ATF regulation FAQs for FFLs
FFL Encyclopedia

Federal Firearm Licensing FAQs

What are the standard markings for classified information?

According to Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 923(i) and 27 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 478.92, manufacturers of firearms must include identifying markings on the frame or receiver of every firearm.

How long is an NICS check good for?

30 calendar days for any transaction, beginning on the day after NICS was initially contacted.

How long is a 4473 form good for?

Licensees must retain each ATF Form 4473 for 20 years after the date of sale or disposition.

What is the Brady law?

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known as the Brady Law, is a United States federal law mandating background checks on firearm purchasers. The law also established a waiting period of up to five days for the purchase of a handgun.

What records is the ATF allowed to review?

The ATF will inspect your firearms records and inventory. They may not review records related to any other aspect of your business.

Can the ATF show up for an inspection without warning?

Yes. The ATF and industry operations investigators (IOI) are not legally required to make an appointment first. During regular business hours, you must allow them in.

Why did the ATF choose to audit my shop?

The ATF plans to inspect all FFLs on a 3 to 5-year basis. If you live in a non-source state and have a low denial ratio, you’ll be inspected less often than if you live in a source state and are located in a high crime area.

How do I prepare for an ATF audit?

Review records, inventory, the bound book and the serial numbers of firearms in your possession. All records must be consistent.

Is lying on Form 4473 a felony?

Yes. False statements warrant criminal prosecution and up to 10 years in federal prison.

Does the ATF know what guns I own?

While the ATF does not maintain a federal gun registry, records can be traced through FFLs during an investigation.

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