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GOA Tells ATF that Certain Revisions of the 4473 Form are Unacceptable

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On behalf of two million law-abiding gun owners, Gun Owners of America is writing to object to the proposed revisions to the Firearms Transaction Record/Registro de Transacción de Armas de Fuego—ATF Form 4473 (5300.9) promulgated on December 26, 2019. 

Particularly, our concerns are with the revised placement of sensitive information. 

The proposed draft would record firearm manufacturer, model, and serial number information about the firearm to be transferred in Proposed Section A on the same page as the transferee’s full name, address, skin color, ethnicity, race, sex, weight, height, place and date of birth, and social security number in Proposed Section B.  

This consolidation of sensitive information significantly reduces the effort necessary (1) to transfer ATF Form 4473s to facilities owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof or (2) to establish a system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, firearms transactions, or firearm dispositions in direct violation of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, found in Title 18 U.S.C. § 923(g) and § 926. 

Our concerns are emboldened by past Federal Firearms License holders’ allegations of harassment, involuntary duplication of sensitive records, and involuntary removal of sensitive records in direct violation of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act by ATF Industry Operations Investigators. 

While this proposed draft purports to increase ATF compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, consolidating this sensitive information onto one page does not fulfill any of the stated “purposes” of the law in Title 44 U.S.C. §3501(1)-(11). 

In fact, since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was launched, this information has been separated by several pages on the ATF Form 4473. This caused no burden on, inefficiency of, or drop in productivity for individuals completing the form and in no way diminished the effectiveness of the ATF Form 4473’s role in the firearm transfer process.

 

Thus, the revised placement of this sensitive information on the same page is not warranted. Considering (1) the intent of and strong language used by Congress in the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act to prohibit the creation of a firearm registry, (2) the clear degree to which these revisions might serve to facilitate future firearm or firearm owner registration in violation of these statutes, and (3) the lack of clear “purpose” for reforming these sections of the ATF Form 4473 under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should reject the proposed draft.

Article by Michael Hammond

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