The United States is famous for its legislation regulating gun carrying. Since the eighties, when the concealed carry was not allowed in many states, laws have evolved, and now you can carry a hidden firearm in all states (and carry it openly in some states). This leads to constant buying, selling, and transferring of firearms on the US territory.
There are only three American states that require all guns’ registration; another three ask for the procedure if you obtain a firearm of a certain type. So, getting a gun is not difficult; however, if you get it from an official dealer, you should create the ATF Form 4473 together.
This document accompanies all firearms transfers in the US if any official dealer participates in such a transfer as a merchant. If you buy a gun from a person or entity that has no dealer’s license, you can omit the form completion.
The template is issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or ATF). It consists of several blocks where merchants must describe the gun and its origin, and gun recipients must prove that they can legally own firearms by answering several questions. Besides, potential owners include their personal details in the form: from names to height and weight.
The template also requires indicating your ethnicity and race; nowadays, it is debatable, and the ATF receives many claims about these questions, as written on their website. However, for now, it is what it is (you will still see those questions in the form).
You can get the official template only by ordering it from the Bureau’s website, or calling this public authority, or using the Bureau electronic system. There are specific terms in which you should obtain templates as a dealer. They vary every year; you can consult with the ATF on that and check the current terms on their site. Also, the Bureau recommends ordering an estimated needed number of templates once in a certain period.
Recently, the Bureau has developed their electronic system to create and submit the form quickly, without any paperwork. Check the ATF official website to see the details.
Most likely, you will not meet any difficulties while creating this document. Both parties must participate in the form creation. The content is simple and describes the deal, its parties, and the transferred gun.
For your convenience and understanding, we have included a thorough guide below, explaining the process of the ATF Form 4473 completion from a start to an end. Even though you cannot use any other form except the one sent to you by the public authorities, you can use our form-building software to download the template and see how it looks like (so you are prepared to fill it out in the future).
If you need more information and clarification of some points, the form itself contains detailed instructions for each step provided by the Bureau, including the document’s purposes.
Read the Notices
The template offers a set of notices each signatory must read before the completion. As written there, you must get your template printed and fill it out in writing (not printing data using your laptop). There are exceptions to that rule: you can check the ATF’s publications and norms.
These notices also warn parties about the future check of their information. If the one who buys a gun cannot do so by law, penalties may follow (they are described in this section).
On the right-hand side, the parties may enter their transaction serial number (if there is any).
Complete the Second Block (If You Are a Merchant)
The second ATF Form 4473 block (Section A) should be filled out by a merchant. Initially, they must describe the gun they are passing. Enter its manufacturer (and importer, if there are any). Then, add the model and production year along with the unique serial number that every single gun has, type, and a caliber (or gauge).
Sometimes one transaction presumes the transfer of several guns; in this chart, you can add three items at a time. Regardless of the number, in the next line, you must indicate how many items are being transferred. Use letters and words to describe the quantity, not the actual numbers.
Some of the transferred firearms can be subject to pawn redemption. If this is your case, check the relevant box with a cross or tick and write the item’s number in the blank line below. If the deal facilitates the private party transfer, also mark the box below.
Fill Out the Third Block (If You Are a Buyer)
The one who gets the firearm(s) must complete the form’s next part (Section B). It is broader than the previous one because, besides the party’s personal details, there is a set of questions to answer, proving that the buyer is able to carry a gun with them, particularly.
Start with inserting your full name (see the instructions about initials and middle names in the field), the state where you currently reside, address (including city, county or parish, and state). Your address cannot be a post office box; it should be a real place.
Indicate your place of birth: it can be either a city and state in the United States or a foreign country (in this case, no city is needed). Then, write your height in feet and inches and weight in lbs. Check the relevant box for the sex (the form suggests three options: female, male, or non-binary). Then, insert your birthdate (a month, then a day, and a year).
In the following field, you can add your SSN (or social security number). It is optional for this document; however, inserting it will help identify you correctly if it is needed someday. If you have UPIN or AMD ID (these acronyms stand for the Unique Personal Identification Number or the Appeals Management Database Identification, respectively), add it to the next line.
Choose your ethnicity: you should indicate whether you are Hispanic or Latino or not. Then, mark your race among the proposed options (Asian, Native Hawaiian, Black or African American, White, and so on). Check the box that describes your citizenship (whether you are a citizen of the US or not). If not, specify the country (or countries). Aliens can write their personal ID numbers in the line below.
The set of questions we have promised above is coming. They are all “yes or no” questions. You should reply honestly to all of them; anyway, your responses will be checked. The questions are about mental health issues, drug-using, criminal actions, illegal living in the US, and so on. All of them are asked so the public authorities can recognize potentially dangerous gun owners.
The buyer then must sign the document, verifying that all data they have provided is true and all responses are honest. Add your name, signature, and the date when the transfer occurs.
Fill Out the Next Block (the Transferor Again)
At the time of the transfer or before it, the transferor (or the one who sells the gun) must complete the next form’s part (Section C).
Mark the gun’s category among the written options. If you give the firearm on a show or professional event, define where the deal occurs in the field nearby. Insert the buyer’s ID card data (it must be a photo ID: either your driving license, or actual ID card, or military ID, and so on): an authority that has issued the card, the card’s number, and when the card will expire (if applicable).
If the ID card lacks the address or full name, you can add supplemental documents in the lines below. If the buyer is an alien, it requires additional documents. Include them in the designated line.
The transferee could have applied for the governmental check before; if so, write their NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) number and associated info required by the form. If no NICS check is needed and the transferee has a legal permit or has gone through another check, you should also include information about this in the template.
Sign under the Section D (the Transferee)
The following part requires the transferee’s signature if they have completed Section B sometime before the actual transfer. They must add the current date here as well.
Complete the Last Section (the Merchant)
Leave the first field here for the licensee. On the right-hand side, write the merchant’s address, corporate name, and the Federal Firearm License Number.
Then, the transferor should write their name, sign, and date the form. The one who signs must be the one who has checked the transferee’s ID and ensured that the card really belongs to the new owner of the gun.
As you can see, the document is rather easy to create, and you are all set with our instructions. However, if you have any questions, reach the ATF for clarification.
When the form is ready, you can submit it to the Bureau or wait until you have a set of completed templates and then send them all together.