What You Need to Know About Changes to the Form 4473

Last Monday, November 14th, 2016, the ATF announced new changes to the Form 4473 that will take effect on January 16, 2017, just four days before the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.  Form 4473 is the federally-mandated form that must be filled out by any person who acquires a firearm from a licensed dealer.

Here are the changes you need to be aware of:

  1. The new form must be filled out in its entirety at the business premises of the licensed dealer. Federal law already generally requires transferees to appear in person at the business premises to complete a firearm transaction, but there is no requirement in federal law that the transferee must complete the Form 4473 at the dealer’s premises.  Appearing at a dealer’s premises with a partially completed form is a good way to expedite the buying process, but doing so will no longer be possible once the new form goes into effect.
  2. The new form includes a bolded warning that “the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.” This warning is a continuation of ATF’s policy that was first published in an open letter on September 21, 2011.  Under ATF’s policy, not only are users of marijuana prohibited from possessing firearms, but a person may not transfer a firearm to an individual if the transferor knows that the transferee holds a medical marijuana card.  Importantly, this second prohibition applies even where the cardholder does not actually use any marijuana.
  3. The new Form 4473 is a little more streamlined. It combines fields asking for the transferee’s street address and state of residence, provides clearer guidance to members of the military on determining their state of residence, and indicates how individuals who have had their firearm rights restored should complete the form.
  4. The new form provides guidance to licensed dealers on how to complete a firearm transaction that was initially denied, but where the denial was later overturned. This is very important for individuals who may have been denied because of incomplete or dated information in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Firearms dealers should expect to receive the new Form 4473s in early December, and, beginning January 16, 2017, all firearm transactions must use the new form.  Below is a preview image link of the new version of Form 4473. For more information, visit the ATF page that details all the new changes here.

New Form 4473, Effective January 16, 2016: atf_form_4473-firearms_transaction_record_revised_2017

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