Compliance: Timely Submission of Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Best Business Practices for the Timely Submission of Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Prepared by Wally Nelson, Consultant to the National Shooting Sports Foundation

Federally licensed firearms retailers are required to file ATF Form 3310.4, Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers, to report the transfer of two or more handguns to the same person at one time or within five consecutive business days.  The business days in this case are the days the retailer’s premises are open.  By law, the handgun reports are due to be submitted to both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) for the location where the sale requiring the report occurred; e.g. the CLEO where the FFL’s regular premises are or the CLEO of a gun show location.  The report is due on the day that the sale requiring the report occurred.

Each year ATF reports that the failure to timely and properly file multiple-handgun reports is among one of the most common violations found during inspections of retailers.   ATF considers this a serious matter because it can potentially adversely impact public safety by hindering the ability of law enforcement to identify and respond to possible criminal activity.

ATF Industry Operations Investigators (IOSs) will have a listing of all multiple-handgun (and certain rifles as is required of retailers along the Southwest border) reports with them when they conduct compliance inspections.

Given the tight time frame for filing reports and the seriousness ATF places on a violation, a retailer would be well advised to develop strong internal controls to recognize sales necessitating the preparation and submission of a report.

Maintain a Simple Handgun Sale Log Book:

  1. The most important internal control a retailer can have when it comes to ATF records is to have one person (and a backup) responsible for all record keeping, including the preparation and submission of multiple-handgun-sale reports.  The experience of NSSF ATF Compliance Consultants has been that if no one person is responsible for keeping records and filing reports, inaccurate records and missed reports are far more likely to occur.
  2. Though a review of the day’s Form 4473s would detect sales of two or more handguns on a single form, such an effort will not detect handgun sales made to the same person days apart and by different sales associates.
  3. To identify these situations, many retailers maintain a handgun sales log book, which lists the last name, first name and date of sale for each handgun.  This can be in a three-ring binder, but it could be as simple as a steno note pad.  Employees who sell handguns must be trained to record all handgun sales in the log book, including occasions where two handguns are sold in a single sale.  Management must check periodically to verify that the log book is being completed.
  4. The record keeper must review the handgun log book every day, as part of the review of Form 4473s.  He or she should look for sales to the same person.  Any sale recorded within the last five business days that matches the name of a handgun buyer during the current day will necessitate the filing of the multiple-sales report.
  5. The requirement to file a report also occurs when a customer buys two hand guns on one day (which in itself is reported to ATF) and then buys a third handgun within five business days of the first report.  A second report is required.  The record keeper must always look back five business days to determine whether a report(s) is required.

Submitting and Filing Forms 3310.4:

  1. Multiple Sales Reports may be filed by mail, by fax and, now, by scanning and emailing them to
  2. We strongly recommend that you prepare them, scan them and attach them to a single email to above ATF address.  Forms are often destroyed in the U.S. Mail, and ATF sometimes runs out of fax machine paper on long weekends.  When you email it you should use the email tool to request a “delivery receipt,” and if you fax it, you should keep the fax transmission receipt so you can later document that it was sent.
  3. Attach a copy of the report and receipt to the pertinent Form 4473 for filing.  Do not maintain them in a separate file.