Happy New Year to all! To welcome you into 2022, we have some news from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF").
ATF Publishes Final Rule on Secure Storage Devices and Antique Firearms
Way back in 2016, ATF published a notice of proposed rulemaking (“2016 NPRM”) which presented proposed amendments to the regulations in Title 27, Part 478 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) to (1) implement the Gun Control Act ("GCA") requirement that applicants for firearms dealer licenses certify the availability of secure gun storage or safety devices, and (2) amend the definition of “antique firearm” to include certain modern muzzle loading firearms.
As we explained in our Alert addressing the 2016 NPRM, the 2016 NPRM intended to implement amendments made to the GCA back in 1998, which included a provision requiring applicants for a firearm dealer license to certify the availability of secure gun storage or safety devices at any place where firearms are sold under the license to non-licensees. ATF had previously implemented this provision by requiring a certification on ATF Form 7, Application for Federal Firearms License, Block 27. However, no change was made to the regulations at that time.
According to the public inspection document, ATF received only four comments to the 2016 NPRM, which ATF interpreted as acceptance by the "broad majority of the firearms industry" of the proposals made in the NPRM. ATF chose to reject all four public comments submitted and provides its rationale for rejecting them in the Final Rule.
The Final Rule will amend section 478.11 Meaning of terms to:
- Revise the definition of “Antique firearm”;
- Remove the words “the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge” in the definition of “Rifle” and add in their place “an explosive”;
- Add a definition for “Secure gun storage or safety device” in alphabetical order; and
- Remove the words “the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell” in the definition of “Shotgun” and add in their place “an explosive.”
The Final Rule will also amend existing section 478.73 Notice of revocation, suspension, or imposition of civil fine to authorize the Director to “issue a notice of revocation of a license, on ATF Form 4500, whenever the Director has reason to believe that a licensee fails to have secure gun storage or safety devices available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensees (except in any case in which a secure gun storage or safety device is temporarily unavailable because of theft, casualty loss, consumer sales, backorders from a manufacturer, or any other similar reason beyond the control of the licensee).”
And, finally, the Final Rule will add a new section 478.104 Secure gun storage or safety device, which will require any person who applies to be a licensed firearms dealer or firearms importer/manufacturer who will be engaged in business on the licensed premises as a dealer in the same type of firearms “must certify on ATF Form 7 (5310.12), Application for Federal Firearms License, that compatible secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place where firearms are sold under the license to non-licensed individuals.”
The requirements of the Final Rule will become effective on February 3, 2022, which is 30-days after the official publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register. So, for those licensees selling to non-licensed individuals, you have 30 days to make compatible secure gun storage or safety devices available at any place where firearms are sold under the license to non-licensed individuals. Stated differently, the secure gun storage or safety devices made available must be compatible with the firearms offered for sale by the licensee. ATF does stress in the Final Rule that it “does not require manufacturers or importers to use secure gun storage or safety devices on their inventory; rather, they need only make such storage or devices available.”
This updated guide replaces the 2010 version and is accessible on ATF's website
. The guide is designed to assist licensees in complying with the federal firearm laws and regulations and includes the following topics:
- ATF publications to educate FFLs and their customers in advancing public safety
- ATF inspections and outcomes
- Licensee requirements to make available secure gun storage or safety devices
- Step-by-step review of ATF Form 4473 including prohibited transfers
- Licensee compliance with background checks as required by the Brady Act
- Transfers of firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA)
- Firearms accountability
- Reporting thefts or losses
- Thefts/losses of in-transit firearms
- NFA firearms
- Private citizen theft reporting