Originally Posted by robocop10mm
I believe they have unfettered access to the 4473's but cannot remove them or make copies. They can take notes. Copies shoud require a subpoena.
I recently had this discussion with my buddy/Gunshop owner/FFL, actually
they can take them without a subpeona, however, they are only allowed to
take them 1) in the course of a criminal investitation and only 4473 specific
to that investation and 2) they must leave a reciept for that 4473.
So if John Doe is a suspected straw purchaser for local criminals, the ATF
can request the 4473's for all guns that John Doe purchased. The FFL has
to provide them. When the investigation is over the ATF is required to
return them. However, most investigations are Gun X is recovered as a
weapon used in a crime. The Serial number is traced from the Mfr. to the
wholesaler, to the gunshop to the owner(s) and hopefully to the criminal.
Any 4473 that are removed from the shop, the ATF agent is required to
leave a signed receipt for those records. More than one my buddy had
4473's taken by one agent only to have another stop in a week or two
later asking for the same one (a particular gun by s/n) Dick showed the
receipt and all was good. Several Agents commented that it was good
he had the receipt.
If a gun shop closes down all the 4473 are to be turned over to the ATF.