Industry News: ATF to Allow Computerized A&D Recordkeeping
By Robert M. Hausman

After a long campaign by various segments of the industry to bring the required recordkeeping FFL-licensees must undertake in line with 21st Century technology, ATF is now allowing licensees to keep computerized records of firearms acquisitions and dispositions. The move is of particular benefit to high-volume retailers who will see some relief from the paperwork burden. Up until now, ATF would only allow the use of computerized A&D recordkeeping on a case-by-case basis.

ATF has now determined that acquisition and disposition records required by 27 CFR Part 478, Subpart H, and §§ 478.121, 478.122, 478.123, and 478.125(e), in computerized form, satisfy the standard of permanency and are substantially equivalent to paper records if the following criteria is met:
  1. All data entered into the computer system must be recorded into the database and cannot be capable of being edited or modified at a later date without generating an audit trail. The software system must retain any correction of errors as an entirely new entry, without deleting or modifying the original entry. The system may allow for entries in a notes column to explain any correction.
  2. The system must have a daily memory backup capability to protect the data from accidental deletion or system failure.
  3. The system must meet the regulatory requirements for recording pertinent information.
  4. The system must allow queries by serial number, acquisition date, and name of the manufacturer or importer. Commonly recognized trade names may be used when recording the manufacturer/importer in the firearm description.
  5. The FFL must periodically print all records from the system. Specifically, the records must be printed:
    1. at least semiannually,
    2. upon request of an ATF officer,
    3. when the database is purged, and
    4. when the license is terminated
    Printouts must be retained until the next printout is prepared. The printouts must be limited to only the information required and specified by regulation.
  6. The FFL may download the required acquisition and disposition records to portable storage devices such as Compact Discs (CDs), Digital Versatile Discs (DVDs), and USB Flash Drives, instead of conducting the periodic printout of those records, provided that the FFL presents the records in a printed format at ATF’s request. ATF recognizes that printed records take up space and are not as easy to search as records maintained in a digital format.
  7. The computer printouts must contain firearms in inventory as well as all firearms transferred during the period covered, sequentially by date of acquisition.
  8. The system must record both the manufacturer and the importer of foreign-made firearms.
  9. Printouts may include antique firearms, but cannot include other merchandise. However, antique firearms must be identified as “ANT” in the “firearm type” column.
  10. The name and FFL number (if licensee) or name and address (if non-licensee) of the supplier/consigner and the purchaser/transferee must be included in the computer data. An ATF Form 4473 transaction number may be used in lieu of the address for recording the transfer of a firearm to a non-licensee if the Forms 4473 are filed numerically.
  11. The system cannot rely upon invoices or other paper/manual systems to provide any of the required information.
  12. All required records including acquisition and disposition records, must remain at the licensed premises.
  13. Upon termination of a license, the FFL must provide an American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text file (in conformity with industry standards) and a file description, in addition to printouts of all records, to the ATF Out-of-Business Records Center. The printout and ASCII text file must contain the information as prescribed by regulation. All records must be forwarded to the ATF Out-of-Business Records Center in accordance with 27 CFR 478.127, including complete printouts, and ASCII text file (and file description) of the A&D records, and all ATF Forms 4473.

The date the change was approved was August 25, 2008 and it was signed by Michael J. Sullivan, ATF Acting Director.

Police Chief and Prosecutors Sentenced in MG Case/B>

The former police chief of Rose City, Michigan has been sentenced to 71-months imprisonment for illegal possession of machine guns and silencers.

The former chief, Maxwell Lee Garnett, 56, and co-defendants were said to have abused their official positions to obtain seven machine guns and nine silencers for their own personal use rather than for any law enforcement purpose. Garnett also received a sentence enhancement after having been found to have provided false testimony during the trial.

The two other defendants, one a prosecutor, are scheduled to be sentenced, the other, a chief assistant prosecutor, got 63 months.

S&W’s 1st Qtr. Results Vary/B>

Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2008 show net product sales for the three months ended July 31, 2008 were $78 million, a $3.6 million, or 4.9% increase over net product sales for the three months ended July 31, 2007. Firearms sales totaled $73.1 million, an increase of $3 million, or 4.2%, over the first quarter of last year.

However, gross margins decreased to 32.3% from 36.4% for the comparable period last year. Net income was $2.3 million, or $0.05 per fully diluted share, compared with $4.7 million, or $0.11 per fully diluted share, for the comparable period last year.

Pistol sales grew 18.4%, driven by continued consumer market and law enforcement adoption of the M&P polymer pistol line. Sales of M&P pistols grew 27% in the first quarter. Walther products grew at a 19.9% rate based largely on the performance of the PPS sub-compact handgun, which was launched in mid-fiscal 2008. M&P tactical rifle sales grew by 11% in the first quarter.

Revolver sales grew by 3.4% over the comparable quarter last year. Sales of non-firearms accessories, including handcuffs, totaled $4.9 million, a 15.1% increase over sales of $4.3 million in the first quarter last year.

Hunting product sales of $14.6 million for the quarter represented a decline of $3.3 million, or 18.4%. Although all hunting product sales declined in the quarter, sales of black powder rifles were especially impacted, only partially offset by shipments of bolt-action rifles, which commenced late in fiscal 2008. This trend has affected much of the “sporting” firearm industry as buyers have begun purchasing “black rifles” and smaller self-defense handguns as the presidential elections approached.

Michael F. Golden, S&W’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Current economic conditions and their impact on consumer discretionary spending, combined with the continuing effect of (high) industry inventory conditions related to hunting products, negatively influenced this quarter. The negative impact of the current environment was evident in our long gun sales in every hunting-related category, as well as in our gross margin performance. Gross margins were impacted by long gun product mix, a shift toward lower margin products, and the impact of unabsorbed overhead resulting from reduced production volumes in our New Hampshire manufacturing facility.” (the former Thompson/Center Arms plant which produces muzzleloaders and other hunting products.

ATK Component Thieves Plead Guilty/B>

Two former employees of Alliant Techsystems, Inc., the operator of the Lake City Ammunition Plant in Independence, MO have pled guilty to stealing more than 16,000 pounds of copper components used to manufacture ammunition for the U. S. Army, which they sold as scrap metal.

Charles Dale Osborn, 46, and Timothy Duane Langevin, 36, admitted they participated in the conspiracy to steal specially-fabricated copper component cups used to manufacture copper-jacketed 7.62mm bullets from the Lake City plant where they worked. They delivered the bullet cups, in a total quantity of approximately 16,528 pounds, to the Fusselman Salvage Co. in Moberly, MO.

Osborn and Langevin were employed as machine repairmen by ATK. The U.S. Attorney handling the case said the amount of copper involved in the theft would otherwise have produced about 1-1/2 million rounds of ammunition, and amounts to more than two weeks’ production of 7.62mm ammo. Osborn and Langevin shared about $45,362 in ill-gotten proceeds from salvaging the copper material, which was valued at $78,838.

The two initially used five gallon buckets to transport the bullet cups from the plant to the salvage company. Later, they used a company forklift to move entire skids of bullet cups to a pickup truck for transport. Still later, the amounts of material they took became so large that the conspirators rented a U-Haul trailer to transport it. Under a plea agreement, the defendants are expected to be sentenced to at least two years in federal prison without parole.

Dealer Sentenced in Recordkeeping Case/B>

Larry L. Riffle, 60, of Greenville, Ohio has been sentenced in U.S. District Court to 12 months imprisonment; the statutory maximum, for falsifying records and failing to maintain accurate documentation of his firearms inventory and sales.

Riffle was charged last April with one count of failure to maintain and make a proper entry on a firearms record by a federal firearms licensee and he pleaded guilty to that charge in May 2008.

The case evolved from the execution of a search warrant at Riffle’s business, known as “Rif’s Guns,” in Greenville, OH in November when it was discovered Riffle had more than 1,200 firearms which were improperly documented, such as failures to make complete entries in his records regarding the person/business who provided firearms in his inventory and failure to record the complete mailing address and other identifying information to enable ATF to trace the firearms.

ATF Post Rewards in Gun Shop Burglaries/B>

ATF has posted a $5,000 reward for information on those responsible for the theft of over 80 firearms, both handguns and long guns, from Felix’s Gun Shop in Grand Haven, Michigan.

ATF is offering another $5,000 reward for information on those responsible for the theft of over 50 firearms Bullock’s Guns N More Inc. of Flint, Michigan. The late night breaking and entering was perpetrated by at least four individuals as seen on the store’s video surveillance system.

ATF Arrests Revoked Gun Dealer/B>

The Bureau of ATF’s Flint, Michigan field executed search warrants in mid-August at the Highland Gun Barn of Highland, MI and the Otisville Gun Barn of Otisville, MI and arrested Gabriel Kish, III and Deborah J. Summers for dealing firearms without a license.

While the Otisville store was licensed by ATF, the Highland store had its license revoked by ATF back in 2004 for allegedly violating the Gun Control Act. As a result of the execution of the search warrant, over 600 firearms were seized.

Voss Joins FNH USA/B>

Ben Voss has recently joined FNH USA as firearms instructor/specialist. Based in Warrenton, MO, Voss will assist the director of training in long range precision rifle training, assist in product design initiatives, and conduct product demonstrations around the country.

“Ben has worked with us as a firearms consultant for six years. We know what he has to offer FNH USA. His experience serving in the Marine Corps will be a huge asset to us from both a training and product development standpoint. As we design and develop new guns, there’s nothing like practical field experience, such as Ben’s, to help us pinpoint the key features that the serious operator must have,” noted Rick DeMilt, senior vice president for law enforcement and commercial division at FNH USA.

Former Illinois Dealer Arrested

A former Franklin Park, Illinois firearms retailer has been arrested in a complaint alleging violation of the federal Arms Export Control Act for allegedly exporting approximately 220 firearms from the Chicago area to Windsor, Ontario, Canada two years ago.

The defendant, Ugur Yildiz, also known as “Mike Yildiz” obtained a federal firearms license to sell guns in 2002 and operated Chicagoland Bells, a gun shop in Franklin Park, Il. ATF subsequently revoked the license in September 2005. At the time of the revocation, the gun shop had a known inventory of over 200 firearms and Yildiz transferred ownership into his name.

Since June 2006, Canadian law enforcement has recovered 25 guns in Canada that are known to have been held by Yildiz. All but one were recovered during investigations of drug and violent crimes. In addition, 15 firearms registered to Yildiz were found in a dumpster in a suburb of Detroit, not far from the Canadian border.

To make out a case, the government is using records that indicate that on several occasions in 2006, Yildiz entered Canada and presumably exported the firearms to Canada without an export license.

The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. Visit www.FirearmsGroup.com. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N4 (January 2009)
and was posted online on July 13, 2012


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