Form 4473 Supplemental Government Issued Documentation

Written by Jarad on November 6, 2023

Firearm transferee/buyers must physically provide at least one current and valid government-issued identification document when submitting a 4473. This document MUST contain their photograph, their full legal name, their current residence address as recorded on the 4473 (P.O. Box is not acceptable), their birth date, and their signature.

If the identification document(s) provided by the transferee/buyer do not meet the statutory requirement for identifying the transferee/buyer, you may accept a combination of government-issued documents to establish the identity of the transferee/buyer.

These supplemental documents MUST be issued by a government entity. Documents that will typically meet the photo ID, name, and signature requirements include a Driver’s License, an Identification Card, a Military ID, and a Passport. Documents that will typically meet the residence address requirements include a tax bill, vehicle registration, and voter identification card.

You may accept a utility or trash bill only if the service provider is owned by the government or a state agency.

Native American tribes are not part of, or agencies of, the United States government, or of a state government or a political subdivision of a state. Therefore, tribal identification does not meet the rules established by ATF in Rule 2001-5 for supplemental identification.

Hunting and Fishing licenses should not be used as supplemental documents unless the Hunting or Fishing license was issued by the government or state agency. If the Hunting or Fishing license was purchased at another retailer or from your store it should not be used.

If the supplemental documents are printed, they must be original documents, not photocopies.

The ATF Newsletter dated November 2012 states, “ATF has resolved that a license may accept the use of an electronic device to display a supplemental identification document in order to verify a current residence address”. This electronic document MUST be government-issued and show the name and current physical address of the transferee/buyer.

Documents issued by private companies or individuals (rental documents, leases, cable bills, phone bills, credit card bills, bank documents, etc.) may not be used as supplemental identification documents for the purchase or acquisition of a firearm.

You must record the valid government-issued document(s) used in the appropriate question on the 4473.

If you are unsure about the documentation stop or delay the transaction until you are sure.

ATF Ruling 2001-5 – Identification of Transferee, says:

  • Licensees may accept a combination of valid government-issued documents to satisfy the identification document requirements of the Brady Act under certain conditions. An active duty member of the Armed Forces is a resident of the State in which his or her permanent duty station is located, and may satisfy the identification document requirement by presenting his or her military identification card along with official orders showing the permanent duty station as within the State where the licensed premises are located.

The instructions on the 4473 (Revised August 2023), page 6 of 7, says:

  • Before a licensee may sell or deliver a firearm to a nonlicensee, the licensee must establish the identity, place of residence, and age of the transferee/buyer. The transferee/buyer must provide a valid government-issued photo identification document to the transferor/seller that contains the transferee’s/buyer’s name, residence address, and date of birth. A driver’s license or an identification card issued by a State is acceptable. Social Security cards are not acceptable because no address, date of birth, or photograph is shown on the cards.

ATF eRegulations Subpart B § 478.11 (Effective 1/31/2023), defines an Identification document as:

  • A document containing the name, residence address, date of birth, and photograph of the holder and which was made or issued by or under the authority of the United States Government, a State, political subdivision of a State, a foreign government, political subdivision of a foreign government, an international governmental or an international quasi- governmental organization which, when completed with information concerning a particular individual, is of a type intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identification of individuals.

ATF eRegulations Subpart H § 478.124(c)(3) (Effective 1/31/2023), says:

  • After the transferee has executed the Form 4473, the licensee:

    i. Shall verify the identity of the transferee by examining the identification document (as defined in § 478.11) presented, and shall note on the Form 4473 the type of identification used;

ATF FFL Newsletter dated November 2012, says:

  • ATF has resolved that a licensee may accept the use of an electronic device to display a supplemental identification document in order to verify a current residence address. However, the document must be government issued and show the name and current address of the transferee. For example, the required valid government-issued photo identification document bearing the name, photograph, and date of birth of the transferee may be supplemented by another valid, government-issued document showing the transferee’s residence address.

This information on this page is not exhaustive, and you should always consult with your legal counsel, your local or state agency, or the ATF to get legal advice before transferring a firearm to a non-licensed person.