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On August 29th The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (‘ATF’) sent a bulletin pertaining to the release of the Personal Firearms Record (ATF Publication 3312.8). In that bulletin the ATF stated, “The Personal Firearms Record was developed to provide firearm owners an easy and complete way to maintain a record of their firearms. By completing this record and maintaining it in a safe location, with other important documents and separate from the actual firearms, the owner takes an important first step in the effort to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.”
This bulletin is one in a series of recent news releases from the ATF pertaining to documentation updates. It is clear that focus has been given to the modernization of record keeping through electronic form submittal and the enhancement of such tools for public use. The Personal Firearms Record is a bound-book like ledger, though not meant to replace a traditional bound-book, and can be used for firearm asset tracking at the consumer level.
While small collections of personal firearms may be easy to manage, some private collections are expansive and include hundreds of serialized products. Responsible ownership and tracking of these assets at the serialized level can be aided with such tools. Thus, the Personal Firearms Record has columns for the owner to detail make, model, serial number, acquisition date, cost and where the firearm was acquired. And, the new record includes the addition of a right-hand column which allows the owner to list to whom a particular firearm was transferred.
Each copy of the Personal Firearms Record is composed of nine rows and can be carried easily in a pocket. Potential uses of the Personal Firearms Record include, but are not limited to:
Logging assets traveling to or from a gun show.
Providing serialized asset history of firearms maintained on person (or on-site) during a theft to immediately aid in an investigation.
For licensed collectors it can serve as a short-term ledger to track purchases and sales without traveling with an actual bound book. It should be noted that actual transfers should ultimately be logged in a bound book in accordance with the regulations.
In states where private party transfers are legal, the Personal Firearms Record further aids in understanding firearm transaction history. All too often when a firearm is traced, the process stops when someone sold the firearm and cannot remember to whom they sold it.
Paper copies on foldable cardstock may be ordered from the ATF publications library and are free of charge. Much like other record keeping tools, the ATF routinely provides material free to the public at trade shows and gun shows to further their effort of protecting public interest. It should be noted that the Personal Firearms Record is not mandatory and is a personal asset tracking tool that the ATF states “will not be collected or maintained by ATF or any other Federal Government agency.”