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ATF Compliance Inspection Update: Q4 2022

Written by Orchid

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January 05, 2023

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White text atop red background next to magnifying glass showing ATF seal over ATF Form 4473

Happy New Year! That is, if you weren’t one of the 50 FFLs who received a warning conference or revocation following an ATF compliance inspection in the last three months of 2022. Now armed with one full calendar year of monthly inspection reports, we have 12 months of public data on ATF activity and corrective action to review.

While Q3 (July–September) 2022 only saw a 3% growth in total inspections from Q2 (April–June), monthly totals had increased 95% since January following mounting pressure from the Biden administration’s zero tolerance policy. However, the months of October, November and December would not continue this trend.

Despite a 10% jump from October to November, Q4 started with a drastic 47% decline in inspections that would set a slowed pace for the rest of the quarter. Likely impacted by the busy retail and holiday season, ATF reported just 1,511 inspections in Q4 – its lowest quarterly total of the year, though still more than Q4 2021 (1,268 inspections).

Below, we further break down the Q4 inspection totals by month and quarter, followed by inspection, warning conference and revocation trends.

While reviewing the data, keep in mind ATF reports fail to provide comprehensive information regarding all corrective actions issued or address the qualitative impact of compliance inspections. Lastly, no historical monthly inspection data exists prior to October 2021.

October–December 2022 Data

The data below represents monthly ATF inspections completed between October and December 2022.

DIVISION
OCT
NOV
DEC
TOTAL
Q1
Q2
Q3
Atlanta
1
1
1
3
56
31
32
Baltimore
12
10
18
40
38
25
47
Boston
10
13
14
37
38
54
81
Charlotte
16
35
23
74
76
58
49
Chicago
15
36
25
76
49
26
58
Columbus
55
83
50
188
200
234
310
Dallas
94
64
57
215
168
225
314
Denver
8
12
22
42
46
69
70
Detroit
9
9
5
23
46
35
22
Houston
45
45
33
123
122
127
166
Kansas City
96
70
70
236
204
253
341
Los Angeles
9
3
12
24
37
24
41
Louisville
7
21
22
50
37
52
59
Miami
10
12
16
38
62
55
55
Nashville
18
14
16
48
46
51
74
New Orleans
6
10
4
20
19
40
49
New York
5
5
8
18
30
19
16
Newark
1
5
2
8
6
12
35
Philadelphia
11
7
10
28
61
58
96
Phoenix
20
14
22
56
121
109
169
San Francisco
12
27
23
62
44
41
51
Seattle
3
8
8
19
13
44
44
St. Paul
4
2
2
8
15
20
34
Tampa
11
21
26
58
77
61
76
Washington
7
7
3
17
45
50
65
TOTALS
485
534
492
1511
1656
1773
2354

In total, ATF completed 1,511 compliance inspections of FFLs in Q4 2022. Averaging 503 per month, October, November and December fell roughly 100 inspections short of the annual average (608).

However, what remained the same was ATF activity in the Kansas City, Columbus and Dallas Field Divisions. Recording the top three highest inspection totals for the fourth consecutive quarter, the divisions totaled 42% (639) of all inspections in Q4. Meanwhile, the Atlanta, Newark and St. Paul divisions combined for just 19 inspections – as many or fewer than only three other field divisions.

Unlike inspections, though, revocations continued to grow into Q4. During the last three months of 2022 ATF initiated 35 revocations, including monthly highs of 17 total in November and four in the Kansas City field division alone. Those 35 instances make up nearly one third of all revocations in 2022. During the same period, warning conferences decreased to their lowest quarterly total of the year (15).

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Proactive Preparation

ATF inspections are not a matter of if, but when. You may not be able to predict when industry operations investigators (IOIs) will show up at your door, but you can prepare for their inevitable arrival.

With FFLs facing increased scrutiny and greater corrective action for common violations, practicing proactive compliance is critical to protecting your license from revocation. Contact Orchid’s in-house legal and FFL compliance professionals for a mock ATF inspection or demo of our industry-leading compliance software solutions for manufacturers and retailers.

Don’t let your next ATF inspection be your last.

January–March (Q1) 2022 Inspection Data
April–June (Q2) 2022 Inspection Data
July–September (Q3) Inspection Data

Mock ATF Inspection

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