Posted: 6/7/2002 12:36:08 PM EST
I am applying for a C&R license and I am concerned with the ATF performing an inspection of my property as listed in the statute listed below. I am not collecting C&R weapons as a business but as an individual, I am concerned that I will be subject to a once annually random search of my residence for a violation of the law, if any. Could you please explain the procedure that normally happens annually when the ATF conducts these inspections? Does this only apply to collectors that have a store front or does it apply to all collectors?
§ 178.23 Right of entry and examination
(c) Any ATF officer, without having reasonable cause to believe a violation of the Act has occurred or that evidence of the violation may be found and without demonstrating such cause before a Federal magistrate or obtaining from the magistrate a warrant authorizing entry, may enter during hours of operation the premises, including places of storage, of any licensed collector for the purpose of inspecting or examining the records, documents, firearms, and ammunition referred to in paragraph (a) of this section (1) for ensuring compliance with the record keeping requirements of this part not more than once during any 12-month period or (2) when such inspection or examination may be required for determining the disposition of one or more particular firearms in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation. At the election of the licensed collector, the annual inspection permitted by this paragraph shall be performed at the ATF office responsible for conducting such inspection in the closest proximity to the collector's premises.
The last sentence sums it up: You, as a licensed collector, have the option of having an inspection at your home or at the ATF office.
Don't worry about it. Inspections of collectors are a pretty rare occurence. The ATF doesn't inspect collectors annually, they just have the option to do so. Most collectors have yet to be inspected even once. Relax and enjoy all the cool toys you'll be able to buy for yourself.
I've been a licensed C&R for 20+ years, know a lot of fellow collectors, and haven't heard of anybody getting an office or a field audit. I have heard internet rumors of audits, but none have ever been verified when push comes to shove...just "I have a cousin who knows a guy who...".
If your collecting is a business, you become a dealer and need an 01 ffl...harder to get, random inspections not uncommon and sometimes not requested in advance.
You CAN sell rifles from your collection, but only on the basis of improving your collection. For instance, no problem buying a 3-fer or 5-fer, picking the best one or two, and selling the rest. How often you do this is a gray area. E.g., if you have a table at every gunshow, someone might be interested in whether you're collecting or making money. Up until the time I moved to the PRK, I sold a few maybe 5 or 6 times a year, ATF in Dallas said no big deal.
Get the license!
Mine expired YEARS ago. Never been inspected yet.....
I had never seen any evidence of a C&R inspection up to the fall of 2000. There were a several C&R inspections that I heard about starting late 2000 and early last year, the guys that they inspected said the inspectors were professional and polite (you do have the option to meet at a place other than you house). I think the ATF had decided in 2000 to start doing more C&R inspections but I have not heard of any this year, I think they may be to busy after September 11th.
You can sell rifles from your collection on the basis of improving your collection, but you can also sell off you whole collection or parts of if you have financial trouble and need the money or just get tired of collecting. But if you were to sale off your collection on a rotating basis the ATF will eventually notice and call you on it.
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