Avoid the 2-inch ATF Compliance rule book and bad advice from a buddy. When it comes to your bound book, there’s no room for error. President Joe Biden said so with his newly established “zero-tolerance” program. Work with Grieve Law for ATF audit-proof bound books, flawless ATF compliance inspections or revocation consulting- when things go wrong.
ATF Bound Book Compliance & FFL Revocation Consulting in WI
Prevent Revocation with ATF Audit-Proof Bound Books
ATF regulation 27 CFR 478.125 (e) requires dealers to maintain accurate and timely firearms acquisition and disposition record entries. Messy, disorganized or incomplete bound books contribute to a bad ATF audit and revocation. In fact, one of the leading problems cited by ATF IOIs was the failure to maintain timely entries in the Acquisition and Disposition (A&D) record (bound book). Work with Grieve Law and get your records straight.
What is an ATF Firearms Compliance Inspection
The ATF ( Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives/BATFE) is responsible for licensing persons engaged in manufacturing, importing and dealing in firearms. Individuals and entities licensed to engage in these businesses are known as federal firearms licensees or FFLs. FFLS comply with federal regulations like the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). The ATF conducts inspections of FFLs to ensure compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, and educate licensees on the specific requirements of those laws and regulations.
*An Industry Operations Investigator, IOI, will conduct the ATF compliance inspection.
How To Prepare for an ATF Inspection
Implement tools and processes on a daily basis so your business is always in compliance. If you’ve been contacted by an IOI and an appointment has been made, get your records in order! Prepare firearms inventory and an audit of your bound book. Have your variance handy if you use electronic records and ensure the inspector access documents in “read-only” format.
- Post FFL/SOT, Youth Handgun Safety Act and YHSA in visible places.
- Have locks available for every handgun transfer.
- Count your guns! Inventory and open acquisitions should be equal in the bound book.
- Complete all A & D entries for acquired and transferred firearms with accurate information.
- Organize Form 4473s or firearms pending acquisition or disposition.
- Review the recent 1-years of completed Form 4473s.
- Review all Form 4473’s for required Multiple Handgun and /or long gun reports that were required. Each must be attached to the qualifying Form 4473, not filed separately.
- Review and complete all Denials for completeness.
- Be sure to separate NFA records from “non-NFA”
- Remove any miscellaneous documents including receipts, FFLs from transferred items, copies of identifications, etc. from the Form 4473s. DO NOT provide to the ATF IOI any “business documents” that are not required to be attached to the completed Form 4473. The IOI will use your attached documents to find discrepancies.
What Happens During an ATF Compliance Inspection
Inspections happen during the licensee’s business hours, at their premise/off-site storage locations. Usually, there is no advanced notice! Ask to see ATF credentials right away and ask for contact info. The IOI will review the following (not always in this order):
- Business operations, ownership and responsible person information
- The licensee’s internal controls and security measures
- Compliance with state and local laws
- The physical inventory of firearms
- The acquisition & disposition (A&D) record, also known as the bound book
- All ATF forms, including Forms 4473
The IOI will advise any violations or discrepancies. At the end of the inspection, you’ll be presented with the final report of violations.
How Biden’s “Zero Tolerance” Program Affects Gun Dealers
On June 23, 2021, the “Biden-Harris Administration'' announced a new policy of “zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that willfully violate the law.” The policy further specified that “[a]bsent extraordinary circumstances that would need to be justified to the Director, ATF will seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law …” for certain specified violations. The ATF appears to be revoking the license of firearm dealers for even minor paperwork violations.
From the White House’s website, “ATF will seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law by willfully 1) transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, 2) failing to run a required background check, 3) falsifying records, such as a firearms transaction form, 4) failing to respond to an ATF tracing request, or 5) refusing to permit ATF to conduct an inspection in violation of the law.”
Other willful violations that may result in the issuance of a notice of revocation include but are not limited to failure to:
- Account for firearms
- Verify and document buyer eligibility
- Maintain records needed for successful firearms tracing
- Report multiple sales of handguns
Most Common ATF Violations in Record-Keeping
- Using an expired ID, out-of-state ID during handgun transfer or failure to document ID at all
- Failure to verify transferee’s residence
- Box 26B, improper “alternate proof of residency of name”
- Box 27B, incomplete or false NICS or state issued (POC) control number
- Box 27D, incomplete during NICS check (initially DELAY in Box 27C)
- Form 4473 Box 24, improper firearm identification
- Form 4473, processing a NICS check when customer listed last name as first name and first name as last name (invalid NICS submittal)
- Boxes 22-23, 30-31, failure to obtain transferee certification signatures and dates
- Transferee received firearm on a “DELAY” prior to the required Brady date expiring (typically, 3 Federal business days)
- Box 21A, Customer leaves one of the Prohibiting Questions blank or answers “Yes” to a prohibiting question, or answers “NO” to question 21A
- Transferee picks up firearm when in a DELAY status AFTER the 30-day NICS date has expired
- Discrepancies between your in-house inventory and bound book (serial numbers must be accurate, no extra or missing firearms)
- All personal firearms on licensed premises marked as “Personal Property of “your name” or separated and segregated away from FFL inventory
- Form 3310.4 or 3310.12, failure to complete or submit (by end of business day)
- Form 4473, missing the completed form
- Not completing all “Cancel” or “Denial” Form 4473 through Box 35 (do not date box 36 if firearms were not transferred).
How to Avoid Gun Revocation in Wisconsin
- Take your time when transacting/transferring a firearm. Get it right the first time!
- Ensure a second check of all of the required paperwork is accomplished and the paperwork is scrutinized before the actual transfer of the firearm.
- Keep a copy (filed separately of all NICS/POCS background checks and print off the NICS daily summary report of all background checks performed nightly.)
- For Errors that need to be corrected after the fact, CALL THE CUSTOMER! Then pick up the phone and call Grieve Law for direction.
- Ensure you are conducting regular steel inventories of firearms. We recommend quarterly inventories at a minimum.
NFA Gun Trusts Intoxicated Possession of a Firearm
How Often Does the ATF Audit?
ATF may conduct one unannounced compliance inspection of an FFL annually.
DO NOT Surrender Your License if you Receive A Revocation Notice
Per The Gun Control Act, you have 15 days to file a request for an informal hearing to discuss your inspection. Every FFL should take this step. Contact a specialist, we’ll create a strong argument and get your business back on track. Tom Grieve is an experienced gun attorney and zealous 2nd amendment advocate with offices in Madison & Milwaukee.
Do I have to let the ATF/IOI enter my gun business?
If a licensee refuses to comply by not letting the IOI enter the business premises or inspect their inventory and records, this is considered a willful violation of the GCA and ATF will pursue revocation of the license.
Is there an advanced warning before an ATF compliance inspection?
No. Generally, ATF will not give advance notice prior to conducting a compliance inspection.
Does an FFL have to sign the results immediately after the inspection?
No. The FFL can elect to delay the signing to allow for a thorough review of the findings and “respond shortly” to the IOI via email or US mail.
How long do I have to respond to an ATF tracking request?
24 hours. Failing to respond within this time frame can lead to revocation.