Are Federal Firearms License holders required to document all firearms acquired and disposed of, even from a personal collection?
Federal Firearms License holders have special privileges and special responsibilities.
Federal Firearms License holders and non-licensees are required to comply with federal law in all respects. A special relationship exists between the U.S government and holders of a Federal Firearms License. By virtue of the authority to “engage in the business” as a dealer, importer, or other Type licensee, the FFL must abide by additional requirements of the federal law and corresponding regulations not applicable to non-licensees.
Do FFLs have to document sales from a personal collection?
What’s the extent of a licensees responsibilities when transferring firearms to non-licensees from a “personal collection”? The law addresses the matter in part by requiring FFLs to document in a record, the disposition to non-licensees of firearms held in a “personal collection” 27 CFR 478.125(a). The FFL need not execute the ATF Form 4473 if the firearm was held in the personal collection for a period of at least one year. The FFL must document all relevant dates and the transferee information in the permanent record.
Is it a good idea for FFLs to sell guns from their personal collection without using the ATF Form 4473?
Although the law provides for federal firearms licensees to transfer firearms to non-licensee in the manner outlined above, from a compliance and liability standpoint, this type of transaction should be avoided. In order to protect yourself and your business, consider every firearm disposition to a non-licensee as requiring the execution of the ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. FFLs should be pragmatic and always err of the side of caution when transferring firearms to non-licensees especially. Just because something is lawful, doesn’t make it a good idea; protect yourself and your business from by using the ATF Form 4473.
What is the benefit to selling guns from a personal collection without using the ATF Form 4473?
Federal Firearms License holders should consider the costs and benefits of transferring firearms to a non-licensee without the use of the ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. The FFL should ask themselves what possible benefit is there to not conducting a background check on a person to whom I am transferring a firearm; even if I’m acting lawfully? Federal firearms licensees should keep in mind that the law prohibits transfers of this type for the “purpose of willfully evading the restrictions placed upon licensees by this chapter” 18 U.S.C. 923(C).
What about firearms I owned prior to becoming licensed?
In the event that a firearm was in your personal collection prior to being license and you wish to transfer the firearms to a non licensee. It’s a good idea to bring that firearm into your business inventory and dispose of that firearm in accordance with regulations. Doing so will avoid any potential issues going forward in the event that the firearm is used in a crime, or otherwise recovered as a crime gun.