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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC 20226

June 27, 1997

Open Letter to Federal Firearms Licensees

The purpose of this letter is to advise you of today’s Supreme Court decision regarding the Brady law in Printz v. United States.

The decision has no effect on the responsibilities of licensees. The Supreme Court ruled only that the Brady law’s requirements for Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) to conduct background checks of prospective handgun purchasers and to accept Brady forms violated the Constitution.

Specifically, for licensees in States subject to the 5-day waiting period, the Court left intact the requirement that Federal firearms licensees obtain a statement from purchasers concerning the proposed handgun sale and forward the statement to the CLEO. CLEOs may continue to conduct criminal record checks on a voluntary basis. Licensees must still wait for five days or until they hear from the CLEO before transferring the handgun to the purchaser.

Therefore, licensees subject to the Brady law’s 5-day waiting period must continue to:

  1. Have all handgun purchasers complete the “Brady Form,” ATF Form 5300.35, Statement of Intent to Obtain A Handgun;
  2. Notify the CLEO where the purchaser lives of the information on the Brady form and send a copy of the form to the CLEO;
  3. Wait 5 business days (days on which State offices are open) from the date that the licensee gave notice to the CLEO of the sale before transferring the handgun unless the licensee is notified sooner by the CLEO that the officer has no information that receipt or possession of the handgun by the buyer would violate Federal, State or local law.

Licensees in a State which meets one of the alternatives to the Federal 5-day waiting period must still comply with all requirements of their State’s law.

If you have any questions concerning this decision, contact your local ATF office or the Firearms and Explosives Regulatory Division at 202-927-8300.

Signature of John W. Magaw

John W. Magaw