Exemptions for Firearms in Bankruptcy [May 2, 2011]   [open pdf - 159KB]

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decisions regarding the nature of the people's right to 'keep and bear arms,' as guaranteed in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, has focused some interest on the extent to which firearms are protected from the reach of creditors under either federal or state laws. State laws protecting certain property from creditors' claims may be used both in and outside of the bankruptcy context. Federal law may also protect certain property from creditors' claims in bankruptcy. Although a number of states have provisions explicitly shielding firearms from the claims of creditors, there is currently no such provision in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (title 11). In the 111th Congress, legislation was passed in the House (H.R. 5827) that would have provided an explicit federal exemption in bankruptcy for a debtor's aggregate interest, up to $3,000, 'in a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol, or any combination thereof.' The bill also included the means for protecting firearms by including them subject to the same value and type restrictions in the definition of 'household goods' for which nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest liens could be avoided in bankruptcy. Similar legislation has been introduced in the 112th Congress: the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011 (H.R. 1181)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41799
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Media Type:
Help with citations