As part of the announcement, the ATF issued a ruling allowing firearms retailers to choose between a free downloadable version of the Form 4473 from the ATF Web site or an alternative commercial software-based version of the Form 4473, provided certain requirements are met by the vendor.
“The E-4473 will help all firearms retailers, especially small independent retailers, by giving the federal firearms licensee an opportunity to reduce costs and further enhance compliance issues by eliminating — or at the very least reducing — innocent mistakes caused by human error,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane.
The E-4473 will be entirely voluntary — voluntary for the dealer and voluntary for the customer. Furthermore, the E-4473 is not part of a government database, and it is not connected to any government computer or exchange.
“Clearly NSSF would never support a database of law-abiding Americans choosing to exercise their second amendment right to keep and bear arms,” continued Keane. “The E-4473 does not infringe upon this most profound freedom.”
Background Information on the Form 4473:
The Form 4473 is the federal document that must be completed prior to purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearm retailer. The document asks for the purchaser’s name, address, driver’s license or identification number, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) transaction number (authorizing and approving the transaction to the buyer), serial number and the make and model of the firearm.
The Form 4473 includes a federal affidavit to be completed by the purchaser stating that he or she is eligible to purchase the firearm(s) under federal law. The purchaser also affirms that he or she is the actual buyer of the firearm. Lying on this form is a felony and punishable by up to five years in prison, in addition to fines, even if the firearm is never transferred.
The firearms dealer is required to keep the Form 4473 for 20 years, and all records are subject to inspection by the ATF. The licensed dealer must also record information from the Form 4473 into an “A & D book” — a bound book of acquisitions and dispositions of all firearms sold and acquired by the retailer.