ATF Ruling 2016-2 authorizes FFLs to complete the ATF Form 4473 electronically via a computer but places the burden on FFLs to verify software service providers meet 22 conditions. Here are the 22 conditions that must be met and how FFL Boss complies with all provisions:
1. The licensee will follow the Notices, Instructions, and Definitions governing the use of the OMB-approved version of the ATF Form 4473, and either: (a) acquires and uses his/her own electronic Form 4473 software; or (b) downloads from ATF’s website and saves to his/her computer ATF’s most current electronic version of Form 4473, known as ATF e-Form 4473.
FFL Boss generates an electronic copy of the latest ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) that was revised in October of 2016:
:the above photo is a 4473 that was automatically generated as part of the disposition process.
2. The e-Form 4473 displays clearly, on the same screen, or upon mouse-clicking a conspicuously displayed screen item, all of the Notices, Instructions, and Definitions contained on the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved ATF Form 4473.
Within the Kiosk Mode there is a clickable link under the digit signature capture labelled “View all notices, instructions and definitions” which displays all of the Notices, Instructions, and Definitions contained on the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved ATF Form 4473:
3. The computer software must allow for a new e-Form 4473 to be created and completed upon each transaction. The system cannot populate Section A from previous transfers from the same transferee (buyer).
The following form in Kiosk Mode must be filled out each time a new Form 4473 is created:
4. The transferee (buyer) of the firearm(s) must answer the questions for Section A of e-Form 4473 while physically present at the seller’s premises (to include a qualifying gun show or event). The questions presented on the computer screen must be legible, and contain the same wording as the current OMB-approved version of ATF Form 4473 (5300.9), Firearms Transaction Record. Where Form – 4 – 4473 requires “checking” or “marking,” the transferee may mouse-click in an appropriate box to answer the question on the e-Form 4473. Where Form 4473 requires “printing” or “handwriting” the transferee may enter the information on the e-Form 4473.
Your customers can only access an electronic 4473 while logged into your Kiosk Mode, there is no method to allow them to answer the questions for Section A without being on your device (which is presumably at your business location or an event if you are selling at a gun show). Our Kiosk Mode has the transferee mouse-click Yes / No option boxes to answer questions:
5. The e-Form 4473 must allow the transferee to review and amend his/her answers until he/she selects or mouse-clicks a statement on the screen that he/she “agrees with and certifies” the same transferee certification statement as the current OMB-approved ATF Form 4473 (5300.9). Once the statement has been selected or mouse-clicked, the transferee can no longer make revisions to his/her answers.
:once the statement has been signed and submitted the transferee can no longer make revisions to his/her answers.
6. The transferee (buyer) confirms his/her answers with his/her signature and date on the form, certifying that his/her answers are true, correct, and complete, and that he/she has read, understood, and complied with the conditions, notices, definitions, and instructions for the form.
Once the above photo’s signature is captured and the green Submit button is pushed, the signature and date of the signature are automatically written to the electronic 4473:
7. The transferor (seller) of the firearm(s) enters the information into the licensee’s computer for Section B and Section D of the e-Form 4473. The questions presented on the computer screen must be legible, and contain the same wording as the current OMB-approved version of ATF Form 4473.
Most of the fields in Section B and D are automatically populated by our software, but the few fields you have to fill out use the same wording as the current OMB-approved version of ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) and also have popup helper descriptions to further aid in filling out your electronic paperwork:
8. The transferee and transferor signatures on the e-Form 4473 may be electronic signatures captured via an electronic signature pad prior to printing or may be handwritten (ink) signatures on the printed copy of the e-Form 4473.
Our software automatically writes the digital signature to the electronic 4473 once it is signed:
:if the transferee or the transferor chooses not to digitally sign the electronic 4473 the field will remain blank and he / she can sign the printed out 4473 with ink.
9. If the electronic signature pad breaks or fails to operate properly, the licensee must discontinue use of electronic signatures and obtain handwritten (ink) signatures on the OMB-approved ATF Form 4473 or the printed copy of the eForm 4473.
FFL Boss does not require an electronic signature pad as signatures are captured directly from inside the computer browser by using your mouse or touchscreen, but should your mouse or touchscreen break you can print the OMB-approved ATF Form 4473 without the signatures to obtain handwritten (ink) signatures:
10. If the transferee (buyer) cannot read and/or write, another person, excluding the licensee or any employee of the licensee, may complete the answers. Two persons, other than the licensee or any employee of the licensee, must then sign as witnesses to the buyer’s answers and signature. The person who cannot read and/or write may electronically sign or mark the e-Form 4473. The two additional persons’ signatures must be handwritten in ink on the printed e-Form 4473.
In this scenario, you would have the transferee not sign the form (or make their mark on the digital signature capture area) and print out the electronic 4473 in the same process as above and then have the two witnesses sign the printed 4473 with ink.
11. All NICS or State POC related information must be entered accurately on the eForm 4473 in the applicable fields. These entries can be made via electronic population (auto-population of the fields) or manual electronic entry (typing the information into the fields). They may also be handwritten onto the form after it is printed.
FFL Boss automatically populates all NICS or State POC related fields on the electronic 4473:
:additionally, you can print out a partially completed electronic 4473 and hand-write the applicable fields if so desired.
12. In order to electronically populate information related to the NICS background check, the FFL must contact the FBI NICS or appropriate State agency to request authorization to transfer specific NICS data from e-Check into the computerized system.
FFL Boss has the Assisted LEEP feature which allows you to run background checks online through the FBI NICS system:
13. Pursuant to 27 CFR 478.102(d) and 27 CFR 478.131(a)(2), if an exception to the NICS or State POC check exists, the licensee must record such information on the ATF Form 4473 (i.e., if a transferee possesses a NICS or State POC exempt permit) in the applicable fields.
In the instance there is a NICS Exception (i.e. NFA firearm(s) or a Concealed Weapons Permit) you check the Yes box for the appropriate NICS Exception type and the NICS fields will be removed from the page and replaced with the appropriate fields for the NICS Exception:
14. If the licensee wishes to maintain e-Forms 4473 for pending transactions, the forms must be downloaded from the system to a physical storage device (e.g., hard drive, Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), server) at the licensee’s business premises, or printed and maintained at the licensee’s business premises:
a. At least daily, in a format that is unencrypted with the required information readily apparent;
b. Upon request of an ATF officer (must be provided within 24 hours);
c. Prior to discontinuance or change of: the software (program); the database system, whether or not maintained by a host facility (e.g., remote server or cloud storage provider; and/or the host facility (if applicable); and
d. Prior to discontinuance of the licensee’s firearms business.
Electronic 4473s for pending transactions can be downloaded or printed (in an unencrypted format) at any time by clicking on the PDFs tab within any pending transaction:
15. If the licensee wishes to maintain e-Form 4473 for pending transactions, the forms may be stored on a computer server or device owned and operated by the licensee, or contracted/leased by the licensee through a host facility (e.g., remote server or cloud storage provider), provided that:
a. The e-Forms 4473 are readily accessible through a computer server or device located at the licensed premises during regular business hours.
You can access our website, www.fflboss.com, 24/7/365(6) to access all your data, including pending transactions.
b. The e-Forms 4473 documenting a pending transaction must be printed out upon request by any ATF officer.
You can print pending transactions any time by clicking on the PDFs tab within any pending transaction (as can be seen in the photo above).
c. The e-Forms 4473 documenting a pending transaction must be searchable by the transferee’s (buyer’s) last name, address, and by firearms information, such as by serial number, manufacturer, and importer (if applicable).
Pending transactions in FFL Boss can be searched by the transferee, address, serial number, manufacturer, importer, model, birth date or date of starting the 4473:
d. The licensee’s server is located within the United States or its territories, or if a host facility is used, that facility must have a business premises within the United States or its territories, and must be subject to U.S. legal process.
FFL Boss servers and backup systems are all located within US data centers of the Azure Cloud Service:
e. Each licensee must maintain its stored e-Form 4473 on a separate/partitioned database that cannot be intermingled with another licensee’s records.
All data, including electronic 4473s and pending transactions, for every FFL Boss user account is stored within a secured, separate, token validated and partitioned database so that no data can be intermingled with the records of any other user account.
f. The storage system must back-up the stored e-Form 4473 on at least a daily basis to protect the data from accidental deletion or system failure.
Data is backed up at least once per day to a backup server within the US data centers of the Azure Cloud Service.
g. Licensees are strongly encouraged to ensure that there are proper and robust security protection measures in place (e.g., encryption) to ensure all data is protected.
FFL Boss uses many layers of high level security to validate and verify that your data is protected, we secure and encrypt on both ends of communication, both client side (your computer) and server side.
16. If the licensee contracts with, leases from, or changes a host facility (e.g., remote server or cloud storage provider), the licensee must, within 30 days, notify his/her respective ATF Area Office of the name and address of the host facility.
When you start using FFL Boss remember to contact your ATF Area Office and let them know that you use FFL Boss (of Queen Creek, AZ).
17. If the transfer of the firearm(s) takes place on a different day from the date that the transferee (buyer) signed Section A, the transferee must complete Section C immediately prior to the transfer of the firearm(s). The computer software cannot allow the electronic signature to be automatically populated in the form from a previously captured signature or information in the software.
If you finalize a transaction on a date different than the date recorded in Section A the following alert will interrupt you:
:within our software, every digital signature is tied to a specific field on the electronic 4473 and cannot be reapplied to another signature field. As such, if Section A was signed on one date and you finalize the transaction on a later date (i.e. 3 day background check delay) the above alert will interrupt your process and require the transferee to re-digitally sign Section C (line 22) before you can finalize the electronic 4473. Once the transferee signs the digital signature capture in Kiosk Mode the additional signature will be written directly to the electronic 4473:
18. The e-Form 4473 must be printed, including instructions, at the time the transfer of the firearm is complete and prior to the transferee departing the business premises. The transferor must verify that the signature and date are present and in the appropriate fields on the printed ATF Form 4473.
FFL Boss generates all electronic 4473 forms with all 6 pages, including instructions:
19. In the case of “denied,” no sale or cancelled transactions, the ATF Form 4473, including instructions, must be printed and the printout retained pursuant to 27 CFR 478.129(b).
Denied, No Sale or Cancelled transactions still produce an electronic 4473 with all data present to be printed:
20. If the transaction is not completed within 30-day period after initially contacting NICS, the ATF Form 4473, including instructions, must be printed and the printout retained pursuant to 27 CFR 478.129(b).
At any time, you can print out a partially completed electronic 4473 by going to the PDFs tab:
21. The licensee must print all ATF Forms 4473, including the Notices, Instructions and Definitions, on 8 1/2” x 11” white paper. The pages must be stapled together. The entire printed ATF Form 4473 must be a verbatim/exact image of the current OMB-approved ATF Form 4473 (5300.9). Each response to a question must be legibly printed and aligned in the particular space or box allotted for that question on ATF Form 4473. If the licensee is unable to print the ATF Form 4473, he/she must use the current hardcopy of the OMB-approved version of the form. The pages may be printed either single-sided or double-sided.
FFL Boss uses the current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) that was revised in October of 2016 to digitally overlay responses that are aligned within the space or box allotted for each question. You can verify this with the test 4473 I have been using to create pictures for this blog post: Test-4473.pdf (and/or review the print from our v4.5 walk-through video).
22. The licensee must retain the printed ATF Forms 4473 at the licensed premises in accordance with 27 CFR 478.124(b) and 129.
When you finish the electronic 4473 the PDFs are automatically created and ready for you to print, including any Multiple Sale Forms (if needed):