In accordance with 27 CFR §478.23 (Right of Entry and Examination), ATF may enter a licensed premises during “business hours” for the purpose of examining records without a warrant “not more than once during any 12 month period”. In other words, ATF compliance inspections cannot be conducted prior to the passing of at least 12 months from the last one.
ATF Trace Request
However, can ATF otherwise enter your business premises to examine records and inventory prior to the 12 month period passing? Yes they can. It is lawful for ATF to enter the licensed premises prior to the passing of 12 months after an inspection if…..the FFL is unable to complete a trace and a “bona fide criminal investigation” is ongoing, an ATF Officer may enter your premises without first seeking a warrant.
Another reason to keep an accurate FFL record of acquisition and disposition of firearms.
Electronic “Bound Book”
If you keep an electronic ATF book, make sure your system is able to produce results for serial numbers or other identifiers that are close to the identifiers of the actual trace request firearm. Most commercial record keeping programs are capable of this function, but it’s not always activated.
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