The New Form 4473 is Here: What’s Changed? - Firearms Compliance Software - FastBound (2024)

  • Jarad
  • January 9, 2017

The New Form 4473 is Here: What’s Changed? - Firearms Compliance Software - FastBound (1)

The ATF has made significant changes to Form 4473. FFL holders are expected to use the new form starting January 16, 2017.

You’ve seen Form 4473 a thousand times. It’s the most common piece of paperwork you deal with every day. You and your staff could probably recite the whole form, field by field, without even looking.

Well, that’s all about to change.

The New Form 4473 is Here: What’s Changed? - Firearms Compliance Software - FastBound (2)

As of January 16, 2017, all federal firearms license holders are required to use the new Form 4473. The new form is filled with significant changes. The previous version of the form (last updated in April 2012) will become obsolete.

The new ATF Form 4473 has changed significantly. The old form is now obsolete.

The new changes are mostly for clarification and accuracy. No policy changes are reflected, except one: the new definition for the term “fugitive from justice.”

As you know, federal law disqualifies fugitives from purchasing firearms. But the ATF and FBI disagree over who is qualified as a fugitive. The FBI believes that between 1999 and 2015, more than 2,000 firearms were sold that should have been denied. The ATF doesn’t agree with that assessment and won’t attempt to recover those guns.

The ATF asserts that a person should not be considered a fugitive if they try to purchase a firearm in the same state as their warrant. But the FBI routinely denies transactions when purchases are in the same state as the warrant.

Form 4473 Changes

The New Form 4473 is Here: What’s Changed? - Firearms Compliance Software - FastBound (3)


Here’s what’s new. This comes directly from the ATF.


  • Form Title: Removed “Part I-Over-the-Counter.”
  • Warning statement clarifies that the form is to be completed at the licensed premises unless the transaction qualifies under 18 U.S.C. 922(c).

Section A

  • Question 1: Clarifies that transferees/buyers with a legal name that contains an initial only should record “IO” after the initial. Also clarifies that transferee’s/buyer’s with a legal name that contains a suffix (e.g., Jr, Sr, II, III) should record the information with their last name.
  • Question 2: Incorporated State of Residence information from former Question 13.
  • Question 6: Changed “Gender” to “Sex”.
  • Questions 10.a. and 10.b: Clarifies that both questions must be answered.
  • Question 11.e: Added a warning statement regarding marijuana that has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where the transferee/buyer resides.
  • Questions 12.a – 12.d and 13: (Formerly Questions 11.k – 12 and 14 – 15): Regrouped and revised the citizenship and immigration status questions to make them easier to follow.
  • Transferee/Buyer Certification: Clarifies that the repetitive purchase of firearms for the purpose of resale for livelihood and profit without a Federal firearms license is violation of Federal law.

Section B

  • Question 18.b (Formerly Question 20.b): Changed to “Supplemental Government Issued Documentation (if identification document does not show current residence address)”
  • Question 18.c (Formerly Question 20.c): Changed to “Exception to the Nonimmigrant Alien Prohibition: If the transferee/buyer answered “YES” to 12.d.2., the transferor/seller must record the type of documentation showing the exception to the prohibition and attach a copy to this ATF Form 4473.
  • Question 19.d (Formerly Question 21.d): Added a checkbox for “Overturned” transactions.
  • Question 19.g (Added to Form): “Name of FFL Employee Completing NICS check. (Optional)”.
  • Question 20 (Formerly Question 22): Clarifies that a NICS check is not required if the individual receiving the firearm was subject to a background check as part of the NFA approval process.

Section D

  • Header: Added instruction that the firearm information must be recorded even if the firearm(s) is/are not transferred.
  • Question 24 (Formerly Question 26): Changed to “Manufacturer and Importer (If any)” to reflect the language in 27 CFR 478.125(e).
  • Question 24 – 28 (Formerly Question 26 – 30): Removed line 5 and added line numbers.
  • Multiple Sale: Added “REMINDER – By the Close of Business” to the beginning of the sentence for clarification.
  • Question 29 (Formerly Question 30.a): Clarifies that “zero” should be recorded if no firearm(s) is/are transferred.
  • Question 30 (Formerly Question 30.b): Changed to a check box and added an instruction to record the line number(s) involved in the pawn redemption.
  • Question 32 (Added to Form): A check box to indicate that the transaction is to facilitate a private party transfer.
  • Question 33 (Formerly Questions 31 – 32): Combined the two questions.
  • Transferor Certification: Revised language to certify that the form was completed at the licensed business premises unless the transaction meets the requirements of 18 U.S.C. 922(c) and the transaction complies with State or local laws that are applicable to the firearms business. Clarifies that unless the transaction has been denied or cancelled the transferor/seller certifies that it is his/her belief that it is not unlawful for him/her to sell, deliver, transport, or otherwise dispose of the firearm(s) listed on this form to the person identified in Section A.

Notices, Instructions, and Definitions

  • Purpose of the Form – Paragraph 2 (Added to Form): “Generally, ATF Form 4473 must be completed at the licensed business premises when a firearm is transferred over-the-counter. Federal law, 18 U.S.C. 922(c), allows a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer to sell a firearm to a non-licensee who does not appear in person at the licensee’s business premises only if the transferee/buyer meets certain requirements. These requirements are set forth in section 922(c), 27 CFR 478.96(b), and ATF Procedure 2013-2.”
  • Purpose of the Form – Over-the-Counter Transaction (Formerly Paragraph 4): Removed from form.
  • Purpose of the Form – State Laws and Published Ordinances (Formerly Paragraph 5): Removed from form. Information incorporated into Paragraph 1.
  • Purpose of the Form – Exportation of Firearms: Added “Warning: Any person who exports a firearm without proper authorization may be fined not more than $1,000,000 and/or imprisoned for not more than 20 years. See 22 U.S.C. 2778(c).”
  • Instruction for Section A: Formerly instructions for Question 1.
  • Instruction for Question 2: Clarifies that a rural route (RR) may be accepted provided the transferee/buyer lives in a State or locality where it is considered a legal residence address. Also clarifies that the State of residence for members of the Armed Forces on active duty is the State in which his or her permanent duty station is located.
  • Instruction for Question 9: Clarifies that the licensee should provide the UPIN when conducting background checks through the NICS or the State POC.
  • Instruction for Questions 10.a. and 10.b: Added to form.
  • Instruction for Question 11.a: Clarifies when a gift is considered “bona fide” and provides examples.
  • Instruction for Questions 11.b – 12 (Formerly Questions 11.b – 11.l): Added a new paragraph between the 1st and 2nd paragraphs. “A member of the Armed Forces must answer “yes” to 11.b. or 11.c. if charged with an offense that was either referred to a General Court Martial, or at which the member was convicted. Discharged “under dishonorable conditions” means separation from the Armed Forces resulting from a dishonorable discharge or dismissal adjudged by a General Court-Martial. The term does not include any other discharge or separation from the Armed Forces.”
  • Instruction for Question 11.b: Removed from form. Information incorporated into Questions 11.b – 12.
  • EXCEPTION (Formerly EXCEPTION to 11.c. and 11.i.): Clarifies that persons subject to this exception, or who receive relief from disabilities under 18 U.S.C. 925(c), should answer “no” to the applicable question.
  • Instruction for Question 11.d: Added to form. Provides the definition of “Fugitive from Justice”.
  • EXCEPTION (Formerly EXCEPTION to 11.f): Clarifies when a person is not prohibited under the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. Language revised and additional information added.
  • Instruction for Question 12.d (Formerly Question 11.l.): Clarifies which aliens must answer “yes” to this question and provide the additional documentation required under Question 18.c.
  • Former Instruction for Question 11.l: Paragraph 2 removed from form. Information incorporated into Question 12.a.-12.d.
  • Former Instruction for Question 12: Removed from form. Information from Paragraph 1 incorporated into Question 18.c. Information from paragraph 2 incorporated into Questions 12.a.-12.d.
  • Former Instruction for Question 13: Removed from form. Information incorporated into Question 2.
  • New Instruction for Question 13: Added to form. Clarifies where U.S.-issued alien and admission numbers may be found. Also clarifies that U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals should leave the question left blank.
  • Instruction for Question 16 (Formerly Question 18): Clarifies that frames and receivers cannot be transferred to anyone who is not a resident of the State where the transfer is to take place.
  • Instruction for Question 17. (Formerly Question 19.): Added the definition of “Qualifying Gun Show or Event”.
  • Instruction for Question 18a (Formerly Question 20.a): Clarifies that licensees may accept electronic PCS orders to establish residency.
  • Instruction for Question 18.b. (Formerly Question 20.b.): Clarifies that a valid electronic document from a government website may be used as supplemental documentation provided it contains the transferee’s/buyer’s name and current residence address.
  • Instruction for Question 18c. (Formerly Question 20.c.): Clarifies the exceptions to the nonimmigrant alien prohibition and acceptable documentation.
  • Instruction for Question 19 (Formerly Question(s) 21, 22, 23): Clarifies for purposes of this form, contacts to NICS include State agencies designated as points-of-contact (“or POCs”) to conduct NICS checks for the Federal Government. Provides instructions for completing the form when a transaction was denied and later overturned.
  • Instruction for Questions 20 and 21 (Formerly EXCEPTIONS TO NICS CHECK): Clarifies that the exception includes transfers of National Firearms Act firearms to an individual who has undergone a background check during the NFA approval process. Also clarifies that a NICS check must be conducted if an NFA firearm has been approved for transfer to a trust, or to a legal entity such as a corporation, and no background check was conducted as part of the NFA approval process on the individual who will receive the firearm. Additionally clarifies that individuals who have undergone a background check during the NFA application process are listed on the approved NFA transfer form.
  • Instruction for Question(s) 24-28 (Formerly Question(s) 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30): Clarifies that these blocks must be completed with the firearms information. Also clarifies that all firearms manufactured after 1968 by Federal firearms licensees should be marked with a serial number.
  • Former Instruction for Question 32: Removed from form.
  • New Instruction for Question 32: Added to form. Provides instructions for completing the form when the transaction is to facilitate a private party transfer.
  • Former Instructions for Questions 33-35: Removed from form.

Where to Get the New Form 4473

By now you should have already received a shipment of 50 new forms from the ATF. Obviously you’ll have to make your own copies. If you haven’t received the forms, you can get them in two ways.

Keep in mind that you need to keep all six pages of each form in your private records. Failing to use the new form for purchases after January 16, 2017 is considered a violation.

If you have any questions, it’s best to contact your local ATF office.

The New Form 4473 is Here: What’s Changed? - Firearms Compliance Software - FastBound (4) Article reviewed 01/09/2017

Jarad Haselton

Chief Operating Officer at FastBound

About the Reviewer:

Jarad combines his passion for firearms with a deep understanding of the industry's compliance needs to drive the company's vision and operations. As an avid firearms enthusiast, former FFL dealer & competitive shooter, Jarad co-founded FastBound in 2010, identifying a critical gap in compliance solutions within the firearms industry. His experience and insights into the challenges faced by FFLs have been pivotal in shaping FastBound's strategic direction. Leveraging the expertise of subject matter experts, attorneys, and technology professionals, Jarad has been instrumental in developing innovative features, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of compliance and technology solutions. Under his guidance, FastBound has built unparalleled compliance and support teams, making it a trusted partner for businesses navigating the complex regulatory landscape of the firearms industry. Jarad's leadership and vision continue to serve as the north star for FastBound, driving its mission to deliver comprehensive, user-friendly solutions that address the specific needs of its clients.

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