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Sample FFL

As part of President Obama’s push for tighter restrictions on gun owners and dealers, the ATF has issued their final ruling on requiring gun dealers to report guns that have been lost or stolen in transit. Previously FFLs were able to ship firearms, mark them as being out of their inventory, and forget about it once they had their cash in hand. Now the onus is on the shipping dealer to track that package and ensure that it reaches the intended destination. Naturally the NSSF has taken issue with this, and the rule (as well as their opposition) was explained in an email blast yesterday . . .

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has published the final lost and stolen in transit rule in the Federal Register. NSSF has actively opposed the rule since a version was first published in 2000. The rule becomes effective 30 days from today, on Feb. 11. Apart from ATF’s lack of statutory authority to impose the rule, the major problem with this rule is that it requires FFLs to report as lost or stolen in transit firearms that have already left their inventory. Once firearms have been sold FOB, shipped and recorded as a disposition, this rule essentially requires that they still be considered part of the shipping FFL’s inventory for purposes of timely reporting to ATF in the exceeding rare case when they are lost or stolen while in transit. Rather than putting the onus on the receiving FFL, who would best know whether the firearms they paid for and are expecting have arrived, and continuing the effective long-standing voluntary reporting program, ATF chose to publish the final rule.

In short, it’s now the duty of the shipping FFL to ensure that the receiving FFL has obtained the firearm. Why is that a problem? Here’s one scenario that happened to me.

I have an FFL — the 03 “Collector of Curios and Relics” license. Under that authority I can have firearms shipped to my address provided they meet the license’s requirements (mainly old guns). One way I used this license is to ship my grandfather’s old WWII M1 Carbine from my ancestral home in New York to my residence in the free state of Texas. I did everything right: shipped it via ground, required a signature on delivery, and so forth. Nevertheless the delivery guy decided to leave it on my porch, listing the package as “delivered.”

If I had been a normal FFL shipping to another FFL, I might never have realized where the package had been left. All I would have been able to see online through the shipper’s tracking system is that the package had been successfully delivered. Under the old rules, if the package had been pilfered I wouldn’t have been on the hook for reporting it as stolen — that would be duty of the receiver. Now, under the new rules, I’m responsible for ensuring that the package made it all the way into the bound book of the buyer and reporting (in a timely manner) if that doesn’t happen.

That means a lot more work now for shipping FFLs. Not only do I need to check the shipper’s tracking site to ensure the package made it, but they also need to ensure that the buyer actually has it in hand. And if I don’t? That’s a crime.

The new requirement doesn’t really do much to improve gun safety. The number of guns lost in transit this way is minuscule. What it actually does is create a lot more busy work for all FFLs involved in the process — not only the shipping FFL for tracking and confirming guns made it to their destination, but also for receiving FFLs fielding calls from worried shippers wanting to confirm that their inventory is correct. Busy work, designed to soak up manpower from gun dealers, with no real benefit.

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  1. Agreed. I buy excess property, mainly shipping cases and medical supplies, from the Department of Defense (DoD) for a non profit organization. Everything is pennies on the dollar in resale value. Many the items are in boxes the size of a small coffee table. UPS losses about 1 in approximately 75 shipments, which is why I insure for the retail value, since the time I use to follow up on lost shipments is excessive.

    UPS settles whistleblower lawsuit over alleged falsified records

    Good luck FFLs….

  2. I also have an 03 FFL. When I ship anything — a gun, a book, a birthday present — I check the UPS website for detailed transit and delivery information. Once the website shows that the goods have been delivered, I call the recipient for confirmation, just to be sure. Easy-peasy. Case closed.

    But what if I was an 01 FFL and shipping hundreds or even thousands of guns every year? The same level of tracking and follow-up might be impossible and would certainly be cost prohibitive. Which, I guess, is the whole point of this new rule.

  3. Busy work, designed to soak up manpower is a hallmark of progressive strategy. You don’t have to make something illegal, you just have to make it such a pain in the ass that the majority of people won’t bother doing it.

  4. So if I’m remembering freight terms correctly from my (long gone) days as a purchasing agent, everything firearm that every FFL ships is now considered FOB Destination.

    This is so wrong it makes my brain twist.

  5. So should a return receipt (or register mail type shipping) be included so shipper FFL has recorded prof that a shipment arrived at it destination? And if a shipping FFL is responcible, does that mean it stays Recorded in the Bound book until such time as knows it was received at destination FFL?

  6. “Nevertheless the delivery guy decided to leave it on my porch, listing the package as “delivered.””

    I asked a delivery driver for ‘Drop-Kick Express’, aka, ‘UPS’ about this once.

    She implied it depends on the neighborhood. I’ll take a guess that you live in an upper-income area, maybe in an apartment complex where thefts aren’t a problem.

    At least, that’s they way understood the UPS driver…

    • “Driver Release” dropping at the door, years ago at least was in decent low risk neighborhoods (houses).
      Usually apartments and condos only if private (secluded) entrances. If all doors were in a common exposed sidewalk (or hallway) driver would not leave parcel without handing it to a person.

      Subject to “SIGNATURE REQUIRED” on parcel.

    • My neighborhood is not all that great, and a million kids/teenagers walk right in front of my house, with full view of anywhere they would leave packages, every school day, and yet the UPS and FedEx guys ALWAYS opt to skip the signature if they won’t lose their jobs over it. They are too pressed for time, so they cut every possible corner they can. That is one huge advantage of USPS around here; they have easy enough routes that they can take the time to do things the right way when it is needed.

  7. On thing I don’t understand on this:

    Guns shipped from a distributor to a brick-and-mortar FFL *usually* use shippers like the USPS or UPS.

    Are not thefts from the US mail investigated by the The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)? Those guys have a reputation on dealing with mail theft.

    Were I UPS, I’d sure investigate thefts, they must a version of the USPS inspectors.

    Hell, UPS is heavily computerized, they know where and when each package arrives at their sorting facilities, and the time.

    • Hell, they know where the driver is at….Too!
      They even have how long it should be to “take a dump’, start the truck, grab and run the packages etc etc..
      They have a department that creates time criteria for every function, task and more of an employees day , job, or activities.

  8. The entire point is to make life miserable for the selling FFL. Lose one, fail to report, ffl pulled, jail time. Next question.

  9. Of course rules like this would not prevent crime or make it less likely that a firearm is lost by a shipper. They would not increase anyone’s safety in any way.

    Because they’re not designed to.

    Instead, they are designed to harass people in the business of buying, selling and acquiring firearms because “Guns are bad”.

    That’s right. We are ruled today by South Park cartoon characters!

  10. Busy work, designed to soak up manpower from gun dealers, with no real benefit.

    In the immortal words, “That is a FEATURE, not a bug.”

  11. Where was all this concern when the fast n furious guns were supposedly “missing”??? Tyrant scoundrel d-bags are not held to the same standards l reckon.

  12. Most guns “lost” by UPS/FedEx are not lost, they are stolen by employees. That’s the reason UPS/FedEx require next day service on handguns. More control and less involvement by their employees.

  13. Nick, I’m curious how you used your C&R license to ship a gun to yourself (or more accurately, why)? Anyone can ship a gun to themselves at another address without an FFL.

    • + 1 self to self is legal, unless New Yorkistan (like Illinios) has some law requiring ALL (including black powder and pre1899) to be handled (shipped) as regulated items, ffl to ffl.

      I was interested a couple years ago in a Black powder pistol from a dealer in Illinois, he said he would need to have an FFL to receive it for me.
      I told him that was not required in my state, for black powder.
      He said Illinois required it. I told him thank you, I would be buying elsewhere.

  14. One huge reason im not a gun smith or FFL (must have ffl to smith anyway) I don’t want to deal with the kitten stomping racist antigun BATFE. Sure there are good agents among them but no thanks I’ll stick to cars. They have a shady history and one of the most hated federal agencies.

  15. From the article above:
    “What it actually does is create a lot more busy work for all FFLs involved in the process — not only the shipping FFL for tracking and confirming guns made it to their destination, but also for receiving FFLs fielding calls from worried shippers wanting to confirm that their inventory is correct.”

    Which in turn, will cause more small/medium size FFLs to decide that the hassle isn’t worth the trouble, which encourages them to go out of the FFL business. Which is what the anti-gunners want…

  16. You can bet your rear they will happily prosecute you for this instead of focusing on actual criminal efforts, though. SMH

  17. The sky is not falling. The sending FFL must report within 48 hours of his “discovery” of the lost/stolen shipment. The sending FFL will “discover” when the receiving FFL calls/emails to say “where’s the gun?”

    This does not place an affirmative burden on the sending FFL to make sure that the firearm makes it into the next bound book; it places a burden to report the missing gun when someone informs the sending FFL that the gun never made it to its destination.

    If the sending FFL wants to assume the burden of enhanced tracking, then sure, they will discover the situation sooner.

    I am not your lawyer, so this is not legal advice. But that’s how I read it.

  18. This rule doesn’t make any sense to me and perhaps this has been addressed above, but how are you supposed to verify that the FFL you sent a gun to has physical possession of it? What if they lie or are wrong when they tell you yes or no? This seems practically impossible to comply with and not end up lying or guessing.

  19. It is real simple. If you are expecting a firearm in the mail/shipped, and it doesn’t arrive, you contact the FFL that sent it to you, and tell them it never made it. Report it to the ATF, and there you go. I have had this happen. FEDEX to be exact has no clue where it is. Tracking stops at a location, it never moves again, your package is gone! It is best practice to insure shipments and also require a signature. Set up notifications through whatever shipper you are using. This is not a ploy to waste FFL’s time/manpower. This happens more than you know. I am an FFL.


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