What to do when an FFL goes awry

Ever had things go wrong with your FFL when purchasing a firearm and/or applying for your license? There are many stories of mishaps that we don’t normally hear about, but the folks from these forums (AR15, 1911forum) threads had this to say:

TexHeim: “I’ve had a dealer forget to have me fill out the 4473, but they had pissed me off so badly I didn’t remind them of that step.”
“I thought Taurus had sent me the wrong pistol as I was supposed to get a PT140 and they sent a PT111. Well I called Taurus and they said mine was on back order… I then called my buddy who was having a similar gun to the one that I received shipped to same FFL that works out of his house. My buddy says that that’s not his gun as the service number isn’t even close to his. The service number on the gun I received is 8 numbers off my actual service number.”

Silver81: “I had one that the receipt had the wrong serial number.”

PhotoShooter: “Not a wrong gun. But, I used an FFL to transfer an on-line purchase. Filled out the Form 4473, than the FFL handed me the gun, without calling in the NICS check. I was confused and concerned, I asked if he was going to call in background check. FFL said no need to. I presented my CCW permit and State I.D. I left confused and very concerned. I have never experience this before.”
“Lesson learned? Don’t use this FFL ever AGAIN!!! I don’t need the ATF knocking on my door.”

These are just a few and many more from others.

Like it or not, we humans need order, and often that order comes in the form of paperwork. So what do you do when you do all the paperwork and something still goes wrong?

Occasionally, this will happen. With billions of people in the world and a few hundred-million in the US, some numbers are gonna get flipped, it’s just what’s going to happen. So here’s what to do when this inevitably happens to you!

When your service number gets flipped, or you get sent the wrong gun, or heaven forbid if your gun gets sent to the wrong place, it’s time to do some calling around.

Call your licensed firearms dealer, whomever worked on the transaction, if you have any concerns. Maybe you think some paperwork, calls, or background check got missed? In some states, certain steps are or aren’t required, so it’s better to be safe and ask! Receipt have the wrong serial number? Box have the wrong serial number? Ask about it!

If something just doesn’t sit right with you, or if you don’t feel like something is being taken care of or something strikes you as sketchy (Such as not calling in the criminal background check in a state that requires it), report it to the ATF immediately, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. If you have any questions, the ATF Website (https://www.atf.gov/) Has all manner of pages regarding regulations, processing, resources, Q&As, and updates about recent changes. If your questions aren’t answered there, it’s never a bad idea to call in and check. Better safe than sorry!

It’s always better to report something you’re not sure about. If there is a bad FFL, we all do better off if they’re removed from the equation. Just as we wouldn’t want a police officer who couldn’t pass a physical chasing down criminals, we wouldn’t want an FFL who repeatedly misses doing paperwork or confuses numbers handling firearms, for our safety and their own.

Keep in mind also what paperwork you’ve already handed to your FFL. If you alreay gave your information to your FFL for that transaction, and another FFL needs it for the same transaction, it should be available to them– without going through you a second time! Just as it’s ridiculous for an online service to ask for your password for their service (no self-respecting online service will ever do this), it’s ridiculous to have to give your information twice– especially if it’s not the FFL contacting you themselves.

Remember to stay gun-savy from purchase to sale and beyond. Stay safe and stay legal!

Story by Sam Morstan

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