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BATFE Proposes New “Lost or Stolen” Reporting Requirement for Federal Firearm Licensees

Friday, August 15, 2014

On August 12, 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published a notice proposing an amendment to current Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) regulations requiring Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to report firearms that are lost or stolen in transit.  Under current regulations, FFLs must report theft or loss of firearms within 48 hours of discovery.  However, these new regulations would require that the transferor/sender of a firearm now bear the responsibility for reporting the theft or loss of that firearm within 48 hours.

In 2000, the DOJ published a similar notice of several similar amendments to these same regulations with the comments received outlining various critical problems including failure to explain how these new burdens on gun dealers would effectively reduce gun crimes when regulations are already exist to document and investigate lost or stolen firearms in transit.  The DOJ chose to withdraw the previous proposals.

The objections to these revived amendments remain the same, but are now coupled with the fact that they are being proposed by the same agency that has acknowledged losing track of hundreds of weapons in sting operations as well as from their very own inventory.

To read the DOJ proposals, please click here.

In addition to the change in the overall regulation, the DOJ is also seeking comment on the following specific areas:

Additional reporting and record keeping requirements – whether the regulations should require FFL transferors to obtain a written or electronic confirmation of receipt from the common carrier, and whether this confirmation should be retained as part of an FFL’s required records.

ATF specifically requests input from industry members on the following questions:

How many shipments of firearms occur annually?

To what extent do FFLs already arrange for written or electronic confirmation from the common carrier or other shipper for such shipments?

How often do FFLs retain records of confirmation currently?

How might such requirements be developed so as to minimize any additional burden by meshing with the FFL’s regular business practices?

Comments will be accepted for a 90-day period ending on November 10, 2014. Comments may be submitted, identified by docket number ATF 40P, electronically at www.regulations.gov; via fax at (202) 648-9741; or via written submission to Brenda Raffath Friend, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20226, ATTN: ATF 40P.

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