The [amazon text=ATF log book&asin=B0057PRHCM], as it is frequently referred to, is a permanent record of the acquisition and disposition of firearms (A&D Record) which FFLs are required to maintain as well as make timely and correct entries in. The reason this is imperative and requires strict compliance is the traceability of stolen firearms recovered, firearms used in crimes, or otherwise traced by law enforcement is hindered when inaccuracies exist in FFL records.
2013 ATF Factsheet
A February 2013 ATF Factsheet indicates two violations commonly cited during the inspection process with respect to the ATF log book. Although the two may seem similar, there are important distinctions between them.
1) The inability to account for firearms received and disposed.
2) The improper recordation of firearms receipt and disposition.
It has been my experience over the years that the majority of FFLs are generally good about keeping accurate records of acquisition and disposition. However, there are trends and characteristic behaviors many licensees exhibit which make them more prone to failure in this area. By avoiding these behaviors and implementing relatively simple quality control procedures, the average FFL will significantly reduce the chances of getting cited for this type of violation during an inspection.
Different business models should approach record keeping in accordance with their own needs and capabilities. The issue cannot be addressed comprehensively in this format. Every business requires a specific evaluation of it’s own business practices and examination of internal controls for an accurate assessment of compliance levels.
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Causes of FFL Non-Compliance
The following information is relevant to and generally applies to the typical FFL doing business as a retail operation.
The following are typical causes of failure to keep accurate records:
A very common reason for failure to make entries or keep accurate records. If you are at this point, it is more than worth the money to hire someone, even if it’s part-time, to make entries in your record. Remember, a pattern of violations of the same type may be considered “willful” and cause for a Notice of Revocation to possibly be issued. If you are too busy to make timely and accurate entries yourself, it’s probably because you are making enough money to hire some help. Do it!
Best Practices: Avoiding ATF Compliance Violations
2. The “I’ll do it later” syndrome
Another very common reason for inaccurate and untimely entries. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to making entries in your firearms record, or completing entries on the ATF Form 4473. The work will pile up quickly and you will have less incentive to get it done. The best practice is to complete ALL entries immediately upon completing the transaction. The information will be readily available and all the facts will be either written down or in your head at the moment.
It is important to understand the statistic from ATF includes FFLs who have just made “minor” errors in the A&D book (typos, etc.). But also included are instances in which firearms cannot be accounted for whatsoever. The inability to account for the acquisition and disposition of firearms not only hinders the administration of the Gun Control Act, but may be a symptom in a licensee who is possibly disregarding, or is at least indifferent to his or her responsibilities under the law. We all make mistakes, but the repeated inability to account for firearms will obligate ATF to take steps to initiate revocation proceedings. It’s better to discontinue your business and surrender your license if this is you.
What You Must Do
The best advice I can give an FFL regarding record keeping is to slow down, take your time, and treat every transaction as a single task that must be completely followed through and completed accurately to the very end. In the firearms business, don’t leave for tomorrow what you can and should do today. Also, having a second pair of trained eyes to ensure your entries are accurate and timely goes a long way in achieving compliance. Get the help you need to stay in business.
If you have any questions concerning the issues discussed in this page/post please post them below. Your question and the response given will likely benefit other readers as well as yourself. If you require immediate assistance please contact 786-759-1226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us for a confidential consultation at the above phone number or email as well.
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