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Old January 13, 2013, 01:24 PM   #1
Jayster
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ATF scrutinizing shop record in December 2012

I was told by a WalMart assistant manager at the sporting goods counter and by a clerk at a gun shop, both in VA, that the ATF had been there for a week going over all their records nitpicking them to death for smallest issue.

Obviously this is in response to Connecticut. I would not doubt straight from the mouth of Obama and Holder to look for issues to use as talking points in Biden's report to Obama along with his recommendations.

Anyone heard of the same ATF scrutiny in your shops?
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Old January 13, 2013, 01:34 PM   #2
sigcurious
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Quote:
Obviously this is in response to Connecticut.
What makes it obvious?
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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One of my shooting and training buddies runs a custom rifle shop. They build, service and customize high end rifles. He had the BATF go through his records in August. He claims they were writing the service logs and ownership logs for "larger higher powered rifles". These being 416 Barrett,50 BMG, 408 Chey-Tac, etc. the only reason we discussed it was I own and shoot 50 BMG's. He isn't a conspiracy theorist or even remotely extreme about his views. This left him feeling uncomfortable. I know this is normal for them to come in and check the logs. I never really worried about it, but honestly, who knows....

I would hate to think they were specifically looking for owners of these calibers, but they might have also had a reason for it. Please don't take it as "they are gonna come get our guns". It isn't meant to sound like that. This was just showing, they were doing "wierd" stuff long before...
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:57 PM   #4
steveno
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the atf likes to nitpick things to death on record keeping
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Old January 13, 2013, 03:33 PM   #5
rebs
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he firearms manager at our local gander who is a friend of mine said that ATF audits their records every year or year and a half. Its normal procedure.
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Old January 13, 2013, 03:46 PM   #6
dogtown tom
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Quote:
Jayster I was told by a WalMart assistant manager at the sporting goods counter and by a clerk at a gun shop, both in VA, that the ATF had been there for a week going over all their records nitpicking them to death for smallest issue.

Obviously this is in response to Connecticut. I would not doubt straight from the mouth of Obama and Holder to look for issues to use as talking points in Biden's report to Obama along with his recommendations.

Anyone heard of the same ATF scrutiny in your shops?
Obviously you've never heard of a compliance inspection.

ATF is limited to one compliance inspection of a dealers records per year. The inspection is limited to reviewing the licensees bound book, 4473's, inventory and multiple sale forms. IOI's (Industry Operations Investigators) spend every day doing a compliance inspection at some gun store somwhere. To suggest it is due to the shootings in Connecticut, Obama or Holder is ignorant at best.

While a misplaced "." won't get you cited, missing forms, missing guns, and other serious errors or ommisions could lead to the dealer having his license revoked or renewal denied. (revocation/nonrenewal are extremely rare).

While high volume dealers (like WalMart) may see an inspection every year, most small shops have them infrequently. I've had one compliance inspection in the last four years.


Quote:
steveno the atf likes to nitpick things to death on record keeping
As they should, guns are serious business and missing guns or shoddy recordkeeping make the industry look bad.
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:25 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown tom
While a misplaced "." won't get you cited, missing forms, missing guns, and other serious errors or ommisions could lead to the dealer having his license revoked or renewal denied. (revocation/nonrenewal are extremely rare).
Have they relaxed, then? I can remember a friend who used to run a gun shop telling me that they'd go beserker if someone entered "WY" for the state rather than writing out "Wyoming."
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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The biggest factor on how much crap they give you about mistakes seems to be in direct correlation with how much the agents like you (or dislike you). That has been my experience at least. They do tell people when they do something wrong, but that's really all those agents are there for. They were a lot harder on one shop owner I knew than they were with some others. One guy I knew didn't even have an audit until 4 years after he had his FFL.

The inspections are routine. Nothing really out of the ordinary.
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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OK. The "obviously" could have been a mistake. Just to me it being so close after the Conn. shooting that's the first thing that came to mind. I guess that can be understood.

But it was obvious they had Walmart spooked, very obvious.

I had to talk with an assistant manager to make them understand their stance that a VA driver's license with a po box and no street address could be used for ID for a gun buy as long as you had other ID that showed your physical address.
They still tried to maintain that until I told them I had called the VA Firearms Transaction Center to clarify the information and that they could call them too.

Two clerks thought that regardless of any other ID that a VA driver license with a po box was worthless for a gun buy. I knew that was totally wrong. So I had to move it up the ladder.

Yes, they were spooked. I am sure they had reason to with the ATF just getting through with breathing down their necks. Hopefully I helped un-spook them even if just a little.
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Old January 13, 2013, 06:04 PM   #10
sigcurious
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Quote:
But it was obvious they had Walmart spooked, very obvious.

I had to talk with an assistant manager to make them understand their stance that a VA driver's license with a po box and no street address could be used for ID for a gun buy as long as you had other ID that showed your physical address.
They still tried to maintain that until I told them I had called the VA Firearms Transaction Center to clarify the information and that they could call them too.

Two clerks thought that regardless of any other ID that a VA driver license with a po box was worthless for a gun buy. I knew that was totally wrong. So I had to move it up the ladder.
Sometimes employees at dedicated gun shops have trouble keeping all the Federal and State laws and regulations straight, what makes you think a clerk or AM at walmart who might be behind the sporting goods counter one day and wandering housewares the next would know anything beyond what is strictly legal? For a large store like walmart who just happens to deal in firearms, it's much easier to instruct employees on what is definitely legal 100% of the time than the nuances of federal and state firearms law.

You're applying causation where there may not even be correlation. The very same issue could have easily come up had you visited in November. Unless you've left out some details, all you know for sure is, walmart employees aren't well versed in firearms law and regulations(surprise surprise) and that they had an ATF inspection, which may or may not have been after the Sandy Hook incident.
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Old January 13, 2013, 07:15 PM   #11
dogtown tom
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Aguila Blanca Have they relaxed, then? I can remember a friend who used to run a gun shop telling me that they'd go beserker if someone entered "WY" for the state rather than writing out "Wyoming."
ATF has said for decades that "commonly used" abbreviations are acceptable. They even use an example on Question 20a of the 4473.

ATF has even written about the use of abbreviations in the FFL Newsletter, but 80% of dealers don't bother reading or attempting to stay current. They prefer instead to rely on word of mouth or their own paranoia.

It would not surprise me that an IOI told a dealer that you could not use abbreviations. That doesn't make it correct. Dealers who accept such verbal opinions without asking for a citation to the actual regulation deserve to spend the rest of their life spelling out Road, street, drive, etc.

Quote:
Jayster
....Two clerks thought that regardless of any other ID that a VA driver license with a po box was worthless for a gun buy. I knew that was totally wrong. So I had to move it up the ladder.
Instead of arguing, just ask them to read the damn 4473 instructions....specifically 20.b
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Old January 13, 2013, 07:22 PM   #12
Jayster
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The AM told me about some of the interactions with the ATF and what they were picking about and how that had them uptight.

It wasn't a "nuance". It was about what was legal and what was not. Was it ok for them to think that all VA driver's licenses with a po box only were illegal? It definitely was not a nuance to them. It would have caused issues with every customer that came in with that particular issue. Now they know.

I told the AM I understood what he had gone through given the particular climate we are in concerning Conn. and was not trying to cause any problems. He was very receptive.

And let me add there was NO arguing. Just calm discussion.
In fact after the AM left a clerk that had been working close by told me how WELL I had handled it.

It all went quite well really.

Better than it is going here.

And I thought the ATF was being picky. sheeesh.

Nice welcome for the new guy huh?

Last edited by Jayster; January 13, 2013 at 07:25 PM. Reason: typo
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Old January 13, 2013, 08:37 PM   #13
sigcurious
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Quote:
It wasn't a "nuance". It was about what was legal and what was not. Was it ok for them to think that all VA driver's licenses with a po box only were illegal? It definitely was not a nuance to them. It would have caused issues with every customer that came in with that particular issue. Now they know.
I highly doubt you were the first person ever in that walmart to try to use a DL with a P.O.B and told that was unsatisfactory. It's not illegal or even wrong, it's a business applying practices that allow them to give minimal training to employees while steering clear of legal issues.
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Old January 15, 2013, 05:10 AM   #14
iraiam
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I don't think the ATF doing this is anything new at all.


Quote:
ATF has said for decades that "commonly used" abbreviations are acceptable. They even use an example on Question 20a of the 4473.
I remember years ago all the gun shops around here were real sticklers about not using any abbreviations. they would not even let you use AVE for Avenue, or CO for Colorado. The BATF generally had a bad rap around here as I remember, I think they just didn't want to give them any excuses.

Specifically, I remember this from the Clinton era, the same era that the NICS mysteriously (wink) went down on Mothers Day during the "Million Mom March".
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Old January 15, 2013, 10:15 PM   #15
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Technical violations are easier to enforce and less dangerous than going after real violations.

The DEA has a higher confiscation rate than does the BATF.

The technical citations inflate their statistics and is used to justify their budget.

EPA is the same way. Perfect inspection reports are not acceptable. They will dig until they find some issue.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:22 AM   #16
dogtown tom
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ltc444 Technical violations are easier to enforce and less dangerous than going after real violations.
The DEA has a higher confiscation rate than does the BATF.
The technical citations inflate their statistics and is used to justify their budget.
Of course, the "technical violations" that an IOI will cite are faaaar different than "real violations" (what an ATF Enforcement Agent will be involved in)

IOI's are beancounters and don't carry guns. If ATF uses them to justify their budget then they aren't doing a very good job of it:
ATF rarely revokes an FFL for minor violations.
ATF rarely refuses to renew an FFL for minor violations.
I've yet to read an ATF press release that informs me "Walmart #3456 cited for missing 4473's!!!!".....so your belief that they use these to increase their statistics just doesn't hold water.

What they do love to crow about is their criminal investigators (completely different job than the IOI's that gun dealers see)

ATF regularly sends me emails that are about their arson investigations, illegal gun trafficking, and other criminal investigations. Of course very little about their own gun walking problems.
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Old January 17, 2013, 02:07 PM   #17
johnwilliamson062
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This is why Walmart stopped carrying guns for a while in the first place. Walmart has a HUGE problem with record keeping b/c of employee training and turnover. They had an employee from another department "help" a customer in sporting goods and sell a gun without the proper NICS at one point.

Quote:
As they should, guns are serious business and missing guns or shoddy recordkeeping make the industry look bad.
Imagine how the country survived all those years without the ATFE poking their nose in business records.
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Old January 17, 2013, 07:33 PM   #18
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In 35 years in Law Enforcement I referred, or was involved in cases, that were referred to ATF. Like a convicted Felon using false ID to buy a gun, a guy buying a gun for a Felon, a Felon in possession of a firearm, not once did ATF take a case or file a case. They would say they were to busy working other things.
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