The Four Pillars of Firearm Compliance – A Look At General Compliance

In this final blog of our four-part series, we take a look at the general compliance controls required of manufacturers of firearms.  These are the higher level controls governing the overall function and management of the business.  Previous blogs have looked at marking, tracing, and security during manufacture.

These four topics are the “four pillars of firearm compliance” as we practice it here at Orchid Advisors.  Our principal, Jon Rydberg, has developed a systematic approach to the complex legal requirements facing manufacturers of firearms, so that our clients gain a disciplined approach that will reduce audit failure and increase achievement of production goals.  You can read more about this in Jon’s book, “The Four Pillars of Firearm Compliance.”

General compliance controls is a catchall bucket that we’ve created to include topics that don’t fall neatly into the category of marking, tracing, or security.  ATF compliance is far broader than serialization – something that is sometimes overlooked.  In order to operate in this industry, there are a myriad of licensing and reporting requirements.  For example, in order to manufacture firearms, an individual or entity must apply for a Federal Firearms License and manage its renewal.  The same manufacturer may also be required to submit annualized reports on the volume of items manufactured.  

Every manufacturer of firearms should have a complete set of written documents that both inform and reflect company operations vis-à-vis legal requirements.  For many firearms manufacturers, these policy and procedure documents are the responsibility of a compliance officer.  A company can achieve added value for its compliance program simply by designating a point person for these issues.  The compliance officer can identify documents needed, create drafts, ensure periodic review and update, and assist with compliance problems.

Having policies and procedures in place is a piece of what is required.  Another important, general consideration is fulfilling the record-keeping requirements imposed by the ATF.  Mandatory paperwork for a given company can include its Book of Acquisitions and Dispositions (the A&D book) and it can include ATF Form 4711 for the sale or transfer of firearms.  Every paper requirement has corresponding requirements for the level of detail, record maintenance, and even the number of years such records must be kept in a condition available for ATF inspection.

Truly, the leading factor under the heading of general compliance considerations is attitude.  Becoming successful from a compliance standpoint if you are a manufacturer of firearms requires a readiness to do the right thing.  And that’s where Orchid Advisors can serve your needs.  It’s our job not only to know the legal requirements associated with firearms manufacturing, but also to help you institute a culture of compliance at your company.