How to Make ATF Form 4473 Corrections
Updated according to ATF guidance in September, 2015
In 2013 the ATF released an “FFL Newsletter” which provided guidance on correcting ATF Form 4473 – “Clarification to ATF Ruling 2008-3: Making Corrections to the Electronic Version of the ATF Form 4473 (e-Form 4473).” The ATF later issued additional guidance, on September 4, 2015 entitled, “If a licensee notices an error on the ATF Form 4473 after the transfer, what is the procedure to record the correct information?”
Let’s take a run-through of all the bits and pieces associated with this topic to help so that you can be sure you’re up to speed on requirements around corrections to Form 4473 and its electronic counterpart, the “e-Form 4473.”
The Gun Control Act of 1968 includes a provision that each licensed manufacturer, importer, and dealer must maintain records of sales or other disposition of firearms, and through it Congress gave the Attorney General the authority to prescribe the regulations to carry out the statute, including the paperwork and associated retention period. ATF Form 4473 is the paperwork that must be completed each time a firearm is transferred. It is published on the ATF website, along with instructions.
Originally released by the ATF in 2008 (recently updated in 2017), an electronic version of Form 4473 was released in an automated software program that is a free download on the ATF website. This launch of the e-Form 4473 was approved through ATF Ruling 2008-3, which detailed the correct process for using the software, the e-Form 4473, and the record retention requirements.
Fact Sheet – Federal Firearms Compliance Inspections and Revocation Process
|Fast Facts – According to the ATF’s 2017 Website|
ATF is responsible for licensing persons engaged in manufacturing, importing, and dealing in firearms and ensuring that those who are licensed to engage in those businesses do so in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.There were more than 139,000 FFLs in fiscal year 2015. This includes firearm licenses for dealers, manufacturers, importers, and collectors. During that time, ATF conducted 8,696 firearms compliance inspections.It is critical that federal firearms licensees comply with the Gun Control Act of 1968, and its implementing regulations, in order to assist law enforcement efforts, prevent the diversion of firearms from lawful commerce to the illegal market, ensure successful tracing of firearms, and to protect the public.
The e-Form 4473 information is entered into a transferor’s computer, and it is both submitted electronically to the ATF and printed onto paper for the transferor’s records. The paper copy is used for the transferee and transferor’s original, ink signature and date, and the printed, stapled version becomes part of the formal records kept by the transferor of the firearm.
According to the March 2013 ATF clarification, the ATF has been receiving inquiries on how to make corrections to the e-Form 4473. Apparently, the inquiry arises because the software does not permit the transferee nor the transferor to change answers after a statement is selected or mouse-clicked while filling in the electronic form.
The clarification specifically describes the process of making a photocopy of the paper print-out of the original electronic submission, striking through the error, entering the correct information, and initialing and dating each correction. The photocopy with the corrections should then be attached to the original print-out and retained as part of the FFLs required records.
The clarification also states that only the FFL can make changes to Sections B and D. Only the buyer should make changes to Sections A and C.
If the error is discovered after the firearm has been transferred, the clarification instructs that a photocopy should be made of the completed form bearing the original signatures, the error should be stricken through, the correct information should be entered, and each correction should be initialed and dated.
Additional Information On ATF 4473 Forms and ATF e4473