ATF Greenlights Drive-up, Curbside Gun Shop Services

A man with beautiful hands palms a Walther semi-automatic pistol with a micro red dot sight

The ATF last week clarified that gun shops can conduct services outside of their storefront, such as in a booth in the parking lot or through a drive-up window. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Federal gun regulators on Friday issued guidance on licensed gun stores operating a drive-up or walk-up window and temporary tables in their parking lots.

The April 10 industry letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to Federal Firearms Licensees comes nearly a month after the declaration of a national emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. FFLs and gun industry trade groups urged the ATF to clarify the legality of offering drive-through and curbside services, in which several shops sought to comply with federal and local guidelines on social distancing.

In short, the ATF specified that a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer “carry out the requested activities on any part of the business premises, including the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure,” provided the other federal, state and local laws are complied with.


1. An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license.

2. An FFL may also carry out the requested activities from a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot or other exterior location on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, but any such activities must occur in a location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes. Whether the FFL has the authority to permit such entry, and whether a location constitutes the FFL’s property, is likely to be a fact-specific inquiry. An FFL carrying out the requested activities from an exterior table or booth should maintain its inventory and records securely in the interior of the brick-and-mortar structure and ensure that the records of each firearms transaction are stored in the interior.

3. An FFL may not carry out the requested activities from a nearby space that is not located on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, unless such activities are at a qualified in-state gun show or event, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 923(j) and 27 C.F.R. § 478.100, or other provision of federal law.

4. An FFL may conduct non-over-the-counter firearm sales to unlicensed in-state residents who are exempt from NICS requirements in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 922(c), 27 § C.F.R. 478.96, and ATF Procedure 2013-2


“We have been working closely with the ATF to gain clarity on this front for firearm retailers,” said the National Shooting Sports Foundation in a statement issued Friday. “Today we thank the ATF for issuing guidance for FFLs regarding sidewalk/curbside transactions.”

On March 28, the administration of President Trump listed, “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges,” as a group that, along with healthcare, security, food industry, and energy workers, is “crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.”

Meanwhile, anti-gun groups such as Giffords, the Brady Campaign, and Everytown are burning the midnight oil in campaigns to close gun shops during the crisis, with the latter going so far to argue such orders do not violate the right to keep and bear arms.

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