ATF Reverses Interpretation of GCA – Redefines “Transfers” of Firearms

ATF Reverses Interpretation of GCA – Redefines “Transfers” of Firearms
Anyone sending a gun in for warranty or to a gunsmith will now have to send their firearms through multiple FFL dealers, fill out 4473’s and pay for back ground checks on guns you already own.

ATF Redefines "Transfers" of Firearms
ATF Redefines "Transfers" of Firearms
National Shooting Sports Foundation
National Shooting Sports Foundation

NEWTOWN, Conn –-( Reversing an interpretation of the Gun Control Act that has been on the books for more than four decades, ATF posted a ruling declaring any shipment of a firearm by a manufacturer (FFL) to any agent or business (e.g., an engineering-design firm, patent lawyer, testing lab, gun writer, etc.) for a bona fide business purpose to be a “transfer” under the Gun Control Act of 1968.

As a consequence, legitimate business-related shipments will now require the recipient to complete a Form 4473 and undergo a Brady criminal background check. In many instances, these requirements will force shipments to a third party, thereby lengthening the process and the time that the firearm is in transit.

ATF officials have acknowledged this is a radical change from ATF’s long-standing interpretation that this was not a “transfer” under the Gun Control Act that was set forth in a 1969 ruling (“Shipment or Delivery of Firearms By Licensees to Employees, Agents, Representatives, Writers and Evaluators.”) and further clarified in a 1972 ruling.

In other words, ATF is now saying its long-standing rulings, issued shortly after the Gun Control Act was enacted, were wrong. ATF should be required to explain why it took 42 years to decide that its original understanding and interpretation of the Gun Control Act is now somehow wrong. ATF appears to be under the mistaken impression that the Brady Act of 1993 changed what constitutes a “transfer” under the Gun Control Act. Even if this were true – and it is not — then ATF should be required to explain why it took 17 years to figure this out.

ATF itself admits that neither the Gun Control Act nor the Brady Act defines “transfer.” There is simply nothing in the Brady Act or is there any other legal reason that compels ATF to now reject 40 years of precedent.

For more than four decades manufacturers have shipped firearms to agents for bona fide business purposes. ATF is unable to identify a single instance during the past 40 years where a single firearm shipped in reliance upon ATF’s rulings was used in a crime. This unwarranted reinterpretation of the law will cause significant disruption and additional costs for industry members and increase the cost of doing business, while doing nothing to advance public safety.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 5,500 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to

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sounds like an obamanation to me…… one more, firearms are made out to be these evil objects capable of self-initiation of evil acts.

Who will bell the cat?

The entire BATF needs to be dismantled. It serves NO lawful or beneficial purpose.

D.L.Hawes, Esq.

The problem is that BATFE is increasingly interpreting "transfer" to mean not a transfer of title (ownership, as in purchase and sale), but a transfer of possession. The problem is that possession of private personal property is exclusively a matter of state regulation under the Constitution, and a transfer of possession without a transfer of ownership is not "interstate commerce". Where one person (including corporate persons) transfers possession of a firearm to another, while retaining ownership, but only for limited business purposes, there has been no transaction either "in" or "affecting" interstate commerce. Thus, BATFE is without subject-matter jurisdiction in… Read more »