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American Handgunner May/June 2010 - Page 20
PISTOLSMITHING Alex Hamilton THE INSIDE SCOOP ON PISTOLSMITHING TECHNIQUES Keeping Yourself ATF-Legal e are all aware of what is happening in the firearms industry. Manufacturers are operating at peak capacity, middlemen cannot keep up with orders, retailers’ shelves are empty, and gunsmiths are being hammered from every angle. Both you the customer and you the gunsmith must be aware of everything you do at the point of the sale, whether it be something as simple as picking up a gun that was in for repair, doing a transfer on a gun purchased from an Internet site or buying a new or used gun from other sources. When a compliance officer from ATF knocks on your door and flashes that gold badge you’d better be prepared. The first thing he looks for upon entering your shop is the “Youth Handgun Safety Act” poster. If you do not have it posted that will be your first citation. Next, he will look for your license to see if it is prominently posted along with your sales tax license. If not displayed that will be citation number two. Finally he will search for the required, displayed gun lock for sale. If you don’t have a lock to offer a customer, citation number three will be your undoing and he has not even opened your A/D books. Some ATF agents will cut you a little slack and give you a chance to correct these areas of neglect, but most will not so just get the job done. Above all, don’t cheat just to save a customer a $10 bill. ATF agents have heard and seen it all and there ain’t nothin’ you can get away with — so don’t try. W Customers hen you fill out the 4473 form look at every word and answer every question honestly and accurately. Some of the questions seem silly at first glance, but have a definite purpose in building a Federal case against such a person who has lied on the Federal form. Question number 11.a. is also a real doozie, asking if you are the actual buyer of the firearm. If you are knowingly buying a firearm for another person and and both you and the dealer are aware you are buying for another person the dealer cannot allow the transaction to go through. This is a “straw man” purchase and ATF holds this at the top of their list of prohibited sales. I have made multiple handgun transfers to four customers since the first of this year and every one of them has been paid a visit from an out of state 20 W ATF agent requesting to see the guns purchased due to our being within 250 miles of the Mexican border. The ATF are investigating guns “going” south from the US, which, of course, aren’t going South. They are merely a figment of a politician’s imagination. One of my very prominent local customers who collects and buys nothing but antique Colt Bisley single actions, which any agent can plainly see are not the type of gun used by Mexican gangsters, had a visit by an agent while he was away on a business trip. His wife was terrified as to what was going on, but she told the agent she would not let him in and would meet with the ATF at her attorney’s office after a written explanation as to why the agent needed to see the guns. It was resolved easily within a few days. Since that event, as with the three others, these men have quit buying guns altogether, which hurts my business and takes away one of the greatest pleasures and investment opportunities in their lives. can tell you from 40 years of experience in the firearms business if the dealer or buyer tries to circumvent the law, cheat on your Federal books, lie on the 4473 form, make a straw purchase or pull off a borderline shady gun deal for a friend you will get caught. You will get prosecuted and all that macho talk about taking a stand and standing on principle will fall silent when you stand before the judge. If you wanna fight unjust firearms laws do it by putting pressure on your local and state Senator and Representative. Standing alone against the Federal government is foolish. Finally, the dealer has his neck stuck out like a man waiting for the guillotine to fall so when he does a transfer for you, you will be charged a fee. It might seem like a simple thing to you watching the dealer making an entry into his books, but what you don’t see is for what you are paying. Before you arrive the dealer has unpacked the guns, flattened the shipping boxes, disposed of the packing material, verified the serial numbers and entered them into his Federal book, contacted you and filled out his part of the 4473 form. When you arrive the dealer will call in a NICS check and turn the gun over to you. When you leave the dealer’s Federal A/D book is completed and the form is filed in numerical order in a storage cabinet. If it is a multiple handgun purchase the Federal form must be faxed to the FBI and the county CLEO. Any mistake, no matter how small, can be used by an auditing agent to pull the dealer’s license on the spot and close his business down. That is the ever present risk the dealer must take for you to own a firearm. I charge $35.00 for a single transfer and $15.00 for each additional gun on the same form. That is a pretty much standard industry figure for a dealer risking his business and license for you, so please don’t think he is ripping you off. I NECKS OUT * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MAY/JUNE2010