NFA Myths: Did I agree to 24/7 warrantless inspections?

ATF_Agent_SearchOne of the most common myths that I hear about owning NFA items involves the supposed ability of ATF officers to search your home at any time of the day or night without the need for a warrant.

Let’s just make this crystal clear.  This myth is not true!  You did not waive your 4th Amendment rights when you decided to legally own an NFA item.

“So where does this myth come from?”

I believe the myth originates from the fact that the ATF has the right to inspect the premises and inventory of an FFL holder (class 3 or otherwise).

However, even in that case the right to inspect is not 24/7 nor is it unlimited.  The ATF only has the right to conduct this inspection during the FFL’s normal business hours.  In addition, to quote from the BATFE’s own compliance fact sheet, “With certain exceptions, the GCA allows ATF to conduct one warrantless, annual compliance inspection of a federal firearms licensee (FFL).”

Owning an NFA item comes with a number of responsibilities.  But allowing the ATF unfettered access to your home is not one of them.

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