7 January 2016,

Firearms: How President Obama’s executive actions affect auctions


How does President Obama’s recent Firearms Executive Actions announcement affect you if you sell firearms at auction?

Here’s what you need to know as an NAA member:

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(1-8-2016) UPDATE: The ATF has material that provides more clarification on the necessity of a license for auction professionals. Please refer to this PDF. Read the entire document, but refer specifically to page 6 for an answer on “Do I need a license if I’m an auctioneer and simply auction guns for my customers?”

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This week, President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions aimed at reducing gun violence. Though this is still a work in progress, some announced actions could have a more immediate impact on your business if you sell firearms.

The National Auctioneers Association will continue to monitor this important issue moving forward.

1. “If you’re in the business of selling firearms, you must get a license and conduct background checks.” The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has clarified that a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background System is required regardless of the location where firearms transactions are conducted, including at gun shows and online. Additionally, ATF continues to better define what it means to be “engaged in the business,” but that definition is yet to be made fully clear. It said that a few transactions or guns sold could be sufficient evidence to establish that a person is engaged. Failure to be licensed and/or conduct background checks may be subject to prison time and/or fines.

2. Background checks will be required on the sale of most “dangerous weapons” and items purchased through a trust or corporation. This pertains to National Firearms Act regulations that allowed individuals to avoid background checks when purchasing specific weapons through a trust or corporation.

3. Dealers must notify law enforcement about the theft or loss of guns. While current laws say that federal firearms dealers and other licensees must already make such reports, the regulations were somewhat ambiguous about guns lost or stolen in transit. ATF has clarified that the licensee shipping a gun is responsible for notifying law enforcement upon discovery that it was lost or stolen in transit.

Also worth noting:

–  The Federal Bureau of Investigation plans to overhaul the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. Envisioned improvements include 24/7 processing and improved notification to local authorities about potential threats.
–  ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and will enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
–  The FBI will hire more than 230 new staff to help process background checks, while ATF hopes to add 200 new agents and investigators to enforce regulations and laws.
–  The Social Security Administration and Department of Health and Human Services will work to improve mental health reporting incorporated into the background check system.

We encourage anyone who deals in the sale of firearms to get educated on how this could impact their business and to be appropriately licensed. You can read more about the proposed executive actions here. You can also get information on obtaining your FFL.

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