Throughout January, the entire firearms industry kicks into overdrive ahead of the annual SHOT Show and upcoming trade show season. However, the industry’s primary regulatory agency has also been busy in recent months.
Here’s what you may have missed in a wrap-up of the latest ATF news and updates:
ATF eForms Update
In early December 2021, ATF announced it would launch its long-awaited update of the ATF eForms application by the end of the month. Headlined by the electronic Form 4 for the transfer of NFA firearms, larger file sizes and shorter wait periods, the goal of the modernized cloud-based system was to provide better services to the firearms industry and reduce the effort and time required to review and process applications.
After a 48-hour delay from proposed launch, ATF eForms went live on December 23. However, the update has not been without its technical difficulties. Per the agency, “anomalies still exist with registration, login, and other areas in the application” which the development team continues to work on and improve.
New and returning ATF eForms users can create accounts, access submitted forms and file new forms at eforms.atf.gov. A tutorial for navigating the new eForm 4 can be watched here.
Form 3310.4 Revised
Also in December 2021, the ATF published a revised ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers. However, shortly after posting, an error in question 3, column titled “acquisition date”, was discovered. On January 4, 2022, a corrected version of the form was published in which question 3 now requires “Date Transferred” rather than acquisition date.
Also with the revision, columns in question 3 have been reordered to read, from left to right, “Manufacturer,” “Importer,” “Model,” “Serial Number,” “Type,” “Caliber” and “Date Transferred.”
FFLs are reminded they are required to use the most recent approved ATF Forms and must discontinue the use of previous editions. ATF Forms, including the new 3310.4, can be ordered from the ATF Distribution Center or by calling (240) 828-5316. The ATF is working to post a fillable PDF version of Form 3310.4 soon.
Secure Gun Storage Rule
Effective February 3, the Department of Justice has amended ATF regulations to codify certain provisions of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999. Amended to account for existing statutory requirement, the new rule requires FFLs certify they have secure gun storage devices available to their customers for purchase.
As defined, secure gun storage includes a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box or other device designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination or other similar means. Integral to the new rule is the requirement secure gun storage options are compatible with the firearms being sold.
The rule also conforms the regulatory definitions of certain terms to the statutory language, including the definition of “antique firearm,” which has been amended to include modern muzzle loading firearms.
On January 3, the ATF published a revised version of its “FFL Quick Reference and Best Practices Guide” (BPG). Last updated in 2010, the digital guide is designed to assist FFLs in complying with firearm laws and regulations, further contributing to public safety and the traceability of firearms.
Among the included topics, the guide covers:
- ATF publications to educate FFLs and their customers
- ATF inspections and outcomes
- Licensee requirements to make available secure gun storage/safety devices
- Step-by-step review of ATF Form 4473, including prohibited transfers
- Licensee compliance with background as required by the Brady Act
- Transfers of firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA)
- Firearms accountability, regarding:
- Reporting thefts or losses
- Thefts/losses of in-transit firearms
- NFA firearms
- Private citizen theft reporting
FFL Compliance Inspection Data
As we’ve previously reported, the ATF began publishing monthly firearms compliance reports in November 2021, beginning with data from October. Previously published annually, the more detailed reports were among the many provisions of the Biden Administration’s “Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime.”
Now with the December report posted, we can compile data from the fourth quarter of 2021, in which a total of 1,268 firearms compliance inspections – or an average of 423 per month – were completed. From the inspections, a total of 30 inspections resulted in a warning conference while 14 resulted in license revocation.