Downloading Your A&D Bound Book

If you’re using a cloud-based electronic bound book, there are a few reasons to download a copy of your bound book to your computer or a local drive.

  1. ATF Regulations Require It. That’s right, the ATF requires that you have a DAILY downloaded backup of your bound book.
  2. For Safety/Backup Purposes. Your business relies upon your Bound Book – having backups is smart.
  3. As Part of an ATF Inspection. Often, it is easier to work through an ATF inspection on a spreadsheet and the inspecting IOI may request it.

How to Download Your A&D Bound Book Daily (Automatically)

FFLSafe, in addition to offering free Bound Book software, also offers a free automatic downloader/backup tool.

All you need to do to backup your Bound Book daily, like the ATF requires, is set up the free downloaded tool and you’ll be off and running.

Thankfully, that’s all that’s required with FFLSafe – other software providers either make you remember to download it yourself manually everyday or they make you set up a complicated work-around that involves paying for and setting up other software (and hoping it keeps working) like Dropbox.

Step 1 – Download the Free Download/Backup Tool

This is a VERY important step to setting up your account.

Without having this tool downloaded and setup, you will not have the ATF required downloads.

The tool can be found here: Automatic Download Tool

Step 2 – Install and Setup the Tool

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the tool on a computer, you will need to set it up so it knows where to store your backup files. This is also where the tool will check for accurate and valid backups.

You will need to select a location for the files and then click on “Connect.”

The tool will automatically run in the background.

Step 3 – Stop Worrying

Seriously, that’s it. Set up the tool and stop worrying about your backups – we’ve got it taken care of for you.

If there’s anything wrong with your backups, you will receive a notification on your dashboard the next time you log in.

How to Download Your A&D Bound Book (Manually)

In addition to the automatic daily backups that FFLSafe provides for free, you may also want to occasionally backup your Bound Book manually.

First, any time your business, and your ability to stay out of trouble with the government, relies upon a single record, having backups of it is a really smart idea. Your Bound Book is such a record and therefore, you should keep backups of it in a safe location.

However, worry not – FFLSafe automatically backs up your Bound Book for you AND with your automatic daily backups, you’re in a good place. However, it’s still nice to have your own copy sometimes.

Also, during an inspection, it is very common for an IOI (Industry Operations Investigator) to ask for a downloaded copy of your Bound Book that they can use as a spreadsheet. With our manual backups, you can download a current copy directly to your computer and/or even enter an email address to have a backup sent for you.

Step 1 – Navigate to the Bound Book Page

From any page within FFLSafe, click on “Bound Book” in the navigation menu to be taken to your live Bound Book.

Step 2 – Start Your Download

Once you’re on the Bound Book page, click on the “Export CSV” button at the top right of your Bound Book.

You will see a pop-up window that will allow you to enter an email address to have your Bound Book sent for you or click on “download to computer” to start a download.

Step 3 – Managing Your Export File

Once you have your download, you can open it and manage it in any software that can handle a CSV (comma separated values) file. The most common way to open and use a CSV file is Microsoft Excel.

In your file, you may notice a single apostrophe before certain pieces of information like the serial number. This all depends on how you are viewing your CSV file.

This single apostrophe is important in the file as it preserves leading zeroes. What this means is a serial number of “000005” will still retain the initial zeroes. If the single apostrophe wasn’t included, the number “000005” would be converted to simply “5.”

You can either ignore the single apostrophe, search for and replace it, or open it in a file or manner where that apostrophe is not shown.

ATF Bound Book Backup Requirements

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) requires (see Ruling 2016-1 below) that FFLs who use cloud-based (internet) software for their A&D Bound Book have a local daily backup of the Bound Book in a format readable without using the software.

Therefore, if you’re using any web-based software for your Bound Book, you must have automatic backups to a local computer (or hard drive or thumb drive) on a daily basis.

If you’re using FFLSafe, we’ve got some great news for you: FFLSafe’s free downloader tool does all of this for you automatically! And, if a backup doesn’t work for some reason, you’ll get a warning message right at the top of your FFLSafe dashboard.

This means that, unlike with other bound book software providers, with FFLSafe you DON’T have to:

  • remember to manually download your bound book everyday,
  • set up a complicated work-around that makes you jump through hoops and use, pay for, and setup/maintain other software like Dropbox,
  • worry about whether your downloads/backups are working, or
  • pay any money to stay compliant with the ATF

With FFLSafe, all you have to do is use our FREE Bound Book and Downloader Tool and enjoy running your FFL stress-free.

ATF Ruling 2016-1

The requirement for daily downloads is found in ATF Ruling 2016-1 (emphasis added):

(5) The licensee must download all records from the system to a physical storage device (e.g.
hard drive, Compact Disc (CD), Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), or Universal Serial Bus
(USB) Flash Drive) at the licensee’s business premises, or print and maintain them at the
licensee’s business premises:
(a) at least semiannually; however, if the records are downloaded, from a host facility
(e.g., remote server or cloud storage provider) contracted/leased by the licensee as
provided in condition #9, they must be downloaded at least daily. In all cases, the
records must be downloaded in a format that is unencrypted with the required
information readily apparent; . . .

ATF Ruling 2016-1 (5)

If language like that from the ATF makes your head spin, we get it. That’s why you should leave the “legalese” to actual firearms attorneys – just like the one that made FFLSafe for you to make your life easier.


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