Friday, November 17, 2023

4473 Cloud Helps FFLs Go Paperless in 2024

Old habits die hard! We know all too well how true this is.

How many times have you heard the statement, “This is how we have always done it.”

That statement is the killer of innovation and why businesses don’t grow and succeed as they should.

Remember Blackberry? Yes, that Blackberry – the cell phone innovator who once owned 45% of the entire cell phone market. Yes, nearly 1 in every 2 cell phones used by consumers was a Blackberry at their peak.

Today, they are 0% – why? The founders refused to believe that people didn’t want a keyboard on their phones. Apple knew consumers didn’t care. Blackberry refused to innovate, and it cost them the entire market.


This mentality can be particularly destructive when it causes an FFL to ignore new technology.

In the heavily regulated firearms industry, there’s another risk to consider: federal agencies are continually upgrading their enforcement technology. We’ve seen this with ATF leveraging technology to implement data-based enforcement policies, such as using “time to crime” tracing metrics to target specific dealers.

In this industry, failing to adopt useful new technology gives your competitors a business advantage and can deprive you of one of your best defenses against compliance infractions and enforcement.

You may have heard someone say, “Doing things this way is why we are where we are, and our customers love that we operate like we do.” But do they really?

Customers evolve, and businesses must also risk losing everything. You can be a Blackberry or an iPhone. Seems like an easy choice, doesn’t it?

GEt Ready to go Paperless in 2024

There is no reason to wait as we quickly approach the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024.

Start 2024 fresh with less clutter, new competitive advantages, and better compliance defenses. To be clear, you must notify ATF 60 days prior to fully storing your 4473s digitally. So, don’t wait; the time is right to get that done TODAY!

How you did things before will not lead you into the future. Take the first step today and start creating your 4473 Cloud account NOW!


Yes, it’s the 4th quarter, and we know this is the time of the year you don’t have time to focus on anything but Black Friday and sales. However, looking into next year and how your business will grow in the coming year should always be on your mind and at the top of your to-do list.

  • Are there new product categories you can add to your shop?
  • Are there things you can do to ensure you have the right product at the right time to maximize floor sales?
  • Can you increase your backstock position so you aren’t ever out of stock on your core products?

While the first question is almost assuredly yes, the last two are areas of your business that 4473 Cloud can directly help you with.

It is going to take many of you reading this to stop yourself from saying, “This is how we have always done it.” However, we recommend starting 2024 with a clean slate of never storing a physical hard copy of a 4473 again.

How? First, if you still use mistake-prone handwritten 4473s for each firearm transaction at your FFL, STOP! Just by doing it the “old school” way, you are opening your business to having your FFL revoked by ATF.

ATF revocations in the past 2 years have increased by over 400% – don’t be next!

Already using an e4473? If so, you can stop printing those 4473s and spending money on printers, paper, ink, filing cabinets, and storage containers.

While this is old news, on August 17th, 2022, ATF published ATF Ruling 2022-1, which allows FFLs to now store electronically completed 4473s digitally without the need for an approved variance. Yes, that is correct. For over a year, you could have already been storing your 4473s digitally!

This does NOT mean that you can now save a PDF copy of a 4473 on your desktop, laptop, or server in your store. The requirements of the ruling are very specific, and the software you use to store your 4473 digitally must meet ALL of them.

Storing a PDF copy on your computer in NO WAY meets the ATF requirements on approved digital storage. You will need to do your research, especially if you are still using paper handwritten 4473s prior to transitioning to paperless.

  • First, you must ensure you have read and understand the ATF Rulings that govern FFL’s use of eBound Book, e4473, and digital storage of 4473s. Those rulings are ATF Ruling 2016-1, 2016-2 and 2022-1.
  • Step 2: Determine which e4473/eBound Book provider best fits your business’s needs. There are a lot of them out there, and this blog post will get you started.
    • There is no one-size-fits-all, and what is important to another FFL may not be necessarily important to your FFL. However, the one thing that has to be right is that the software you pick is compliant. Do your diligence and pick the one that works best for you.
  • Step 3: Digitally store your 4473s in an approved, attorney-backed, electronic storage solution.

4473 Cloud is integrated with the largest and best e4473 software platforms in the market today. We are the only digital storage solution that exceeds the ATF’s expectations for compliance and usability that is attorney-backed and certified. And there are no long-term, messy, and delayed IT implementations with 4473 Cloud. Within 5 minutes, you can:

Simple as that.

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