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Old May 10, 2019, 08:40 PM   #1
sesquipedalian101
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Copying Form 4473?

I am not sure if this query fits the L&CR section perfectly; however, being at heart a question about what is and is not "permitted" by Law or by Rule, I thought this a good place to start. Please correct me if I am over-running my headlights here...

At the end of an FFL Transfer with a local firearms dealer, I asked if I could get a copy of the form 4473 I had just filled out (*just* "my" -- the Purchaser's -- part). I was told, "NO!" with a brief explanation that making a copy of a government document is against federal rules. The proprietor did not come right out and say that it was illegal to make the requested copy, but strongly implied that my request was unlawful -- and the temperature in the shop seemed to drop a good 20 degrees or so...

I did not whine, beg, plead, argue, or otherwise "push" my request; I just said, "Okay," completed the transaction, and departed...

Because I hate being ignorant about such things, I went looking for references on government documents in general and Form 4473 in particular. Except for Federal Identification & Credentials, I could find nothing that seemed to prohibit copying Federal Forms per se. Indeed, form 4473 is available for download in PDF format from the ATF site. While I found some general rules about copying "private" data that might be entered on such forms, I was only asking the dealer for a copy of the part of the form that contained *my* data...

I do my level best to obey the law. That obedience is greatly facilitated by knowing what the law says. I find this knowledge "sticks" better if I can read the pertinent legalese directly...

So, what I am seeking to learn here is whether providing the Customer with a copy of the Customer's part of 4473 is truly prohibited. If it is prohibited, I am also hoping somebody has a citation to the controlling rules and regulations...

Hopefully, somebody can help me out!

Thanks!!
-- 101 --
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Old May 10, 2019, 10:23 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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I found this in a discussion on another forum dating to 2012. There was a link to the BATFE source, but the link is now dead. Fortunately, someone in the discussion followed the link and quoted it:

Quote:
PROVIDING COPIES OF ATF
FORM 4473 AS PART OF
COUPON/REBATE OFFERS
ATF has received numerous inquiries from FFLs
asking whether they may provide copies of the
ATF Form 4473 “Firearms Transaction Record”
to firearms purchasers participating in coupon/
rebate programs. Licensed dealers are required to
record firearms transactions on ATF Form 4473
and retain all records prepared for the sale or
other disposition of firearms as under 27 CFR
178.124 and 27 CFR 178.129, respectively. The
Federal firearms laws do not prohibit an FFL from
providing a photocopy of the ATF Form 4473 to
the buyer at the buyer’s request.
If you have any
questions about this information, please contact
the Firearms Programs Division at (202) 927-
7770.​
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:44 AM   #3
sesquipedalian101
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Thank you!

This lets me know, even though the rules may have changed since my last purchase years ago -- or even since 2012 -- that I wasn't totally off-base in asking for a copy.

-101-
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Old May 11, 2019, 05:12 AM   #4
Spats McGee
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Not that I've done any research on this yet, but I'm unaware of any law prohibiting a purchaser from getting a copy of the 4473 related to his or her own purchase.
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Old May 11, 2019, 09:56 AM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Here's another quote from a BATFE communication. This is from a post on 1919A4.com in 2019:

Quote:
Sir:

This is in reply to your recent email to the Firearms Industry Programs Branch (FIPB) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) asking if an FFL holder can lawfully provide a copy of a customers completed and approved ATF Form 4473 to that specific customer.

There is no law or regulation administered or enforced by our agency which would prevent an FFL holder from providing a copy of a customers completed and approved ATF Form 4473 to that specific customer. However, the FFL holder is not obligated to do so and providing the copy would be at their discretion, they could refuse to provide the copy if they so wished

We apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry, the Government shutdown precluded us from replying to public emails.

Michael S Knapp
Firearms Enforcement Specialist
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Firearms and Explosives Industry Division
Firearms Industry Programs Branch
The poster noted that the bold signature was the way the e-mail from Mr. Knapp was originally formatted.

Link to a BATFE newsletter from 2002. Scroll to page 2, lower right:

https://www.atf.gov/file/56411/download
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Old May 11, 2019, 10:07 AM   #6
Jim Watson
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Common Little Tin God Syndrome.

Do you have a regular bill of sale? If so, is it from the seller or Mr Know It All?
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Old May 11, 2019, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Common Little Tin God Syndrome.
More likely, I'd say it's a mix of ignorance and an abundance of caution. Most gun dealers aren't accountants (or even businessmen), and the volume and detail of paperwork can be daunting. The idea of losing a 4473 is intimidating, and I can imagine that mindset informed his opinion.
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:39 PM   #8
natman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
The idea of losing a 4473 is intimidating, and I can imagine that mindset informed his opinion.
How does asking the FFL to make a copy bring up the fear of losing a 4473?
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Old May 11, 2019, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Common Little Tin God Syndrome.
Is that referring to the dealer, or to the ATF agent putting his name & title in bold??

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Old May 11, 2019, 04:32 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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The dealer; he knows the rules and he is going to make you abide by them. Right.
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Old May 11, 2019, 04:41 PM   #11
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There isn’t a single federal form in existence for which a photocopy itself is automatically illegal... all depends on the content of the form and what such a copy is used for... you can make a photocopy of your own ID all you want. Crazy FUDnuts.


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Old May 11, 2019, 05:10 PM   #12
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Why would you want one?

Anymore, most are going paperless anyway
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Old May 11, 2019, 05:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
Why would you want one?

Anymore, most are going paperless anyway


To verify the submission was error free.


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Old May 11, 2019, 06:51 PM   #14
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If it wasn't you wouldn't get approved.
Just bought another P365 this afternoon; paperless 4473, whole process took about 10 minutes. I have the gun and the sales receipt, so it must have been good.
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Old May 11, 2019, 07:34 PM   #15
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Their ball; their game !!!

Quote:
The proprietor did not come right out and say that it was illegal to make the requested copy, but strongly implied that my request was unlawful -- and the temperature in the shop seemed to drop a good 20 degrees or so...
Perhaps you took it as an implication but no matter as you did nothing illegal. As far as he being rather rude and being strict, that's his callt. ….

Somewhat in defense of FFL dealers, I have heard some pretty confusing encounters between them and the ATF. You could say that many dealers are just following their own CYA program. I had one out of state FFL that would only ship a Muzzleloader to my local FFL. My local FFL did not know what to do except call me to let me know it was in. I know of other FFL's that gave up their license. If you ever buy a firearm from Walmart, you will see how involved their transactions are.…..

Be Safe !!!
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Old May 12, 2019, 07:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
How does asking the FFL to make a copy bring up the fear of losing a 4473?
It doesn't. It's just that many of those guys are conditioned to treat the blue books and the 4473's with an almost totemic dread and protectiveness.

He's wrong, of course, but his mistake may not be the result of malice or arrogance.
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Old May 12, 2019, 08:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
Perhaps you took it as an implication but no matter as you did nothing illegal. As far as he being rather rude and being strict, that's his callt. …
As far as his being rude, that's definitely his call. As far as his being strict ... "strict" means blindly adhering exactly to the rules even in situations where it isn't necessary or doesn't make sense. In this case, the FFL wasn't blindly adhering to the rules, because the rules don't prohibit him from giving the buyer a copy of the 4473. So, essentially, he was being wrong, not being strict.
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Old May 12, 2019, 08:38 AM   #18
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consider taking a picture
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Old May 12, 2019, 10:05 AM   #19
FITASC
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Again, many are going paperless and it involves several screens - you going to use your camera to do that? Again, WHY? Seems to be ado about nothing that has any importance.
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Old May 12, 2019, 10:37 AM   #20
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I agree. I dont see the reason for wanting a copy. The face page is all your info. You have the guns make, model & SN. You have a receipt with the FFL’s info. What else do you need for any records keeping you want?
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Old May 12, 2019, 12:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordmorgul View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC View Post
Why would you want one?

Anymore, most are going paperless anyway
To verify the submission was error free.
You don’t need a photocopy to do that. I ask every customer to check their portion of the 4473 before they sign it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkbite View Post
I dont see the reason for wanting a copy. The face page is all your info. You have the guns make, model & SN. You have a receipt with the FFL’s info. What else do you need for any records keeping you want?
This. In my experience, when a customer asks if they’re supposed to get a copy of the 4473, it’s out of ignorance. Many customers seem to think that the 4473 is a registration document, and the gun they’re buying is now “in their name” and they need to be able to provide proof that the firearm is theirs.

I really can’t see any reason why the OP would want a copy of his portion of the 4473. So he needs a record of his own name, address, place of birth, height, weight, sex, birth date, SSN, ethnicity, race, and a list of the various crimes he hasn’t committed?
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Old May 12, 2019, 07:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Theohazard Quote:.....I really can’t see any reason why the OP would want a copy of his portion of the 4473. So he needs a record of his own name, address, place of birth, height, weight, sex, birth date, SSN, ethnicity, race, and a list of the various crimes he hasn’t committed?
Rebates.
Some manufacturers ask for a copy of the first three pages of the Form 4473 as proof of purchase for their rebate.

I hate those manufacturers.
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Old May 12, 2019, 07:34 PM   #23
FITASC
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Who? I have never seen a mfg, ask for a 4473; the sales receipt, the bar code, etc., some downloaded form, yes.
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Old May 12, 2019, 07:41 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown tom View Post
Rebates.
Some manufacturers ask for a copy of the first three pages of the Form 4473 as proof of purchase for their rebate.

I hate those manufacturers.
I know that manufacturers often require a copy of the 4473 for gun store employee sales incentive points, but I’ve never had a customer ask for a copy of the 4473 for a consumer rebate. They’ve always been fine with just a regular receipt.
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Old May 12, 2019, 07:45 PM   #25
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC
Who? I have never seen a mfg, ask for a 4473; the sales receipt, the bar code, etc., some downloaded form, yes.
There have been two mentioned in the course of this discussion. The BATFE advisory specifically mentions it, so it's not like it never happened:

Quote:
PROVIDING COPIES OF ATF
FORM 4473 AS PART OF
COUPON/REBATE OFFERS
ATF has received numerous inquiries from FFLs
asking whether they may provide copies of the
ATF Form 4473 “Firearms Transaction Record”
to firearms purchasers participating in coupon/
rebate programs.
Licensed dealers are required to
record firearms transactions on ATF Form 4473
and retain all records prepared for the sale or
other disposition of firearms as under 27 CFR
178.124 and 27 CFR 178.129, respectively. The
Federal firearms laws do not prohibit an FFL from
providing a photocopy of the ATF Form 4473 to
the buyer at the buyer’s request. If you have any
questions about this information, please contact
the Firearms Programs Division at (202) 927-
7770.​
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