FFL eZ Check – How and When to Use

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) oversees the Federal Firearm Licensing (FFL) system under which gun dealers and firearm manufacturers must be licensed. Said another way, gun dealers and firearm manufactures (among some others) must have their FFL from the ATF in order to legally operate.

Having an FFL can provide many advantages – you can be legally engaged in the business of making and/or selling firearms, you can purchase firearms straight from manufactures and distributors at dealer pricing, you can have firearms shipped straight to you without having to have them transferred (and pay transfer fees) through another FFL, and more!

However, there are also plenty of responsibilities – you must keep accurate records (made MUCH easier when you use good ATF Compliance Software), you must keep an accurate firearm inventory, and you must confirm who you’re giving/sending guns to (whether it be a customer using a Form 4473 and a Background check or another FFL).

In the case of sending a firearm to another FFL (called an “FFL Transfer”), you MUST ensure that the other FFL is valid – this is where FFL eZ Check comes in.

What is FFL eZ Check?

FFL eZ Check is a system operated by the ATF that allows you to confirm the validity of a particular FFL and also confirm the address – this is very important to not only stay compliant with the ATF but also to avoid FFL Transfer Scams (covered below).

When Should You Use FFL eZ Check?

Prior to sending a firearm to an FFL, you should always confirm the FFL through FFL eZ Check – this is true even if you’re not an FFL yourself.

If you’re using the free FFLSafe software then you can rest easy – the FFLSafe system automatically checks FFL eZ Check for you EVERY SINGLE TIME you interact with another FFL.

How to Use FFL eZ Check

How you take advantage of the FFLeZCheck system depends on how you operate your own FFL.

If you use the free FFLSafe bound book, you have nothing to worry about nor do – it is all automatically done for you!

However, if you are using a spreadsheet or paper bound book, or worse, you’re actually paying for FFL software that doesn’t do this for you every time even though they’re charging you money, you’re going to have to deal with FFL eZ Check on your own.

For FFLSafe Users:

Next to the FFL information in FFLSafe, if it is a valid license, you will see a green checkmark and “FFL Verified” after a quick check in the background. If there’s an issue with the FFL, you’ll be notified immediately.

That’s it!

For those that don’t have software that automates FFL eZ Check:

Step 1: Obtain a signed copy of the FFL to which you’re transferring a firearm

Step 2: Open an internet browser on your computer and navigate to https://fflezcheck.atf.gov/FFLEzCheck/

Step 3: Type the FFL number into the appropriate blocks on the FFL eZ Check screen (be very careful to not make a typo here!)

Step 4: Review the results of your check to ensure that the FFL’s expiration date hasn’t passed and confirm the address on the screen matches the address on the copy of the FFL you’ve obtained from Step 1

Step 5: Proceed with the transfer ONLY if the FFL is valid

FFL Transfer Scams

Unfortunately, as is the case with other industries, there are bad people who try to take advantage of others.

When it comes to our industry, however, we must be extra careful not only to protect ourselves from being scammed out of money but also prevent these criminals from getting access to firearms.

A common FFL transfer scam involves the criminal obtaining a copy of a valid FFL from another business/someone else and then altering the address.

What this does is it makes it appear that they have a valid FFL but instead of shipping to the actual FFL’s licensed location, the firearm is instead shipped to the altered address where the criminal is waiting for the firearm.

If you fall for this scam, you will not only be out the value of the firearm because the actual FFL will have never received it, but you’ll also likely be in trouble with the ATF because you didn’t ship the firearm to a valid FFL and have now allowed a criminal to be in possession of a firearm.

Another possible scam is someone who has had their FFL revoked by the ATF still uses their FFL to try to get guns shipped to them. The paper copy of the FFL may still have an expiration date in the future even though the FFL has actually been revoked.

If you don’t check the FFL, or use a software that does it for you, it might appear valid and you might not know that it is actually revoked.

To prevent these scams, always check the validity of an FFL through FFL eZ Check manually OR use a software like FFLSafe that automatically checks it for you, every time, for free.

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