How closely have you read the 4473?

All of us have filled out the 4473 form so many times that we could pretty much recite it and fill it out blind folded. But have you actually bothered to read the stuff after you sign and date 16 and 17?

A co-worker was perusing the later section, that hardly anyone reads, and found two interesting things in the 4473 that dispel misconceptions regarding firearm sales.

First there is the misconception regarding gifting a firearm. For a long time I have heard, and mistakenly believed, that gifting a firearm is only allowed between parent and offspring or between spouses. This is completely false. Apparently you can gift a gun to anyone you want. Take a look at the screen cap of the section explaining 11a “transferee/buyer”.

4473 buyer


Did you catch the subtle nuance between the two examples? You cannot buy a gun on BEHALF of someone. But you can buy a gun and gift it to someone. Now the recipient of the gifted firearm must not be a prohibited person. So use common sense, otherwise you will have committed a straw purchase.


The other amazing discovery is with regards to residency. Having lived in NY for a couple years as a firearms enthusiast, I look for ways to acquire guns legally using loopholes. Such as buying non NY legal guns in PA but having them shipped to my FFL in NY. Like my Glock 21 Gen4 came with three 13rd magazines. The store clerk said he can’t ship them to NY. I told him yes he can because my FFL will buy them off me or trade them for 10 rd mags. However this recently discovered rule in the 4473 opens up opportunities for a lot of people.

In the 4473, under Current Address and State of Residency, there is a section that clarifies it. It states that if you have a house in a different state and while you are vacationing there, you must use that address while you are there buying guns.

4473 address
What does this mean for you and me? Well, you can buy handguns in different states and take them with you rather than ship them to another FFL in the other state. Granted you need to have a home or apt with a supporting govt document that shows your address of that other state.

So my friend who is still living in NY, has a house in PA .He could go to a PA FFL and buy any gun he wants because he is using his PA address as his current residence. He can get any handgun or AR15 that would be banned in NY and leave them in his home in PA. According to the excerpt above, that would be completely legal.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • Intellectual Slacker

    4473s are such a pain in the ass constantly having to help people understand them but not tell them what goes where. And most people just dont keep the documentation on them to pull of the two places of residences, here in NC we get lots of NY and CA visitors and most simply dont wanna risk it

  • Err, what kind of person signs a Federal form without having read it closely?

    • Renegade

      Probably 95% of gun buyers.

      • Ko I

        As a gun dealer, I always tell people to read the form. My phrase is “any agency that shoots people over tax money is one you should be careful of.”

      • It’s not that I think everybody reads the form religiously, it’s that I think it should go without saying that you should read forms that you can get Federal prison time for filling out wrong.

    • Nick

      All these “instructions” are on the back end of the form. Most people usually only pay attention to everything before their signature and after that they don’t care, “that’s the dealer’s part”.

      • I say that almost every time I fill out the form. Doesn’t mean I haven’t read it, I just don’t need to read it five times a month.

        I check the revision date to make sure it hasn’t changed, and fill it out.

        • sonny

          You are so smart. Why can’t everyone be like you?

    • Beju

      “Eh, let’s see… blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda…
      ‘…the next part is very important … they are going to take you…’
      …probably shouldn’t have signed that form.”

    • DIR911911 .

      ever enlist?

      • Nate Opgenorth

        Ahaha was waiting for this reply…

    • ozzallos .

      What kind of person uses software without reading the EULA…?
      Oh. Right.

  • GDEP202

    Nothing new here for those of us who can read, perhaps the author should review all important documents he signs.

    • Theo Braunohler

      Seriously, these points are common knowledge.

      • OBlamo Binlyen

        Yes, to those that actually can read and think. Now, think of those that keep voting for the Democrats and the RINO’s then make that statement.

  • imachinegunstuff

    I could be wrong, but I’m pretty I couldn’t gift a weapon to someone from a different state.

    • Marcus D.

      You can, but it has to be transferred through an FFL in the transferee’s state. And the firearm must be legal in the state where the transfer occurs.

    • Jim_Macklin

      A bequest from an estate can be delivered by the executor as stated by the will. This may or may not involve a probate court.

  • Evan

    When I was in the Marine Corps stationed in California, I bought guns there and never listed my permanent address on the 4473. Though maybe cause I lived off base and listed that address it doesn’t count? I know I always had to provide a copy of my original orders to prove that I was permanently stationed in California as I wasn’t a resident. Gun laws are frightfully stupid.

  • John

    The buyer, if establishing a dual residency, will need to obtain an identification card in the state of his secondary residence and provide that to the FFL dealer when doing the transfer. That is required to establish the residence in that state. Members of the military can establish dual residency with their PCS papers.

    • Anonymous

      Not necessarily. We dealt with that very commonly, and used tax documents to verify ownership of property in-state…ATF was fine with it. YMMV.

      • John

        Interesting. That was acceptable when an address on the government issued ID was incorrect and needed supplemental information. I suppose since the dealer completing the transfer isn’t required to copy the ID it would pass without being noticed. Was the ID from their other / primary state of residence?

      • sean

        Just called my ATF and you can not be a duel resident so you have to use your ID card or Drivers license. If you have a P.O.Box on that ID then you can use a state issued documentation to prove physical address.

    • Rick5555

      I have duel residency in Florida and Tennessee. My drivers license is still issued from FL. However, I reside and work in TN. Initially, with my FFL. I displayed my FL drivers license. And then to prove TN residency. I revealed, the registration to my vehicle and to easy his mind. A bunch of utility bills from the beginning to current bill. Didn’t bring in the bills in between. Just the first and current. Which reveals, I’ve been at the TN resident for a decade. My FFL was satisfied and never had an issue since. Now I just show my car registration or my TN CCW permit. I suppose I should transfer my DL. But haven’t found the time. And renewing FL DL can be done via online. When that option runs out. I will then get a TN DL.
      I heard a new law was passed (Federally) that you can now purchase hand guns in the same manner as purchasing a rifle. And you don’t have to be resident of another state per se. I believe it was a US Supreme Court ruling. However, many FFL’s are can’t inform me if this is valid. Maybe someone else knows of this. You should be able to buy a hand gun in the same exact manner as buying a rifle out of state. And not have to have it shipped to a FFL. And simply walk out with the firearm, as if you were purchase in your resident State.

      • John

        Our local ATF branch would not allow utility bills to establish residency. I believe the vehicle registration is acceptable. I don’t believe that law went to the Supreme Court. It may have been in a lower court. Today it is not legal to sell a handgun to a resident from another state. I’m confident about that.

        • sean

          it has to be state issued documentation

      • Marcus D.

        Your last paragraph is entirely false. A federal district court in Texas declared that the handgun limitation in the federal firearms law was unconstitutional. This ruling has been appealed, and the trial court decision is suspended and not binding anywhere. Handguns must be shipped to an FFL in your state of residence, and transferred according to the laws of the state of residence.

        • Nate Opgenorth

          Hopefully the 5th Circuit remembers their oaths with this case! Probably one of the better federal appellate courts to have the case in than say the 2nd, 7th or even the 9th. Still, the Government would likely appeal to SCOTUS but I’m not sure they would take up the case, they don’t seam to want to take up any 2A rights cases unless there is practically a constitutional crisis and massive circuit split.

      • sonny

        You must keep your FL drivers license if you want to keep your Florida Homestead Exemption on your home in FL. That will save you very much in property taxes in the coming years.

    • Mike V99

      The problem with getting a state photo ID card in the second state is that you are required to surrender your drivers license from State 1 just as if the ID card was a drivers license. The authorities cannot get straight the concepts of state of domicile and residency. You can only have one state of domicile, and it is where you file your taxes, are registered to vote and have your drivers license.. Federal law says you can only have one drivers license/photo ID. State of residence is wherever you maintain a home that you live in while in that state. You can have several states of residence, and you are a resident of that state whenever you are there. The Firearms law says you can buy a gun wherever you have a residence, and do so AS as resident of that state. But they won’t accept any proof you provide except a drivers license, and that will be the domicile state, not the second residence state, so it is a Catch 22 situation.

      • John

        I think that depends on the state… In Missouri you are not required to surrender your home state’s DL if you are getting a non-DL identification card. Gun stores can use a state issued ID that shows your current residential address so a non-DL suffices.

        • milesfortis

          That’s correct. Until I retired from working in VA and moved back permanently to MO, I had a VA DL and a MO ID. I bought guns in both states.

  • floppyscience

    “A co-worker was perusing the later section, that hardly anyone reads”

    Uhhh what? I don’t know anyone who “hardly reads” any part of the 4473. That’s a great way to screw yourself.

    • I don’t read the back of the form every time I fill one out, but I read it every time a new version comes out. Not knowing what you’re signing is just dumb when it’s a Federal form.

      So it’s a little concerning to hear an FFL or their representative say that “hardly anyone reads the later section” in the context of them reading it for the first time, because while, no, I wouldn’t expect every single 4473 that gets filled out to be read thoroughly, I’d hope that most serious gun buyers have read the form at least once, and that the FFL/their representative had read it several times to stay current.

      Also, if you’re an FFL or representative of one, it is good manners to let the customer know when new editions of the 4473 come out.

    • sam

      I read it, like as not while I’m doing so some other customer muzzle sweeps me a bit to help me concentrate.

    • Jared Duet

      I have worked at the retail level in the firearms industry for over 10 years and have never seen a customer read the instruction section of a 4473. Hell, most of them don’t want to read section 11…

      • Jim_Macklin

        Considering the poor quality of public education for the past fifty years, I’m not sure if 80% of the legal gun buyers are literate? I’m sure that people who can’t get “cite, sight, site” or “there, their, they’re” to cite just two examples. When you read about muzzles breaks you can’t complain about the “barrel shroud, that thing that goes up” to quote the idiot female Senator from California. 😉

        • Rooftop Voter

          “Barrel shroud” is a favorite of mine. I love to watch her dance all around the question; why not say “I don’t know what a barrel shroud is but we have to ban it!” Is she the same one who wanted to ban scary attachments on the AR rifles?

  • Stephen

    This is good information for someone new to firearms. Despite the other comments, there is value in what is here, its just not going to be new information to most firearms enthusiasts.

    “I look for ways to acquire guns legally using loopholes” — I take issue with this phrasing. I do not believe loopholes exist. That term and reference came about with the pro-gun control crowd and their slaughtering of logic and common sense. I’m not researched though, so perhaps someone can fill in on the history of this term.

    A clearer way of conveying what I believe you mean is to say “I look for ways to acquire guns legally by fully understanding the laws dealing with acquiring firearms.” or something to that effect.

    • Yeah, I agree with you, Stephen. It’s not a loophole if it’s explicitly allowed in the law… And you can bet, with the kind of scrutiny these things are under, that there aren’t any loopholes. I know this because every few years some gun manufacturer decides they’re gonna exploit a loophole and then they get raided and people get prison time.

    • Nicholas Chen

      Yes. Thank you for eloquently saying what I mean.

  • Bill

    But wait, the gummint only wants to make it harder to get guns, not easier. This can’t be…..

  • HSR47

    “So my friend who is still living in NY, has a house in PA .He could go to a PA FFL and buy any gun he wants because he is using his PA address as his current residence.”

    Actually, not quite true.

    In order to buy a gun in PA, he needs to establish residency in PA; The individual will need to provide the dealer with a government-issued photo ID which lists that individual’s current PA address. There are a lot of extra hoops you need to jump through to properly claim dual residency, and there are additional tax consequences to consider. Additionally, some states are restrictive about the states with which they will accept dual-residency.

  • nanoc

    Similar to CA where you cant purchase new handguns that are not on the handgun roster but if you move to CA you can bring any handgun with you except a Judge as that is considered a short barreled shotgun. Then you can sell it to anyone through a PPT. Many people purchase numerous handguns bring them into the state and lets just say it covers their moving expenses.

  • Marcus D.

    One major caveat to this story. The transfer must occur in compliance with the laws of the state of residency of the transferee, with some exceptions. Under California law, a parent/grandparent/child gift is exempt from the California roster (mostly). Thus, these specific close family relatives can transfer nonroster firearms to California residents EXCEPT that transfer may not include any magazine of greater than 10 rounds capacity, and may not include “assault weapons” as defined by state law, including SBRs, silencers machine guns Barret .50 cal rifles, or evil black rifles that are either not “featureless” or do not have a California bullet button. The same would be true of a Pa resident transferring a firearm to a NY resident–the transfer must comply with NY law and be processed by a NY FFL, or by an FFL who will process the transfer according to NY law, including any firearm or magazine capacity limits.Hnadguns can only be processed in NY state.

  • Jim_Macklin

    The entire form, whether 4473 or IRS 1040 should be read in full whenever the form changes. There is a note on the bottom of the page about revisions.
    Other than being a restrain of trade and an aggravation, does [has] any part of ’68 GCA actually reduced crime or improved public safety?
    Back in the days before 1968 one of the pleasures of travel was the ability to enter a gunsmith shop in Wyoming or Missouri and actually shop for one of a kind guns. The 5 inch Ruger Super Blackhawk for $80 that paired with my 7-1/2″ on my hip.
    Waiting periods, are not federal, but similar to the silly idea, Does it make any sense for delays or limitations on a second or a trade-in transaction?

  • Leigh Rich

    Mr. Black or Brown does not buy a firearm from a dealer legaly. They get it off the streets. Black lives matter.

    • shootbrownelk

      Dammit Leigh Rich, you beat me to it. You be right Bro! “Black Lies Matter” and “Pants-up-don’t-Loot” Mr. Black & Mr. Brown get their heaters in da ‘Hood.

    • iksnilol

      I don’t care about skin color, I always support my local hood.

      It’s a matter of principle.

  • Leigh Rich

    Make sure to check the block Hispanic or non Hispanic than the proper block for your race too. I have a hard time remembering my race at times.

    • iksnilol

      What if you were on a vacation and got a tan? Are you then temporarily hispanic?

  • silentfor56years

    The Supreme Court says that we have the right to remain silent. We are also protected from undue search and seizure without probable cause of a crime. Except when we want to exercise our Second Amendment Rights, we have to give up our Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights and undergo a “voluntary” interrogation. Deal with it. This all started in 1968 because the liberal establishment made gun owners feel guilty about Lee Harvey Oswald and others. Now they want more. More reasonable sensible background checks which translates to more civil rights violations. And, sadly, we will go along like sheep, because we want “them” to like us. Well here is a news flash, they are never going to like us so stop listening to their BS.

  • It’s always best to review the 4473 prior to signing, as the ATF has changed it over the years, and due to wording, you could answer something wrong. Just look at 10/10a/10b….

  • Mike V99

    There is only one problem with the two state scenario. I have a primary home in NY and have a second home in PA. The dealers in PA will not sell you a gun at your PA address unless you produce a PA drivers license. There is nothing in the law that says so, but they won’t do it, so you are screwed. Main issue seems to be that PA does its own background check for handguns and will not OK the sale without a PA drivers license. The Head of the PA State Troopers firearms unit told us this is not correct, but try it and see how far you get.

  • Steven Parker

    Reading and understanding is something else.How about the way the libtards interpert the bill of rights.

  • Old Gringo

    The biggest concern I have is people who buy a gun for their kids, grandkids, daughters, stepdaughters and others who are under 21…..lets say your daughter is 19 and moves to a dangerous city for college or work or even gets married……you cannot buy and gift her a handgun under the language on the form, so she would have no access to a handgun in her home….so perhaps you should “loan” her one along with a locking device…it should be very clear in her mind that it is your gun…now dont try that in NY, DC, Mass or any of those radical anti-American states…..or maybe just loan her a short shotgun? Or maybe just store an entire closet full of hunting and camping gear in her spare closet along with one of your hunting guns? It is common for kids (under 21) to save up money and have a parent buy a gun for them, but dont try and explain that to a prosecutor after your kids kills some intruder………just things to consider… As a former cop and prosecutor my thought is that most prosecutors are looking for any good reason not to file charges, dont make life hard for them…

  • Old Gringo

    FWIW there is some confusion in this thread……unless you can show me some law, I believe there is no such thing as “dual state residency”…you can have dual citizenship with another country but not several states….for example the federal tax code makes it clear, you may own homes in 4 states like Hillary Clinton, but you only have one state of residency…..regardless of where you live or work most of the time…military people have a statutory exemption that allows gun purchases in both their home state and current duty station if they are different….for example when I was mliltary I once lived in Texas, so I claimed that state since it had no state income tax but I never actually moved back to that state… comment is just don’t do anything stupid like claim you are still a resident of some state just because you keep your old driver’s license active in that state when you don’t even own or rent property in that state….it never matters unless you get caught or have a car wreck and then get sued in the state you claimed by your license or perhaps fill out a federal gun form and lie about your residence…that is a felony under 18 USC 1000-1005, et seq. I am a retired prosecutor, federal agent and cop…..I see people who do stupid stuff everyday thinking they are being clever….dont’ do stupid stuff…..

    • Mike V99

      See my post in this thread on state of domicile vs. state(s) of residency. You can only have one state of domicile. that is where you have your PRIMARY residence and are registered to vote, have drivers license and pay resident taxes. You can have multiple states of residency. Residency is wherever you have a home that you live in when you are there. Rental property or vacant land does not count. It must be a home you live in. There was a federal court case on this issue on NY last year. Plaintiff had Louisiana primary residence (domicile) and second NY State vacation residence. NY State refused him a license arguing their law called for residency only. They confused domicile with residence, as you are arguing here. The Court held that NY must give him a Pistol license as he had a NY residence.

      The case is Osterweil v. Bartlett, United States District Court, Northern District of New York, 2014.
      “Defendant interpreted section 400.00(3)(a)’s apparent residence requirement as a domicile requirement.”

      “Defendant “argues that New York’s highest court has never held
      that the law requires domicile, that the text speaks only of residence”

      “The court found its conclusion clear from the plain statutory language, which refers only to an applicant’s residence and which expressly contemplates issuance of a handgun to nondomiciliaries.”

  • sean

    Your physical address on your paperwork has to match your ID that you are using for the purchase and according to the ATF unless you work for the Government you can not be a duel resident.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    Every single time I fill out a 4473, I think that I should make a full page rubber stamp so I can stamp all of the answers at once, sign and date it, and be done with it as quickly as possible as my way to show that form as little respect as possible. I hate the 4473 (federal distributed gun registry) as much as I hate the 1040 (federal institutionalized theft).

    The 4473 should have been the 4377 (leetspeak for “HELL”, 4=H, 3=E, 7=L).

  • AR-PRO

    Funny how when someone actually reads it, they find all these little tid-bits of common knowledge.. To the Author, the key part of buying that handgun in another state is that you have to own property there….

  • Don La Rue

    Just to be clear here, the criminal act that was created by the ATFE, an administrative agency without such powers, and rubber stamped by SCOTUS, is the act of making a false statement to a question that has no foundation in federal law. Federal law only prohibits a dealer from selling a firearm to someone they have reason to believe is prohibited from possessing a firearm. No federal law prohibits someone from buying a firearm for his friend with the friends money.

    I’m sure you all read the Abramski case,…but I’ll repeat what Scalia stated in his dissent…Read carefully.

    “Under §922(a)(6), it is a crime to make a “false . . . statement” to a licensed gun dealer about a “fact material to the lawfulness of ” a firearms sale. Abramski made a false statement when he claimed to be the gun’s “actual transferee/buyer” as Form 4473 defined that term. But that false statement was not “material to the lawfulness of the sale” since the truth—that Abramski was buying the gun for his uncle with his uncle’s money—would not have made the sale unlawful. See Kungys v. United States, 485 U. S. 759, 775 (1988) (plurality opinion) (materiality is determined by asking “what would have ensued from official knowledge of the misrepresented fact”); accord id., at 787 (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment). Therefore, Abramski’s conviction on this count cannot stand.”

    “But the Government does not contend that either Abramski or his uncle fell into one of those prohibited categories. And no provision of the Act prohibits one person who is eligible to receive and possess firearms ( e.g., Abramski) from buying a gun for another person who is eligible to receive and possess firearms ( e.g., Abramski’s uncle), even at the other’s request and with the other’s money”

  • Nate Opgenorth

    I wasn’t aware, but that doesn’t mean I blindly signed the 4473’s I’ve done. I just went over the important aspects. I always keep a copy of the latest revision on my computer to go over though. Never had to deal with interstate transfers, was aware it was possible but not in this manner, likely because so many people scream straw purchase when you talk about gifting a firearm in any way no matter how legal it is. Good to know.

  • SpankyPE

    Same here….I read everything I sign….except for that one piece of paper back when. Signed it and next thing I knew…I was in MCRD San Diego !!!

  • mossbergman

    If you are the buyer for the gift the firearms needs to be transferred to the gifted person when they receive it.. Other wise would it not just be a straw purchase

  • crazyjack66


  • supergun

    Did you know that you have to fill out form 4473 to receive a gun that you have already have purchased and owned, even if you have owned that gun for years? How redundit and infringing is that. You could go to prison for owning your own gun.