Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the objectives of the e-Form 4473 system?
- Will I be required to use the electronic version of the Form 4473?
- May I use the e-Form 4473 at times, but also use the paper form on other transactions?
- What are the advantages to filing Form 4473s electronically?
- What programs will I need to install on my computer in order to use e-Form 4473?
- What is required to register for e-Form 4473?
- Is there a cost to downloading the e-Form 4473?
- What are the steps for downloading a Form 4473 electronically?
- What are the steps for completing the e-Form 4473?
- Will users be able to update their versions of the e-Form 4473?
- How will I know it is time to download a newer version of the e-Form 4473?
- May I attach additional documentation with my e-Form 4473?
- Will e-Form 4473 reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the form or transfer?
- Who do I contact with questions?
- Do I have to list my full 15-digit Federal firearms license (FFL) number?
- What should I do if I do not transfer the firearm and have already printed the e-Form 4473 in error?
- Q: What are the objectives of the e-Form 4473 system?
The objectives of the electronic ATF Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record Part I - Over-the-Counter) system are to provide the Federal firearms licensees (FFLs) a “smart” version of the ATF Form 4473 that will assist FFL dealers by helping eliminate/reduce possible clerical errors on the form. It could help eliminate or reduce the occurrences of blanks or omissions on the form because the system would not allow the buyer to go to the next question without answering a required question. The system could also help determine if a person has indicated on the form that he/she is prohibited from receiving a firearm. This would be accomplished by flagging and/or notifying the seller of responses by the buyer that would require additional attention.
- Q: Will I be required to use the electronic version of the Form 4473?
No. The use of the e-Form 4473 is optional.
- Q: May I use the e-Form 4473 at times, but also use the paper form on other transactions?
Yes. However, all completed ATF Forms 4473 must be properly maintained by regulation.
- Q: What are the advantages to filing Form 4473s electronically?
- Eliminate or reduce possible clerical errors
- Eliminate or reduce blanks or omissions on the form
- Flag seller if buyer has indicated he/she may be prohibited
- Answers will be legibly printed
- Ease in filling out the form (for example, when the buyer lists their ZIP Code, the city, State, and county (if applicable) can be automatically populated)
- Q: What programs will I need to install on my computer in order to use e-Form 4473?
e-Form 4473 needs to be downloaded from ATF’s Web site on the Internet. The system will provide cross platform operations to support Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows 7 Operating Systems as well as Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Operating Systems. You will need Java Runtime Environment 1.4 or higher if you have a Windows operating system, and all systems will need Adobe Acrobat (PDF) to view and print the user’s manual. A link is available on the ATF Web site to download a free recent version of Adobe Acrobat.
- Q: What is required to register for e-Form 4473?
You do not have to register to use the e-Form 4473.
- Q: Is there a cost to downloading the e-Form 4473?
There is no cost to downloading the form. However, you will have to print the form on 8½″ x 11″, white paper, which you will provide and you will have to staple all the pages to the form together.
- Q: What are the steps for downloading a Form 4473 electronically?
Listed below are some of the steps you will follow in order to download a Form 4473 electronically.
- You will access the ATF Web site and select the Firearms Industry link and then the e-Form 4473 link located on the right side of the page.
- From the e-Form 4473 main page, select the “Download The Application” button.
- Choose the appropriate operating system and click download.
- Save the application to your computer.
- Q: What are the steps for completing the e-Form 4473?
- Once you download and save the e-Form to your system, you will be able to complete the e-Form 4473 by entering information in an interview style.
- You must complete the “Seller Set Up” information first. [On the opening screen click on “Continue”; on the e-Form 4473 screen click on the “Set Up” button; on the Administrator’s screen click on the “Seller Settings” button. On the “Seller Set Up” page you must insert your FFL name, address, and first three and last five digits of your Federal firearms license number (you can list up to five FFLs for the same licensed premises). You may also choose a password on this screen. If you click to make the Seller’s Password Mandatory, this will prevent unauthorized persons from viewing or changing your Set Up information. By entering this information, the form will automatically populate questions 31 and 32. Remember your password as you will need it to complete the seller’s sections (B and D) of the form.
- Click on “Return to Start”, “Administrator’s Set Up” or “Exit”. Choosing any of these buttons will save your information.
- On the “Administrator’s Set Up” page, if you click to make the Administrator’s Password Mandatory, this will prevent unauthorized persons from viewing or changing your Set Up information.
- The buyer will complete Section A of the form when you click on “Start the Form”.
- Once the buyer has completed Section A and is allowed a screen to review their answers, they will be asked to certify the answers. The seller is then prompted to enter their portion (if you chose a password, you will enter it on this screen).
- Once the seller has completed Sections B and D, you will be asked to verify and certify the completed e-Form 4473; you will have a print preview screen; you will be asked if the form printed correctly; and then be allowed to either close the session or start a new form.
- A user’s manual is available to download for further assistance.
- Q: Will users be able to update their versions of the e-Form 4473?
Once the application has been downloaded, you do not have to download the form again unless ATF releases a new version of the form. You will be able to update ZIP Codes and country code tables (quarterly) by clicking on “Continue” on the opening page; on the next screen click on “Set Up”; and on the “Administrator’s Settings” page click on either “Import Countries” or “Import ZIP Codes”. The ATF Web site download page will reflect the last revision dates of e-Form 4473s, ZIP Codes, and country codes, i.e. ZIP Codes (updated 9/19/08).
- Q: How will I know it is time to download a newer version of the e-Form 4473?
ATF will post the information on its Web site notifying FFLs to download the newest version.
You may also sign up for e-mail reminders. Go to the ATF Web site; click on “Firearms”; click on “What’s New”; at the top of the page you will see an envelope () and information “Receive Firearms What’s New Updates.” This is where you can enter your e-mail information to receive updates.
- Q: May I attach additional documentation with my e-Form 4473?
Yes. You may attach additional documentation to the printed electronic Form 4473 by attaching the document(s) to the form and retaining them in your records.
- Q: Will e-Form 4473 reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the form or transfer?
The human review process of the Form 4473 will remain; however, eliminating the time it takes to complete the form may shorten the process significantly but is dependent on the user. The e-Form 4473 system will help prevent the buyer from failing to complete required questions.
- Q: Who do I contact with questions?
If you have general firearms questions, contact your local ATF office.
If you have questions regarding the downloading of e-Form 4473, click on the “Support” icon on the website page and you will be able to e-mail your question.
If you have problems with the application once you download the form from the ATF website, please check the system requirements listed on the e-Form 4473 download page to make sure you have system requirements for either the Microsoft Windows ® (Adobe Reader version 9.0 and Java Runtime Environment 1.4 or greater for the XP/Vista and 7 versions) or the Apple Macintosh ® (Adobe Reader version 9.0) you are attempting use.
If you have printing problems, please refer to your printer operator’s manual.
If you have questions regarding your Federal firearms license, contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) at: (404) 417-2750 or 1-866-662-2750.
- Q: Do I have to list my full 15-digit Federal firearms license (FFL) number?
The user needs only enter the first three digits and the last five digits of the FFL being verified in the blocks for FFL number (you will be allowed to list up to five FFLs in the Administration page for the same licensed premises address).
- Q: What should I do if I do not transfer the firearm and have already printed the e-Form 4473 in error?
If you do not transfer the firearm and have not contacted the FBI/NICS or a POC for a background check, you may destroy the form. If, however, you have conducted a NICS/POC background check, you must maintain the e-Form 4473 in your records for at least five (5) years, filed separately, and retained in alphabetical (by name) or chronological (by date of transferee’s / buyer’s certification) order.