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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC 20226

February 1, 2002

Open Letter to All Vermont Federal Firearms Licensees — Correction

Original Letter

On October 26, 1998, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) sent an open letter to all Vermont Federal firearms licensees advising you of your responsibilities under the permanent provisions of the Brady law. This letter advised you that the State of Vermont would act as the point of contact for background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for all firearms transactions.

The State of Vermont has advised us that effective February 1, 2002, it will no longer act as a point of contact for NICS checks. We understand that there is a possibility that the Vermont Legislature may extend that date. If so, we will advise you of any changes. However, in the absence of any further legislation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will assume responsibility for conducting NICS checks for firearms transactions in Vermont on February 1, 2002.

Therefore, beginning February 1, 2002, in order to initiate a NICS check for any firearm, Vermont licensees must contact the NICS Operations Center of the FBI by dialing 1-877-FBI-NICS (1-877-324-6427). Your call will be answered by an automated menu that will allow you to select from several customer services including initiating a NICS background check.

Licensees must be enrolled with the FBI before they can initiate NICS checks through the FBI’s NICS Operations Center. Licensees who are not currently enrolled are advised to do so upon receipt of this letter. To enroll, call the NICS Operations Center at 1-877-444-NICS.

Also, as a reminder, you must comply with the following steps prior to transferring a firearm:

  1. Have the transferee complete and sign ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record.
  2. Verify the identity of the transferee through a government-issued photo identification document (for example, a driver’s license).
  3. Contact NICS. You will get either a “proceed,” “denied,” or “delayed” response from the system. If you get a “delayed” response and there is no additional response from the system, you may transfer the firearm after three business days have elapsed. Of course, you must still comply with any waiting period requirements under State law.
  4. If you have initiated a NICS check for a proposed firearms transaction, but the transfer of the firearm is not completed, you must retain the Form 4473 in your records for a period of not less than 5 years. If the transfer is completed, the Form 4473 must be retained for at least 20 years.

All other information contained in the October 26, 1998, letter is correct. If you have any questions, please contact the ATF Brady Operations Branch at (866) 360-3418 and select “Brady Operations Branch” from the voice mail menu.

Signature of John P. Malone

John P. Malone
Assistant Director
Firearms, Explosives and Arson