FFL Post Disaster Considerations

During the course of a natural disaster, businesses of all types face challenges. The considerations contained within this document, although not exhaustive, highlight areas of consideration specific to Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs).

First and foremost, businesses facing disaster should follow Federal, State, and local authority’s guidance and safety recommendations. The safety of not only business employees, but first responders in the area post disaster should always be your first priority.

The FFL Post Disaster Considerations are provided as part of a three-document series for before, during, and after a disaster. This document highlights considerations for FFL businesses after a disaster has occurred; per ATF Publication 3317.7, it is recommended all FFLs have a Disaster Preparedness Plan.

It is suggested any FFL affected by natural disaster stay abreast of any ATF issued guidance.  To sign up to receive all ATF news and updates, visit www.ATF.gov.

Suggested Actions If: 

  • Unable to Assess FFL Premises
    • Post disaster, business owners are often left unable to assess the extent of damage to their FFL premises. Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely.  If you are unable to assess the status of your FFL business, it is suggested that a responsible person for your FFL notify the Local Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations.
    • Provide details regarding:
      • Last known status of your FFL premises
        • Power and/or phone outages
        • Alarm system operational status
        • Any known building damage
        • Any known repair dates and methods for damages incurred
      • Number and types of firearms on site
      • Method which firearms were secured (i.e. safe, secured room, trigger locks, etc.)
      • Ammunition levels on site
      • Any types of body armor and/or other ballistic gear on site
      • Any anticipated dates for assessment of your FFL business premises post disaster
    • Provide specific contact information for FFL responsible person, including landline, if available.
    • Request specific contact information for Local Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations for FFLs impacted by the disaster.
      • It is suggested an FFL responsible person notify Local Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations if/when there are any relevant changes to FFL premises status.
    • Notify ATF National Tracing Center of business operations status and/or any temporary relocation, and provide contact information, including landline number, for an FFL responsible person.
  • It is suggested business owners review any insurance policies and notify the insurance provider for the FFL premises regarding the status of their business operations and premises.
    • Carefully document all details regarding notification, including date and time of call, and claim numbers or case numbers issued, and person(s) who provided assistance.
  • Provide routine updates and information exchange for all relevant FFL business personnel. It is suggested pre-scheduled conference calls be conducted to exchange information, including updates of contact with all relevant law enforcement and regulators.
  • Security System Offline
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. In the event your business’s security system is offline due to situations such as phone or power outage, building damage, or other issues, notify Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department), and Local ATF Industry Operations.
      • It is highly recommended a routine status update be provided, via email or phone, to Local Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations if security system cannot be restored within 24 hours.
    • Some security firms can provide guards and/or armed guards for a fee, if necessary. If any type of guard and/or armed guard will be located at your FFL premises, it is highly recommended an FFL responsible persons notify Local Police Department (or Sheriff’s Department) and Local ATF Industry Operations prior to guard’s arrival.
  • Initial Entry of FFL Premises Post Disaster
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. If you have any reason to believe your FFL premises has been compromised, consider requesting law enforcement assistance with building re-entry.  Safety should always be a top priority.  Additionally, any potential firearm theft/loss could be the result of a crime, and law enforcement can assist with assuring the scene is properly secured for evidence collection, if necessary.  If theft/loss has occurred, ATF Form 3310.11 must be filed within 48 hours, per ATF regulations.
  • Damage Affecting Firearms Security
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. If there are damages to items including premises security system, windows, doors, etc., evaluate the risk to firearms’ security as quickly as possible.  Repairs can be hindered by continued effects of disaster, including availability of skilled workers to complete repair(s), and materials.  If you have any reason to believe firearms on premises are at a heightened risk for theft/loss, it is highly suggested an FFL responsible person immediately contact Local ATF Industry Operations to determine if firearms should be relocated to a different, secure location, and what steps should be taken to do so within regulations.
    • Notify ATF National Tracing Center of business operations status and/or any temporary relocation, and provide contact information, including landline number, for an FFL responsible person. 
  • FFL Premises Photos
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. Prior to initiating any repairs or corrective actions, consider capturing photos if any special circumstances or situations, including building damage, record damage/loss, or loss incident has occurred.  It is suggested multiple, detailed images be captured, if possible.  These photos will provide documentation often requested by insurance providers and/or regulators, if necessary.
  • Firearms Inventory
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. Although it may be tempting to begin a general clean-up of your business, it is suggested FFL owners immediately conduct a complete inventory of all firearms upon FFL premises re-entry post disaster.  Further, if there are any theft/losses noted, it is suggested police reports and ATF theft/loss reports be filed immediately.  Per ATF regulations, theft/loss reports must be filed within 48 hours.  
  • Records Inventory
    • Do not attempt to enter your FFL premises until authorized to do so by local authorities and only enter when you may do so safely. After completing a complete firearms inventory, it is recommended FFL businesses conduct an inventory and evaluation of all regulated records.  Remember, you may NOT discard or destroy any regulated records, even if they are damaged, including water damage.
    • If there are damaged or missing records, immediately notify ATF Industry Operations. ATF personnel will provide guidance regarding necessary corrective actions.
      • Never destroy, discard, or otherwise alter any regulated records without explicit, written instructions from ATF Headquarters, Enforcement Programs & Services.

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