FFL Bound Books, or Acquisition & Dispositions (A&D) Records, whether they are in paper form or stored electronically and managed by firearms compliance software, like FastBound, are crucial to the health of maintaining your Federal Firearms License (FFL) and maintaining a good working relationship with your local Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) from the ATF.
As an FFL, whether you are a firearms dealer, manufacturer, or importer, you must record the acquisition and disposition of firearms within certain time frames, and in a particular format in your A&D Book.
You must enter the information that is actually marked on the actual firearm as that is the information that law enforcement will use to request a firearm trace. Be very careful here – the requirements for the information change if the firearm is imported from outside of the United States.
FastBound maintains a knowledge base of articles on topics like timings, markings, and many other common questions, tips, and tricks, all backed by FFLGuard.
If you get stuck or need assistance, FastBound is the industry leader in technical and ATF compliance support.
FFL Bound Books
Your “bound books” or firearm Acquisition & Disposition Records must include:
- Importer (if any)
- Country of Manufacturer (optional but required if your an importer)
- Serial Number
- Caliber or Gauge
- Acquisition Date
- Name and address or Name and License No. if licensee
The “disposition” information in your FFL Bound Books must include:
- Disposition Date
- Address or License Number (if licensee), or ATF Form 4473 Serial Number if Forms 4473 Filed Numerically
There are also time limits, depending on the type of acquisition or disposition, that your bound book entries must be recorded within. The date is the actual date you acquired or disposed of the firearm, not the date that you made the record. If you need to make a correction, FastBound ensures that your FFL Bound Book records comply with the latest ATF rulings and regulations.
Paper records and FFL logbooks are perfectly legal, but as you can imagine, using electronic bound book software for your A&D record keeping can save you a lot of time, provide more accurate records, faster audits, and many other benefits.
Do I need help to run my FFL?
The Code of Federal Regulations (sometimes called the white book) is more than two inches thick (your read all of it, right?) You can also call the ATF and ask them questions, but our friends at FFLGuard counsel all of their clients with this great, free advice: make sure you get everything in writing. What happens if you don’t do something correctly? But how do you remember all of those code sections? How do you stay up to date with regulations, new rulings, and memos?
You can reach out to a buddy in the firearms business to help walk you through issues, but unless he works for FFLGuard, his (or her) advice probably doesn’t apply to your situation.
We are a little biased, but we think the easiest way to manage your FFL is to start with a firearms compliance software vendor like FastBound. The ATF doesn’t verify or validate software–period. Since FastBound started in 2010, competitors have popped up and hidden behind endorsements or statements like “we’ve never had a problem” or “our customers have passed audits.” That logic is like saying that pointing a muzzle in an unsafe direction is acceptable because you’ve never had a negligent discharge. It’s not acceptable for firearms safety, and it’s not acceptable for firearms compliance, especially when FFLs are under more scrutiny than ever.
Bound Book FAQs
What is a bound book for an FFL?
A bound book is a physical or electronic record that Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are required by law to maintain. The bound book contains a detailed record of all firearm transactions that occur through the licensee's business, including the acquisition and disposition of firearms and information about the buyers and sellers involved in those transactions. The purpose of the bound book is to enable the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to trace firearms used in crimes and to ensure that licensed dealers and manufacturers are complying with federal firearms laws and regulations.
FastBound improves the bound book process by providing a user-friendly and efficient way to create and maintain compliant records of firearm transactions. FastBound eliminates hand-written paper records, helps ensure compliance with federal firearms laws and regulations, and enables efficient record-keeping by allowing for easy searching, filtering, and sorting of data and the ability to generate reports and export data to other systems. Overall, FastBound streamlines the bound book process, reduces potential errors, and improves compliance with federal firearms laws and regulations.
What is FFL software?
FastBound is software designed to help Federal Firearms Licensees manage firearm transactions and comply with federal laws and regulations. FastBound provides a user-friendly and efficient way to create and maintain records of firearm transactions, simplifying the process of creating and maintaining the required acquisition and disposition records. FastBound allows FFLs to easily record and track firearm acquisitions and dispositions, manage ATF Form 4473s on paper or electronically, stay on top of multiple sale reports, and much more while protecting you and your staff from potential compliance issues. FastBound also allows for efficient record-keeping by enabling easy searching, filtering, and sorting of data and the ability to generate reports and export data to other systems. FastBound can streamline your record-keeping process, reduce potential errors, and improve compliance with firearms laws and regulations while saving you time and effort.
How to fill out an FFL log book
Filling out an FFL (Federal Firearms License) log book involves recording detailed information about every firearm transaction through your business. Here are the steps you can follow to fill out an FFL log book:
- Record the date of the transaction. When acquiring, you record the date you took possession of the firearms. When disposing, you record the date transferred to the buyer. You must record the name and address when transacting with an individual or organization. You only need their license name and complete FFL number when transacting with another FFL.
- At the time of acquisition, you must record the manufacturer, importer, model, and serial number of the firearm and the caliber, type, and other identifying information, which varies by license type.
- If the transaction involves a background check, you must record the transaction serial number from Form 4473.
- Crucial for identifying and preventing illegal firearms trafficking and straw purchases, multiple sales must be reported to ATF and local law enforcement. Criteria vary depending on the state and the type of firearm but generally apply to sales of two or more firearms within five business days (which, trust us, is not straightforward to calculate). Failure to report multiple sales is one of the most commonly cited violations.
It's important to note that the exact information required in an FFL log book may vary depending on the specific requirements of your license and the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). FFL software like FastBound can simplify the process and help ensure compliance with federal firearms laws and regulations.
Looks like a lot, right? Bound book software for your A&D records not only saves you time, but also saves you from potential headaches down the road from errors or oversights.
How long do you keep a firearms A&D book?
Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders in the United States must retain their acquisition and disposition (A&D) records for at least 20 years. This requirement was established by the Gun Control Act of 1968, which mandates that FFL holders maintain accurate and complete records of all firearms transactions.
The 20-year retention requirement applies to all types of A&D records, including paper and electronic records, as well as records of firearms that were subsequently lost, stolen, or destroyed. FFL holders must also ensure that their A&D records are readily accessible for inspection by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) upon request.
It's important to note that the 20-year retention requirement is the minimum requirement. Some FFL holders may choose to retain their A&D records for more extended periods for business or legal reasons. FFL software like FastBound can simplify the record-keeping process and help ensure compliance with the 20-year retention requirement and other federal firearms laws and regulations.
Can I use Excel for my bound book?
As an FFL (Federal Firearms License) holder, it's crucial to maintain accurate and complete records of all firearm transactions that occur through your business, including maintaining an A&D (acquisition and disposition) record. While spreadsheets may seem like a convenient and cost-effective solution for record-keeping, there are several reasons why spreadsheets are not a suitable choice for an A&D, including:
- Spreadsheets can't catch mistakes. It's up to the user to ensure that the data entered into the spreadsheet is accurate, which increases the potential for errors that could result in compliance issues.
- Spreadsheets lack compliant audit trails. Without audit trails, tracking who made changes to the spreadsheet is impossible, making it challenging to identify and correct errors or potential compliance issues.
- Spreadsheets do not satisfy the backup requirements of ATF Ruling 2016-1.
- Google sheets are limited to 40,000 rows. While Excel allows a million rows, it struggles with 100,000 entries. This can be problematic for FFL holders who need more than one person to access records at once or have many transactions. Spreadsheets become slow, unwieldy, and are predisposed to corruption at larger sizes.
- Spreadsheets do not have the granular permissions required to manage firearms compliance effectively. This means that it's difficult to control who has access to the data and what they can do with it, which can be a citable violation by itself.
- Spreadsheets do not come with a guaranteed legal defense. The FFL is liable for the failures and shortcomings of its chosen spreadsheet software or template.
Does the ATF approve bound book software?
FFLs (Federal Firearms License holders) must maintain accurate and complete records of all firearm transactions that occur through their business and ensure compliance with federal firearms laws and regulations.
While many software solutions are available to assist with record-keeping and compliance, it's necessary to understand that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does not approve or endorse any specific FFL software solutions. As a result, it's up to each FFL holder to carefully evaluate their options and select a reputable, reliable software designed to meet FFL holders' unique record-keeping and compliance requirements.
FastBound is one such provider, and they retain attorneys during the design and development of their software to ensure compliance from day one and provide a guaranteed legal defense against administrative actions related to the use of their software. In contrast, relying on a "free" compliance solution does not provide sufficient safeguards for FFL holders and could put your livelihood at risk.
What is the best FFL bound book software?
Depending on an FFL holder's specific needs and circumstances, different software solutions may be more or less suitable. It's essential for FFL holders to carefully evaluate their options and choose a provider that meets their specific needs, such as compliance with ATF regulations, legal support in the event of an issue, ease of use, data security, and responsive customer support. FFL holders should also consider factors such as software features, pricing, customer reviews, and reputation in the industry when selecting an FFL bound book software provider.