05. So basically the Shockwave or TAC-14 do not need to be registered as an NFA item because they are not subject to the NFA and therefore legal in Texas, as of 9/1/17.
So on September 1st of 2017 I can buy a Mossberg Shockwave or Remington TAC-14. Now for the real hard part, Mossberg 590 or Remington 870? Has anyone ever had this debate?
This article is not meant to offer any legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer if you have any legal questions. I am but a lowly blogger.