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View Full Version : How would you like an Online 4473 form?


hawk1
11-20-2008, 8:32 AM
Coming to a FFL near you...:eek: I hope this flops...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/19/AR2008111903726.html?hpid=moreheadlines

ATF Introduces Online Firearms Form To Ease Transactions, Prevent Errors

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008; Page B03

Every year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives finds thousands of licensed gun dealers in violation of federal law, often for very minor problems.

The agency, which conducts about 11,000 inspections a year, says it has come up with a way to eliminate many of those violations before they happen.

Instead of filling out the required ATF paperwork by hand, gun buyers and dealers will now be able to complete what officials say is a fail-safe electronic version of the document, known as Form 4473.

Speaking at a gun shop in Upper Marlboro where he announced the change, acting ATF Director Michael J. Sullivan said the new option would cut down on illegible answers and incomplete answers -- the most common causes of violations.

Such simple human errors account for about 60 percent of the violations cited annually by the ATF, and finding a way to reduce them has been a priority for the agency and the industry, Sullivan said.

Maryland has 554 licensed gun dealers and Virginia has 1,507, according to the ATF. There is one licensed gun dealer in the District, and at least one other business is applying for a license.
Officials emphasized that the use of the new software is voluntary and that the data entered on the form are not being used to create any sort of government database of gun ownership.

But Sullivan said he hopes that dealers and their customers will embrace the new electronic form, which dealers can download from the ATF's Web site at http://www.atf.gov/applications/e4473/.

"I think many people will see it as a very useful tool," Sullivan said.

Lawrence G. Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association, applauded the ATF, saying the new form would reduce the number of innocent mistakes made in completing the transaction forms.

Carl William Roy II, owner of Maryland Small Arms Range, where the new form was unveiled yesterday by ATF, said he has been pushing officials for years to change the way the document can be completed.

When the ATF is conducting an inspection or the police are looking for information about a gun, handwritten records can he hard to decipher, especially years later, Roy said.

"It can be a mess," he said.

JDay
11-20-2008, 8:42 AM
Funny how they say it wont be used to build a database, not hard to do once the data is already entered into a database.

nobs11
11-20-2008, 8:43 AM
What is wrong with online forms?

Most organizations are moving to online versions of forms because it saves money, administrative time, catches errors and is easier to archive.

I know in the gun community there is resistance to anything that is not in line with "if gramps and our forefathers did it this way it is good enough for me" but come on. If it is about building a database, they can always do that with the information they have. Easy on the paranoia there. If they want to come door to door to take away your guns, all the information is already in the FFL system.

mattmcg
11-20-2008, 8:51 AM
While I'm not excited about any changes made by the ATF as a defunct organization, I can support any methodologies that shift the blame for errors from our FFLs to the online entity responsible for maintaining validation of entries. In this case, if an error is made, at least the ATF would be responsible!

That said, maintaining a database can be a problem but if they are audited to stick to the letter of the law, a programmed flush of any documents that require deletion would be a better fail-safe for compliance.

This is probably a 6 one way, half-dozen the other situation.

ke6guj
11-20-2008, 9:35 AM
I've heard talk about this. It all depends on how it is implemented. If it is merely a fillable PDF that you print once done, it should be pretty much "automatically databased" proof. If it is a program that you answer questions in and it takes those question and then makes a 4473 that it prints out, that makes that automatic database a little easier.

A couple examples.

Fillable PDF, fairly safe.
http://www.atf.gov/forms/pdfs/f53204.pdf

Fillable form that populates a PDF, less safe.
http://test.titleii.com/form4.html

Both solutions give you the same result when done.

hawk1
11-20-2008, 9:37 AM
What is wrong with online forms?

Most organizations are moving to online versions of forms because it saves money, administrative time, catches errors and is easier to archive.

I know in the gun community there is resistance to anything that is not in line with "if gramps and our forefathers did it this way it is good enough for me" but come on. If it is about building a database, they can always do that with the information they have. Easy on the paranoia there. If they want to come door to door to take away your guns, all the information is already in the FFL system.

Care to tell us how they can build a database now sice it's so simple? What is this "FFL system" you speak of? Is it the 4473's that are at all of the gunstores now and not in their hands?
Lets compare, how many millions of 4472 forms would have to be mailed in to them and each hand entered into a system, up next to an "easy to use" online form to start their database now for in the future...

bwiese
11-20-2008, 9:38 AM
The design, workflow and user interface for this software may well have been stolen by BATF. BATF officials kept interviewing one company's staff and requesting demos of their automated 4473 system - and then refused to buy and demo'd their own internally-developed version.

Outlaw Josey Wales
11-20-2008, 10:19 AM
The design, workflow and user interface for this software may well have been stolen by BATF. BATF officials kept interviewing one company's staff and requesting demos of their automated 4473 system - and then refused to buy and demo'd their own internally-developed version.


http://www.gunowners.org/a111708.htm

leelaw
11-20-2008, 10:24 AM
If it can be run on a computer not hooked up to the internet, then be printed and signed, I'm all for it!

There are so many times when I needed to correct customers in the past; "no, write out Y-E-S and N-O", "write out the entire county name", "write out the entire state name", "rewrite this, it's not legible", etc..

This would cut down on a bunch of those problems, plus could flag the employee if a field is missed or filled incorrectly.

tunder
11-20-2008, 10:26 AM
It's an offline form filler that won't let simple errors be entered.

Fill out form, print, then sign it.

oddball
11-20-2008, 10:44 AM
Don't like it one bit.

I would rather have the 4473s spread across the nation than potentially available in one fell swoop. Record keeping today, Govt. Database tomorrow.

halifax
11-20-2008, 10:55 AM
Does all the initial information need to be entered at the time of the sale?

If so, no more adding longguns during the 10-day wait; no more adding Alternate Documentaion (line 20b); no more getting the customer out the door in a timely manner by filling in the dealer part later before closing; etc.

Just some thoughts.

nobs11
11-20-2008, 11:43 AM
Care to tell us how they can build a database now sice it's so simple? What is this "FFL system" you speak of? Is it the 4473's that are at all of the gunstores now and not in their hands?
Lets compare, how many millions of 4472 forms would have to be mailed in to them and each hand entered into a system, up next to an "easy to use" online form to start their database now for in the future...

The online form does not submit information online. Understand technology, then argue your case.

hawk1
11-20-2008, 12:17 PM
The online form does not submit information online. Understand technology, then argue your case.


Really? Care to tell me where in the article it says that?

I see that it say's "data entered on the form are not being used to create any sort of government database of gun ownership."

What it doesn't say is if it is just a .pdf or an online submission. I have no problem with an offline .pdf being used.

I see you never answered the question I posed.
No reason for you to reply them anyways, I get your point.

nick
11-20-2008, 3:59 PM
Officials emphasized that the use of the new software is voluntary and that the data entered on the form are not being used to create any sort of government database of gun ownership.

Sure, and CA DOJ destroys the records when it should. It's funny how a lot of people keep assuming such organizations, and the government in general, are in the least trustworthy.

CHS
11-20-2008, 5:04 PM
It's an offline form filler that won't let simple errors be entered.

Fill out form, print, then sign it.

If this is what they are proposing, and it is completely offline, then frankly I have no problems with it. Especially if it makes filling out the paperwork easier and faster.

halifax
11-20-2008, 5:38 PM
OK, so I downloaded it to take a look. The manual (http://www.atf.gov/applications/e4473/docs/eform-4473-user-manual.pdf) has a Export Database function but that appears to be only for saving the data in a local delimited file format.

ke6guj
11-20-2008, 5:47 PM
A couple guys on ARFCOM have DL'ed and played with it while monitoring it with packet sniffers. No outbound traffic was noted, but it could be set to store the data and do random dumps to appear benign .

halifax
11-20-2008, 6:20 PM
I just ran a bogus session to check it out. The only issue I found was with printing. Too much for my printer to fit on one page. One page runs on to the top of the next and so on. "page 1 of 6" gets printed on the top of page 2, etc.

Don't think I like it.