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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Atlanta, GA 30345-3104

January 12, 2006

Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees

The purpose of this letter is to advise you of a change to the look of the Federal firearms license (FFL) beginning January 12, 2006, in response to feedback received from licensees.

Beginning January 12, 2006, the license number and expiration date on the FFL will be a larger size with a larger contrasting background to make the number and date more legible when copying or faxing. The change will only be reflected on licenses printed on or after January 12, 2006. Licenses printed prior to this date will have the smaller font size and continue to be valid until the expiration date on the license.

Comparison of the old FFL license number and the new FFL license number.

As stated in the August 2005 FFL Newsletter, ATF now recognizes a faxed copy of an FFL as an acceptable alternative form of verification to comply with 27 CFR 478.94, Sales or deliveries between licensees. As the newsletter also explained, verification and certification of a license is NOT considered valid unless a legible copy of the transferee’s license clearly identifies the name, address, license number, and expiration date of the license. Acceptance of blurred or illegible copies of a transferee’s license may constitute noncompliance with regulations. Therefore, this change will assist you in ensuring you receive or send a legible FFL.

Please note, even with the larger font, since all fax machines and settings differ, FFLs may need to fax their license with a fax resolution setting of fine, super fine, or photo to ensure the fax copy of the license is legible.

Finally, ATF strongly suggests that FFLs utilize the ‘FFL eZ Check’ system and verify the authenticity of the transferee’s license prior to shipping or disposing of a firearm(s) to another licensee. ‘FFL eZ Check’ can be accessed on the web at: or by telephoning toll-free 1-877-560-2435.

We think this change to the license number and expiration date on newly printed and issued licenses as of January 12, 2006, will be an improvement. As always, we thank you for your cooperation and feedback.

Signature of Kimberly H. Irwin

Kimberly H. Irwin
Chief, Federal Firearms Licensing Center

ATF web address:
E-mail address: