ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Conduct of Business — Licensees

  1. Does the Federal firearms law require licensees to comply with State laws and local published ordinances when selling firearms?
  2. May a licensed dealer sell a firearm to a non-licensee who is a resident of another State?
  3. May a dealer sell firearms to law enforcement agencies and individual officers in another State?
  4. May an employee of a licensed dealer, such as a manager or clerk, who is under 21 years of age, sell handguns and ammunition suitable for use in handguns for the licensee?
  5. As a licensed dealer, must I advise ATF if I sell more than one handgun to an individual?
  6. Does a customer have to be a certain age to buy firearms or ammunition from a licensee?
  7. May a licensee sell interchangeable ammunition such as .22 cal. rimfire to a person less than 21 years old?
  8. In transactions between licensees, how is the seller assured that a purchaser of a firearm is a licensed dealer?
  9. Must a multi-licensed business submit a certified copy of each of its licenses when acquiring firearms?
  10. May a licensee continue to deliver to a business whose license has expired?
  11. Is a license required to engage in the business of selling small arms ammunition?
  12. May licensed dealers sell firearms at gun shows?
  13. What may a licensed dealer do at an out-of-State gun show?
  14. Who may ship handguns through the U.S. Postal Service?
  15. Must a dealer record firearms received on consignment?
  16. To whom does an FFL report stolen or lost firearms?
  17. If my firearms are stolen or lost, what do I do about my records?
  18. How many copies of the ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, must be completed and what becomes of each copy?
  19. What is my responsibility to respond to a request to trace a firearm?
  20. Does the requirement to give written notification to handgun transferees about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who returns firearms to their owners, for example, handguns that the dealer repaired?
  21. Does the requirement to post a sign on the licensed premises about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who only disposes of handguns to nonlicensees who do not appear at the dealer’s premises?


Q: Does the Federal firearms law require licensees to comply with State laws and local published ordinances when selling firearms?

Yes. It is unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver any firearm or ammunition to any person if the person’s purchase or possession would be in violation of any State law or local published ordinance applicable at the place of sale or delivery.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(2), 27 CFR 478.99(b)(2)]


Q: May a licensed dealer sell a firearm to a non-licensee who is a resident of another State?

Generally, a firearm may not lawfully be sold by a licensed dealer to a non-licensee who resides in a State other than the State in which the seller’s licensed premises is located. However, the sale may be made if the firearm is shipped to a licensed dealer whose business is in the purchaser’s State of residence and the purchaser takes delivery of the firearm from the dealer in his or her State of residence. In addition, a licensee may sell a rifle or shotgun to a person who is not a resident of the State where the licensee’s business premises is located in an over-the-counter transaction, provided the transaction complies with State law in the State where the licensee is located and in the State where the purchaser resides.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(3)]


Q: May a dealer sell firearms to law enforcement agencies and individual officers in another State?

Yes. Sales and deliveries of firearms to out-of-State police and sheriff departments are not prohibited by the GCA. A dealer may also sell or ship firearms, other than NFA firearms, to an individual law enforcement officer, regardless of age, if the dealer has a signed statement from the officer’s agency, stating that the items are to be used in the buyer’s official duties and that the officer has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. No ATF Form 4473 or NICS check is required; however, the bound book must be properly posted, and the signed statement included in the dealer’s records. You should contact your State’s Attorney General’s Office to ensure there is no State prohibition on such sales.

[18 U.S.C. 925(a) (1), 27 CFR 478.134 and 478.141]


Q: May an employee of a licensed dealer, such as a manager or clerk, who is under 21 years of age, sell handguns and ammunition suitable for use in handguns for the licensee?

Yes, if the employee is not a prohibited person (e.g., a felon). However, to sell handguns, a person less than 18 years of age must have the prior written consent of a parent or guardian and the written consent must be in the person’s possession at all times. Also, the parent or guardian giving the written consent may not be prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. Moreover, State law must not prohibit the juvenile from possessing the handguns or ammunition.

[18 U.S.C. 922(x)]


Q: As a licensed dealer, must I advise ATF if I sell more than one handgun to an individual?

If you sell or dispose of more than one handgun to any non-licensee during a period of 5 consecutive business days, the sale must be reported on ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, not later than the close of the business day on which you sold or disposed of the second handgun. The licensee must forward a copy of the ATF Form 3310.4 to the ATF office specified thereon, and another copy must be forwarded to the State police or local law enforcement agency where the sale occurred. A copy of the Form 3310.4 also must be attached to the firearms transaction record, ATF Form 4473, documenting the sale or disposition of the second handgun.

A business day for purposes of reporting multiple sales of pistols or revolvers is a day that a licensee conducts business pursuant to the license, regardless of whether State offices are open. The application of the term “business day” is, therefore, distinguishable from the term “business day” as used in the NICS context. Example: A licensee conducts business only on Saturdays and Sundays, days on which State offices are not open. The licensee sells a pistol to an unlicensed person on a Saturday. If that same unlicensed person acquires another handgun the next day (Sunday), the following Saturday or Sunday, or the Saturday after the reporting requirement would be triggered, the subsequent acquisition of a handgun would have to be reported on a Form 3310.4 by the close of the day upon which the second or subsequent handgun was sold.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(3), 27 CFR 478.126a]


Q: Does a customer have to be a certain age to buy firearms or ammunition from a licensee?

Yes. Under the GCA, long guns and long gun ammunition may be sold only to persons 18 years of age or older. Sales of handguns and ammunition for handguns are limited to persons 21 years of age and older. Although some State and local ordinances have lower age requirements, dealers are bound by the minimum age requirements established by the GCA. If State law or local ordinances establish a higher minimum age, the dealer must observe the higher age requirement.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1), 27 CFR 478.99(b)]


Q: May a licensee sell interchangeable ammunition such as .22 cal. rimfire to a person less than 21 years old?

Yes, provided the buyer is 18 years of age or older, and the dealer is satisfied that it is for use in a rifle. If the ammunition is intended for use in a handgun, the 21-year-old minimum age requirement is applicable.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1), 27 CFR 478.99(b)]


Q: In transactions between licensees, how is the seller assured that a purchaser of a firearm is a licensed dealer?

Verification must be established by the transferee furnishing to the transferor a certified copy of the transferee’s license and by any other means the transferor deems necessary (such as the FFL eZcheck).

[27 CFR 478.94]


Q: Must a multi-licensed business submit a certified copy of each of its licenses when acquiring firearms?

No. It need only provide the seller a list, certified to be true, correct and complete, containing the name, address, and license number and expiration date for each location.

[27 CFR 478.94]


Q: May a licensee continue to deliver to a business whose license has expired?

Yes, for a period of 45 days following the expiration date of the license. After the 45-day period, the transferor is required to verify the licensed status of the transferee with the Chief, Firearms Licensing Center. If the transferee’s license renewal application is still pending, the transferor must obtain evidence from the Director of Industry Operations that a license renewal application has been timely filed by the transferee and is still pending.

[27 CFR 478.94]


Q: Is a license required to engage in the business of selling small arms ammunition?

No. A license is not required for a dealer in ammunition only, but a manufacturer or an importer of ammunition must be licensed.

[18 U.S.C. 922 (a)(1)(B)]


Q: May licensed dealers sell firearms at gun shows?

Generally, a licensee may sell firearms at a gun show located only in the same State as that specified on the seller’s license. However, a licensee may sell curio or relic firearms to another licensee at any location.

[18 U.S.C. 923(j), 27 CFR 478.100]


Q: What may a licensed dealer do at an out-of-State gun show?

A licensed dealer may sell and deliver curio or relic firearms to another licensee at an out-of-State gun show. With respect to other firearms transactions, a licensed dealer may only display and take orders for firearms at an out-of-State gun show. In filling any orders for firearms, the dealer must return the firearms to his or her licensed premises and deliver them from that location. Any firearm ordered by a non-licensee must be delivered or shipped from the licensee’s premises to a licensee in the purchaser’s State of residence, and the purchaser must obtain the firearm from the licensee located in the purchaser’s State. Except for sales of curio or relic firearms to other licensees, sales of firearms and simultaneous deliveries at the gun show, whether to other licensees or to non-licensees, violate the law because the dealer would be unlawfully engaging in business at an unlicensed location.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(1), (b)(3), 923(a) and (j)]


Q: Who may ship handguns through the U.S. Postal Service?

Federal firearm licensees may send an unloaded handgun in the mail to another FFL in customary trade shipments. Handguns also may be mailed to any officer, employee, agent, or watchman who is eligible under 18 U.S.C. 1715 to receive pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person for use in connection with his or her official duties.

However, postal service regulations must be followed. Any person proposing to mail a handgun must file with the postmaster, at the time of mailing, an affidavit signed by the addressee stating that the addressee is qualified to receive the firearm, and the affidavit must bear a certificate stating that the firearm is for the official use of the addressee. See the current Postal Manual for details.

The Postal Service recommends that all firearms be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms. (See also questions “May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?” and “May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?”)


Q: Must a dealer record firearms received on consignment?

Yes. Firearms received for sale on consignment must be entered in the dealer’s “bound book.”

Sales of the firearms are handled in the same manner as other firearm sales. Return of the remaining firearms by the licensee to the consignor is entered in the dealer’s disposition record. An ATF Form 4473 and a NICS check must be completed.


Q: To whom does an FFL report stolen or lost firearms?

A theft or loss of firearms must be reported to your local police as well as to ATF within 48 hours after the discovery. Licensees should notify ATF on the 24-hour, 7 days a week toll free line at 1-800-800-3855 and by preparing and submitting ATF Form 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report.

Theft or loss of NFA firearms should also be reported to the NFA Branch immediately upon discovery.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(6), 27 CFR 478.39 and 479.141]


Q: If my firearms are stolen or lost, what do I do about my records?

Take an inventory of stock on hand and enter “stolen” or “lost” and the date in the disposition section of the “bound book” for those stolen or lost firearms. In addition, at the time a licensee reports the theft or loss on the ATF toll free line, the licensee will be provided a control number that should be placed in the records as well as on ATF Form 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report.


Q: How many copies of the ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, must be completed and what becomes of each copy?

ATF Form 3310.4 must be completed in triplicate (3 copies). The original is sent to ATF’s National Tracing Center by fax at 1-877-283-0288 or by mail to P.O. Box 0279, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430-0279. A copy is to be sent to the designated State police or the local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the sale took place. The remaining copy is to be retained in the records of the dealer and held for not less than 5 years.

[27 CFR 478.126a and 478.129]


Q: What is my responsibility to respond to a request to trace a firearm?

A licensee must provide the requested information immediately and in no event later than 24 hours after receipt of a request by ATF. Failure to respond to the request for trace information can result in monetary fines, imprisonment, and/or revocation of the licensee’s Federal firearms license.

[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(7), 27 CFR 478.25a]


Q: Does the requirement to give written notification to handgun transferees about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who returns firearms to their owners, for example, handguns that the dealer repaired?

Yes. The requirement to give written notification to non-licensees applies to the return of handguns, as well as to their sale. It applies even if the licensee ships the repaired firearm to the customer.

[27 CFR 478.103]


Q: Does the requirement to post a sign on the licensed premises about juvenile handgun possession apply to a licensed dealer who only disposes of handguns to nonlicensees who do not appear at the dealer’s premises?

No. The sign posting requirement does not apply where the licensee only disposes of handguns to non-licensees who do not appear at the licensed premises (for example, the licensee only ships repaired or replacement handguns to non-licensees).

[27 CFR 478.103]