December 7, 2022 – The ATF released a new version of the Form 4473 today.  According to the ATF, this revised version was necessitated by new statutory requirements implemented though the NICS Denial Notification Act and the Bipartisan Safer Community Act, and to reflect the implementation of Final Rule 2021R-05F (new definitions of “firearm frame or receiver” with new markings requirements – which went into effect August 24, 2022). Use of this new version of the Form 4473 will become mandatory on April 1, 2023.  Due to the Biden Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy requiring the ATF to issue notices of revocation based on certain errors on the Form 4473, we highly recommend that all dealers thoroughly train their employees regarding the changes before they begin using this new version of the Form 4473.  This will help to ensure that there are no violations discovered during a compliance inspection by the ATF that could lead to a notice of revocation.
While the general formatting and the order of the sections in the December 2022 version of the Form 4473 follows the May 2020 version, several additional “boxes” have been added, and a few deleted.  For the customer, there are two additional “qualification” questions to be answered – 21.b. and 21.c – which relate to the buyer’s intentions with respect to the firearm(s) listed on the form. The ATF also added a “box” under “10” asking the buyer whether they “Reside in City Limits?” Fortunately, an “Unknown” option is included as an answer to this new question.
As for the licensees, Section A’s requirement to list the Manufacturer and Importer of the firearm(s) being transferred now includes the requirement to list the “Privately Made Firearm (PMF)” information.  Sections 27.f. and 27.g. – NICS examiner and FFL employee completing NICS information – have been removed on the new version (both were optional on the May 2020 version). Most importantly for the licensed dealer, the new form includes boxes in “27.d.” for the new situation when NICS or a state POC requires additional time (up to ten business days) to complete the background check to search juvenile records for purchasers less than twenty-one years old.  Finally, ATF added a sentence to the end of the transferor’s certification paragraph which states, “If this transaction required a NICS check, I further certify that this firearm(s) transfer is within 30 days from the date of the initial contact with NICS.”  This is an important reminder and will hopefully prevent related violations, which is the most common reason for notices of revocation being issued pursuant to the zero tolerance policy.
Again, based on the information the ATF posted today, use of the December 2022 version of the Form 4473 will not become mandatory until April 1, 2023. This will provide the necessary time for dealers to train their employees on how to properly complete it.
If you have any questions regarding the December 2022 version of the Form 4473, the Biden Administration’s zero tolerance policy, or compliance with federal firearms laws, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.