What is ATF Form 4473?
ATF Form 4473, also referred to as the Firearms Transaction Record, is a form by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). If an individual proposes to buy a firearm, such as a gun, from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, he or she must fill out ATF Form 4473.
If you purchase a firearm and fill out ATF Form 4473, the firearm dealer will copy your information into a logbook, the Acquisition and Disposition Log. While the form is protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, similar to tax returns, and can only be disclosed in accordance with the act, the ATF requires dealers to report certain kinds of sales to the bureau. Moreover, if the ATF asks for a copy of your AFT Form 4473 during a criminal investigation, the firearm dealer is required to hand it over.
If you decide to purchase a firearm from a private individual who is not an FFL licensed dealer, you do not have to complete ATF Form 4473. However, take note that purchases of small arms or handguns from private individuals from another state require the completion of ATF Form 4473 before the sale. Some states, such as California, Nevada, New Jersey, and Washington, require individual sellers to sell through dealers.
How to fill out ATF Form 4473?
ATF Form 4473 is a six-page form that requires some of your personal information. It also requires information about the specifics of the firearm you wish to purchase.
You must answer ATF Form 4473 accurately and truthfully. Lying purposeful on the form is a felony. In addition to fines, you can serve up to five years in prison, even if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) denied the transaction.
Transferor’s/Seller’s Transaction Serial Number (if any)
Enter the transaction serial number of the transferor or seller, if there is any.
This section must be completed by the transferor or seller before the transferee or buyer completes Section B.
Items 1 to 6
These items must be completed with the firearm/s information.
1. Manufacturer and Importer
If the manufacturer and importer are different, include both.
Enter the model of the firearm.
3. Serial Number
Firearms manufactured after 1968 by Federal firearms licensees are marked with a serial number. If the firearm is not legally marked with a serial number, you may enter “NSN” (No Serial Number), or “N/A,” or “None.”
Enter the type of firearm.
5. Caliber or Gauge
Enter the caliber or gauge of the firearm.
6. Total Number of Firearms to be Transferred
Spell out the total number and do not use numerals.
7. Check if any part of this transaction is a pawn redemption
Mark the box if applicable, then enter Record Line Number(s) From Question 1.
8. Check if this transaction is to facilitate a private party transfer
Mark the box if applicable.
If more than three firearms will be involved in the transaction, use ATF Form 5300.9A, Firearms Transaction Record Continuation Sheet, and attach it to your ATF Form 4473.
This section must be completed personally by the transferee or buyer.
9. Transferee’s/Buyer’s Full Name
Enter your full legal name in the following format: Last Name, First Name, Middle Name.
10. Current State of Residence and Address
Enter your current address, including the Number and Street Address, City, State, ZIP Code, County/Parish/Borough.
11. Place of Birth
Provide the U.S. City and State or the Foreign Country.
Enter your height in Feet and Inches.
Enter your weight in pounds.
Select your gender by marking the applicable box. You may select “Male,” “Female,” or “Non-Binary.”
15. Birth Date
Enter your date of birth in the following format: Month, Day, Year.
16. Social Security Number
This item is optional, but providing your SSN will help prevent misidentification.
17. Unique Personal Identification Number (UPIN) or Appeals Management Database Identification (AMD ID)
Enter the information, if applicable.
Select your ethnicity by marking the appropriate box. You can select “Hispanic or Latino” or “Not Hispanic or Latino.”
You can select one or more ethnicity by marking the appropriate box/es. You can select “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” “Black or African American,” “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander,” or “White.”
19. Country of Citizenship
You can select more than one of the options, if applicable. You can select “United States of America (U.S.A.) and “Other Country/Countries.” If you select “Other Country/Countries,” specify in the space provided.
20. If you are an alien, record your U.S.-issued alien or admission number (AR#, USCIS#, I94#)
Enter the information, if applicable.
21 Answer the following questions by checking or marking either the “yes” or “no” box.
a. Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form and any continuation sheet(s) (ATF Form 5300.9A)?
b. Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony or any other crime for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year, or are you a current member of the military who has been charged with violation(s) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and whose charge(s) have been referred to a general court-martial?
c. Have you ever been convicted in any court, including a military court, of a felony, or any other crime for which the judge could have imprisoned you for more than one year, even if you received a shorter sentence including probation?
d. Are you a fugitive from justice?
e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
f. Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective OR have you ever been committed to a mental institution?
g. Have you ever been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?
h. Are you subject to a court order, including a Military Protection Order issued by a military judge or magistrate, restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner?
i. Have you ever been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or are you or have you ever been a member of the military and been convicted of a crime that included, as an element, the use of force against a person as identified in the instructions?
j. Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?
k. Are you an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States?
21.l.1. Are you an alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa? 21.l.2. If you are such an alien do you fall within any of the exceptions stated in the instructions?
Certify that your answers are true, correct, and complete by signing.
23. Certification Date
Enter the date you signed the form. Use the following format: Month, Day, Year.
This section must be completed by the transferor or seller prior to the transfer of the firearm(s).
24. Category of firearm(s) to be transferred
Mark the boxes that apply. The categories are “Handgun,” “Long Gun (rifle or shotgun),” or “Other Firearm (frame, receiver, etc.).”
25. If sale or transfer is at a qualifying gun show or event
Enter the Name of Function and City and State in the provided spaces.
Enter the information of valid government-issued photo identification, including Issuing Authority and Type of Identification, Number of Identification, Expiration Date of Identification in the following format: Month, Day, Year.
26.b. Supplemental Government Issued Identification
Enter the information, if the identification document does not show the current residence address or full legal name.
26.c. Official Military Orders Establishing Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
Enter PCS Base/City and State, PCS Effective Date, and PCS Order Number.
26.d. Exception to the Nonimmigrant Alien Prohibition
If you answered “yes” to 21.1.2. record the type of documentation showing the exception to the prohibition and attach a copy to this ATF Form 4473.
27.a. Date the transferee’s/buyer’s identifying information in Section B was transmitted to NICS or the appropriate State agency
Enter Month, Day, and Year.
27.b. The NICS or State transaction number was
Enter the information, if applicable.
27.c. The response initially provided by NICS or the appropriate State agency was
Select “Proceed,” “Denied,” “Cancelled,” or “Delayed.” If “Delayed,” write the additional information needed.
27.d. Prior to transfer the following response(s) was/were later provided by NICS or the appropriate State agency
Select “Proceed,” “Denied,” “Cancelled,” “Overturned,” or “No response was provided within 3 business days.” Provide a date for the options that require it.
27.e. After the firearm was transferred, the following response was provided by NICS or the appropriate State agency on
Enter the date and select “Proceed,” “Denied,” or “Cancelled.”
27.f. Name and Brady identification number of the NICS examiner
This item is optional. Provide the Name and Number of the examiner.
27.g. Name of FFL Employee Completing NICS check
This item is optional. Provide the Name of FFL Employee.
28. No NICS check is required because a background check was completed during the NFA approval process on the individual who will receive the NFA firearm(s), as reflected on the approved NFA application
Mark the box, if applicable.
29. No NICS check is required because the transferee/buyer has a valid permit from the State where the transfer is to take place, which qualifies as an exemption to NICS
Mark the box, if applicable. Then, provide the Issuing State and Permit Type, Date of Issuance, Expiration Date, and Permit Number.
This section must be completed personally by the transferee or buyer
30. Transferee’s/Buyer’s Signature
Certify that your answers in Section B are still true, correct, and complete by signing, if the transfer of the firearm/s takes place on a different day from the date that you signed Section B.
31. Recertification Date
Enter the date in the following format: Month, Day, Year.
This section must be completed by the transferor or seller.
32. For use by Licensee
33. Trade/corporate name and address of transferor/seller and Federal Firearm License Number
Items 34 to 36
These items must be completed by the individual transferring the firearm/s. However, if the transaction is denied or canceled, the individual who completed Section C must complete these items.
34. Transferor’s/Seller’s Name
Enter the transferor or seller’s name.
35. Transferor/Seller’s Signature
The transferor or seller should sign this item.
36. Date Transferred
Enter the date in the following format: Month, Day, Year.
Frequently Asked Questions About ATF Form 4473
Can I fill out ATF Form 4473 at home?
Generally, you must fill out ATF Form 4473 at a licensed firearms dealer's place of business to avoid supplying incorrect or incomplete information, which may result in the denial of an ATF Form 4473.
However, if the licensed firearms dealer is not open when you are ready to purchase a firearm, you can fill out ATF Form 4473 at home and strictly follow the form's instructions.
By law, you may be allowed to fill out ATF 4473 Form at home if you qualify under Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 922(c). This federal law allows you as a buyer to fill out ATF 4473 Form at home and mail it to a licensed dealer prior to the firearm shipment. However, you may have to file a sworn statement to qualify.
How long should I keep ATF Form 4473?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) requires a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, the firearm seller or transferee, to keep ATF Form 4473 for at least 20 years after the sale is conducted.
The ATF may request ATF Form 4473 back in cases such as an investigation or legal case.
What is a Federal Firearms License?
A Federal Firearm License (FFL) is a license that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms.
Anyone, including an individual or company, who holds an FFL is called a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder.
Do you need a Federal Firearms License to sell firearms?
In general, anyone who engages in the business of selling firearms must obtain a Federal Firearms License. It is also stated under the Gun Control Act of 1968 that it is unlawful for anyone except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms.
However, some states have their own laws regarding who may sell firearms in the state, so check with your local law enforcement agency before selling or buying weapons.
Does ATF Form 4473 form expire?
ATF 4473 form has no expiration date since it is a record of gun ownership. It must be kept for at least 20 years after the transaction or firearm transfer.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives needs ATF Form 4473 to trace firearms in a criminal investigation or legal case.
Why do you have to fill out ATF Form 4473?
When you buy a firearm, ATF Form 4473 is required to keep accurate records of gun transactions. ATF Form 4473 serves the purpose of screening potential firearms buyers so that prohibited persons are not able to purchase firearms. It assists federal and local law enforcement in solving crimes by tracing weapons used in criminal activities.
Essentially, filling out ATF Form 4473 is a safety measure to ensure that firearms are not misused. If a firearm is lost or stolen, ATF Form 4473 allows for the firearm to be traced and recovered.
Can an unlicensed firearm seller issue ATF Form 4473?
No, an unlicensed firearm seller is not allowed to issue ATF Form 4473. It is against federal law to complete ATF Form 4473 on behalf of an unlicensed seller, who is prohibited from selling firearms.
An unlicensed seller may transfer possession of the firearm to another person at an established trade location like gun shows or outdoors by means of face-to-face transactions only.
The bottom line is only a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder issues ATF 4473 Form.
Can someone fill out ATF Form 4473 for someone else?
No, ATF Form 4473 must be filled out by the actual buyer of the firearm and not anyone else, such as a friend or family. Filling out ATF Form 4473 on behalf of someone else is illegal.
The Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder will not accept ATF Form 4473 from a person other than the actual buyer of the firearm.
If I have a concealed carry permit or license, do I still need ATF Form 4473?
If you are buying a handgun, ATF Form 4473 is required at all times.
Moreover, if you have a concealed carry permit or license, you may be exempted from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check since you have already been screened as a potential gun buyer.
What is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)?
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is a system used by Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders to determine if the prospective buyer of firearms is eligible to buy firearms.
Prospective gun buyers are checked against a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database or state repositories to determine the buyer's eligibility.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) may delay the purchase of a firearm as checks can take anywhere from minutes, hours, and even days for certain transfers such as those between family members.
When is an ATF 4473 Form not required?
ATF 4473 Form is not always required in transactions between family members provided the transfer is a bona fide gift that does not include compensation. You may transfer firearms to your spouse or child, and he or she can also transfer them back to you without completion of ATF Form 4473.
ATF 4473 Form is also not required when you legally inherit a firearm or receive it as a bequest. Inherited firearms must be transferred through a licensed dealer just like any other transfer between non-licensed individuals.
What if I made a mistake on ATF Form 4473?
If you made a mistake on ATF Form 4473, such as an incorrect name or address, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder will not process the firearm purchase.
ATF Form 4473 is a legal document, and all information recorded is used for background checks. Any errors on your ATF Form 4473 may invalidate it.
If you realize you made a mistake on your submitted ATF Form 4473, notify the FFL holder as soon as you can for corrections. The FFL holder may correct your ATF Form 4473 unless the FFL holder already submitted it for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check.
To avoid delays or rejection, complete your ATF 4473 Form with accuracy to the best of your knowledge. Before you submit it to the FFL holder, review your ATF Form 4473 for any errors.
What is an established trade location?
An established trade location means an area where firearms may be sold at gun shows and outdoor locations such as flea markets and businesses that sell firearms on an occasional basis. These types of sales are allowed but only face-to-face sales, just like selling firearms at a gun show.
When selling firearms outside of the established trade location, it is classified as a private sale. Thus, no ATF Form 4473 is required.
What age must a person be to purchase a firearm from an FFL holder?
In accordance with federal law, a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder may sell firearms to an individual who is at least 18 years of age.
How many guns can you buy using one ATF Form 4473?
You can buy multiple firearms using one ATF Form 4473 so long as the sales are completed at the same time. However, you cannot initiate one National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check to cover multiple firearm purchases.
What happens if I fail the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check?
If you fail the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder is required to stop the firearm sale.
A failed NICS check means you cannot buy a firearm from an FFL holder unless the reason for your failed NICS check is a minor error that can be corrected immediately. You may resubmit ATF Form 4473 to the FFL holder. Then, the FFL holder may initiate another NICS check for you.
However, if the FFL holder sold a firearm to you prior to receiving results from your failed National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, he or she may be subject to criminal penalties.
What do I need to bring when purchasing a firearm?
When purchasing a firearm, you must bring valid government-issued photo identifications, such as a driver's license or passport.
Your valid government-issued photo identification has your correct name, date of birth, and photograph, which may be presented to the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder as proof f identity.
If you fail to bring valid identifications, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder may not be able to confirm if the provided details on your ATF Form 4473 are true and correct. Thus, the FFL holder may get suspicious or not sell you firearms.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces on active duty, you may use your Common Access Card (CAC) or military identification as identifications.
How long is an ATF background check good for?
An ATF background check is good for 30 calendar days from the date the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder initiates a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check.
What happens if you lie on ATF Form 4473?
You may be subject to criminal penalties for lying or making a material false statement on ATF Form 4473. Lying includes intentionally providing false information about your name, date of birth, address, and other required information.
It is a violation of federal law for an individual to knowingly make a false statement or representation with respect to the information required by federal law on ATF 4473 Form. You may be subject to certain types of court orders or sentenced to ten-year imprisonment.
How long does it take for ATF Form 4473 to be approved?
The timing for approval of an ATF Form 4473 depends on factors that may delay the process of your ATF Form 4473.
One of the factors is how long your background check takes. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is not always available due to high call volumes, maintenance periods, or outages, so it may take longer than normal to receive approval.
If you are approved, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder may immediately transfer your firearm. If you are denied, the FFL holder has three business days after the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check to return your ATF 4473 Form and cancel the sale or transfer of any firearm you purchased.
The FFL holder may be criminally liable if they transfer or sell firearms without the NICS approval.
How will I know if my ATF Form 4473 is approved?
You will know if your ATF Form 4473 is approved if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) sends an approval statement to the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder.
Upon receiving approval from the NICS, the FFL holder may immediately transfer your firearm to your possession.
Can I electronically file ATF Form 4473?
Yes, ATF Form 4473 can be electronically filed.
In such a case, a firearm buyer must fill out ATF Form 4473 inside of a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder's establishment.
To file an electronic ATF Form 4473, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder may use the e-Form 4473 system, an electronic software program that generates ATF Form 4473.
At this time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) does not accept ATF Form 4473 that is submitted electronically by a firearm purchaser. The only way ATF Form 4473 can be filed electronically is if it was prepared and transmitted by the FFL holder.
Can I do a NICS check on myself?
No, if you are a firearm buyer, you cannot do a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check on yourself. You must have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder to initiate your NICS check.
Can I be charged if my ATF 4473 Form is not approved?
The possibility that you will be charged for a denied ATF Form 4473 depends on why it was denied.
If your ATF Form 4473 was denied because of minor errors, which you did not do intentionally, you may not be charged. If this happens, you must contact the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder immediately.
If your ATF Form 4473 was denied because the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) yielded a felony conviction record, indictment, or arrest warrant on your record, you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for providing false information to the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder.
If your ATF Form 4473 was denied because of mental incompetence, the Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder may charge for reasonable expenses incurred in determining your qualification.
Why was my NICS denied?
Your National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) may be denied for several reasons, such as:
- Your identity could not be verified.
- Your ATF Form 4473 is incomplete.
- The information you provided on your ATF Form 4473 does not match the information available in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
- You are a nonimmigrant who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
- You have been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution.
- Your record states that you are the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant, such as a felony.
- Your state does not allow you to possess or receive a firearm.
- You are an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana, depressants, stimulants, narcotic drugs, hallucinogenics, or dissociative drugs.
What do I need to do if my ATF Form 4473 was denied?
If your ATF Form 4473 was denied, you may receive a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) denial letter.
You have 30 days to request a review if you feel as though you were incorrectly denied. You may also appeal that the record the NICS reviewed was false and incorrect.
In order for your case to be reconsidered, you must provide additional information that supports your claim. Then, the reviewing board will make a ruling and let you know if your ATF Form 4473 has been approved or denied again.
You may correct your record in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) system if it is proven that you were denied a firearm purchase due to false accusations.
Can I sell my firearm to someone out of state?
Yes, you can sell a firearm to someone residing outside the United States under certain conditions.
If you are selling a firearm to an out-of-state buyer, he or she must have an ATF Form 4473 signed by a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder in his or her home state.
You are required to contact the FFL holder who signed the buyer's ATF Form 4473 for approval before completing any transfer involving a firearm.
If the sale is approved, you will need to transfer the firearm to that out-of-state FFL holder in accordance with all state and federal laws. Note that it may be illegal for a nonresident to receive delivery of a firearm in another state. Thus, you may have to conduct a further background check.