Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal

Let’s Talk About Guns: Should the Code Give Gun Owners Protection?
Armstead C. Lewis Editor-in-Chief, Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal; J.D. Candidate, Emory University School of Law (2016); M.B.A., Dallas Baptist University (2012); B.B.A., cum laude, Dallas Baptist University (2012); Winner of the 2015 Keith J. Shapiro Award for Excellence in Consumer Bankruptcy Writing. First, I would like to thank Professor Dorothy Brown for her thoughtful and thorough guidance. I also would like to thank the staff members and editors of the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal—particularly Michael Arwood, Hardy DeLaughter, and Nicole Hammond—for their diligence in editing this Comment. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends for their constant encouragement and support. This Comment is in honor of my grandmother Clementine Charlton, who positively impacted my life and everyone in my family’s life with an abundance of love, laughter, generosity, and wisdom.

Abstract

In 1978, Congress added the term “household goods” to § 522(f)(1)(B) of the Bankruptcy Code, allowing a debtor to avoid a creditor’s nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest in otherwise exempt property. However, Congress did not clarify what items fit within the term “household goods” at that time.

In 2005, following the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, Congress implemented § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) to clarify which items fit within the definition of “household goods.” Despite the clarification that § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) somewhat added, Congress neglected to classify firearms.

Although the topic of firearms is often highly debated, the predominant amount of American gun owners use firearms in a way that could arguably fit firearms within the classification of “household goods” referred to in § 522(f)(4)(A). The recent proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts of 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015, all of which request the addition of firearms into § 522(f)(4)(A), make this a timely issue that should be addressed. This Comment examines the recent proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act and discusses if Congress could realistically classify a firearm as a “household good” in the Bankruptcy Code.

Introduction

More individuals own firearms in the United States than in any other country. 1Aaron Karp, Small Arms Survey 2007, ch. 2 app. 4, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2007/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2007-Chapter-02-annexe-4-EN.pdf (last visited Jan. 13, 2016). Americans own an estimated 110 million rifles, 86 million shotguns, and 114 million handguns. 2William Krouse, Cong. Research Serv., RL32842, How Many Guns Are in the United States? Gun Control Legislation 8–9 (2012) (citing U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Firearms Commerce in the United States 2011, August 2011, p. 15). Despite the prolific ownership of firearms 3Whenever discussing guns or firearms, this Comment is referring to rifles, shotguns, and pistols, not military assault weapons or firearms similar in nature to military assault weapons. in the United States, firearms have not been listed within or outside of the term “household goods” under § 522(f)(4)(A) or (B) of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”). 4See 11 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012). Sections 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) list several items that fall within or outside of the classification of “household goods.” 5See id. Section 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) present a modified version of the Federal Trade Commission’s definition of “household goods,” which was based on if a household item was a common necessity or had unique personal value. 6Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (Mar. 1, 1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i)); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy ¶ 522.11 (Alan N. Resnick & Henry J. Sommer eds., 16th ed. 2014); see also Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 Part 2: Hearing on H.R. 833 Before the Subcomm. on Commercial & Admin. Law of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 13 (1999) (stating that the list was derived from the list of household goods developed in the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Practices Rule, with the addition of one VCR, educational materials and equipment primarily for use of children, and children’s toys and hobby equipment).

This Comment discusses firearms instead of other common household items and intersects with the Code because of the recent proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts of 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015, which have proposed adding firearms into § 522(f)(4)(A). 7Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)). The recent proposals specifically raised the question of whether firearms could actually belong in the Code and sought to allow a debtor to exempt a nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest “not to exceed $3,000 in value, in a single firearm or firearms” under § 522(f)(4)(A). 8Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, 113 H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015).

Section 522(f)(4)(A) of the Code specifies certain items that are considered to be “household goods” for purposes of a debtor being able to avoid a nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money lien. 911 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B). On the other side of the statute, § 522(f)(4)(B) includes specific items that are not considered to be “household goods.” By classifying a firearm as a “household good,” a debtor may exempt the firearm during bankruptcy even if it is subject to a nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest. 1011 U.S.C § 522(f)(1)(B). See generally Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-394, 108 Stat. 4106 (changing § 522(f)(2)(A) to § 522(f)(1)(B)). Section 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) present a modified version of the Federal Trade Commission’s definition of “household goods,” which listed items that were common necessities or had unique personal value. 11Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985)); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6; see also Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 Part 2: Hearing on H.R. 833 Before the Subcomm. on Commercial & Admin. Law of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 13 (1999) (stating that the list was derived from the list of household goods developed in the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Practices Rule, with the addition of one VCR, educational materials and equipment primarily for use of children, and children’s toys and hobby equipment). This Comment will show that the majority of gun owners in the United States own firearms for reasons that could allow a debtor’s firearm to be classified as “household good” under § 522(f)(4)(A), which was modeled after the FTC definition. 12See Art Swift, Personal Safety Top Reason Americans Own Guns Today, Gallup Politics, http://www.gallup.com/poll/165605/personal-safety-top-reason-americans-own-guns-today.aspx (Oct. 28, 2013); Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason: Perspective of Gun Owners, Non-Owners, Pew Research Center, http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/why-own-a-gun-protection-is-now-top-reason/ (Mar. 12, 2013) (listing statistics that state the top two reasons for individuals owning firearms are for protection and hunting).

Following the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (the “BAPCPA”) in 2005, Congress added § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) to the Code to help determine whether a particular item fits within the “household goods” classification. 1311 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, §§ 113(a)(4)(A) & (B), 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005). Previously debated items, such as boats and motor vehicles, were excluded from the classification of “household goods” by § 522(f)(4)(B). 14In re Rice, 35 B.R. 431, 432 (Bankr. Kan. 1982); In re Psick, 61 B.R. 308, 314 (Bankr. D. Minn. 1985) (stating that a motor vehicle could not qualify as a “household good”); In re Vale, 110 B.R. 396, 407–08 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 1989); In re Lenczowski, 79 B.R. 392, 393 (Bankr. W.D. Ind. 1987) (holding that a boat does not qualify as a “household good”). Despite previous debate in bankruptcy courts of whether a firearm constituted a “household good” under § 522(f)(1)(B), Congress’s revision of the Code in 2005 provided no clarification of where firearms were classified in § 522(f)(4)(A) or (B). 1511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (not stating whether a firearm is a “household good”); see also In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 962 (4th Cir. 1992) (holding that the debtor’s firearms do not constitute “household goods”); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998) (holding that the debtor’s firearm should be classified as a “household good”); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good”); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good”); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Wetzel, 46 B.R. 254, 255 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 1984) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is not a “household good”); In re Oglesby, 98 B.R. 960, 962 (Bankr. E.D. Mo. 1989); In re Gray, 87 B.R. 591, 593 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1988) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is not a “household good”).

Even though it is not unusual to find firearms in American homes, 16Jim Supica, A Brief History of Firearms, http://www.nramuseum.org/gun-info-research/a-brief-history-of-firearms.aspx, NRA Museum, (last visited Jan. 23, 2016). the Code has failed to take a stance on whether firearms constitute “household goods” in § 522(f)(1)(B). 17Marcia Yablon, Why Annie Gets to Keep Her Gun: An Analysis of Firearm Exemption in Bankruptcy Proceedings, 21 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 553, 565–66 (2005). Other items that Americans commonly own, such as clothing, televisions, and radios, are listed as “household goods” under § 522(f)(4)(A). 1811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A). Moreover, Congress has taken a definitive stance in § 522(f)(4)(B) by classifying commonly owned items such as motor vehicles, works of art, and jewelry, as not being “household goods.” 1911 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(B). This Comment will now address and explain the background of § 522(f)(1)(B).

I. Background

Section 522(f)(1)(B) allows a debtor to discharge a creditor’s interest in a particular piece of property if that property would be exempt without the existence of the creditor’s lien or security interest. 2011 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. Section 522(f)(1)(B) allows a debtor to avoid a nonpossessory 217 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6 (stating that only nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money interest are subject to lien avoidance under § 522(f)(1)(B)). , nonpurchase-money 22Id. security interest 23Id. (the term “security interest” is defined in § 101(51) as “a lien created by an agreement”). in any:

(i) household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, musical instruments, or jewelry that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor;

(ii) implements, professional books, or tools, of the trade of the debtor or the trade dependent of the debtor; or

(iii) professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or dependent of the debtor. 2411 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B)(i)–(iii).

The implementation of § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) was set out to define what items fit are considered “household goods” in § 522(f)(1)(B). 2511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B).

II. Background of § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B)

As enacted in 1978, the Code did not specifically define “household goods” for the purpose of lien avoidance under § 522(f)(1)(B). 26See generally Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-598, 92 Stat. 2587; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. As a result of BAPCPA, § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) narrow the scope of “household goods” for purposes of lien avoidance for a debtor’s otherwise exempt piece of property. 27In re Zieg, 409 B.R. 917, 920 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2009). Below are the items that § 522(f)(4)(A) lists that are considered to be “household goods”:

the term “household goods” means–

(i) clothing;

(ii) furniture;

(iii) appliances;

(iv) 1 radio;

(v) 1 television;

(vi) 1 VCR;

(vii) linens;

(viii) china;

(ix) crockery;

(x) kitchenware;

(xi) educational materials and educational equipment primarily for the use of minor dependent children of the debtor;

(xii) medical equipment and supplies;

(xiii) furniture exclusively for the use of minor children, or elderly or disabled dependents of the debtor;

(xiv) personal effects (including the toys and hobby equipment of minor dependent children and wedding rings) of the debtor and the dependents of the debtor; and

(xv) 1 personal computer and related equipment 2811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A).

Congress also added § 522(f)(4)(B) to list items that are expressly not considered to be “household goods.” 29In re Stewart, No. 07-02189, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2915, at *3 (Bankr. D.S.C. Sept. 6, 2007).

[T]he term “household goods” does not include–

(i) works of art (unless by or of the debtor, or any relative of the debtor);

(ii) electronic entertainment equipment with a fair market value of more than $650 in the aggregate (except 1 television, 1 radio, and 1 VCR);

(iii) items acquired as antiques with a fair market value of more than $650 in the aggregate;

(iv) jewelry with a fair market value of more than $650 in the aggregate (except wedding rings); and

(v) a computer (except as otherwise provided for in this section), motor vehicle (including a tractor or lawn tractor), a boat, or a motorized recreational device, conveyance, vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft. 3011 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(B).

Prior to BAPCPA, there were conflicting decisions on whether firearms constituted “household goods” for the purpose of lien avoidance. 31See, e.g., In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993). Some courts did not classify firearms as “household goods” because they were not viewed as essential to a debtor’s fresh start. 32McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62; In re Oglesby, 98 B.R. 960, 962 (Bankr. E.D. Mo. 1989); In re Gray, 87 B.R. 591, 593 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1988); In re Weaver, 78 B.R. 135, 139 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 1987); Oswald v. ITT Financial Services (In re Oswald), 85 B.R. 541, 543 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1986); In re Wetzel, 46 B.R. 254, 255 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 1984); In re Noggle, 30 B.R. 303, 306 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 1983). In contrast, other courts classified firearms as “household goods” because firearms supported the debtor’s daily life and would assist the debtor’s fresh start. 33Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004). For example, the bankruptcy court in In re Crawford required a “functional nexus” between the item and the debtor’s household. 34226 B.R. at 485. See McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62 for a discussion about how courts generally would classify a firearm as a “household good” if it was viewed to support and facilitate the daily household living of the debtor.

III. Reasoning behind § 522(f)(1)(B)

Congress recognized that creditors could coerce debtors by threatening repossession of certain goods that had little resale value but were necessary for a debtor’s fresh start. 35See McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 962 n.4. The creditors’ ability to repossess certain items of the debtor gave them considerable leverage, 36Michael J. Herbert, Straining the Gnat: A Critique of the 1984 Federal Trade Commission Consumer Credit Regulations, 38 S.C. L. Rev. 329, 352 (1987). often prompting debtors to pay their obligations because they could not afford to replace the goods. 37McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 962 n.4. Congress authorized lien avoidance for household goods under the 1978 Bankruptcy Code to protect debtors from such threats of repossession. 38Id.

As enacted in 1978, the Code did not define household goods for purposes of lien avoidance. 39Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-598, 92 Stat. 2587; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. Courts generally adopted a broad definition of “household goods” that included certain basic items of personal property “kept in or around the home and used by the debtor or his dependents to support or facilitate day to day living within the home.” 40McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 960; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

In 1985, the FTC defined “household goods” in the Trade Regulation Rule on Credit Practices. 41FTC Credit Practices Rule, 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985). The FTC defined household goods as: “clothing, furniture, appliances, one radio and one television, linens, china, crockery, kitchenware, and personal effects (including wedding rings) of the consumer and his or her dependents.” 42Id. The FTC also excluded the following items from the “household goods” definition: “(1) Works of art; (2) Electronic entertainment equipment (except one television and one radio); (3) Items acquired as antiques; and (4) Jewelry (except wedding rings).” 43Id. The FTC formulated the definition by listing items that were common household necessities together with items that would be of unique personal value to the debtor. 44Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985)). Also, the FTC clarified what items that were not considered “household goods.” 45Id.

In 2005, following BAPCPA, Congress modeled the list in § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B), which defined which items are “household goods” to some extent after the FTC definition. 467 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. However, like the FTC definition, § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) did not provide guidance on whether firearms are classified as “household goods.” 47See 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012); Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740.

IV. The Functional Nexus Test

Before the 2005 additions of § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B), bankruptcy courts used three different tests to determine if items should be classified as “household goods”: the necessity test, the broad test, and the functional nexus test. 48In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 117 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004). Courts never used the necessity test or the broad test to determine if firearms should be classified as “household goods,” rather courts only used the functional nexus test. 49The necessity test focused on whether “the item in question served a vital function to the debtor’s fresh start.” Id. (citing In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 959–60 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Cottingham, No. 95-32441-B, 1996 Bankr. LEXIS 594 (Bankr. W.D. Tenn.). The broad test considered any and all goods typically found in the home to be household goods, regardless if they were necessary for a debtor’s fresh start. Id.

The functional nexus test required there to be a functional nexus between the good and the household for an item to be considered a “household good.” 50McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961. A functional nexus exists when the debtor uses the item to support and facilitate daily life within the household. 51Id. Courts used the functional nexus test to determine if a firearm constituted a household good under § 522(f)(1)(B) because it struck a balance between the broad test and the necessity test. 52Heath, 318 B.R. at 117.

Adding § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) in 2005 may make the need for a “household good” test irrelevant and unnecessary. 53Julian McDonnel & James Nehf, 1C-20 Secured Transaction Under the UCC § 20.05 Permitting Avoidance of Security Interests in Exempt Goods (2014). However, because firearms have not been listed in § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B), the functional nexus test can provide guidance for whether a firearm should be classified as a “household good.” 54In re Mason, 254 B.R. 764, 773 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2000) (stating that since there is neither a per se inclusion nor a per se exclusion of firearms within the definition of “household goods,” the functional nexus test should be used).

For the functional nexus test, courts have also used the debtor’s cultural environment and geographic location to determine if a debtor’s firearm constitutes a household good. 55In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998). In In re Rhines, the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana classified the debtors’ rifle and shotgun as household goods because they were used for hunting to supply food for their family. 56Id. The court was persuaded to allow the debtor to exempt firearms as “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B) by three factors: the debtors’ geographic location, the debtors’ need to feed themselves, and the Montana state exemption statute containing a specific firearm exemption. 57Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310–11; see also Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (stating that the cultural and geographic environment of the debtors is of particular importance in determining if a rifle is a household good under § 522(f)(1)(B)). Similarly, in Crawford, the debtors filed a bankruptcy petition to classify their rifle as a household good because the rifle was used for defensive purposes in and around the home. 58226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998). Based upon the debtors’ need to use the rifle for protection, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that the rifle was a “household good” under § 522(f)(1)(B). 59Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485.

In In re Heath, the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky allowed the debtor to avoid a lien on a 30/30 rifle. 60318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004). The court classified the rifle as a “household good” because the debtor used the rifle as a means to supply food for his family. 61Id. The court also pointed out that in rural Kentucky, using a rifle for hunting is common and culturally appropriate, further justifying such classification of the firearm as a “household good.” 62Id.

On the other hand, in In re McGreevy, the Fourth Circuit held that a rifle and a shotgun that were used for hunting away from the vicinity of the household were not considered “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B). 63955 F.2d 957, 962 (4th Cir. 1992). The debtor primarily used the rifle and shotgun for hunting deer away from his home, not supporting or facilitating day-to-day living. 64Id. The debtor’s rifle and shotgun were also used for target practice away from the home. 65Id. Even though the debtor argued that the rifle and shotgun could be used for household protection, the court did not find this argument persuasive, holding that the firearms did not constitute “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B). 66Id. If the firearms were used primarily around the home, then they could be classified as “household goods.” 67Id. (stating that a rifle and shotgun do not constitute “household goods” under 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(2)(A), which was subsequently changed to 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B) by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994).

Because firearms are not included in § 522(f)(4)(A) or (B), the functional nexus test used by the courts can help provide guidance as to whether a firearm should be included within the classification of “household goods.” If firearms are used in a way that satisfies the functional nexus test, then the proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts seem more plausible in trying to impose firearms being classified as “household goods” under § 522(f)(4)(A).

In the next section, this Comment will provide possible reasons why Congress has not taken a definitive stance on how to classify firearms.

V. Possible Reasons Why Firearms Are Not Classified

This section will demonstrate the differing viewpoints that are held regarding the topic of firearms in Congress and geographically.

A. Differing Viewpoints in Congress

Demonstrated from the debates about the Protecting Guns in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, individuals have differing views about whether firearms should be classified as “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). 68See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010).

One argument is that a bankrupt debtor should be able to retain a firearm for family protection. 69Id. (statement of Rep. John Boccieri and Rep. Daniel Lungren). Another argument is that gun ownership is “a right and that this right extends to all people, including those in bankruptcy.” 70Id. (statement of Rep. Mark Critz).

On the other hand, some individuals oppose adding a provision that classifies firearms as “household goods.” 71Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1673 (2010) (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum). One argument for not classifying firearms as “household goods” is that they are not seen as essential to a debtor’s fresh start. 72Id. Representative Betty McCollum stated that, “assets such as clothing, household furnishings, retirement funds, and social security benefits are exempt from seizure . . . so that those struggling through bankruptcy have something to restart their lives with . . . a special carve-out for guns would do nothing to help families emerge from the crisis of bankruptcy.” 73Id.

Additionally, some individuals believe that bankrupt debtors should not be allowed to exempt guns because of safety concerns from the debtor going through economic stress. 74Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy). Representative Carolyn McCarthy from New York stated that, “the presence of guns in households, especially those experiencing bankruptcy, enhances the risk of suicide, or even worse, murder-suicide.” 75Id.

One speculative reason why Congress has refrained from placing firearms within § 522(f)(4)(A) or (B) is because of differing individual views on whether debtors should be able to keep their firearms. 76See generally Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. John Boccieri); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (statement of Rep. Daniel Lungren) (discussing that a bankrupt debtor should be able to keep his or her gun as a “household good”); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (statement of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy) (opposing the idea of a bankrupt debtor being able to exempt a gun as a “household good”); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1673 (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum) (opposing that a bankrupt debtor should be able to exempt a gun as a “household good”).

B. Geographical Differences About Firearm Importance

Different states also have different views about the importance of gun possession, 77In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); see also In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (stating that the cultural and geographic environment of the debtor is of particular importance in determining if a firearm is a household good). as evidenced by state exemption statutes that specifically allow exemptions for firearms. 78See VA Code Ann. § 34-26 (West 2011); Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014); 2014 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 145) (West 2014); Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001); Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013); Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014); Iowa Code Ann. § 627.6.2 (West 2013); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605 (West 2014); Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014); Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31, § 1 (West 2002); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21.090 (West 2013). Thirteen states explicitly exempt firearms within their state exemption statutes: Virginia, 79Va Code Ann. § 34-26; Carol Pettit & Vastine Platte, Cong. Research Serv., R41799, Exemptions for Firearms in Bankruptcy 2 (2013). Arizona, 80Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7). Idaho, 81Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605. Iowa, 82Iowa Code Ann. § 627.6.2. Louisiana, 83La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 145). Mississippi, 84Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014). Montana, 85Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013). Nevada, 86Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21.090 (West 2013). Ohio, 87Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013). Oklahoma, 88Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31, § 1 (West 2002). Oregon, 89Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014). Texas, 90Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001). and Wisconsin 91Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012). all provide for specific firearms exemptions. 92Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 4–6.

To show a further difference in viewpoints, conditions of how a debtor can exempt a firearm also differ among the states that allow for specific firearms exemptions. 93Id. at 2. For example, Arizona allows a debtor to exempt the maximum of one firearm along with several other items that collectively count towards the one thousand dollar aggregate monetary exemption cap. 94Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt “one typewriter, one computer, one bicycle, one sewing machine, a family bible, a lot in any burial ground, one shotgun, or one rifle, or one pistol, not in excess of an aggregate fair market value of one thousand dollars”). Similarly, the Wisconsin state exemption statute imposes an aggregate $12,000 monetary cap and allows a debtor to attempt to exempt a firearm along with other household items. 95Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (allowing a debtor to exempt “household goods and furnishings, wearing apparel, keepsakes, jewelry . . . appliances, books, musical instruments, firearm, sporting goods . . . not to exceed $12,000 in aggregate value”). Although Wisconsin has a higher aggregate monetary cap and there is no limitation on the amount of firearms a debtor can exempt, there is not a specific exemption to ensure that a debtor can exempt his or her firearm. 96Id.

In contrast to the Wisconsin and Arizona state exemption statutes, the Texas state exemption statute specifically allows a debtor to exempt two firearms. 97Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001). Additionally, Texas does not limit the aggregate monetary value of the firearms that a debtor can exempt. 98Id. ; c.f. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014); La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322. (West 2014); Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605 (West 2014); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (placing a cap on the aggregate monetary value of firearms a debtor can exempt). These provisions show the importance Texas places on debtors’ ability to exempt firearms. 99Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (imposing a state exemption statute that allows for two firearms to be exempt that are not subject to any sort of monetary cap for the exemption). Because the Texas exemption statute places such a strong emphasis on the debtor’s ability to exempt firearms, it raises the question whether Texas even considers firearms to be “household goods” because firearms are listed in a separate provision. 100Id. (specifically listing two firearms as a piece of property that a debtor can exempt).

The different emphasis that states and geographical regions place on gun ownership may be a central reason why there is no definitive stance regarding firearms’ classification in the Code.

In the upcoming Analysis Section, this Comment will seek to prove that firearms could be classified as “household goods” because of firearms being commonly used by gun owners in a way that satisfies the functional nexus test, the Heller 101554 U.S. 570, 636 (2008). decision placing a renewed emphasis on Second Amendment rights for an individual to own a firearm for household protection, and by highlighting the general need for revision of the lists in § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B).

Analysis

This section takes a previous request made pre-BAPCPA 102Yablon, supra note 17, at 578 (stating that Congress should have provided more guidance regarding the meaning of “household goods” pre-BAPCPA, and particularly on whether firearms are “household goods”). a step further by not only asking Congress to clarify whether a firearm constitutes a “household good” but also by arguing that firearms should be included in the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). 10311 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A) (2012). To support this proposal, this section will first discuss previously proposed legislation, which shows that the issue of classifying firearms should be addressed. Next, this section will discuss why individuals own firearms today and how these reasons satisfy the functional nexus test. Then, this section will show how some state exemption statutes allow firearms to be exempt if they are used for a household purpose consistent with the rationale from the functional nexus test. Last, this section will demonstrate the general need for revising § 522(f)(4)(A)’s list. Therefore, this section will show that the idea behind the proposed Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts, which suggests adding firearms to the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A), could be implemented into the Code.

I. Proposed Legislation

This Comment wrestles with whether firearms are considered “household goods” because there have been four recently proposed bills that have requested the addition of firearms under the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A): the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts of 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015. 104Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015).

The Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010 (the “Act of 2010”) supported adding firearms as items that debtors can exempt under § 522(d) of the Code and adding firearms to the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). 105H.R. 5827. The Act of 2010 would have amended § 522(d) to include an exemption for “a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol of any value or any combination of rifle, shotgun, or pistol in aggregate value not to exceed $1500.” 106After the initial proposal to the House of Representatives, the language of the Act of 2010 was amended to state for both § 522(d) and § 522(f)(4)(A), “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3,000 in value, in a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol, or any combination thereof.” Id. The Act of 2010 also would have amended § 522(f)(4)(A), adding “a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol or any combination of rifle, shotgun, or pistol in aggregate not to exceed $1500” to the enumerated list. 107Id. Like the other items listed in § 522(f)(4)(A), the proposed amendment would have allowed a debtor to avoid a lien on an otherwise exempt piece of property in which a creditor had a nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest. 108Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 3.

Much of the reasoning behind the proposed Act of 2010 was to ensure “families hit hard by . . . economic downturn and forced to file bankruptcy do not [have to] hand over their right to protection or their right to possess a firearm.” 109Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. John Boccieri). Thirty-one cosponsors supported the bill. 110H.R. 5827 (stating that the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010 is co-sponsored by eighteen Democrats and thirteen Republicans). On July 28, 2010, the motion to suspend the rule and pass the proposed bill in the House resulted in 307 yeas and 113 nays. 111Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6215 (2010). Even though the House passed the bill, the bill failed in the Senate. 112Id. The last action on the Act of 2010 was a remark by Representative Betty McCollum in the House of Representatives on September 16, 2010, stating her disapproval of providing bankrupt debtors with a firearm exemption. 113Id. (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum). After September 16, 2010, there was no further action on the bill.

Similarly, on March 17 of the following year, the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011 (the “Act of 2011”) was proposed. 114Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181. The Act of 2011 also proposed an amendment to § 522(d) that allowed a debtor to exempt the “aggregate interest, not to exceed $3000 in value, in a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol, or any combination thereof.” 115Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 112 H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011). The Act of 2011 also proposed an amendment to § 522(f)(4)(A), adding “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3000 in value, in a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol, or any combination thereof” to the enumerated list. 116Id. (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)). The proposed amendment would also apply to otherwise exempt property in which a creditor had a nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest. 117Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 4–6; H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. § 2 (2011). Forty-one cosponsors supported the Act of 2011. 118Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181 (stating that the Act is co-sponsored by thirty-nine Republicans and two Democrats). The proposed bill was then referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, which tabled the bill. 119Id. After this, there was no further action. 120Id.

Subsequently, on January 27, 2014, the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014 (the “Act of 2014”) once again proposed adding firearms into § 522(f)(4)(A). 1212013 Legis. Bill Hist. U.S. H.B. 3933 (113th Cong.). Fifteen representatives cosponsored the proposed Act of 2014. 122Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014). The proposed Act of 2014 slightly changed the language from the previously proposed Act of 2011, 123 Compare Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011), with H.R. 3933. adding “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3000 in value, in a single firearm or firearms” to § 522(d). 124H.R. 3933. Similarly, the proposed Act of 2014 added “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3000 in value, in a single firearm or firearms” to the enumerated list in § 522(f)(4)(A).” 125Id. The Act of 2014 was last acted upon on January 27, 2014, when it was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. 126Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, 2014 Bill Tracking H.R. 3933. Like the two previous bills, this bill has been tabled. 127Id. There has been no further action on the bill since then. 128Id.

Most recently, on March 19, 2015, the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015 (the “Act of 2015”) was proposed in the House of Representatives. 129Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, H.R. 1488, 114th Congress (2015). Once again, the Act of 2015 proposed that a debtor be able to avoid a creditor’s nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest in his or her firearm. 130Id. The statute specifically proposed to implement “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3000 in value, in a single firearm or firearms” into § 522(f)(4)(A) with other household items that a debtor is allowed to exempt. 131Id. (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi) to include firearms in the Code). The last action on the proposed bill of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015 took place on April 21, 2015, when the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial & Antitrust Law. 132Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, 2015 Bill Tracking H.R. 1488.

The four proposed acts prove that attempting to add firearms into § 522(f)(4)(A) within “household goods” is timely, relevant, and should be addressed. 133Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)); H.R. 3933; H.R. 1488. Moreover, the bills received support whenever they were proposed. 134Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181 (stating that the Act of 2011 is co-sponsored by thirty-nine Republicans and two Democrats); H.R. 5827 (stating that the Act of 2010 is co-sponsored by eighteen Democrats and thirteen Republicans). Because more individuals today own guns for household protection, 135Pew Research Center, supra note 12. bills such as the Acts of 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015 will likely continue to be proposed until firearms are specifically referenced in § 522(d) or § 522(f)(4)(A) of the Code.

II. Reasons for Gun Ownership Support Firearms Being a “Household Good”

This first portion of this section will discuss the functional nexus test courts used to determine if a firearm constituted a “household good” under § 522(f)(1)(B) prior to the addition of § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) in 2005. 136In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998). The next portion of this section will discuss how statistical data supports the argument that individuals commonly own firearms in a way that satisfies the functional nexus test, and adds to the argument that firearms could be included in the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). Including firearms in the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A) would be consistent with the recent proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts.

A. Test Used by the Court Pre-BAPCPA

In In re Mason, the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho stated that because firearms are neither per se included nor per se excluded from the category of household goods under § 522(f)(1)(B), a functional nexus needs to be shown between the item and the debtor’s household. 137In re Mason, 254 B.R. 764, 773 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2000). Because firearms were not included in the “household goods” classification in § 522(f)(4)(A) or (B) the functional nexus test is the last known test that can be used to provide guidance for where firearms should be classified.

In this Comment, the functional nexus test will be used to evaluate if firearms should be classified as “household goods” because it was the test commonly used by bankruptcy courts pre-BAPCPA. 138McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62; Raines, 161 B.R. at 551; Heath, 318 B.R. at 118; Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485; Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310. As discussed earlier, a firearm satisfies the functional nexus requirement if it is used to support and facilitate daily life within the household of the debtor. 139McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961.

B. Statistical Data of Reasons Why Individuals Own Firearms

In many cases a debtor satisfied the functional nexus test if they owned their firearms for hunting to supply food for their family or for household protection. 140Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310 (holding that a firearm constitutes a “household good” because it was used to supply meat for the debtor’s family); Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good” because it is used to supply meat for the family); Raines, 161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good” because it is used for protection); Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485 (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home); In re Gonshorowski, 110 B.R. 51, 55 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 1990). Based upon statistical data, there is a growing number of individuals who use firearms in a way that satisfies the functional nexus test. 141Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12. The top two reasons Americans own firearms today are protection and hunting. 142Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12. Figure 1 shows the increase in the percentage of gun owners who own firearms for protection between August 1999 to February 2013. 143Pew Research Center, supra note 12. The percentage of American gun owners listing protection as the primary reason for ownership jumped from 26% in August 1999 to 48% in 2013. 144Id. Individuals owning firearms for the main reason of protection overtook hunting, which previously stood as the main reason individuals owned firearms. 145Id.

Figure 1 146Id.

lewis-fig1

Figure 2 shows that each questioned group of gun owners, which included women, men, 18 to 49 year old individuals, individuals over 50 years of age, post college grads, Republicans, and Democrats, all listed protection as the top reason they owned a gun. 147Id. The individual group of men gun owners owning a gun for the reason of protection jumped from 21% to 42%. 148Id. Women gun owners owning a gun for the main reason of protection also increased to 65% in 2013 from the previous percentage of 43% in 1999. 149Id. Also, Democrat and Republican gun owners both similarly listed protection as the top reason for why they owned a gun. 150Id. Compared to 1999, where 22% of Republican gun owners owned guns because of protection, the percentage increased by 23% to 45% of Republican gun owners owning guns for protection in 2013. 151Id. Furthermore, 53% of Democrat gun owners owned guns for the main reason of protection in 2013 compared to 28% in 1999. 152Id. Despite political disagreement about gun control rights, a growing percentage of Republican and Democrat gun owners list protection as the main reason that they own a gun. 153Id. The increased percentage of individuals owning guns for the purpose of protection proves that individuals commonly own firearms in a way that satisfies the functional nexus test. 154See Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998).

Figure 2 155Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

lewis-fig2

Similar to Figures 1 and 2, Figure 3 indicates that protection is the top reason that Americans own firearms. 156Swift, supra note 12. Figure 3 states that 60% of Americans who own firearms own them for the purpose of protection. 157Id.

The statistics from Figures 1, 2, and 3 also list hunting as the second reason that Americans own firearms. 158See Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns); Pew Research Center, supra note 12. Figures 1 and 2 state that 32% of gun owners own a gun for the main purpose of hunting and Figure 3 states that 37% of American gun owners own guns for the primary purpose of hunting. 159See Swift, supra note 12; Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

Hunting and protection are the two primary means that convinced courts using the functional nexus test that the debtor’s firearms constituted a household good under § 522(f)(1)(B). 160In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used to obtain meat for the family); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998) (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home). Collectively, 80% of gun owners in Figures 1 and 2 and 96% of gun owners in Figure 3 own firearms in a manner that possibly satisfies the functional nexus test. 161See Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns); Pew Research Center, supra note 12. Although the statistics do not specifically say that the individuals who list hunting as the primary purpose for which they own a gun, hunt to supply food for their family, 162See In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310–11 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (stating that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because the debtor uses the firearm to hunt to supply meat for his family). protection still remains as the top reason an individual owns a gun which has been enough to convince the court to classify firearms as “household goods.” 163Pew Research Center, supra note 12; see also Raines, 161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection); Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485 (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home).

Figure 3 164Swift, supra note 12.

lewis-fig3

The statistical evidence of the increased amount of individuals owning firearms for the purpose of protection coupled with hunting being the second most common reason an individual owns a gun, helps support that firearms are being owned in a way that would satisfy the functional nexus test. Since firearms are more commonly being owned in ways that would satisfy the functional nexus test, Congress should consider implementing firearms within the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A).

The next section of this Comment will include cases to demonstrate how the court classified a firearm as a household good because the debtor used the firearm for the purpose of household protection.

C. Court Decisions That Emphasize Protection

In In re Raines, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that because the debtor used a .357 Smith & Wesson handgun for defense purposes in and around the home that it should be classified as a “household good” under § 522(f)(1)(B). 165161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection). Furthermore, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, in In re Gonshorowski, held that a .22 revolver was classified as a “household good” subject to lien avoidance under § 522(f)(1)(B). 166110 B.R. 51, 55 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 1990). Even though this case was in 1990 and individuals did not use firearms as much as they do today for household protection, the court stated, “revolvers of this type are typically used for defense by debtors and their dependents” and held that the firearm fit within the term of “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B). 167Id. at 53.

Similarly, in Crawford, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia held that a Remington Model 700 rifle used by the debtor should be classified as a “household good” subject to lien avoidance because the debtor primarily used it for protection of his household. 168226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998) (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for household protection). The court used the reasoning from Raines 169161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993). that stated, “items used to protect the home and its occupants support and facilitate daily household living.” 170Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485. The reasoning from Raines, Gonshorowski, and Crawford proves that when firearms are used for protection of the household, which is the top reason that individuals own guns today, the firearm is seen to fit within the definition of “household goods” in § 522(f)(1)(B). 171Raines, 161 B.R. at 551; Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485; Gonshorowski, 110 B.R. at 53. Since individuals predominantly own firearms for protection, firearms could possibly be classified as “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B) and thus implemented into the list under § 522(f)(4)(A) that lists specific “household goods”.

The next section will discuss how the Heller decision from 2008 may add emphasis to the importance of a bankrupt debtor being able to keep possession of her firearm for household protection.

III. District of Columbia v. Heller Adds Emphasis

District of Columbia v. Heller has brought more attention to possibly protecting firearms from being repossessed by creditors. 172Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 1. The Heller decision brings to light the emphasis of an individual being able to possess a firearm for protection around the home. 173See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1474 (statement of Hon. Gwen Moore) (“I believe that is fundamentally unfair to deny a second amendment protected item from being included in this list.”); see also Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell). This raises the question of whether a debtor should be able to avoid a creditor’s lien on an otherwise exempt firearm because it is used for household protection. 174Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell) (referencing the Heller decision when arguing that bankrupt individuals should be able to exempt their firearms).

In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the District of Columbia’s law banning the possession of handguns in private homes and the requirement that lawful firearms be kept inoperable, even when necessary for self-defense, violated the Second Amendment. 175554 U.S. 570, 636 (2008). The Heller decision recognized the right of an individual to use firearms for the core lawful purpose of protection in the home. 176Id. at 628–29. However, the court stated that the right to bear arms is not an unlimited constitutional right and made sure to still allow for reasonable restrictions of an individual’s ability to use a firearm. 177Id. at 626–27.

The Heller decision would have likely influenced previous cases that decided that a debtor’s firearm did not constitute a “household good” to come to a different conclusion. 178See In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992) (holding the debtor’s firearms were not considered to be household goods even though the debtor stated that he needed the firearms for protection in and around the home). For example, in 1992 in In re McGreevy, the debtor’s argument that his firearms were used for protection was not convincing to the court. 179Id. Along with making an argument that the firearms were used for hunting away from the home, the debtor made an argument that he also used the guns for household protection. 180Id. The court did not find either one of the debtor’s arguments convincing enough to make the firearms fall within the definition of “household goods” in § 522(f)(1)(B). 181Id. The debtor’s arguments were not persuasive because the debtor did not use the firearms to supply food for his family and the court classified the debtor’s protection argument as secondary. 182Id. The debtor’s argument that the firearms were used for protection would most likely carry more weight today in light of Heller. 183Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell) (referencing the Heller decision when arguing that bankrupt individuals should be able to exempt their firearms). Because of the rising amounts of individuals today using firearms for protection along with the emphasis from Heller, the McGreevy court possibly would have allowed the debtor’s firearm to be classified as a “household good” under § 522(f)(1)(B).

The Heller decision further supports that the right an individual has to possess a firearm for protection around the home should be recognized. 184See id.; 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1474 (statement of Hon. Gwen Moore) (“I believe that is fundamentally unfair to deny a [Second Amendment] protected item from being included in this list.”). The mindset by the court in Heller should be adopted in the bankruptcy context by allowing firearms to fit within the “household goods” classification because individuals are increasingly using firearms for protection. 185Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns).

The next section will show that current state exemption statutes use language that recognizes a firearm should be exempt whenever it is used for a household purpose, which resembles the reasoning from the functional nexus test.

IV. States Classifying a Firearm As a“Household Good”

State exemption statutes that reflect the rationale from the functional nexus test show that when a debtor commonly uses a firearm for a household purpose that it can be exempt as a “household good.” 186See, e.g., Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012). Therefore because more Americans are using firearms for a household purpose today, a similar rationale could be used for making the determination of whether firearms should be included within the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A) of the Code.

Ohio, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin recognize a debtor’s right to use a firearm for a household use by using language in their state exemption statutes that resembles the functional nexus test. 187Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d). These statutes use the language, “held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor” whenever discussing a debtor’s ability to exempt a firearm, 188Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d); see also Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014) (specifying that the firearms must be “for the own use and defense of the citizen”). showing that firearms used for household use should be exempted in bankruptcy. 189Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d).

Similarly, Missouri listed firearms within the classification of “household goods” in its state exemption statute. 190In re Gentry, 519 B.R. 531, 534 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2014). In 2014, in In re Gentry, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri, held that the debtors’ 12 gauge pump shotgun, .22 pump rifle, and 20 gauge pump shotgun, valued collectively at $250, were classified as “household goods” in the Missouri exemption statute. 191Id. Even though the court in Gentry did not determine whether the firearms at issue were “household goods” for purposes of § 522(f)(1)(B) of the Code but rather for the Missouri state exemption statute, the court came to conclusion that the firearms were within the definition of “household goods” because they are typically used for hunting and self-protection. 192Id. The court held that the debtor’s firearms should constitute household goods under the Missouri exemption statute because guns could be found to be “necessary to the functioning of a household.” 193Id. Similar to the functional nexus test, the firearms were deemed to be exempt and classified as a household good because debtors commonly use them for protection and hunting. 194Id. Therefore, firearms could fit within the definition of “household goods” in the Code based on the court’s reasoning from Gentry. 195Id.

The examples of how the rationale from the functional nexus test is used in state exemption statutes shows that the reasoning from the test can be used when deciding the issue of whether to implement firearms into the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A) of the Code.

The next section explores the general need for revision of § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B). The need for the revision of the lists in § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) adds to the argument that firearms should be inserted into the list of “household goods” in order to meet current needs of debtors.

V. Sections 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) Need To Be Amended

Section 522(f)(4)(A) lists items that are considered to be “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B) and § 522(f)(4)(B) lists items that are not considered to be “household goods.” 19611 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012). Even though § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) clarify what constitutes a household good, the lists’ inflexible approach could prevent the Code from keeping pace with changing consumer goods relevant to debtors filing for bankruptcy. 1977 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. For example, an issue arises with the placement of VCR within the term of “household goods” under § 522(f)(4)(A)(vi). 19811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(vi). Even though a VCR is listed as a household good it is most likely not applicable with current technology and is not commonly owned by debtors. 1997 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6. Today, debtors will most likely own Blu-ray players or DVD players rather than VCR’s. 200Id.; see also Andrew Dugan, Americans’ Tech Tastes Change with Times, Gallup Economy (Jan. 6, 2014), http://www.gallup.com/poll/166745/americans-tech-tastes-change-times.aspx (reporting that there has been a thirty percent decrease in the amount of Americans who own VCRs since 2005).

Cases that occurred after the addition of § 522(f)(4)(A) acknowledge that the list is not up to date with the times for items such as the VCR. 201See In re Mundy, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 109, 13–14 (D.S.C. 2006); In re Zieg, 409 B.R. 917, 920 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2009) (interpreting a VCR to include a DVD player because of changes in consumer preferences after the BAPCPA was drafted). In In re Mundy in 2006, a court recognized that a DVD player is akin to a VCR and even though a DVD player is not listed for purposes of lien avoidance a debtor should be able to avoid the nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money security interest on a DVD player. 202Mundy, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 109, at *13–14. Similarly, in 2009, in In re Zieg, a court recognized that the technology has changed since BAPCPA was drafted in 2005 and that a VCR can be reasonably interpreted to include the debtor’s DVD player for purposes of lien avoidance. 203Zieg, 409 B.R. at 920.

Even though the prevalence of firearms ownership has not grown because of changes in technology like the DVD player or Blu-ray player, more people now own firearms today for a household purpose. 204Swift, supra note 12. Based on these examples, Congress’s definition of what constitutes a “household good” in § 522(f)(4)(A) could be adjusted to match the current needs of debtors currently filing for bankruptcy.

The § 522(f)(4)(A) list also contains some items that require interpretation. For example, an “appliance” is classified as a “household good.” 20511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii) (2012); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005). Because of the ambiguity, the term appliance leaves the door open for the court to interpret what an appliance actually is. 206See Zieg, 409 B.R. at 921 (classifying a lawn mower as an appliance for purposes of § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii)); In re Stewart, No. 07-02189, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2915, at *5–6 (Bankr. D.S.C. 2007) (holding that a utility building is not considered an appliance for § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii) after the debtor tried to argue that the lien should be voided because it fit within the definition of “appliance”).

Further, trying to read firearms into the definition of an item currently listed under § 522(f)(4)(A) like DVD players are read into the definition to mean VCRs is most likely implausible. 207Zieg, 409 B.R. at 920. The best chance that a firearm has in being read into the definition of “household goods” is under “personal effects (including the toys and hobby equipment of minor dependent children and wedding rings) of the debtor and the dependents of the debtor.” 20811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(xiv); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005). Whether a firearm actually falls under the category of “personal effects of the debtor and the dependents of the debtor” would still be ambiguous and not explicitly stated. 209See 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(xiv); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, 109 Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005). Therefore, firearms would likely need to be explicitly and separately identified within the list of § 522(f)(4)(A).

Even though the Code identifies items that fit within the definition of “household goods” in § 522(f)(1)(B), there are still items, like firearms, which have been left off the list. The lists in § 522(f)(4)(A) and (B) are now in some instances outdated and ambiguous. In light of individuals more commonly possessing a firearm for a functional use in and around the home, 210Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top two reasons that Americans own firearms). the § 522(f)(4)(A) list of “household goods” should be revised.

VI. Suggestions for the Proposed Amendment

This section will include suggestions that Congress should consider for implementing firearms into the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). Because the recent proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts have been unsuccessful, this section will offer suggestions about what could possibly be used to successfully get a subsequent Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act accepted and implemented into the Code.

A proposed amendment that would add firearms into the list of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A) would need to include a limit on the aggregate fair market value of the firearms that a debtor could exempt. 211See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014) (proposing a $3000 monetary cap on the firearm or firearms that the debtor would exempt). A specific cap on the aggregate fair market value of the firearms is preferred to offering a debtor an opportunity to exempt a firearm along with other household goods under a certain aggregate fair market value. 212Several states have adopted such aggregate caps. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt “one shotgun, or one rifle, or one pistol” among other household goods as long as the aggregate fair market value is under $1000); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012) (allowing a debtor to exempt a firearm among other household goods as long as the total aggregate value is under $12,000). Even though offering the debtor an opportunity to exempt a firearm among other household goods under a certain aggregate fair market value would ensure that the firearm is important to the debtor, § 522(f)(4)(A) does not impose an aggregate fair market value limit for the total amount of household goods that a debtor can exempt. 213See 11 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B). Therefore, the proposed amendment should impose a limit on the aggregate fair market value specifically allowed for firearms a debtor can exempt.

Similar to the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, a proposed amendment would probably need to include “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed . . . in value.” 214See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014) (proposing a $3000 monetary cap on the firearm or firearms that the debtor would exempt). Another suggestion to put a cap on the aggregate monetary interest that can be exempted could be to include, “the combined value of all firearms claimed as exempt may not exceed . . . .” 215Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014) (not allowing the combined value of all firearms claimed as exempt to exceed $1000). Limiting the aggregate monetary interest in firearms that a debtor will be able to exempt will help control the amount of guns that a debtor can exempt and prevent the debtor from obtaining large monetary exemptions for her exempt firearm. 216See In re Eichelberger, No. L-89-00013W, slip op. at 11 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa Sept. 29, 1989) (allowing a debtor to exempt a $22,000 rifle); In re McCabe, 280 B.R. 841, 845 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa 2002) (allowing the debtor to exempt a $10,000 shotgun).

Furthermore, the amount of firearms that a debtor would be able to exempt would need to be limited to the amount of firearms that are actually needed to facilitate a debtor’s daily life. At most, a debtor needs to exempt two firearms: one for household protection, and one for hunting to supply food for her family. 217In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that only the debtor’s 30/30 rifle constituted a “household good” because the debtor used this rifle for the primary purpose of obtaining meat for his family; debtor’s two twelve gauge shotguns, 4-10 shotgun, and .22 automatic rifle did not constitute “household goods” because they were not the most appropriate firearm for that purpose). Therefore, the maximum number of firearms that a debtor should be allowed to exempt is two. 218See In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998) (allowing for a 7mm Remington Magnum rifle and Masenberg 12 gauge shotgun to constitute “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B) because both firearms were used for different purposes). For example, the proposed amendment could include, “one rifle or shotgun, and pistol” to allow two firearms to be exempt. 219Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014). The Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015 also proposed that the option of a combination of firearms should be allowed by proposing, “the debtor’s aggregate interest, . . . in a single firearm or firearms.” 220See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014). The Act of 2015 recognized that the debtor might need to exempt a combination of firearms. 221See id. However, the Act of 2015 did not recognize that a debtor should be just allowed to exempt the maximum of two firearms. Limiting the amount of firearms to just two will make the proposed amendment seem not as extreme since it will not allow a debtor to be able to exempt several firearms. Thus, a proposed amendment should impose a limit on the amount of firearms a debtor can exempt.

Therefore, a subsequent proposal of a Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act should have a cap on the aggregate monetary value of firearms that a debtor can exempt, as well as limit the debtor to the maximum exemption amount of two firearms.

Conclusion

Because of the differences in opinion on gun control and the emphasis different parts of the United States place on firearms possession, the step of implementing firearms specifically into the Code is a difficult one to make. Moreover, state exemption statutes that specifically mention firearms even differ in the amount of firearms that a debtor can exempt, 222See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001) (allowing a debtor to exempt two firearms); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605(8) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt one firearm). the limit for the aggregate monetary value of the firearms that debtors can exempt, 223See Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (stating that the combined value of the debtors one rifle and one shotgun or pistol that are exempt may not exceed $1000); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013) (stating that a debtor’s exempt firearm may not exceed $525); Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (not giving an aggregate value that the debtor’s exempt firearms need to stay under). and the justifications for letting debtors exempt a firearm. 224See Okla. St. Ann. tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (stating that a firearm should only be exempt if it is held by the debtor primarily for personal, family, or household use). However, just because the decision to provide for firearms in the Code is difficult does not mean that Congress should refrain from providing clarification.

Firearms are more commonly being used today in a way that would support them being included within the classification of “household goods” in § 522(f)(4)(A). The majority of gun owners own firearms for reasons that satisfy the functional nexus test, which was used by courts to determine if firearms should be classified as “household goods” pre-BAPCPA. 225Pew Research Center, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons Americans own guns). Thus, the proposal to implement firearms within the classification of “household goods” is possible and can be supported by rationale that has been previously used by bankruptcy courts. Even though the proposals of the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Acts have not been accepted, the test used pre-BAPCPA to evaluate if a firearm constituted a “household good” seems to provide guidance and even shows that firearms could be included within the list of “household goods” in § of 522(f)(4)(A) of the Code.

Footnotes

1Aaron Karp, Small Arms Survey 2007, ch. 2 app. 4, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2007/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2007-Chapter-02-annexe-4-EN.pdf (last visited Jan. 13, 2016).

2William Krouse, Cong. Research Serv., RL32842, How Many Guns Are in the United States? Gun Control Legislation 8–9 (2012) (citing U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Firearms Commerce in the United States 2011, August 2011, p. 15).

3Whenever discussing guns or firearms, this Comment is referring to rifles, shotguns, and pistols, not military assault weapons or firearms similar in nature to military assault weapons.

4See 11 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012).

5See id.

6Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (Mar. 1, 1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i)); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy ¶ 522.11 (Alan N. Resnick & Henry J. Sommer eds., 16th ed. 2014); see also Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 Part 2: Hearing on H.R. 833 Before the Subcomm. on Commercial & Admin. Law of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 13 (1999) (stating that the list was derived from the list of household goods developed in the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Practices Rule, with the addition of one VCR, educational materials and equipment primarily for use of children, and children’s toys and hobby equipment).

7Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)).

8Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, 113 H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015).

911 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B).

1011 U.S.C § 522(f)(1)(B). See generally Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-394, 108 Stat. 4106 (changing § 522(f)(2)(A) to § 522(f)(1)(B)).

11Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985)); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6; see also Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999 Part 2: Hearing on H.R. 833 Before the Subcomm. on Commercial & Admin. Law of the House Comm. on the Judiciary, 106th Cong. 13 (1999) (stating that the list was derived from the list of household goods developed in the Federal Trade Commission’s Credit Practices Rule, with the addition of one VCR, educational materials and equipment primarily for use of children, and children’s toys and hobby equipment).

12See Art Swift, Personal Safety Top Reason Americans Own Guns Today, Gallup Politics, http://www.gallup.com/poll/165605/personal-safety-top-reason-americans-own-guns-today.aspx (Oct. 28, 2013); Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason: Perspective of Gun Owners, Non-Owners, Pew Research Center, http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/12/why-own-a-gun-protection-is-now-top-reason/ (Mar. 12, 2013) (listing statistics that state the top two reasons for individuals owning firearms are for protection and hunting).

1311 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, §§ 113(a)(4)(A) & (B), 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005).

14In re Rice, 35 B.R. 431, 432 (Bankr. Kan. 1982); In re Psick, 61 B.R. 308, 314 (Bankr. D. Minn. 1985) (stating that a motor vehicle could not qualify as a “household good”); In re Vale, 110 B.R. 396, 407–08 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 1989); In re Lenczowski, 79 B.R. 392, 393 (Bankr. W.D. Ind. 1987) (holding that a boat does not qualify as a “household good”).

1511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (not stating whether a firearm is a “household good”); see also In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 962 (4th Cir. 1992) (holding that the debtor’s firearms do not constitute “household goods”); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998) (holding that the debtor’s firearm should be classified as a “household good”); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good”); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good”); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Wetzel, 46 B.R. 254, 255 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 1984) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is not a “household good”); In re Oglesby, 98 B.R. 960, 962 (Bankr. E.D. Mo. 1989); In re Gray, 87 B.R. 591, 593 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1988) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is not a “household good”).

16Jim Supica, A Brief History of Firearms, http://www.nramuseum.org/gun-info-research/a-brief-history-of-firearms.aspx, NRA Museum, (last visited Jan. 23, 2016).

17Marcia Yablon, Why Annie Gets to Keep Her Gun: An Analysis of Firearm Exemption in Bankruptcy Proceedings, 21 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 553, 565–66 (2005).

1811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A).

1911 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(B).

2011 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B); 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

217 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6 (stating that only nonpossessory, nonpurchase-money interest are subject to lien avoidance under § 522(f)(1)(B)).

22Id.

23Id. (the term “security interest” is defined in § 101(51) as “a lien created by an agreement”).

2411 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B)(i)–(iii).

2511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B).

26See generally Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-598, 92 Stat. 2587; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

27In re Zieg, 409 B.R. 917, 920 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2009).

2811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A).

29In re Stewart, No. 07-02189, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2915, at *3 (Bankr. D.S.C. Sept. 6, 2007).

3011 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(B).

31See, e.g., In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993).

32McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62; In re Oglesby, 98 B.R. 960, 962 (Bankr. E.D. Mo. 1989); In re Gray, 87 B.R. 591, 593 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1988); In re Weaver, 78 B.R. 135, 139 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 1987); Oswald v. ITT Financial Services (In re Oswald), 85 B.R. 541, 543 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1986); In re Wetzel, 46 B.R. 254, 255 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 1984); In re Noggle, 30 B.R. 303, 306 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 1983).

33Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004).

34226 B.R. at 485. See McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62 for a discussion about how courts generally would classify a firearm as a “household good” if it was viewed to support and facilitate the daily household living of the debtor.

35See McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 962 n.4.

36Michael J. Herbert, Straining the Gnat: A Critique of the 1984 Federal Trade Commission Consumer Credit Regulations, 38 S.C. L. Rev. 329, 352 (1987).

37McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 962 n.4.

38Id.

39Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-598, 92 Stat. 2587; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

40McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 960; 7 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

41FTC Credit Practices Rule, 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985).

42Id.

43Id.

44Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740 (1984) (codified at 16 C.F.R. § 444.1(i) (1985)).

45Id.

467 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

47See 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012); Trade Regulation Rule; Credit Practices, 49 Fed. Reg. 7740.

48In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 117 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004).

49The necessity test focused on whether “the item in question served a vital function to the debtor’s fresh start.” Id. (citing In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 959–60 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Cottingham, No. 95-32441-B, 1996 Bankr. LEXIS 594 (Bankr. W.D. Tenn.). The broad test considered any and all goods typically found in the home to be household goods, regardless if they were necessary for a debtor’s fresh start. Id.

50McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961.

51Id.

52Heath, 318 B.R. at 117.

53Julian McDonnel & James Nehf, 1C-20 Secured Transaction Under the UCC § 20.05 Permitting Avoidance of Security Interests in Exempt Goods (2014).

54In re Mason, 254 B.R. 764, 773 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2000) (stating that since there is neither a per se inclusion nor a per se exclusion of firearms within the definition of “household goods,” the functional nexus test should be used).

55In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998).

56Id.

57Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310–11; see also Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (stating that the cultural and geographic environment of the debtors is of particular importance in determining if a rifle is a household good under § 522(f)(1)(B)).

58226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998).

59Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485.

60318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004).

61Id.

62Id.

63955 F.2d 957, 962 (4th Cir. 1992).

64Id.

65Id.

66Id.

67Id. (stating that a rifle and shotgun do not constitute “household goods” under 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(2)(A), which was subsequently changed to 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(1)(B) by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994).

68See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010).

69Id. (statement of Rep. John Boccieri and Rep. Daniel Lungren).

70Id. (statement of Rep. Mark Critz).

71Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1673 (2010) (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum).

72Id.

73Id.

74Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy).

75Id.

76See generally Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. John Boccieri); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (statement of Rep. Daniel Lungren) (discussing that a bankrupt debtor should be able to keep his or her gun as a “household good”); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (statement of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy) (opposing the idea of a bankrupt debtor being able to exempt a gun as a “household good”); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1673 (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum) (opposing that a bankrupt debtor should be able to exempt a gun as a “household good”).

77In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); see also In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (stating that the cultural and geographic environment of the debtor is of particular importance in determining if a firearm is a household good).

78See VA Code Ann. § 34-26 (West 2011); Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014); 2014 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 145) (West 2014); Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001); Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013); Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014); Iowa Code Ann. § 627.6.2 (West 2013); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605 (West 2014); Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014); Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31, § 1 (West 2002); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21.090 (West 2013).

79Va Code Ann. § 34-26; Carol Pettit & Vastine Platte, Cong. Research Serv., R41799, Exemptions for Firearms in Bankruptcy 2 (2013).

80Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7).

81Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605.

82Iowa Code Ann. § 627.6.2.

83La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 145).

84Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014).

85Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013).

86Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21.090 (West 2013).

87Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013).

88Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31, § 1 (West 2002).

89Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014).

90Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001).

91Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012).

92Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 4–6.

93Id. at 2.

94Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt “one typewriter, one computer, one bicycle, one sewing machine, a family bible, a lot in any burial ground, one shotgun, or one rifle, or one pistol, not in excess of an aggregate fair market value of one thousand dollars”).

95Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (allowing a debtor to exempt “household goods and furnishings, wearing apparel, keepsakes, jewelry . . . appliances, books, musical instruments, firearm, sporting goods . . . not to exceed $12,000 in aggregate value”).

96Id.

97Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001).

98Id. ; c.f. Miss. Code Ann. § 85-3-1 (West 2014); La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322. (West 2014); Mont. Code Ann. § 25-13-609(1) (West 2013); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605 (West 2014); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (placing a cap on the aggregate monetary value of firearms a debtor can exempt).

99Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (imposing a state exemption statute that allows for two firearms to be exempt that are not subject to any sort of monetary cap for the exemption).

100Id. (specifically listing two firearms as a piece of property that a debtor can exempt).

101554 U.S. 570, 636 (2008).

102Yablon, supra note 17, at 578 (stating that Congress should have provided more guidance regarding the meaning of “household goods” pre-BAPCPA, and particularly on whether firearms are “household goods”).

10311 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A) (2012).

104Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, H.R. 3933, 114th Cong. (2015).

105H.R. 5827.

106After the initial proposal to the House of Representatives, the language of the Act of 2010 was amended to state for both § 522(d) and § 522(f)(4)(A), “the debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed $3,000 in value, in a single rifle, shotgun, or pistol, or any combination thereof.” Id.

107Id.

108Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 3.

109Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6137 (2010) (statement of Rep. John Boccieri).

110H.R. 5827 (stating that the Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010 is co-sponsored by eighteen Democrats and thirteen Republicans).

111Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. H. 6215 (2010).

112Id.

113Id. (statement of Hon. Betty McCollum).

114Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181.

115Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 112 H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011).

116Id. (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)).

117Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 4–6; H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. § 2 (2011).

118Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181 (stating that the Act is co-sponsored by thirty-nine Republicans and two Democrats).

119Id.

120Id.

1212013 Legis. Bill Hist. U.S. H.B. 3933 (113th Cong.).

122Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014).

123 Compare Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011), with H.R. 3933.

124H.R. 3933.

125Id.

126Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, 2014 Bill Tracking H.R. 3933.

127Id.

128Id.

129Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, H.R. 1488, 114th Congress (2015).

130Id.

131Id. (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi) to include firearms in the Code).

132Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2015, 2015 Bill Tracking H.R. 1488.

133Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, H.R. 5827, 111th Cong. (2010); Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, H.R. 1181, 112th Cong. (2011) (proposing an amendment for § 522(f)(4)(A)(xvi)); H.R. 3933; H.R. 1488.

134Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011, 2011 Bill Tracking H.R. 1181 (stating that the Act of 2011 is co-sponsored by thirty-nine Republicans and two Democrats); H.R. 5827 (stating that the Act of 2010 is co-sponsored by eighteen Democrats and thirteen Republicans).

135Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

136In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993); In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998); In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998).

137In re Mason, 254 B.R. 764, 773 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2000).

138McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961–62; Raines, 161 B.R. at 551; Heath, 318 B.R. at 118; Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485; Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310.

139McGreevy, 955 F.2d at 961.

140Rhines, 227 B.R. at 310 (holding that a firearm constitutes a “household good” because it was used to supply meat for the debtor’s family); Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good” because it is used to supply meat for the family); Raines, 161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a “household good” because it is used for protection); Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485 (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home); In re Gonshorowski, 110 B.R. 51, 55 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 1990).

141Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12.

142Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12.

143Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

144Id.

145Id.

146Id.

147Id.

148Id.

149Id.

150Id.

151Id.

152Id.

153Id.

154See Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998).

155Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

156Swift, supra note 12.

157Id.

158See Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns); Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

159See Swift, supra note 12; Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

160In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used to obtain meat for the family); In re Raines, 161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993) (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection); Crawford v. First Family Fin. Servs. (In re Crawford), 226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998) (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home).

161See Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns); Pew Research Center, supra note 12.

162See In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310–11 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998); Heath, 318 B.R. at 118 (stating that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because the debtor uses the firearm to hunt to supply meat for his family).

163Pew Research Center, supra note 12; see also Raines, 161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection); Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485 (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for protection in and around the home).

164Swift, supra note 12.

165161 B.R. at 551 (holding that the debtor’s firearm is a household good because it is used for protection).

166110 B.R. 51, 55 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 1990).

167Id. at 53.

168226 B.R. 484, 485 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1998) (holding that a rifle is a household good because it is used for household protection).

169161 B.R. 548, 551 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1993).

170Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485.

171Raines, 161 B.R. at 551; Crawford, 226 B.R. at 485; Gonshorowski, 110 B.R. at 53.

172Pettit & Platte, supra note 79, at 1.

173See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1474 (statement of Hon. Gwen Moore) (“I believe that is fundamentally unfair to deny a second amendment protected item from being included in this list.”); see also Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell).

174Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell) (referencing the Heller decision when arguing that bankrupt individuals should be able to exempt their firearms).

175554 U.S. 570, 636 (2008).

176Id. at 628–29.

177Id. at 626–27.

178See In re McGreevy, 955 F.2d 957, 961–62 (4th Cir. 1992) (holding the debtor’s firearms were not considered to be household goods even though the debtor stated that he needed the firearms for protection in and around the home).

179Id.

180Id.

181Id.

182Id.

183Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1448 (statement of Hon. John Dingell) (referencing the Heller decision when arguing that bankrupt individuals should be able to exempt their firearms).

184See id.; 156 Cong. Rec. E. 1474 (statement of Hon. Gwen Moore) (“I believe that is fundamentally unfair to deny a [Second Amendment] protected item from being included in this list.”).

185Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons gun owners own guns).

186See, e.g., Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013); Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012).

187Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d).

188Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d); see also Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014) (specifying that the firearms must be “for the own use and defense of the citizen”).

189Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66; Okla. St. Ann tit. 31 § 1; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d).

190In re Gentry, 519 B.R. 531, 534 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2014).

191Id.

192Id.

193Id.

194Id.

195Id.

19611 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A), (B) (2012).

1977 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

19811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(vi).

1997 Collier on Bankruptcy, supra note 6.

200Id.; see also Andrew Dugan, Americans’ Tech Tastes Change with Times, Gallup Economy (Jan. 6, 2014), http://www.gallup.com/poll/166745/americans-tech-tastes-change-times.aspx (reporting that there has been a thirty percent decrease in the amount of Americans who own VCRs since 2005).

201See In re Mundy, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 109, 13–14 (D.S.C. 2006); In re Zieg, 409 B.R. 917, 920 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2009) (interpreting a VCR to include a DVD player because of changes in consumer preferences after the BAPCPA was drafted).

202Mundy, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 109, at *13–14.

203Zieg, 409 B.R. at 920.

204Swift, supra note 12.

20511 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii) (2012); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005).

206See Zieg, 409 B.R. at 921 (classifying a lawn mower as an appliance for purposes of § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii)); In re Stewart, No. 07-02189, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 2915, at *5–6 (Bankr. D.S.C. 2007) (holding that a utility building is not considered an appliance for § 522(f)(4)(A)(iii) after the debtor tried to argue that the lien should be voided because it fit within the definition of “appliance”).

207Zieg, 409 B.R. at 920.

20811 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(xiv); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005).

209See 11 U.S.C. § 522(f)(4)(A)(xiv); Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, 109 Pub. L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23 (enacted Apr. 20, 2005).

210Pew Research Center, supra note 12; Swift, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top two reasons that Americans own firearms).

211See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014) (proposing a $3000 monetary cap on the firearm or firearms that the debtor would exempt).

212Several states have adopted such aggregate caps. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1125(7) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt “one shotgun, or one rifle, or one pistol” among other household goods as long as the aggregate fair market value is under $1000); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012) (allowing a debtor to exempt a firearm among other household goods as long as the total aggregate value is under $12,000).

213See 11 U.S.C § 522(f)(4)(A), (B).

214See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014) (proposing a $3000 monetary cap on the firearm or firearms that the debtor would exempt).

215Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014) (not allowing the combined value of all firearms claimed as exempt to exceed $1000).

216See In re Eichelberger, No. L-89-00013W, slip op. at 11 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa Sept. 29, 1989) (allowing a debtor to exempt a $22,000 rifle); In re McCabe, 280 B.R. 841, 845 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa 2002) (allowing the debtor to exempt a $10,000 shotgun).

217In re Heath, 318 B.R. 115, 118 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2004) (holding that only the debtor’s 30/30 rifle constituted a “household good” because the debtor used this rifle for the primary purpose of obtaining meat for his family; debtor’s two twelve gauge shotguns, 4-10 shotgun, and .22 automatic rifle did not constitute “household goods” because they were not the most appropriate firearm for that purpose).

218See In re Rhines, 227 B.R. 308, 310 (Bankr. D. Mont. 1998) (allowing for a 7mm Remington Magnum rifle and Masenberg 12 gauge shotgun to constitute “household goods” under § 522(f)(1)(B) because both firearms were used for different purposes).

219Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (West 2014).

220See Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2014, H.R. 3933, 113th Cong. (2014).

221See id.

222See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (West 2001) (allowing a debtor to exempt two firearms); Idaho Code Ann. § 11-605(8) (West 2014) (allowing a debtor to exempt one firearm).

223See Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18.362 (stating that the combined value of the debtors one rifle and one shotgun or pistol that are exempt may not exceed $1000); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (West 2013) (stating that a debtor’s exempt firearm may not exceed $525); Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 42.002(7) (not giving an aggregate value that the debtor’s exempt firearms need to stay under).

224See Okla. St. Ann. tit. 31 § 1 (West 2002); Wis. Stat. Ann. § 815.18(3)(d) (West 2012); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2329.66 (stating that a firearm should only be exempt if it is held by the debtor primarily for personal, family, or household use).

225Pew Research Center, supra note 12 (listing protection and hunting as the top reasons Americans own guns).

 Editor-in-Chief, Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal; J.D. Candidate, Emory University School of Law (2016); M.B.A., Dallas Baptist University (2012); B.B.A., cum laude, Dallas Baptist University (2012); Winner of the 2015 Keith J. Shapiro Award for Excellence in Consumer Bankruptcy Writing. First, I would like to thank Professor Dorothy Brown for her thoughtful and thorough guidance. I also would like to thank the staff members and editors of the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal—particularly Michael Arwood, Hardy DeLaughter, and Nicole Hammond—for their diligence in editing this Comment. Finally, I would like to thank my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends for their constant encouragement and support. This Comment is in honor of my grandmother Clementine Charlton, who positively impacted my life and everyone in my family’s life with an abundance of love, laughter, generosity, and wisdom.