Purchase of Firearms Using a Counterfeit Federal Firearms License

GAO-02-383RNI: Published: Mar 13, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2002.

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Donald G. Fulwider
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GAO purchased a firearm from a licensed federal firearms dealer using a counterfeit license. GAO also reviewed two instances in which individuals purchased firearms using counterfeit or altered licenses. The Federal Firearms License (FFL) eZ Check System allows a licensed firearms dealer to authenticate the license of another licensed dealer. Use of the FFL eZ Check System is currently not mandatory, although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has announced that it intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make such use mandatory.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GAO is not certain what happened in response to this recommendation. Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: ATF should prevent individuals from obtaining easy access to license numbers by eliminating the last five digits of the FFL license numbering sequence from publicly available FFL lists. Further, at the present time, there is no solution that would prevent a user logging onto the system with a legitimate FFL license from changing the last number of the license and obtaining information concerning another legitimate FFL.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms


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