FFLs: Are you allowed to scan your 4473s?


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RavenVT100
March 5, 2009, 05:29 PM
I was curious if FFLs are allowed to scan in the 4473, or if they're mandated to retain a hardcopy.

Additionally, I was also curious how much time FFLs spend on retrieving the 4473s in response to things like trace requests. Since companies are moving towards imaging their documents, it seems natural that FFLs would want to do so as well, provided there's a net benefit to doing so.

I'm well aware of the whole e-4473, but AFAIK you still have to print those out.

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Jim K
March 5, 2009, 08:59 PM
AFAIK, it is mandatory to keep the paper copy, since it has the "wet" signatures. But I don't know any reason a dealer can't keep scanned copies for his own use. It might be a good backup especially if digital backup will be kept off site.

There are privacy issues, though. Customers might not like knowing their gun purchase info is in a computer that could be vulnerable to hacking.

Jim

Bubba613
March 5, 2009, 09:28 PM
There's no benefit to doing so. You have to retain the paper copies anyway and the only reason to do that is to satisfy regs.

SMMAssociates
March 5, 2009, 11:55 PM
Hm.... Dunno about the associated 4473, but I was in my favorite gun pusher's shop the other day, and somehow wanted to know the price of a Kimber I bought about three years ago. Counterkid walked over to a "sales" terminal, punched up my name, and provided the price, model, etc. :what:

(He's a Bloomie victim, too.... :fire: )

Regards,

waterhouse
March 6, 2009, 08:21 AM
I was curious if FFLs are allowed to scan in the 4473, or if they're mandated to retain a hardcopy.

The answers are yes and yes. There is nothing that prevents me from scanning, but I'm also required to keep hard copies.

For your trace question, I've never had to do one in 5 years. I imagine if I received a call to find out who I sold X maker Y model with serial number Z to, it would take somewhere between 5 minutes and an hour. I'm guessing closer to 10-15 minutes, but those are probably the extremes.

RavenVT100
March 6, 2009, 08:32 AM
Interesting.

If you did scan it, you could then search for it by NICS transaction number (saying, for the sake of discussion, that you indexed it that way) and have a copy of it up within a few seconds. However, it doesn't sound like you go looking for the forms enough for it to save money.

If they allowed you to maintain the records electronically, it'd be a different thing entirely. I personally feel that electronic records are more secure than paper ones.

There are privacy issues, though. Customers might not like knowing their gun purchase info is in a computer that could be vulnerable to hacking.

The proper way to address those types of concerns is partial or full disk encryption. Then it's arguably more secure than a piece of paper that someone could walk out with. Since you have to keep the paper this discussion is entirely academic; but a proper security policy addresses this.

Dunno about the associated 4473, but I was in my favorite gun pusher's shop the other day, and somehow wanted to know the price of a Kimber I bought about three years ago. Counterkid walked over to a "sales" terminal, punched up my name, and provided the price, model, etc.

My guess would be that his store employs a typical point of sale system that keeps track of inventory (guns, stuff other than guns, etc) and that it links buyers to that.

Tom S.
March 6, 2009, 08:42 AM
"Hm.... Dunno about the associated 4473, but I was in my favorite gun pusher's shop the other day, and somehow wanted to know the price of a Kimber I bought about three years ago. Counterkid walked over to a "sales" terminal, punched up my name, and provided the price, model, etc. "


Electronic "Bound Books" are legal, which would explain him looking you up so fast. When I had a FFL, I kept all my sales in a spreadsheet, and could find any info in seconds.

SMMAssociates
March 6, 2009, 12:39 PM
RavenVT100, Tom S.:

I know there's a POS system in place. However, the owner's a little funny, and I'm guessing that it was adapted from something that was used to count rutabagas :D.... I was kind of surprised he could pull it out of the air like that. They keep the usual pile of 4473's, bound books, etc., and "lists" of inventory, but I didn't think that they attached a purchaser's name, etc., to a sold item like that, or logged the sale that way.

I was going to write a POS system for them a while back, but the owner decided that paying me in used primers was the play, and....

(You had to be there :).)

I trust these guys, but not WalMart.... :(

Regards,

RavenVT100
March 6, 2009, 01:34 PM
Part of the reason I ask is because I have a system that I used when I worked in finance that (in theory) could be readily adapted to the operations of an FFL.

Let's say you keep your bound book in a spreadsheet or other application. You would be able to access an image of the 4473 or other docs related to the transaction by pressing a button, instead of rooting through physical files.

It's just disappointing that you can't rely on only a 4473 image--doing so would make for a far more secure system than is in place now, as something like a fire or flood could destroy your backfile of transaction forms, or they could get lost, "walk out" of the store, and so on.

Perhaps best of all, there would be no need to index on any personal data, so your customers' info would remain private.

waterhouse
March 6, 2009, 02:03 PM
It's just disappointing that you can't rely on only a 4473 image--doing so would make for a far more secure system than is in place now, as something like a fire or flood could destroy your backfile of transaction forms, or they could get lost, "walk out" of the store, and so on.

Not to mention the space saved by getting rid of several file cabinets worth of paper.

Duke of Doubt
March 6, 2009, 02:08 PM
RavenVT100: "It's just disappointing that you can't rely on only a 4473 image--doing so would make for a far more secure system than is in place now, as something like a fire or flood could destroy your backfile of transaction forms, or they could get lost, "walk out" of the store, and so on."

Yeah, and what a shame that would be.

I've never looked -- do the regs require that the records be indexed or filed in any particular way? Could they be filed in reverse alphabetical order according to the second-to last letter of the name of the month of the year in which the gun was purchased, minus ten days, secondly by the phase of the moon at the time, thirdly by the Red Sox standing at the moment of the transfer ?

waterhouse
March 6, 2009, 02:18 PM
I've never looked -- do the regs require that the records be indexed or filed in any particular way?

Yes, they may be filed alphabetically by last name, or chronologically, (there is actually one other acceptable method I think, but I can't remember it right now.)

RavenVT100
March 6, 2009, 06:21 PM
Yeah, and what a shame that would be.

Wouldn't the licensee be in hot water for losing the forms?

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