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Key Compliance Tips for Those with Federal Firearm Licenses

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for licensing persons engaged in manufacturing, importing, and dealing in firearms and ensuring that these licensees do so in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. There were more than 139,000 Federal Firearm Licenses (FFLs) in fiscal year 2015. This number includes firearm licenses for dealers, manufacturers, importers, and collectors. During that time, ATF conducted 8,696 firearms compliance inspections.

It is critical that federal firearms licensees comply with the Gun Control Act of 1968, and its implementing regulations, in order to assist law enforcement efforts, prevent the diversion of firearms from lawful commerce to the illegal market, ensure successful tracing of firearms, and to protect the public. To help improve ATF compliance, here is a list of practical tips for FFLs to follow. (Note: These tips are to help improve compliance, but in and of themselves will not guarantee compliance.)

  • Stay in a rut. Set a routine time for entering firearms transactions in your handbook-and stick to your routine.
  • Keep everything in its place. Maintain (at least) two separate Form 4473 files: one for those with associated firearms transfers, and one for those where no transfer occurred.
  • If it comes in, it goes in. Firearms left for repair belong in your bound book just as much as those you've acquired for other reasons. Enter those intakes during your routine "bound-book time."
  • If it goes out, it goes in. You sold it. You sent it for outsourced repair. You gave it away. You destroyed it. Doesn't matter why; get that entry into your bound book.
  • Remember the middle. Form 4473 isn't valid unless the customer completely enters his or her middle name. Check to make sure it's there!
  • Look for a signature. Form 4473 without a signature won't pass muster with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the transaction will be denied.
  • Groups deserve special treatment. Complete a multiple-handgun sale-form when ... well, you know.
  • Groups deserve even more special treatment. Always report multiple-handgun sales to the chief law enforcement official (CLEO) in your area. Right away.
  • Take names if you're dealing globally. When you import firearms, remember to record the names of the foreign manufacturer and the U.S. importer both in the bound book and on Form 4473.
  • Two is not a crowd. Make sure you have a trained, back-up record keeper.

For more information on how Epicor ATF software can help firearms dealers comply, perform, and grow, go here.

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