January 10, 2022
The Gun Control Act (“GCA”) requires all federally licensed firearms dealers to certify that they have secure gun storage or safety devices available for purchase by their customers.
On Monday, the DOJ published a new regulation in the Federal Register that expands this requirement. The new rule, which goes into effect on February 3, 2022, applies to all federal firearms licensees that sell firearms to non-licensees at their licensed premises, including manufacturers and importers. The GCA allows federally licensed manufacturers and importers to sell firearms directly to consumers at their licensed premises using a Form 4473, without the requirement to obtain a dealer’s license. Many manufacturers and importers make limited sales of firearms to employees and others at their licensed premises using a Form 4473. In order to continue doing so, they will now need to have secure gun storage or safety devices available for sale to their customers. The new rule also requires that the secure gun storage or safety devices be compatible with the type of firearm being sold.
The new rule adopts the GCA’s definition of “secure gun storage or safety device”:
(1) A device that, when installed on a firearm, is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device;
(2) a device incorporated into the design of the firearm that is designed to prevent the operation of the firearm by anyone not having access to the device; or
(3) a safe, gun safe, gun case, lock box, or other device that is designed to be or can be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means.
The practical effect of the new requirement that the secure gun storage or safety devices available be compatible with the firearms being sold means that licensees may need to offer additional types of gun storage or safety devices for sale. For example, a cable lock would not be compatible with an over/under type shotgun, and a small lock box suitable for a handgun would not be compatible with a rifle or shotgun. As before, firearms dealers will have to certify that they have secure gun storage or safety devices available for sale when applying for and renewing their licenses, but will now have to certify that they are compatible with the firearms they sell, and the certification requirement will now also apply to manufacturers and importers that transfer firearms to non-licensees.
Given the Biden Administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy for violations, it is important to ensure that all licensees comply with these new regulations. In that regard, the ATF recently published the first update to its Federal Firearms Licensee Quick Reference and Best Practices Guide since 2010. All licensees should review this document in detail, and make it available for use as a refence by their employees. It specifically notes that a license can be revoked for not having compatible secure gun storage or safety devices available for sale.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP is continuing to monitor firearms regulations as they are proposed and adopted. If you have any questions regarding compliance with these new regulations, or any other firearm related laws and regulations, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.