Last year, when an inspector from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped by SSG Tactical’s Fredericksburg shop for an unannounced audit, Mr. Stockman thought he was prepared.
Each of the roughly 7,500 guns his business sold that year required a Form 4473, the federal document that the purchaser and seller must complete, in addition to a background check.
The Form 4473 asks questions such as where the purchaser lives and whether the person has ever committed a crime.
Leaving one of the 132 items on the six-page questionnaire blank, or filling it in incorrectly, is an ATF violation. One violation can lead to a license revocation, which would put Mr. Stockman out of business.
Out of SSG Tactical’s 7,500 guns sold, the company could have made as many as 990,000 mistakes from the Form 4473 alone.
Turns out, Mr. Stockman’s team made about 180 errors — a 99.98 percent accuracy rate.
The majority of the violations were on the 4473 and included incorrect information on ethnicity, wrong dates and leaving a box empty when the city and county go by the same name, Mr. Stockman said.
“These mistakes were anything but willful — they were simply human error,” he said. “Now, if anything more turns up, in any future audit, we could lose our license — our business.”