The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is set to release its newest version of the Form 4473. Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders use the form to record pertinent information from people seeking to purchase a firearm or firearms.
Upon completion of the paperwork and identification verification the FFL performs a background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or state-approved point-of-contact law enforcement agency. In those regions where carry permit holders are not required to undergo another NICS check, a 4473 still needs to a completed.
One of the form’s changes is particularly noteworthy. Details and serial number of firearm(s) being transferred are now first on the page—section A—and the enthusiast making a gun purchase fills out their personal information below it, section B (still on the first page). The October 2016 4473 version required buyer information at the top.
To ease transfers to members of the Armed Forces, a new item (26.c) is included on the form for recording of official military orders establishing a permanent change of station. Item 26b, which previously applied to situations in which the identification document did not show the current residence address of the transferee, has been updated to include situations in which the identification document does not include the full legal name of the transferee.
The county or residence box has changed to read “County/Parish/Borough,” a move that addresses proper language for transfers in Louisiana and Alaska. Also new is a warning atop the 4473 about illegal exportation.
On Nov. 1, 2020, FFLs nationwide will be required to use the May 2020-approved Form 4473. October 2016 versions can be used in the meantime. Phasing in of the new paperwork means enthusiasts may encounter both toward the end of summer, depending on the FFL they use.
The new forms are expected to print sometime in July. Both English and Spanish versions will be available.