The FFL Compliance Inspections Breakdown

Summer’s a great time for catching up on reading, and an ATF multi-slide .pdf on the firearms industry is the perfect place to start.  Pull it up on your tablet, lean back, and go through 19 slides that break down Federal Firearms Licensees in every which manner.  The title is “Industry Operations Inspection Results,” and it’s just where to start.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is just how few FFLs are manufacturers of firearms – the FFL-07.  A mere 6.64%, to be precise, as of December 16, 2013.  Of the near 140,000 FFLs currently assigned by the ATF, only 9,263 belong to manufacturers of firearms.  Even fewer, only 2,389, or 1.71%, belong to manufacturers of ammunition.

The depiction of the industry is only one part of this ATF presentation.  The slides actually revolve around compliance inspections, the purposes of which include “

[promoting] voluntary internal controls to improve public safety.”

Whether you look at the report statistics for the previous year or you look at it for the five-year comparison, the outcomes of compliance inspections are similar.  Roughly half of all compliance inspections result in no violations.  Less than 15% of the time, the compliance inspection results in a “Report of Violations,” itemizing findings of deviations from statutory and regulatory compliance requirements at an FFL.  

Two main areas are shown to be trouble spots within the Report.  First, the leading inspection failure remains the Form 4473.  Filling it in incorrectly.  Failing to indicate the date NICS was consulted.  Failing to consult NICS.  Second, firearms inventory reconciliation remains a problem.  Each year the ATF identifies firearms missing during compliance inspections, and, fortunately, they work with FFLs to audit inventories as well as records, successfully and significantly reducing the initial figures by about 90%. 

The rate at which FFLs suffer a revocation or denial of renewal remains very low, at just over 0.50%.  It’s no small feat for the industry to maintain such a low failure rate.  What it means is that every FFL, from publicly traded corporations to sole proprietorships, understands the importance of awareness and implementation of compliance activities.  

And with that, we provide several highlights and you get caught up on your first of our recommended summer readings.