Upon passage of the Gun Control Act of 19681, a person who wanted to deal in firearms for the primary purpose of making a living had to obtain a License (or FFL). Over time, the rather simple requirements incumbent upon FFLS became very rigid and strict. In theory, at present, a single violation of the GCA of 1968 can lead to revocation of an FFL and/or imprisonment.
ATFE’s central purpose for holding FFLs to a high standard of compliance with respect to their records, primarily A&D Books, 4473 Forms, and Multiple Handgun Purchases is for proper law enforcement. With a dealer of any volume, compliance—let alone strict compliance—is sometimes deemed impossible. However, there are three key steps an FFL may take to ensure these records are accurate.
First, there should be a dedicated place in every retail establishment where buyers go to complete the required paperwork. This avoids casual conversation, and mistakes that come with distraction, such as failing to complete all of the answers on the 4473 designed to determine if the buyer is a prohibited possessor.
Second, before a buyer takes delivery of the firearm, there should be a double check of the forms, identification, NICS to ensure everything from the 11 answers are completed to verification of the firearm’s serial number. The key here is to have employees trained in the legal requirements and have two checks.
Third, in the initial log of a new or used firearm, the A&D Book must correctly capture the firearms information. This includes maker and, in particular, serial number. A double check is also important to implement and/or read the serial number from left to right and right to left.
Without such compliance, the FFL will be non-compliant and with any Compliance Check run the risk of violations, which will result in the inspector issuing a Report of Violation. This is what can trigger anything from a warning letter from AFT to license revocation and/or criminal charge.
Related to following these key steps, an FFL is well advised to conduct a periodic inventory of all firearms. Unaccounted for firearms, whether lost, stolen or misplaced will be determined in such an inventory as well as incorrect forms. Few things make a Compliance Inspection go worse than missing firearms.
It is hoped this blog post helps you stay in compliance with being an FFL. This blog post was written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who consults with FFLs and other gun related matters throughout the United States. This is not a solicitation for legal representation, or reflection that the firm practices in states where its attorneys are not admitted to the bar.
- Codified in 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq.