Every firearm background check involves filling out an ATF Form 4473. It’s three pages when printed double-sided, and it must be kept by the FFL (the store selling the firearm) for at least 20 years. Yes, you read that correctly. Your local gun shop is storing an absolutely absurd amount of paper 4473s.
Imagine, if you will, 20 years worth of three-page 4473 Forms and how much storage space that requires. Imagine having to perform a serial number trace and needing to find one specific 4473 in your collection of tens of thousands. Where’s that box for April, 2007 forms again? Oh, it’s in the storage unit buried under 160 other boxes? Lovely.
This is where Silencer Shop‘s new 4473 Cloud service steps in. What if you could digitally store all of your 4473s on the interwebs — securely — in an ATF-approved system that allows easy searching, audit access, and more?
4473 Cloud is point-of-sale system agnostic and e4473 system agnostic (e.g. Orchid eBound, Rocket FFL, etc), so dealers can sync it up with whatever FFL software they’re currently using. It’s priced such that it will save many dealers about 50 percent on their 4473 operational expenses.
In the video above, Travis from Silencer Shop gave me the full run-down on 4473 Cloud and I tried to ask as many questions as I could think of, including from my perspective as an FFL (though at Black Collar Arms we don’t do much in the way of direct retail sales, we’re still managing to collect more 4473s than I would have expected, and I don’t look forward to being married to this paperwork for the next two decades). I think we covered most all of the bases as to how it works and what it’s capable of.
For a shorter overview, Silencer Shop’s press release is below:
Silencer Shop Announces Latest Addition of “Powered By” Services That Revolutionizes ATF 4473 Document Storage
Designed to save time, space, and money for FFLs nationwide, Silencer Shop adds 4473 Cloud to their suite of Powered By services. As a platform-agnostic system, 4473 Cloud digitally stores ATF Form 4473’s securely in the cloud.
As the most versatile cloud storage system offered to the firearms industry, 4473 Cloud provides a modern digital storage solution to help FFL businesses thrive. 4473 Cloud digitizes FFL owners’ essential daily tasks for a more efficient workflow.
“Coming from decades of experience working with FFL’s, I noticed a huge gap when it came to 4473 storage. Because you have to keep these ATF Forms for up to 20 years, paperwork can pile up quickly,” says Travis Glover, 4473 Cloud’s co-founder. “We wanted to offer a solution that is versatile, streamlined and just makes sense, and 4473 Cloud fits the bill.”
Business owners can now access their 4473’s remotely using 4473 Cloud’s centrally located file storage via the cloud. They also have the benefit of now opening up and utilizing prime real estate to increase sales in their shop.
“4473 Cloud being platform-agnostic is what sets it apart from other digital storage solutions. We’ve worked hard to ensure that 4473 Cloud works with all e4473 software, and securely stores your files. We’ve also added searchable fields, too, for quick access and audits. It’s really a game changer for FFLs,” says Dave Matheny, Silencer Shop owner and 4473 Cloud co-founder.
With an ATF approved variance that 4473 Cloud can assist with, FFL dealers can take full advantage of 4473 Cloud’s services. 4473 Cloud’s services include: full self mock-audit functionality, instant ATF Trace completion, assigning forms to employees to review, track potential compliance misses, and a full audit trail of changes made to the 4473 to reconcile.
FFL dealers can also save up to 50% off their current operational costs by using 4473 Cloud’s services. Digitally storing documents as opposed to printing, FFL dealers save on paper, ink, filing folders, storage boxes and the cost of keeping track of decades worth of paperwork.
With flexible storage options based on FFL volume, 4473 Cloud is scalable to grow as your FFL businesses grows. To learn more about 4473 Cloud’s services, visit 4473cloud.com.
… and then they give the ATF a back door into the system
The same thought I had after only five sentences into the article.
Anyone notice how the author laments about “not wanting to sit on two decades of paperwork”? How about just keeping everything organized in separate boxes according to month/quarter/year? Like any Accounting Dept does? Otherwise, Mr. FFL, if you want Cloud-based recordkeeping, then what you’re really saying is your convenience is worth more than my desire for the ATF to stay as much out of my life as possible.
With pretty much every Internet-connected idea that has come down the pipe over the past 25 years, there has been the eventual hack and loss of privacy.
Just one more reason to build your own, while you still can.
It is a easily searchable registry, and this author gives thanks to treasonous silencer shop for aiding the enemy of the people.
No. That’s a “just no” for me.
Yep. If I was running a gun shop, I would keep all that paper in the gun shop until the shop mysteriously burned down queueing my retirement from gun sales. When the ATF asked for the records I would then say – “what can I do? It burned down.” So if I had a shop, I would continue running the shop until this freak accident happened.
Maybe silencershop could store these in the cloud made from an old 286 in a basement somewhere, until the records were deleted by ransom ware or a freak virus.
It is my conjecture that this is exactly their plan, and perceptive gun dealers will realize the advantages of the system.
+1 for the reference to an “old 286”. My first PC long, long ago was a 386, and it was an upgrade at the time, lol.
My first computer was a TRS-80. It featured 100% internet security and privacy.
In Hilary’s bathroom
The “Cloud” is insecure in all the wrong ways…
It’s accessible to anyone.
It cannot be made secure.
It cannot be erased.
(it’s a long list that goes on, and on…)
But most importantly- it does not allow 20 years worth of 4473 forms to be “accidentally” incinerated before being illegally and unconstitutionally confiscated by an illegitimate authority.
Analog allows safeguards that digital does not…
Killing the 20yr mandatory retention was an item in the recent ATF regulation proposal. They’re going to do it no matter what any of us say.
They’re going to say “keep the paper ones forever (and don’t ask us what we’ll do to you if you lose them in a fire), or go digital, Mr. Deplorable Gundealer.”
There has to be some legal standing to fight off the requirement to keep 4473s as searchable digits, given the legislative prohibition on a gun registry. Don’t expect anyone in Washington to be intellectually honest about it once it hits the debate scene, though.
We are all expected to leave comments with the ATF.
Well, seems to be no problem to leave them (comments) here where it’s not even a good job of bitching to someone that might be able to make a difference. But WTH? Complain ahead of the fact, complain afterwards- easier than actually getting involved.
@Craig in IA
Oh I’m involved. And complaining. And giving money. And enfluencing. And voting. And learning. And practicing.
They will say it isn’t a registry because it isn’t a government database, it’s a private one. And it isn’t complete because everyone won’t use it. And they will think of some other excuses I have not thought of or heard before.
Been there, done that in PA long ago. Our state supreme court ruled in the early 2000s that our “purchase database” for handguns isn’t a registry because it isn’t complete and universal. Never mind that the cops call it “the registry”, and use it like a “registry”, and many will confiscate handguns they run that aren’t in it even though they are not required to be.
Yes, it is in the proposed rule change, and it goes against the 1986 law which specifically outlaws a registry.
Everyone should be submitting comments on this fact. They have 34,000+ when they should have millions already.
Yes, THANK YOU.
Those who do submit comments at least have a viable complaint.
@Craig in IA
Comments on this should be submitted to Silencer Shop.
Which proposal are you talking about? I have been looking through the register and havent found the one that refers to this. Post a link.
That sounds whimpy. If it burned up in a fire it burned up in a fire. What can them or you do about it? Someone broke in and burned your shop down – what can you do about it? It was probably some psycho leftists anyways.
This was for cplcameltoe.
Local gun store owner story is that there has been a rash of gun store break-ins nationwide where the only thing stolen has been these Gestapo forms. The form holds ALL the personal data an identity thief could dream of.
So the Silencer bozos no doubt are promising, to idiot gun store rubes, that they will provide “security” and “protection”. Laughable but there are many that think such is possible on/with the internet. As current calls from the MSM buffoons for “improved internet security of vulnerable infrastructure”. Laughable. ESAD Silencer shop.
I can’t remember the law. But I believe there is exactly that law that prevents a searchable centralized database. That can function as a registry of gun owners. I was reading about it when dealing with records, when A FFL dealer goes out of business and what happens to its records.
it was discussed that electronic records made easier to search from anywhere in country remotely was a defacto centralized registry. Due to how it functioned.
So SS decided to make a searchable database (aka a gun registry) for the ATF. Robert Farago wrote about this in 2010:
I don’t have a link handy, but we also have more than a decade of reports from FFLs of ATF scanning all of their 4473s during inspections.
The government has far too much access to far too much information about people as it is, and this will absolutely become a major target for hackers (government and criminal alike).
Get a warrant before compiling info on people.
It is perfect for hackers. A form 4473 has all your identity information on it. It’s harder to hack a file cabinet, and also paper is flammable.
I am against any cloud storage for 4473. Analog only is best or on premise , digital. We are basically making the registry for the ATF this way.
Or we could just rescind the whole concept of a 4473 and the ATF.
Its much easier to scan 20 years of cloud-based documents than 20 years of paper. Probably computer geeks can do it in seconds.
Thanks Silencer shop for making the ATF more efficient – says President HarrisBiden.
Would it be legal for an FFL to put the 4473 forms all on microfilm? That way they could keep it onsite in a much smaller space. So many companies used microfilm systems, that there has to be a lot of them for sale used, so the cost would not be great.
That way an FFL could keep private control of the paperwork without having to rent the space adjoining their business for storage.
Or thumb drives?
I like both of those. They are flammable systems. If your shop mysteriously burns down, both would go down with the shop.
FFLs already have the option to go paperless and store the electronic versions locally.
With all the hacking nonsense going on now, with the pipeline and now a meat processor, why would you want to expose this sensitive information in the “cloud”? Hackers could hold that information for ransom, or sell it, or do whatever else they want with it.
Dumb. Really dumb.
The whole interweb thing has been a mixed blessing. We should have stayed with paper.
OH hell. Sell it to criminals so they know who exactly to break and enter homes to steal your firearms because they know what you have and where you live?
putting us in greater danger because they don’t know where you keep them but know you have them.
This is a bad idea, the whole point for having paper records is for them to tedious and time consuming to search!
Do any of you think this company would dban/bleach bit the data and then smash the hard drive if they were to receive a court order telling them to turn over the files? Do you think the government wouldn’t hack the system if it was accessable on an internet connected device? Look at the kind of people who were in charge of the intel agencies, do you think Clapper or Brennan wouldn’t sanction a hack of this company? Once they steal this data it will never be deleted.
And flammable. Who knows when sOme rabid leftists are going to burn down your gun business. Thank goodness the records are in paper form.
NSA does not need to hack data base. they only need “man in middle” to capture data as it goes to this cloud server making records last forever. And under patriot act etc not disclose this recorded data to public till ready to disarm population. .
FFLs already have the option to go paperless and store the electronic versions locally.
It’s a trap. Whether they mean for it to be or not.
Centralization of data is a bad thing for security and privacy.
What blockchain are they using? That will tell you how secure the database really is.
EVERYTHING on the internet is on a computer in Langley, VA (NSA headquarters).
This is, by definition, a backdoor gun registry.
So SilencerShop now works for the ATF, great.
The title should be
“Silencer Shop Launches 4473 Cloud-Based National Gun Registry”, allowing ATF instant results and announcing itself as the enemy of free men.
This is a solution that few true gun-rights folks will be interested in. Sometimes “buried under 160 other boxes” is a feature, not a bug!
20 years of actual paperwork (protected as per the Constitution) is a physical bulwark against tyranny. Those boxes of papers are an essential, substantive DMZ separating our liberty from subjugation.
Flammable boxes. And flammable forms. Fixed it for you.
IM A LOOK N FOR SERIAL # 007007
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LIFE TIME JOB WITH FORM 4473 , GOTA GO ELECTRONIC DIGITAL FILING BUBU BABE
Possible phone calls as a result of this action.
Phone call: “hello silencer shop. This is the ATF, we are running a records search. We have sent you the relevant information along with a warrant. Since this is all digital, we are giving you an hour instead of one week.”
Phone call: “This is the ATF. We saw you were going out of business and are seizing your cloud based records. Normally we would go to the gun shop of such records. But since their records are stored with you, and given your recently bankruptcy status, we are taking the opportunity now to obtain all of those records.”
Cloud services hosted by who? Amazon? Microsoft? IBM?
Only crazy and criminally insane FFLs would use this service – and if my local gun dealers do use it, I’m taking my business somewhere else.