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New Form 4473

Gununiversity: ATF’s new 4473 – Changes, Requirements, Pre-Order Available
ATF’s new 4473 is now available for pre-order.

4473 Background

The ATF Form 4473 is the form used when purchasing a firearm from a gun store. The 4473 is filled out by the purchaser and includes information about both the purchaser and the firearm(s).

The purchaser includes their personal identifying information and current residential address (which must generally match their government issued photo ID) and they answer a series of questions to ensure that they are not a prohibited person (someone who is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition).

The form is also used by Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs), who are gun dealers/operate gun stores, to record any relevant background check information about the purchaser as well as information about the FFL.

This is an incredibly important form for ATF compliance – it accounts for 7 out of the top 10 violations from the ATF every year.

ATF’s New 4473

There are a handful of changes to the 4473 that the ATF announced on December 26, 2019 for public comment and which are now going into effect on the new firearm transaction form.

The most notable changes are the inclusion of the firearm information at the top of page one instead of page three, the change of “county” to “county/parish/borough,” and the addition of “non-binary” to the gender.

Firearm Information. The change of the firearm information location is a good change for three reasons.

First, by including the firearm information before the customer fills out the form, the customer can clearly see what firearm(s) are being transferred. In a busy gun shop, it is not unreasonable to have the wrong firearm listed only to be discovered after the form is approved.

Second, it makes it easier for the FFL to confirm the firearm type for the purchaser. Currently, as part of a proper compliance check, the FFL should look at the firearm type and if it is anything other than a “long-gun,” then the FFL needs to flip forward on the form to the first page to confirm that the purchaser is at least 21 years old. With the new form, it is all together on the same page.

Third, if the transaction is stopped, the FFL doesn’t need to try to remember what firearm(s) were being transferred because the information will have been filled out before the customer starts.

Changing “county” to include “parish/borough.” One of the most common errors I see when reviewing my client’s 4473s for ATF Compliance is that the customer saw “county” and thought it said “countRy” so they listed “U.S.A.” instead of the county were they live.  By making the section title longer to include parish and borough, it should make it clearer for customers. Also, it is more accurate since many people do not technically live in a “county.”

Non-binary Genders. At first, I wanted to roll my eyes at this one. However, I’ve thought it over and I like the change. Here’s why:

With record firearms sales lately, the firearm community has never seen such and incredible influx of new shooters. Many of these “new-to-guns” folks were even anti-gun before. Our responsibility to help grow our community and win-over the “other side” is to be more inclusive than the so-called tolerant left. If adding “non-binary” makes an individual more likely to become a gun owner, why not?

The second reason this is a good idea is that many states have now started including this on their driver’s licenses. FFLs must ensure that the information from the purchaser’s government issued photo identification matches what is on the 4473. In these cases, non-binary as an option is the only way to accurately reflect the driver’s license.

There are, of course, other changes but they are not as significant as these and they apply mostly to the FFLs.  There is a full breakdown of each change, and what it means for FFLs, in the RocketFFL compliance program.

New 4473 Deadline

The new 4473s, which can be pre-ordered now and will start shipping by late July 2020, are required as of November 1, 2020.

The current 4473s must be used until this date. The e4473 system should be updated by then but FFLs shouldn’t risk their business on it. Pre-order some paper copies now just in case.

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