4473s must be saved forever

Daughter Kim and I had a meeting with ATF inspectors yesterday regarding the renewal of our license to manufacture high explosives.

We were just chatting about various changes and one of the inspectors said 4473s now have to be retained forever. The ATF website still says just 20 years. But that page hasn’t been updated since June of 2018.

I asked if congress changed the law or it was a regulation change by the ATF. She said, “I think it was just a regulation change.”

Looking at the law I think I see what they did:

(b) Firearms Transaction Record. Licensees shall retain each Form 4473 until business or licensed activity is discontinued, either on paper, or in an electronic alternate method approved by the Director, at the business premises readily accessible for inspection under this part. Paper forms over 20 years of age may be stored at a separate warehouse, which shall be considered part of the business premises for this purpose and subject to inspection under this part.

The law only references 20 years in the context of an alternate storage location. But, technically, says they must be kept forever. Apparently the ATF regulations originally just said, “Never mind what the law says, after 20 years no one cares.”

My guess is someone in the current administration decided anything to increase the hassle factor on gun dealers, even it there was no net benefit to society, was a good thing.


7 thoughts on “4473s must be saved forever

  1. Or you can send them to the ATF for storage. Like Walmart does automatically. They don’t keep any 4473’s in store.
    Since the government is prohibited from having a database of gun owners by law. Nod, nod, wink, wink.
    In actuality it might be better to do that. The ATF probably has truckloads of them they haven’t gotten around to scanning. Because it would be illegal for them to do that.
    A guy had a fire, it burned up his form 4 for his NFA product. He asked the ATF for a copy of their copy. They said no. He fought them all the way to federal court where the ATF had to admit they had no clue as to where their copy of his form 4 was.
    Piled in some box in some government warehouse God-only-knows where.
    The problem is we keep thinking the government are highly intelligent very well-organized, right-on top of it type people.
    And that’s pretty much brainwashing that makes us think that way.
    The stupid isn’t always an act.

  2. Actually, the BATFEIEIO knows that 4473s are useless after attempting to use them to find the “Son of Sam” killer. All Charter Arms Bulldogs had been sold in a short period with 4473s for every gun sold. 5 years after the first gun was sold, they could find about 80% if foggy memory serves me correctly.

  3. Technically it would appear the ATF is correct (the best kind of correct), ignoring any larger inherent 2A concerns.

    How likely are they to attempt to prosecute a dealer who dumped old 4473s prior to this change in policy?

    Probably a slam dunk case, if they were to try this. But it would look bad, and the hapless FFL would get automatic standing to challenge the law, which might not withstand Bruen.

    • Not that the ATF wouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill if they could.
      To me the best course of action is Cloward-Piven strategy of just sending all of the 4473’s to the ATF at once.
      They have absolutely no way to handle the volume. And they don’t have the brains to sort them all out.
      And since they’re not allowed to have a registry of gun owners. All they can do is stack them up somewhere. And go back through them how? Codify them how?
      Since 4473’s are pretty much worthless when it comes to solving crime, (something they know very well). And for the FFL, it helps in not having to do make-work-shit-detail traces.
      Sorry, we sent those 4473’s to you folks last year! Good luck! thanks and have a good day! The ATF would be lost, like most government when they actually have to do a days work.

      • points:
        Some years ago, the ATF started photocopying 4473’s in various dealer’s locations.
        Supposedly, they have also been going through their warehouses full of 4473’s and doing something similar so they can be transferred to computer records.

        Probably the best records are in state databases, since most of them seem to think that the law forbidding that sort of thing only applies to the feds.

        • Undoubtably, they do. But knowing where guns are and going to get them are two very different things.
          Possibly over half of the population have them.
          The government crashes long before any serious gun confiscation can take place.
          Just like the transition away from hydrocarbons. The government will get changed before we stop using them.
          How’s the war on poverty and drugs working out for government? They got more power out of the deal. Over John Q. law-abiding citizen, maybe.
          But not over drugs and poverty.
          The war on guns will go no different. I’m thinking we’ll end up somewhat like Mexico. Without the sunshine.

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