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The ultimate issue for a gun shop owner is security; the penultimate issue is compliance. Gun shops are heavily regulated at the federal, state, and local levels. Costs for non-compliance is high. Much of the inventory has serial numbers which must be tracked under penalty of law.
Point of sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM), and inventory software systems are critical to gun shop owners. Gun shop owners must carefully track which items are ordered, received into inventory, and sold. Lost, stolen, and destroyed firearms must be documented and reported. Customers are subject to background checks which also must be documented. The ATF has specific requirements for gun shop software which include a compliant backup system.
The other components of an accounting system, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger, and payroll, are more or less standard. However, it is very important that the gun shop maintain accurate records on its vendors and purchases.
While evaluating systems, gun and tactical gear shop owners should consider the following functions to meet their unique requirements:
|Federal Firearms Transaction Record (ATF 4473)||ATF Form 4473 must be completed when a firearm is sold over the counter or through the mail. The system should collect the information about the customer and provide the necessary form with an option to file it electronically.|
|National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)||The system should support running NICS checks through the appropriate state point of contact (POC) or through the FBI in states without a POC.|
|National Firearms Act (NFA) forms||The system should track which inventory items are subject to NFA reporting. For those items, it should complete the correct NFA forms when title is transferred.|
|ID scanning||The system should scan and retain ID information for customers. The POS should scan IDs and verify that the format of the ID is correct. It is impractical to validate the IDs against government databases.|
|ATF-compliant serial number tracking||Since 2008, the ATF allows the “bound book” list of firearm serial numbers to be maintained electronically. The system should maintain a ATF-compliant serial number list.|
|Lost or stolen firearm form||The system must handle lost or stolen firearms. The inventory value must be decreased. The system must also complete the correct notification forms and update the electronic bound book.|
|Destroyed firearm form||Similarly, the system must handle destroyed firearms. The inventory value must be decreased. The system must also complete the correct notification forms and update the electronic bound book.|
|Work orders||Many gun shops offer special services. Examples include repairs, bluing, and engraving. The system needs to track the work orders, post deposits, and notify the customer when the work is complete.|
|Special orders||The system should handle special orders. It should track deposits, integrate with order entry to place orders, and notify the customer when the order is received.|
|Security camera interface||The POS system should integrate with the security camera system. A link to the video of each transaction should be stored with the transaction in the POS.|
|State and local forms||Compliance regulations vary state to state, and sometimes even within a state. The system must prepare all state and local forms as required.|
|Integrated backup system||The ATF has requirements for gun shop software. One is that the software include an integrated backup system. Advanced systems will have a copy on premises and an additional copy stored in the cloud.|
|Ammunition database||Firearms have different options for ammunition. Some ammunition is more strictly regulated than others. The system should provide a list of options on hand and available for special order while enforcing policy and legal requirements.|
|Tax calculations||Some firearms are taxed differently than others. The system should correctly calculate the taxes and prepare tax filing information as required.|