Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226
October 30, 1998
Open Letter to All U.S. Virgin Islands Federal Firearms Licensees
Permanent Provisions of the Brady Law
The purpose of this letter is to advise you of your responsibilities under the permanent provisions of the Brady law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(t). On November 30, 1998, the interim provisions of the Brady law will cease to apply, and the permanent provisions of the Brady law will take effect.
The permanent provisions of the Brady law provide for the establishment of a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that licensees must contact before transferring any firearm to unlicensed individuals. While the interim provisions apply only to handguns, the permanent provisions of Brady will apply to all firearms. In addition, under permanent Brady there will no longer be an exemption for the redemption of a firearm from pawn.
Notification from the Attorney General
On October 30, 1998, the Department of Justice published a final rule in the Federal Register, announcing the establishment of the NICS as of October 31, 1998. Accordingly, licensees will be required to comply with permanent Brady as of November 30, 1998. Copies of the Justice Department’s final rule are available on DOJ’s Home Page on the Internet at http://www.fbi.gov/programs/nics/index.htm, and DOJ is mailing copies of the final rule to licensees.
Alternatives to a NICS Check
The Brady law provides that certain permits may qualify as alternatives to a NICS check. All permits in the U.S. Virgin Islands qualified as alternatives to a background check under the interim provisions of Brady, and will continue to qualify as alternatives to the NICS check required by permanent Brady. Since permits are required for all firearms transactions in the U.S. Virgin Islands, there is no requirement for licensees to contact NICS at the time of firearms transactions. Of course all such transactions must still comply with local law.
If you transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person pursuant to the permit alternative, you must comply with the following requirements:
- Have the transferee complete and sign ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record.
- Verify the identity of the transferee through a Government-issued photo identification (for example, a driver’s license).
- Verify that the permit was issued within the past 5 years by the U.S. Virgin Islands, and that the permit has not expired under local law.
- Either retain a copy of the transferee’s permit and attach it to the Form 4473, or record on the Form 4473 any identifying number from the permit, the date of issuance, and the expiration date of the permit.
Final Regulations and Forms 4473
On October 29, 1998, ATF published final regulations implementing the permanent provisions of the Brady law. The ATF final regulations are available on ATF’s Home Page on the Internet. ATF has also modified ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record, to reflect the changes in the background check system. A copy of the final regulations and a small supply of the Forms 4473 will be mailed to each licensee under separate cover before November 30, 1998.
If you have any questions, please contact your local ATF office or the local agency issuing the permit.
Firearms, Explosives and Arson