On Monday, May 2nd, at the Firearms Industry Compliance Conference (FICC), the ATF announced the release of three new Industry Rulings: ATF Ruling 2016-1, 2016-2, and 2016-3.

ATF Ruling 2016-1, which focuses on electronic acquisition and disposition systems, is to replace its predecessor, Ruling 2013-5. ATF Ruling 2016-2, which focuses on the electronic fulfillment of Form 4473, replaces its predecessor, Ruling 2008-3. And lastly, ATF Ruling 2016-3, which focuses on methods for consolidating manufacturer records, replaces its predecessor, Ruling 2010-8.

See below for a partial list of notable excerpts from each Ruling. We strongly encourage you to read the full Rulings to fully understand the requirements.

ATF Ruling 2016-1 (Supersedes ATF Ruling 2013-5)

The most significant change from ATF Ruling 2013-5 to ATF Ruling 2016-1 is the ability to utilize a contracted or leased server, including use of cloud-based technology provided that certain conditions are met. The following are notable excerpts from the Ruling.

  • Clarifications were made as to the requirements for correcting entries into the A&D book.
  • Electronic firearms acquisition and disposition records may be stored on a computer server or device owned and operated by the licensee, or contracted/leased by the licensee through a host facility (e.g., remote server or cloud storage provider), provided that:
    • The firearms acquisition and disposition records are readily accessible through a computer or device located at the licensed premises during regular business hours; and
    • The licensee’s server is located within the United States or its territories, or if a host facility is used, that facility must have a business premises within the United States or its territories, and must be subject to U.S. legal process.
    • Licensees are strongly encouraged to ensure that there are proper and robust security protection measures in place (e.g., encryption) to ensure all data is protected.

ATF Ruling 2016-2 (Supersedes ATF Ruling 2008-3)

ATF authorized licensees to use an electronic ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) and electronic signatures, amongst other benefits, provided that twenty-two (22) requirements stated in the Ruling are met.

ATF Ruling 2016-3 (Supersedes ATF Ruling 2010-8)

ATF authorized licensed manufacturers to consolidate their records of manufacture or other acquisition of firearms and their separate firearms disposition records, provided all of the conditions in this Ruling are met. The most notable excerpt from the Ruling is the following requirement pertaining to the change in firearm characteristics.

    • When a licensed manufacturer makes changes to the model, type, caliber, size, and/or gauge of a frame, receiver, or assembly of a firearm, the firearm should remain logged into the A&D record until the changes and/or conversions are complete. Once the change and/or conversion is complete, the licensed manufacturer should then log the firearm out of the A&D record as a disposition to itself using the licensed name and license number. The date of the disposition would be the change and/or conversion date. Concurrently, the licensed manufacturer would record the new firearm information on a separate line of the A&D record as an acquisition from itself on the same date as the date of the change and/or conversion.

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