A Guide to ATF Forms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates the sale, transportation, and possession of firearms and other weapons. There are a variety of ATF forms that you need to fill out when purchasing different types of weapons. Items that fall under the National Firearms Act (NFA) require specific forms and you will also need to pay the tax stamp. Even non-NFA guns may require paperwork, depending on the circumstances of the purchase.

This article gives a brief overview of some of the more common ATF forms. This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about these forms or any other firearms regulations, please contact an attorney.

Form 4473

If you’ve purchased a firearm from a licensed dealer, then you’ve filled out Form 4473 at some point. This is the most basic form for purchasing a gun. It includes questions that determine whether you can legally own a firearm and lying on this form is a federal felony.

After you fill out this form, the dealer you are purchasing from will run a background check.

There are three possible results:

  • Proceed – You can purchase the gun.
  • Denied – You cannot make the purchase. You will get a letter that explains why this is the case and this will also include instructions for how to appeal the decision.
  • Delayed – Your application requires a more thorough review and the dealer will be notified within 72 hours whether they can proceed with the sale or not.

NFA Forms

These forms relate to NFA-regulated items:

Form 1

You will need to complete Form 1 if you are creating an NFA-controlled weapon, such as a short-barrelled shotgun (SBS), short-barrelled rifle (SBR), or destructive device (DD). It also applies if you are modifying an existing weapon so that it fits the definitions included in the NFA. 

This form is for those who do not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

This form is an application to make the NFA-controlled item, so you cannot have the item in your possession or start making it until you get approval from the ATF. You will need to pay a $200 tax stamp in order to create the weapon.

You can file the form as an individual, trust, or business (this last one is less common). The benefit of filing as a trust is that it is easier to allow others within your family to use the item. You should discuss your options with an expert if you aren’t sure which is best for you.

Form 2

Form 2, like Form 1, is filed when creating an NFA-regulated weapon. The difference is that this form is used by FFL holders and the average citizen will never need to fill out Form 2. Instead of needing to get approval from ATF before making the weapon, an FFL holder sends Form 2 to inform the ATF that the item has been made. There are additional licensing requirements beyond simply having an FFL and these must all be met in order to manufacture NFA-controlled items.

Form 3

Like Form 2, Form 3 is uncommon for the average gun owner and is instead used by dealers. It allows for the transfer of NFA-regulated items between FFL holders.

Form 4

Form 4 is very similar to Form 1, but it allows you to purchase an NFA-controlled item instead of making it. This is what you will need to fill out to buy a suppressor, SBR, SBS, DD, et cetera. As with Form 1, you will need to choose whether to file as an individual, trust, or business and will need to pay the $200.

Purchase NFA-Controlled Items at The Hub

At The Hub, we specialize in items that many other gun stores don’t have. We are experts in NFA-controlled items and are happy to help you find what you are looking for.

Visit our gun stores in Tucson, Lakeside, or Phoenix today.
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