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Proper ID for a Form 4473

Oct 04

Form 4473

Whether you’re doing gun sales or just transfers as a service for customers, you’ll need to know how to fill out a Form 4473 properly. You’ll also need to understand what constitutes proper identification for section 20a on the second page of the Form. The Form asks for a valid “identification document” prior to the transfer of the firearm. By law, an “identification document” must have a valid physical address along with a photo, name, and date of birth of the individual.

In some areas of the country, residences are very remote. The driver’s license of the individual, in those cases, may have a post office box listed for the address instead of a physical address. If this is the case, the purchaser (person filling out his or her information on the Form 4473) may need to use a combination of documents to prove residence. The first document could be a driver’s license which has all of the correct information (except for the address) and then a tax document or vehicle registration which has the physical address listed on it. Whichever combination of documents the individual chooses to use, each document needs to have been issued by a government entity.

Unfortunately, if the purchaser is not able to provide all of the correct documentation, you as a dealer cannot legally transfer the gun to that person. In that event, you might suggest that your customer update his or her driver’s license to reflect their physical address rather than a post office box.

Another instance in which you’ll need to have your purchaser prove residency is in the event of a green card holder. When it comes to filling out the Form 4473, the form for an over the counter gun purchase, they’ll need to put the country of their citizenship in the line provided and check the “other” box. The purchaser will also need to fill in their US-issued alien number or admission number in box number 15.  Finally, the person will need to prove his or her residency by presenting documents which show he or she has been at the same address for the past 90 days. This can be shown via a utility bill, internet bill, or something similar. Additionally, a person who is a permanent resident would answer “no” to question 11.l on the Form 4473. The definition of a nonimmigrant alien does not include permanent resident aliens or nonimmigrant aliens admitted to the US pursuant to either the Visa Waiver Program or to regulations otherwise exempting them from visa requirements.

The third situation with residence you may experience is a nonimmigrant alien. Barring the exceptions listed above, a nonimmigrant alien might be someone who is a tourist, student, business travelers or temporary workers. These people plan to be in the US only for a fixed period of time. Nonimmigrant aliens may purchase or possess a firearm only under certain conditions, which area as follows: : (1) is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued by the Federal Government, a State, or local government, or an Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is valid and unexpired; (2) was admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes; (3) has received a waiver from the prohibition from the Attorney General of the United States; (4) is an official representative of a foreign government who is accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; (5) is en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited; (6) is an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or (7) is a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business. Even if the nonimmigrant alien meets on of those listed requirements, he or she must also be able to meet the ATF’s State of residence requirements. The person must have intentions to make a home in that state and be able to show proof of residence. The full list of State of residence requirements can be found in ATF ruling 2010-6.

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  1. Hi, I have an ATF inspection coming up because I moved and they are checking out my new residence. In my A&D book I transferred 24 hand guns, 10 post 1899, the rest antiques. I entered all 24 in my A&D book on the Acquisition side only. I need to fill out the Disposition side quickly- my appt. is this Tues. I transferred them all to Rock Island Auctions for sale and I have their FFL form. Do I fill in the Disposition side for each gun line-by-line with RIA info? Do I need to fill out one 4473 form?
    many thanks Jim

    • Only document the FFL information, no 4473 when transferring to another FFL holder or government agency.

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