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hoffmang
12-29-2008, 12:23 AM
There is a very interesting little snippet of Federal Regulation:


478.129 Record Retention (e) Records of dealers and collectors under the Act. The records prepared by licensed dealers and licensed collectors under the Act of the sale or other disposition of firearms and the corresponding record of receipt of such firearms shall be retained through December 15, 1988, after which records of transactions over 20 years of age may be discarded.

If I read that correctly, every purchase log and 4473 that is 20 years and a day old can be shredded/burned/etc.

Do any FFLs destroy 20+ year old 4473's and A/D records and if not is there a reason?

I'd be very happy to find out that some of my purchases in the distant past are about to become paperless.

-Gene

grammaton76
12-29-2008, 1:16 AM
I would check to ensure that "discarded" doesn't mean that you may relinquish it to BATF. But it would be a very long stretch to imagine that.

In practice, I suspect that the FFLs do retain records past 20 years "just in case".

tetris
12-29-2008, 7:32 AM
My guess is that they are not responsible for retaining records over 20 years in order to limit the liability from storing huge quantities of records and protecting them from flood and fire. I doubt any deal would willfully destroy records.

_Odin_
12-29-2008, 7:53 AM
20 years seems like an insane amount of time for a record retention requirement. :eek:

bwiese
12-29-2008, 8:37 AM
What will be interesting, given the ATF's War On FFLs, is:


old-line gunshops that get popped for a missing 4473: were some of these missing records
triggering administrative issues coming in after this 20 year window? I can see BATF field
inspectors not knowing this.



if an FFL is getting grief for a missing 4473 that's almost 20 yrs old, and is in the midst of
administrative drama regarding such matters, will its crossing the 20yr mark eliminate the
problem?

Telperion
12-29-2008, 8:52 AM
IIRC, records can only be destroyed after 20 years if the FFL holder remains the same during that period. If the FFL sells his business, all the 4473s get shipped to the ATF warehouse, and the clock starts again for the new FFL holder. How many gun shops remain in business under the same management for 20+ years? I figure all of my 4473s will end up in the ATF's hands, someday.

bwiese
12-29-2008, 8:56 AM
IIRC, records can only be destroyed after 20 years if the FFL holder remains the same during that period. If the FFL sells his business, all the 4473s get shipped to the ATF warehouse, and the clock starts again for the new FFL holder. How many gun shops remain in business under the same management for 20+ years? I figure all of my 4473s will end up in the ATF's hands, someday.

In the past, yes many family gunshops were around for over 20 years under same FFL.

That was the problem - the guy who started the shop in the 60s in a relaxed regulatory environment became "Gramps' in the 1990s onward, where dotted i's and crossed T's became significant.

PIRATE14
12-29-2008, 9:00 AM
You won't find any.....okay maybe a few that go past 20 years....

The ATF requires new licensing all the time for minor changes in the business.....they used to let things slide but not anymore....

As for 20yrs of 4473s.....right now, I can barely store 6 mos in one spot....:43:

redcliff
12-29-2008, 10:05 AM
I know that Jone's Fort up in Redding destroys records after 20years. My good friend Pat Jones tells me each January how many of my old 4473's he's shredded :)

rayra
12-29-2008, 10:33 AM
This isn't a new discovery, or shouldn't be, anyway.
Yes, FFLs are legally entitled to destroy 4473s beyond the 20yr mark.
FFLs going out of business in a shorter time frame have all their records surrendered to the ATF, who pretends to store them unmolested / unintegrated.
But it's mostly moot as very few FFLs are open for more than 20yrs. And I'd bet any analysis of FFL holders would show that the newer dealers stay in business for an average shorter period of time than the older. I mean the duration of their business from opening to shutdown, via ATF mandate or bankruptcy.
And IIRC, the 20yr limit is attached to the FFL holder / licensee, not the business addy, so even if a firearms business has been at a location for a huge number of years, if it hasn't been under the same licensee for more than 20, then nothing has 'vanished'.

And that all presupposes your records weren't already collected during one of the anecdotal accounts of ATF inspectors making wholesale copies / scans of records during their supposed 'compliance' checks.


eta - and/but it would be a great idea / thumb in the eye to the ATF to stage a campaign to contact all the elder FFLs and apprise them of and encourage them to take advantage of this regulation.

Meplat
12-29-2008, 2:57 PM
I was an FFL from the 70s to the early 90s. I was a "basement bandit" who only bought for my buddies and myself. When I could see the hand wrighting on the Clinton wall I boxed up my records and sent them to........Texas. At the time the rumor was that the ATF had a rat infested leaky warehouse in Texas where they were storing records from defunct dealers. Hope of ever retrieving anything from this Charley Foxtrot was non-existent. I can't confirm it but I dearly hope it is true.:p

bwiese
12-29-2008, 3:08 PM
I was an FFL from the 70s to the early 90s. I was a "basement bandit" who only bought for my buddies and myself. When I could see the hand wrighting on the Clinton wall I boxed up my records and sent them to........Texas. At the time the rumor was that the ATF had a rat infested leaky warehouse in Texas where they were storing records from defunct dealers. Hope of ever retrieving anything from this Charley Foxtrot was non-existent. I can't confirm it but I dearly hope it is true.:p

Hmm, interesting. In the 1980s it was Landover, Maryland.

bohoki
12-29-2008, 3:29 PM
yea they should all store them in public storage in new orleans

the main bugaboo is the requirement for dealers to send in their records when they go out of business

i liked when the forms were yellow it made it harder to scan them they really should make the forms deep red to discourage copying or faxing