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The Four Most Common Mistakes FFLs Make That Cause Them Legal Issues

In this blog post, the four most common mistakes that FFL’s make that sell at retail to individuals make and simple solutions are addressed. The expectation from BATFE is perfect compliance to assist with the duties of accurate records for law enforcement purposes.

First, the 4473 must be the most current version completed by the purchaser and it must be complete and accurate without exception. The best way to accomplish this is by a double check or electronic A&D book system with defaults for incomplete information so the transaction cannot proceed. Most retailers have difficulty with A&D books.

Second, the FFL must make sure that any purchase is not a straw purchase. It is permissible for a purchaser to buy a firearm for a person not disqualified under state or federal law, but not to result in a disqualified person obtaining a firearm. A straw purchase is likely to result in revocation of the license and criminal prosecution of the FFL.

Third, the FFL has to avoid firearm purchases and sales, typically of used firearms, that are not properly logged on the A&D book and then re-sold by completion of a 4473 and NICS check (where applicable). The anecdotal evidence suggests that most often this occurs because everyone knows everyone else in the transaction, facilitated by FFL, and is somewhat akin to a private transfer. However, this is illegal and a process captured by law enforcement in controlled buys. This is a fast way for an FFL to have his license revoked and be criminally charged.

Fourth, an FFL has to comply with all state and local laws and ordinances, even if illegal or incongruous with state preemption. Failure to do so is a breach of the FFL’s required duties under the GCA and NFA, if applicable. Thus, a retailer who has failed to collect sales tax is not in compliance and may have his license revoked.

This blog post was written by attorneys at Dixon & Moseley, P.C. This blog post is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a solicitation for legal services or specific legal advice. It is an advertisement.


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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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