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Thread: Question for the FFL holders

  1. #1
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    Default Question for the FFL holders

    I'm certain that this question must have been asked before, but I couldn't find where.

    In regards to 4473's and record keeping in general, how long are you required to keep those records, and how are you required to dispose of them?

    When I worked at a box store gun dept in the L48 (late 1990's) we kept a book (several actually) and every gun that came in from a distributor was recorded in the book. The book number, page, and line was tagged to each gun, and, when the gun was sold, it was "signed out" of the book on the same page and line. The book number, page, and line was written on the associated 4473, which was put into a file cabinet in the attic along with a photocopy of the buyer's ID.

    What happens to all of those 4473's these days? Because I never held my own FFL, I was never clear on the responsibility of maintaining those records. At some point do you destroy them, turn them over to the authorities, or are you burdened with them for eternity?

    Curious because I only have one or two guns left that were bought on 4473's (all bought pre-2000), none of the address info is valid anymore, and I just wonder what happened to those forms. I've sold all of the others, and these two may be the next to go as well.

  2. #2
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    when a person or business gives up their FFL they are directed to send all records in possession to the BATF records division, until that time an FFL is supposed to retain all records in their possession

  3. #3
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    4473s are held 20 years for completed transfers and 5 years for incomplete . . . Bound books are forever. At closing the business we have 30 days to send whatever we have to ATF in WV then much debate about what they acutely do with those after they have had them for 3 years. ATF doesnít admit that anything over 3 years is searchable but many say it's all scanned into illegal databases. Odds are if you ever filled out a 4473 itís floating around someplace and barring fire/flood your definitely in the bound book whoever has it.
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    The records division was set up in WV back in 1986. At that time Xerox developed the high-speed scanners that scanned the documents into computer. The first shipment was something on the order of 17 tractor-trailer loads of old 4473's. The story was in magazines. I wrote to our congress critters at the time about this, but got nothing in the way of intelligent reply. If anyone remembers this was right at the time ATF was purchasing surplus military aircraft to start their own airforce. Uncle Ted brought that to a halt. But either way, those 4473's live on forever and are indeed searchable. So since 1968 the papers exist in the comp.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the answers. I don't have anything to hide, but I wonder if any of those guns I sold will ever turn up at a crime scene and I'll get a visit from someone with a badge. I sold them at all gun shows before FL closed the gun show loop hole, so I have no idea who I sold them to. (And even if I did, that was 10 years ago; surely they've changed hands since.)

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