The Truth about Drive-Thru Gun Stores

Some anti-gun mainstream outlets got wind of the ATF guidance and freaked right the f@$% out. They did, I saw more than one “blood in the streets!!!” headline to the announcement from the ATF on COVID-19 guidelines for FFL’s

That is what the announcement actually was. It was what the ATF would and would not consider legal “on premises” transfers of a firearm for a Federal Firearm Licensee.

For a quick run down. Here was the guidance in the email.

  1. An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license.
  2. An FFL may also carry out the requested activities from a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot or other exterior location on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, but any such activities must occur in a location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes. Whether the FFL has the authority to permit such entry, and whether a location constitutes the FFL’s property, is likely to be a fact-specific inquiry. An FFL carrying out the requested activities from an exterior table or booth should maintain its inventory and records securely in the interior of the brick-and-mortar structure and ensure that the records of each firearms transaction are stored in the interior.
  3. An FFL may not carry out the requested activities from a nearby space that is not located on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, unless such activities are at a qualified in-state gun show or event, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(j) and 27 C.F.R. § 478.100, or other provision of federal law.
  4. An FFL may conduct non-over-the-counter firearm sales to unlicensed in-state residents who are exempt from NICS requirements in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 922(c), 27 § C.F.R. 478.96, and ATF Procedure 2013-2.

And here was the portion that made FFL holder’s chuckle and the anti-gunners flip lids.

An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway

Drive-thru gun stores!

Right?

That’s what they’re saying, no more background checks and paperwork just, “I’d like an Aero Precision with an extra large PMAG and an Aimpoint, please. Side of Sig.”

Here’s your #11, would you like to add two pies for a dollar?

What they conveniently gloss over, that all the FFL’s know and will abide by, was the second part of that sentence.

where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license.

Fun fact: I, a licensee, can only transfer to you, non-licensee John/Jane McPublic, on my listed licensed property. The only exception to that rule is if I am at a listed and endorsed gun show location. If a “gun show loophole” exists, it is that, it is that I, the licensee, can conduct business at the gun show like it was my normal address… with all the paperwork and NICS checks required.

I must conduct business at my place of business. I must do all the required paperwork and witness all required items on form 4473’s, ATF Form 4’s, etc. I must, unless the individual is NICS exempt, conduct a background check before transfer of any firearm. I must deny transfers in all the normal circumstances where a transfer must be denied based on 4473 or a NICS result.

The ATF just clarified that, because of COVID-19 “The Rona”, I can use a drive-thru window in the unlikely event that I have one and it would still count as being transferred on premises. I can also set up a table outside so that a little shop keeps the traffic out of it and have people wait back as I deal with one person at a time in my parking lot. I could also let one person at a time into my store. Set up “by appointment” meetings at my store. Or operate in any manner on my premises that conforms with local COVID-19 guidelines of social distancing.

The ATF didn’t green light a gunstore drive-thru with dollar menu. They’re simply clarifying what can occur by physical location and still be in compliance with federal rules for transfers. I cannot transfer a firearm to someone from my home, it must be my business address. Even if I complete every other step, do NICS, or even if it is an NFA item transfer cleared by the ATF, it still must complete at the licensed address.

Them’s the rules.

So chill your reactionary psuedointellectual selves, my good folks. Brady background checks are still in place. Nothing about the legalities of purchasing a firearm from a retailer have changed, just a clarification of what a location can consider as ‘on premise’ for the purposes of complying with the rulebook.

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Group editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009 he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.