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ATF Alternate Record Notes

Back to NM Gun Collector Software Page

Please Note: Due to a more recend ATF Ruling, these instructions are no longer up to date.  The new ruling requires that an audit trail be kept of any changes made to any entries in an electronic bound book.  NM Gun Collector does not keep such a record so it no longer qualifies under the new ruling.

 

The Regulations:

 

According to the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide, 2000, ATF P 5300.4 (01-00), Federal Regulation 27 C.F.R. Part 178.125(h), dealing with “Record of receipt and disposition.  Alternate records.” States:  “Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a), (e), and (f) of this section, the director of Industry Operations may authorize alternate records to be maintained by a licensed dealer or licensed collector to record the acquisition and disposition of firearms or curios or relics and the disposition of armor piercing ammunition when it is shown by the license dealer or the licensed collector that such alternate records will accurately and readily disclose the required information.  A licensed dealer or licensed collector who proposes to use alternate records shall submit a letter application, in duplicate, to the Director of Industry Operations and shall describe the proposed alternate records and the need therefor.  Such alternative records shall not be employed by the licensed dealer or licensed collector until approval in such regard is received from the Director of Industry Operations.”

 

The Guidance:

 

In a section titled “COMPUTERIZED ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION RECORDS” the FFL Newsletter, Issue 1, May 2001 states the following (Note:  No mention is made of licensed C&R collectors.  The guidance is targeted at licensed dealers.  Therefore, although the software can handle these exceptions, I note with an “[N/A … reason why]” the items that I believe do not apply to C&R license holders.).

 

-------------------begin quote-----------------------

 

“Before a Federal firearms licensee can use a
specific computer program for recordkeeping
in lieu of the required bound book format, it
is necessary to get prior approval from ATF.
The Bureau does not issue blanket approvals
for commercially available software programs
nor does it endorse any particular product.
All requests for a computerized recordkeeping
variance must be sent to the Director of
Industry Operations in your area. These
procedures are outlined in
27 C. F. R. § 178.125( h) in the Federal Firearms
Regulations Reference Guide, ATF P 5300.4 .

 

“All requested systems must be accompanied
by a sample printout of the format to be used
and meet the following criteria:

 

1)       Conform to all regulatory requirements
for pertinent information.
( See 27 C. F. R. § § 178.122, 178.123, or
178.125. )

 

2)       Be able to be queried by serial number
and acquisition date of firearm. It
would suffice to use commonly recognized trade names or
abbreviations when denoting
manufacturer or importer.

 

3)       Have an acceptable daily memory
backup system, such as disk or tape.

 

4)       Have the capacity to provide a periodic
printout of all records:

 

( a) at least semiannually;
( b) upon request by an ATF officer
when required by law;
( c) when the system memory is purged;
( d) when the license is terminated, and   [N/A … C&R license holders are not required to turn in their records when they discontinue their license … it is not a business (18 U.S.C. 923(g)(4), 27 CFR 178.127)]
( e) sequentially by date of acquisition
for all firearms in inventory, as well
as all firearms sold during the
period covered;

 

5)       Be able to record both the manufacturer
and the importer for foreign-made
firearms.

 

6)       Yield a printout that may include
flintlock, matchlock, percussion cap, or
other antique firearms.

 

7)       Include the name and address or name
and license number of the suppliers
and purchasers/ transferees in
the computer data. The name and an
ATF Form 4473 transaction number may
be used in lieu of the name and
address for recording the transfer of a
firearm to a nonlicensee, if the Forms
4473 are filed numerically. [N/A  … ATF Form 4473 not required for C&R license holders.]

 

8)       Be self-contained, without reliance
upon invoices or other paper/ manual
systems to provide any of the above
information.

 

9)       Upon termination of a license the
licensee, must provide an ASCII text
file ( conforming to common industry
standards) and a file description, in
addition to printout( s) of all records to
the Out of Business Records Center.
The printout and ASCII text file must
contain the information prescribed in
27 C. F. R. § 178.125( e) . 2 [N/A … see note for 4.d above.]

 

10)    Allow users to forward all records to
the Out of Business Records Center, per
27 C. F. R. § 178.127, if the business is
discontinued. [N/A … see note for 4.d above.]

 

11)    Any proposed changes in an approved
system must be submitted to local ATF
Director of Industry Operations for
evaluation and consideration prior to
implementation. Thus, if a licensee
wants to change or upgrade the
computer software system, the licensee
must submit a new variance request to
address the proposed system change or
upgrade.

 

“Finally, any request approved by ATF will
contain the following language: This
approval may be withdrawn if administrative
difficulties arise. A copy of this letter should
be made a part of your permanent records
and be available for inspection by any officer
of the Bureau. “

 

-------------------end quote-----------------------

 

Conclusions:

 

1.        I believe that NMGCSW meets the requirements laid out in the regulations as well as the elements of the guidance pertinent to C&R license holders.  This belief is supported by the fact that many of my customers have already received ATF approval to use my software as an alternate record.

 

2.        Since ATF does not provide blanket approvals for software, each individual must submit their own request.  A sample letter is provided below.  There is no guarantee that this letter will gain approval.  You are encouraged to customize the letter to accurately reflect your situation.  BE SURE TO INCLUDE A FAX OF A C&R REPORT GENERATED FROM THE SOFTWARE.  It does not have to contain real data.  They just want to see that all of the proper data is included in the report.  Here is a scanned copy of a report printed from my system as an example of what you need to provide.

 

3.        The biggest issue will be automating the backup.  I have created a simple backup utility that you can run from Windows Scheduled Tasks utility if you wish.  Also, there are many commercial utilities available.  Below I have also included a link to a search engine with some of them.

 

 


Sample Letter to ATF:

 

(your name and address as found on your license)

Date

Department of the Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Director of Industry Operations

(address of ATF office with jurisdiction in your area)

 

Subject:  Request for Variance per 27 CFR 178.125 (h) “Records of Receipt and Disposition; Alternate Records.”

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a licensed collector of Curios and Relics.  My license number is xxxxx.

In accordance with 27 CFR 178.125 (h), I am hereby requesting approval to use NM Gun Collecting Software to record the acquisition and disposition of curios or relics as required in 27 CFR 178.125 (f) “Records of Receipt and Disposition; Firearms receipt and disposition by licensed collectors.” 

This software meets all of the requirements outlined in the FFL Newsletter, Issue 1, May 2001 and repeated here.  Although the items noted do not apply to a C&R license holder, the software is still capable of meeting those requirements as wel1.  The method for meeting these requirements is included in square brackets:

1)       Conform to all regulatory requirements for pertinent information.
( See 27 C. F. R. § § 178.122, 178.123, or 178.125. )

 

2)       Be able to be queried by serial number and acquisition date of firearm. It would suffice to use commonly recognized trade names or abbreviations when denoting manufacturer or importer.   [via Query feature of the Statistics tab]

 

3)       Have an acceptable daily memory backup system, such as disk or tape.   [NOTE to Requester: There are many ways to implement this.  First, the application automatically backs up the database to its installation directory every time it is run.  The name of this backup file is nmgcswGoodBackup.mdb.  Second, backups can be performed manually to the location of your choice from within the application by selecting Utilities->Database->Backup Database.  Third, automatic backups can be scheduled using any backup utility in Windows.   I can provide a .bat file free of charge that you can run from Windows Scheduled Tasks utilite if you want to use it … Please establish the method of your choice and tell ATF what method you will be using.  An automated method will be best.]

 

4)       Have the capacity to provide a periodic printout of all records [via Reporting features]:

 

( a) at least semiannually;
( b) upon request by an ATF officer when required by law;
( c) when the system memory is purged;
( d) when the license is terminated, and   [N/A … C&R license holders are not required to turn in their records when they discontinue their license … it is not a business (18 U.S.C.  923(g)(4), 27 CFR 178.127)]
( e) sequentially by date of acquisition for all firearms in inventory, as well as all firearms sold during the period covered;

 

5)       Be able to record both the manufacturer and the importer for foreign-made firearms. [via Reporting features]

 

6)       Yield a printout that may include flintlock, matchlock, percussion cap, or other antique firearms.   [via Reporting features]

 

7)       Include the name and address or name and license number of the suppliers and purchasers/ transferees in the computer data. The name and an ATF Form 4473 transaction number may
be used in lieu of the name and address for recording the transfer of a firearm to a nonlicensee, if the Forms 4473 are filed numerically. [via data entry, however, ATF Form 4473 not required for C&R license holders.]

 

8)       Be self-contained, without reliance upon invoices or other paper/ manual systems to provide any of the above information.

 

9)       Upon termination of a license the licensee, must provide an ASCII text file ( conforming to common industry standards) and a file description, in addition to printout( s) of all records to
the Out of Business Records Center. The printout and ASCII text file must contain the information prescribed in 27 C. F. R. § 178.125( e) . 2 [via Report tool export feature, however, not required for C&R license holders  … see note for 4.d above.]

 

10)    Allow users to forward all records to the Out of Business Records Center, per 27 C. F. R. § 178.127, if the business is discontinued. [via Report tool export feature, however, not required for C&R license holders  … see note for 4.d above.]

 

11)    Any proposed changes in an approved system must be submitted to local ATF Director of Industry Operations for evaluation and consideration prior to implementation. Thus, if a licensee wants to change or upgrade the computer software system, the licensee must submit a new variance request to address the proposed system change or upgrade.

 

Attached is a sample printout of the format of the written report.

For your information, you can find out more information about this software at http://www.nmcollector.net/nmguncollector/index.htm.  At that web site, you can even download a copy for evaluation purposes.

Sincerely,

 

(your name and signature)