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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

FFL Tip of the Month — 2011

November – Questions and Answers of the Month

  • As a licensed dealer, am I required to record both the manufacturer and importer, or only one of them?

    Per 27 CFR 478.125(e), a licensed dealer is required to enter both the manufacturer and importer (if any) in the A&D record. While the specific format required does not match the exact wording of the regulation, a licensed dealer is still required to record both, because that information is spelled out specifically in the wording of the regulation.

    Corporation A holds a Federal firearms license. Corporation B acquires Corporation A and obtains its own FFL entitling it to operate the firearms business. As part of the sale transaction, one of the officers of Corporation A is entitled to acquire some of firearms in the business inventory in his personal capacity. The sale and delivery of the firearms to the officer will take place before Corporation B takes over the business. Should Corporation A complete a Form 4473 and a NICS check when the firearms are transferred to the officer of the corporation? How should the acquisition and disposition record be completed?

    The transfer of the firearm by the FFL to the corporate officer or director for personal use unrelated to the FFL’s business is a transfer by a licensee to a nonlicensee that must be handled the same way as any other disposition of a firearm from inventory. An ATF Form 4473 must be completed, the FFL must comply with the Brady law, and the firearm must be logged out of the permanent bound record as a disposition [see ATF Newsletter March 2006].

    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.


  • Reporting Theft or Loss

    Federal law requires FFLs to report the theft or loss of a firearm from the FFL’s inventory or collection within 48 hours after the theft or loss is discovered. FFLs must report thefts and losses by telephoning the Stolen Firearms Program Manager at (888) 930-9275 or 1-800-800-3855 (after hours), and by submitting to ATF the ATF F’ 3310.11, Federal Firearms Licensee Theft/Loss Report. You must also report the theft or loss to the appropriate local authorities. The 48 hour period begins when you are reasonably certain that a firearm is missing. So, if while conducting an inventory you are reasonably certain that a firearm is missing, you are required to report this missing firearm to ATF and local authorities within the prescribed 48 hours. If you are not reasonably certain, you should immediately take the steps necessary to determine whether the firearm is missing.

    If there is any doubt as to whether a report should be made, it is best to err on the side of caution and make a report to ATF and local authorities. The Theft/Loss Report is available at or can be obtained by contacting the ATF Distribution Center at (202) 648-6420.

    If you make a report of a lost or stolen firearm and later locate the missing firearm, you should notify ATF’s Stolen Firearms Program Manager by calling (888) 930-9275.

    Questions regarding these types of transactions should be referred to your local ATF area office or to Firearms Industry Programs Branch at (202) 648-7190.


  • Private Application Services and Non-Approved Application Forms

    ATF has recently become aware of web-based companies which guarantee the issuance of a Federal firearms license (FFL) if a prospective applicant purchases the company’s application packet and advice about how to obtain a FFL. Anyone considering applying for a FFL should be aware that the fees paid for such consulting services and materials are not required, endorsed, or received by ATF. Any fees for application consulting services and materials are paid voluntarily by a prospective applicant, who should understand that such fees are in addition to the license and permit application fees required by law and collected by ATF. ATF collects no application fees online at this time. All ATF-required fee payments must be made by check, money order, or credit card and accompany the paper application form sent to ATF by the applicant.

    It is also important to note that ATF does not guarantee the issuance of FFLs. Each application is reviewed on its merits under the qualifying criteria set forth by law.

    Some private application services provide their own version of license application forms. Please note that ATF will not accept any application form not approved for use by the Office of Management and Budget and will return without action applications submitted on unauthorized versions of ATF forms. All ATF application forms are provided free of charge and may be obtained from the ATF website or forms Distribution Center by calling 202-648-6420. You may also contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center at 1-866-662-2750 for assistance in completing FFL applications.


  • Fulfillment Order Sales/Drop Shipments

    FFLs frequently advertise firearms for sale on the internet, even though they may not stock the specific firearm or firearms advertised. When a non-licensed buyer places an order with the FFL advertising the firearms on the internet, the non-licensed buyer must provide the internet FFL the name of a local FFL to whom the firearms must be shipped. The local FFL’s business premises are where the buyer will complete an ATF F 4473, undergo a background check, and take delivery of the firearm. If the advertising licensee does not have the firearm in inventory, he/she would order the firearm from a wholesale firearms dealer. The wholesale firearms dealer would ship the firearm directly to the FFL in the State where the nonlicensed purchaser resides.

    Prior to shipment, the wholesale dealer must receive a certified copy of the local dealer’s FFL. The wholesale dealer must record in the permanent bound record the disposition of the firearm to the local FFL. The local FFL would record in his or her bound book the acquisition of the firearm from the wholesale dealer. The local FFL would also be responsible for ATF Form 4473 execution, compliance with the Brady Law, recording the disposition of the firearm to the purchaser, and abiding with all other applicable State laws and published ordinances.

    Firearms dealers who engage in a firearms business by advertising and selling firearms over the internet are required to hold a Federal firearms license, because they are buying and selling firearms for purposes of livelihood and profit. Internet transactions that result in no physical acquisition or disposition of firearms do not require any records in an acquisition and disposition record, because the FFL never acquires, disposes of or possesses firearms. (ATF Procedure 75-3, 27 CFR 478.94)

    Questions regarding these types of transactions should be referred to your local ATF area office or to Firearms Industry Programs Branch at (202) 648-7190.


  • Recording Firearms Information in Required Records

    Regulations in 27 C.F.R. Subpart H require licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors to record the manufacturer, country of manufacture (if an imported firearm) type, model, caliber or gauge, and serial number of each firearm acquired and disposed of. All information pertaining to the identification of a firearm should be recorded from the markings on the firearm, rather than information on shipping records, invoices, or other commercial documents. Regulations in 27 C.F.R. 478.124(c) require FFLs disposing of firearms to nonlicensees to record the transaction on ATF Form 4473. Section 478.124(c)(4) requires FFLs to record on the Form 4473 the name of the manufacturer, the name of the importer (if any), the type, model, caliber or gauge, and the serial number of the firearm. As with the information in the acquisition and disposition record, the information pertaining to the identification of the firearm that must be recorded in Section D, questions 26-30 on the ATF F 4473, should be recorded from the markings on the firearm. If the information is recorded correctly, information about a particular firearm in the record of acquisition and disposition and in questions 26-30 on the ATF F 4473 should match.

    It is possible that shipping records, manifests, bills of lading, packing lists, invoices, and other commercial records relating to firearms include incorrect identifying information as to the firearms that are the subject of the record. Failure to obtain this information directly from the firearm could result in errors in required records. Recording information directly from the firearms is the best practice to ensure accurate records and avoidance of citations during annual compliance inspections. Accurate records also ensure successful traces in the event a firearm is diverted to crime and accurate firearms inventories.


  • Are you Moving?

    Licensees who moved their license premises to a different location during the term of their current license must notify ATF at least 30 days prior to the move. Licensees must notify ATF of their move by submitting the Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License, ATF F 5300.8, along with their original license. Licensees should be aware that the license is only valid at the license premises and bona fide extensions, such as gun shows. Generally, the existing license cannot be used at the new address. If a licensee moves and fails to notify ATF of the move, the license for the former location is not valid at new business premises address.

    If licensees wish to change their location, they must submit an Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License, ATF F 5300.38 to:

    Federal Firearms Licensing Center
    244 Needy Road
    Martinsburg, WV 25405

    If licensees have questions about the Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License, ATF F 5300.38, please contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center at (866) 662-2750 or your local ATF office. A listing of ATF office phone numbers may be found at:


  • Prohibited Persons and Relief

    Under the provisions of Federal firearms law, convicted felons and certain other persons are prohibited from possessing or receiving firearms and ammunition. Federal law provides the Attorney General with the authority to grant relief from this disability where the Attorney General determines that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and granting relief would not be contrary to the public interest. The Attorney General delegated this authority to ATF.

    Since October 1992, however, ATF’s annual appropriation has prohibited the expending of any funds to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities submitted by individuals. This restriction currently is located in Pub. L. No. 109–108, as extended by Pub. L. 111–117, which contains ATF’s appropriations for fiscal year 2010. As long as this provision is included in current ATF appropriations, the Bureau cannot act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities submitted by individuals.

    Persons convicted of a Federal offense may apply for a Presidential pardon. 28 CFR 1.1–1.10 specify the rules governing petitions for obtaining Presidential pardons. You may contact the Office of the Pardon Attorney at 1425 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 11000, Washington, D.C. 20530, tel.: (202) 616–6070, to inquire about the procedures for obtaining a Presidential pardon.

    Persons convicted of a State offense may contact the State Attorney General’s Office within the State in which they reside and the State of their conviction for information concerning any alternatives that may be available, such as pardons and civil rights restoration.


  • Prohibition on Obliterating, Removing or Changing the Markings on an NFA Firearm

    ATF would like to remind NFA registrants and special (occupational) taxpayers, that pursuant to Section 5861(g) of the NFA, it is unlawful to obliterate, remove, change, or alter the serial number or other identification of a firearm required by the chapter as well as Section 5861(h) which makes it unlawful to receive or possess a firearm having the serial number or other identification required by this chapter obliterated, removed, changed, or altered. Section 5842 of the NFA requires that, each firearm manufactured imported or made be identified by a serial number, the name of the manufacturer, importer or maker, and other identification as prescribed by the regulations. The additional marking requirements are prescribed by 22 CFR 479.102, and include the model of the firearm, caliber or gauge, name of the manufacturer or importer of record, and the city and state of the manufacturer who made the firearm or name of the country in which the firearm was manufactured. Pursuant to section 5861(g) of the NFA, it a criminal offense for an individual to obliterate any of the required markings found on an NFA firearm.


  • Conducting Inventories

    One of the most frequently cited firearms violations is failure to timely or accurately record information in the acquisition & disposition record (A&D). One of the ways to prevent this violation is to routinely take an inventory.

    An inventory reconciliation ensures that all firearms on the premises are properly recorded in the A&D records; that all open disposition entries found in the A&D record have a corresponding firearm found on the premises; and that all dispositions have been properly recorded.

    To conduct a successful inventory, it is recommended that you take a physical count of firearms on the business premise, recording information from the firearms on inventory sheet. You should identify all open disposition entries in the A&D record. Your next step should be to reconcile your inventory. This can be done by comparing the list of firearms in inventory to the open disposition entries.

    All firearms listed on your physical inventory sheet(s) not found in the A&D record will have to be recorded as a receipt. If you discover open disposition entries without a corresponding firearm in inventory, you should search for the pertinent ATF F 4473 (for a disposition to a nonlicensee) or an invoice (reflecting a transfer to a licensee) documenting the transfer. If found, enter this disposition information for the applicable firearms. If you are unable to find a firearm, then it must be reported as lost to ATF.

    For further information, click the following link: Firearms Inventory Procedures for FFLs PDF.pdf

Tip of the Month Archive