ATF Allows Drive-Through Gun Shops Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

ATF Open Letter Drive Through
In an open letter released Friday, April 10th, 2020, the ATF now allows FFL’s to sell guns VIA drive-through.

U.S.A. -( With the growing number of new buyers swarming gun shops during the Coronavirus shutdown, conditions are ripe for spreading the deadly disease at these shops. Most gun shops are fairly small, and if even a few dozen people are inside one at a time, they could easily transmit the disease to everyone there if one were infected. The NSSF asked for some lenience from the ATF during these times to permit shopowners to conduct business outside the physical store, but it wasn’t until recently that the ATF responded.

In an open letter to FFLs, the ATF stated the following.

In light of the March 13, 2020, declaration of a national emergency concerning the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and the Department of Homeland Security’s subsequent classification of firearms businesses as essential, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received questions from industry members regarding the legality of firearm sales and deliveries exterior to the brick-and-mortar structure at which the firearms business is licensed. Specifically, Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) have requested guidance regarding whether they may verify customer identity and permit the completion of paperwork, including for purposes of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; accept payment; and deliver firearms or ammunition to customers (collectively, “the requested activities”) in the following settings: (1) a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway on the FFL’s property; (2) a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot on the FFL’s property; and (3) a nearby space that is not located on the FFL’s property.

In laymen’s, non-legalize this means that FFL’s may conduct sales outside the physical shop, provided they remain on the premises. While this will certainly be painted by gun-grabbers as something ludicrous like 1950’s rootbeer float drive-ins where buyers can super-size their Big Mac to include an AR-15, the move actually makes a ton of sense. Even if you were to take an aggressively anti-gun stance (playing devil’s advocate), allowing FFL’s to sell guns through a drive-through makes their shops more efficient, and more accessible to would-be buyers who may be physically incapable of walking to and from their vehicle with a long gun in hand.

Now, will this new measure stay after the pandemic is over? It’s hard to say. Though I suspect that we won’t see the holy grail of an ATF all-in-one drive-through shop where you can get a handle of quality whiskey, a new shotgun and a box of fine cigars (to enjoy separately, of course) all from the comfort of your car. Still, it’s nice to see the ATF make a decision that doesn’t hurt gun-owners.

Jim Grant

Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low

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Wild Bill
Wild Bill (@wild-bill)
1 year ago

I note, with some consternation, that some purported FFLs wrote in for “guidance”. And I read BATFE’s response differently. Supposedly, FFLs asked a question, and BATFE, merely, pointed to the wording of the statute.

Why would some mutton head even pose a question that had not come up, to a bureaucrat?

JPM (@jpm)
1 year ago

Well God bless the BATF! Right. Sounds like one of their typical sting operations more than something “nice” they’re doing for the shooters. ANYONE who trusts the BATFE is a damn fool.

MICHAEL J (@retaile23)
1 year ago

Just like a government bureaucracy to create a solution to problem that might, may or possibly exist? A drive thru might work great for coffee or food, but really now guns? And nevermind the costs associated with it. Have you seen the traffic back-up at In & Out or Chik Fil A? Ever wonder what happened to drive up banking? Nobody uses it.
Gun stores should sell by appointment only, after all, there’s a lot of paperwork. ATF, keep those ideas coming. How about a drive thru instant approval check?