ATF on Sales of Firearms to Law Enforcement (Only Ones)

Editors Note: FFL’s reading this should also read “Firearms Equality Movement Gaining Momentum

ATF on Sales of Firearms to Law Enforcement (Only Ones)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC –-( Section 925(a)(1) of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) generally exempts law enforcement agencies from the transportation, shipment, receipt, possession, or importation controls of the GCA when firearms or ammunition are to be used for official agency business.

A licensee may sell and ship firearms to a law enforcement agency anywhere within the United States. The disposition of each firearm to the agency must be entered into the licensee’s acquisition and disposition (A&D) record.

ATF recommends that the licensee verify that the order is an official request by the law enforcement agency.

If the licensee has reason to doubt the validity of the official request, he or she should contact his or her local ATF office. The licensee is not required to complete any paperwork for the transaction outside of recording the disposition in the A&D record.  However, ATF suggests that the licensee retain an invoice or other receipt of such transaction to reflect the quantity and the description of the firearm(s), including type, manufacturer, model, caliber or gauge, and the serial number.

Law enforcement officers purchasing firearms for official duty use need to provide certain documentation in order to be exempt from completing an ATF Form 4473 and undergoing a NICS check. Law enforcement officers must present to the licensee a certification, which must be on official agency letterhead signed by a person in authority within the agency (other than the person purchasing the firearm).

The certification must state that the officer will use the firearm in official duties and that a records check reveals that the purchasing officer has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. ATF recommends that the agency letter should also include the quantity and the description of the firearm(s)- including type, manufacturer, model, caliber or gauge, and the serial number.

There are no restrictions as to the purchasing officer’s State of residence or agency location. Licensees are not required to prepare a Form 4473 for the transaction or to conduct a NICS Check; however, the disposition to the officer must be entered into their A&D records, and the certification letter from the officer must be retained as part of the licensee’s required records.

ATF generally considers the following as persons having authority to certify the eligibility of law enforcement officers: In a city or county police department, the director of public safety or the chief or commissioner of police; In a sheriff ’s office, the sheriff; In a State police or highway patrol department, the superintendent or the supervisor in charge of the office to which the State officer or employee is assigned; and in Federal law enforcement offices, the supervisor in charge of the office to which the Federal officer or employee is assigned.

Certification letters may be signed by persons other than those listed above, provided there is a proper delegation of authority. Because individual circumstances vary, licensees with any questions are encouraged to check with their local ATF field office before accepting certifications letters from other officials. A listing of the offices may be found at: .

If a law enforcement officer desiring to purchase a firearm does not have a certification letter, a licensee may still make the sale if the requirements of the Brady law (18 U.S.C. 922(t)), including a NICS background check of the purchaser, are met.

An ATF Form 4473 covering such a sale must be completed, the transaction must be entered in the licensee’s permanent records, and all other applicable requirements of the law and regulations must be met.

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Dana J Coleman

Does anyone know where I can find what LE nontransferable guns are worth? Selling to other Class III dealers or to other agencies. Especially the Ithaca model M3A1.


What no universal background checks.


How about making all the laws apply equally to everyone?