If you are the kind of shooter who is regularly purchasing new firearms, Form 4473 should be all-too familiar to you. It’s the form you fill out for those background checks every time you buy a new gun and will likely be even more familiar to customers who shop online regularly. Regardless of when you last filled one out, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is making some changes going forward. This means after you order a new gun online and once you find an FFL in your ZIP code, you will need to fill out one of these new forms.
What Does the New Form Have In Store?
Whether you order from an online gun store or go to your local shop to pick out a weapon, the background check requirement remains the same. According to Orchid Advisors, a trusted legal resource for those in the gun industry, there are dozens of different little changes that have taken affect. The first change you’ll see is on question 1, which clarifies what those without a middle initial or those with a suffix (Jr, Sr, etc) should do in terms of name identification. You might also notice that the term “gender” in question 6 was changed to “sex,” which is intended to more concisely identify individuals for classification.
In fact, the entirety of the form is riddled with small changes like this. It also features plenty of new instructions, which are meant to clarify certain points or make things easier to understand for those without a legal background. But, the biggest change is in question 11. Here, it makes a point to ask if you, the buyer, use marijuana or other illegal substances. It goes on to warn that under federal law marijuana is still illegal and that use prohibits ownership. Some observers have noted that this provision seems to be the primary motivation behind the update, making it clear that federal laws trump local ones in these matters.
Ordering From An Online Gun Store
When you are ordering your firearm online, the Form 4473 is especially important to ensuring everything runs smoothly. By law, FFLs are required to send firearms only to other registered FFLs. This means you cannot receive a gun in the mail as an individual. Instead, you need to go to your local gun store to pick up your new order. This background check form ensures that everything goes smooth with that transfer and you can receive the order in a timely fashion. So, regardless of how this new form might seem, it is important that you fill it out as you would before. Just be honest and things should run smoothly.
When Does This Go Into Affect?
According to our information, the ATF will require all FFLs (federal firearm licensees) to start using this new form by January 16, 2017. We intend to make the switch over as soon as possible to make the transition go as smoothly as we can. Since most of the changes are minor in nature, you shouldn’t notice any difference in the process. Overall, the primary reason for this change seems to reinforce ATF’s position that federal law overrules local laws and it’s important to remember that this is not open to interpretation.
Handling the Changes
Fortunately, you as the buyer shouldn’t have to worry too much about these changes. Once you find an FFL in your ZIP code to receive shipment of your online order, you should make sure they are up-to-date with this latest form. This way, you can ensure that everything is processed smoothly and we can have your new firearm on its way in no time.
Regardless of how you might feel about these changes, we, as gun owners, must do what we always do: adapt to survive. In this case, the changes shouldn’t cause any inconvenience or delays in processing, so you can keep on keeping on.