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November 19, 2014

“Sweat the Details” During Your Busiest Season

As a firearms retailer, the holiday season represents a very special window of opportunity in which sellers can maximize sales and profits. Customer traffic is at an all-time high, thanks to holiday shoppers, and hunting seasons are in full swing with hunters shopping constantly for everything from ammunition resupplies and gloves for the pair they just lost to boots to keep up with those incoming cold fronts and treestands to replace the one they have that squeaks. No doubt about it, you’re busy. Very busy.

It’s frenzied times like this when you feel like you’re running a 100-yard dash for a living. The gun counter is jammed with people, 4473s are being filled out, background checks are being called in, NICS has you on hold for long minutes and inventory, ultimately, is going out the door. But in the middle of all this hubbub, there’s a critical component to your business that must never be ignored. I’m talking about compliance.

Your biggest responsibility as an FFL during this accelerated business cycle is to remain compliant. As the store manager or store owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the volume of paperwork is managed properly. If your store has a policy of three eyes on every 4473 form before it’s filed away, then keep with the policy, even if that means you have to explain to the customers in line why they’re waiting and providing the best service you can to keep their frustration level low (and remember, demonstrating to your customers and community that you follow the law with diligence speaks volumes for the integrity and quality of your business). If your policy is to record all guns received in your A&D book within 24 hours, then put in the hours after the store closes to make that happen.

There is an old saying, one I wish I’d never heard of, that goes something like this: “There’s never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.” That is not the mindset you want in your store, especially during the busiest time of year where your firearms sales volume is up and your staff is trying to service multiple customers. Remaining vigilant and compliant in your store simply doesn’t allow you and your staff to “do it later.” Too, the sheer volume of transactions so many FFLs experience can result in an abundance of clerical missteps — when people get in a hurry, mistakes happen. Train your employees to take the necessary time to work through each transaction thoroughly, no matter the line at the counter, no matter how close to closing you are. It may be the most hectic time of the year, but that doesn’t make it the time to use shortcuts.



NSSF offers a federal form 4473 overlay free to its retail members. Also available in Spanish, this clear template is used as an overlay on a customer completed 4473 that helps your staff, store compliance managers and responsible persons ensure that all the questions on the form have been answered and answered in the correct way. Both Spanish and English overlays come with the training flyer “Sweat the Details,” that helps FFL employees understand the details of the 4473. NSSF retail members can simply log in to the members-only side of and add the overlays they need to their shopping cart.


You may also be interested in: ATF Compliance Tools

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