ATF and The Last Frontier

Posted: April 5, 2012 by ShortTimer in Government, Guns, Regulation, Second Amendment

From Anthony Martin at

A report issued on Tuesday by Ammoland Shooting Sports News indicates that the ATF–the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives–is engaged in new illegal activity, this time in the state of Alaska.

According to gun store owners in Anchorage, ATF agents are requiring that they submit what is called ‘4473 Forms’ going as far back as 2007.

Form 4473 is the official form that gun stores require customers to complete when they purchase a firearm. It is not intended to be a gun registration form but a sales record containing information on who bought the firearm, a photo I.D., and the official background check. The store owner then records this data in what is called ‘the bound-book,’ which is kept in perpetuity by the gun store and submitted to the ATF if the shop goes out of business.

Yeah, that form.

It’s the “yellow sheet” or briefly “white sheet” that you fill out when you buy a firearm.  It stays on file with the gun store for a few years, and in the event that a gun turns up in a crime, the ATF calls the manufacturer, who calls the distributor, who calls the store, who goes to their notes and finds out that gun  X was sold to person Y.  Or in the case of the ATF recently, gun X was sold to ATF informany Y and used to kill Border Patrol Agent Z, but that’s another story.

Thing is, it’s not supposed to go to the fedgov.  It’s supposed to sit at the dealer’s, and info on who bought or sold what only comes up when there’s a crime.

Martin continues:

The ATF has the authority to inspect or request a copy of the form if agents are conducting a criminal investigation. 

But nowhere does the law or the rules and regulations of the ATF permit the agency to require gun stores to simply turn over these records en mass as a matter of course.

The gun stores in Anchorage are not being told that their records are being requested as part of a criminal investigation of any kind. The ATF has not specified certain forms from specific time frames as one would expect during such an investigation. The agency is telling the stores that it wants all of these records, in totality, going back to 2007.

Eagle Firearms does a good job at explaining what the law concerning Form 4473 entails:

Here’s some things to note about Form 4473. This form is not sent to any government agency, its actually kept on file by the local dealer. While this form contains the make/model/serial # of the weapon, plus all your personal information, it is not mailed out anywhere. The dealer will use this form to run your back ground check via the FBI NICS system.. However, the background check does not contain any of the following information: A) what you bought or its serial # (only if it was a long-gun or handgun) and B) whether you actually purchased the firearm and left with it. As far as the Federal government knows a background check was run on you and thats about it. They don’t have any record of what you did or did not purchase.

The only way the feds really ever see that data is in the event of a weapon being used in a crime.

Thus, Form 4473 is not intended to be used by any government agency as a form of registration. Yet this is precisely what the ATF is doing in Anchorage, and the gun stores are crying foul.

Gun registration is a very bad thing, which has been broken down many times.  For those who need a refresher, try A Human Right, or the JPFO.  ATF abuse of 4473s has been mentioned as well, in other contexts – that of using regulations to intimidate businesses.

Martin ends with this note:

Curiously, the agency is also under fire for using intimidation tactics on various gun store owners throughout the Rocky Mountain and Western states, Idaho and Arizona in particular. The agency has also been shown to intimidate gun owners themselves, attempting to use firearms retailers as spies and making visits directly to the homes of citizens who purchase guns.

Always Think Forfeiture, indeed.


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