Software Tools for FFLs
FFL Tools Information

FFL Tools Information (9)

Blog entries for FFL Tools not addressed on the forums, articles, or online documentation.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 12:41

Barcoded Form 4 Integration

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Silencer Shop out of Austin Texas worked with the ATF to develop a means to produce a Barcoded Form 4. This new Barcoded Form 4 can be scanned by the NFA Branch of the ATF to populate Form 4 data in their computers instead of having to type it all in by hand. 

This advancement has led to the faster processing of Form 4's when they contain a Barcode, reducing the processing time down from what had been 6-12 months down to 2-3 months as of recent reports.

One stipulation by the ATF when working with Silencer Shop was that any system created be made available to anyone. Silencer Shop has produced a freely available ATF Form 4 Generator website.

FFL Tools customers that own the NFA module now have the ability to simply double click a record in FFL Tools to generate a Barcoded Form 4 through the ATF Form 4 Generator.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 12:58

Top 10 Features

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Not in any particular order

  1. Firearm Import

    Many of our customers are new to the community of Firearms Dealers and have a bright, shiny new FFL. This is to say that they have not yet started keeping an Acquisitions/Dispositions Bound Book. However, many of our customers have existing inventory and wish to pull it into FFL Tools. For this situation we have developed the Firearm Import feature which allows you to bring existing, non-Disposed firearms into FFL Tools.

  2. FFL Holder Disposition Options

    Some of our customers have multiple shops and move large amounts of inventory from one Retail location to another, or from a warehouse to a Retail location. Sometimes they may need to do an FFL Holder disposition of hundreds or thousands of firearms. To aid in this task we've added two features to the FFL Holder Disposition to help facilitate these large transfers.

    • Import List of Serial Numbers from Excel

      This feature allows for a list of serial numbers that has been generated in Excel to be used. When the list of serial numbers is selected, those firearms are moved from the Available Firearm Datagrid to the Ready for Disposition Datagrid for the selected Vendor/FFL Holder.

    • Scan Serial Number to Move to Datagrid

      This feature allows for scanning of serial numbers of firearms to add them to the Ready for Disposition Datagrid if a list of serial numbers is not available. As you scan serial numbers, firearms are moved from the Available Firearm Datagrid to the Ready for Disposition Datagrid.

  3. Verification of FFL Holder by FFL eZCheck

    Anytime there is a small Shield Icon in FFL Tools, this is used to perform a verification of an FFL Holder's license status and information. The shield icon can be found in several places throughout the application and saves a significant amount of time, while ensuring that each FFL has been verified. When the shield is clicked while in a Disposition screen, a print dialog will be displayed so the FFL eZCheck results can be printed.

  4. Data Analytics
    • Firearm Inquiry

      The Firearm Inquiry is found under the Reporting tab in the Analytics section and has many uses. Inquiry provides a quick look at all firearm records, color coded by their status of Available, Disposed, Voided. The firearm records can be sorted and filtered in many ways, on a single column, several columns, custom expressions. Data can also be grouped by any column for instance Manufacturer. Once grouped the data is reorganized in a tree hierarchy. When the data is not grouped, but has been filtered or not, records displayed within the Datagrid can be saved out to a delimited text file. In an un-grouped list, double clicking a record will display a complete firearm record in a form which can then be printed.

    • Analytic Charts

      There are several Charts to display the firearm data, broken down by years, and months. Datasets exist for Firearm Type, and Acquisition/Disposition status. One of the most popular of the charts is the Age Report. This is a combination Chart and associated Datagrid. There are several predefined ranges that can be selected to show how long firearms have been in inventory. Many use this report in deciding when to have a sale or promotion to move stale inventory. Again like the Inquiry Report, the information can be exported from the Datagrid to a delimited text file.

  5. Interactive Inventory

    The Interactive Inventory report is a great time saver. It makes performing an inventory painless thereby making routing inventory reporting less of an ordeal. Simply get a scanner and scan the serial number bar codes on the firearms when in the Interactive Inventory screen. Audible alerts give feedback as to the success or failure to find a scanned serial number. Once complete, simply print out the report, sign and date it, and place it in your files.

  6. File Browser

    All documents produced by FFL Tools are kept in a centralized location on the hard drive for later retrieval. If a 4473 Form is accidentally closed before printing it, or needs to call it up later, the File Browser is your friend. When the Browser button under the Tools tab is clicked, a form opens displaying a tree hierarchy of all FFL Tools generated output. Simply navigate through the tree to the form folder to retrieve the desired form. Once found, double click the entry to open that form.

  7. Integrated Background Checks

    FFL Tools shipped with integration to the Leo Enterprise Portal for performing FBI NICS Background Checks. Many states utilized this system for performing background checks however, multiple states have their own system. Over time we have written custom integrations to many state systems. If you are spending precious time with a phone to your ear calling in a background check, do yourself a favor and get an account to access the Background Check system applicable to your state of operations. A double click of the mouse will populate the online form, and a short time later you will be done with your background check. The desire of BATFE is for everyone to utilized the online system as it is much faster to use and requires less man power on their part. Let's face it, anytime a government agency attempts to reduce waste, we should support their efforts.

  8. Notification Text

    As electronic 4473s are processed, the status changes for those records. As the status for each records changes, the notification text is displayed on different buttons in the Tools tab section of FFL Tools to show the movement of the record in the system.
    So let's say for instance that 3 customers fill out 4473 Forms and submit them for further processing. The 4473 Seller button will display notification text in the form of a number in a small circle. The background color of this notification text changes as the count increases. Then you process 2 of the submitted 4473s and one required a Background Check while the other did not because the customer had a Conceal Carry License. At this point notification text of a 1 in a circle should appear over the Disposition button and over the Background Check button. At this point you go into the Background Check because these two customers are riding with each other and you want to speed them on their way. You perform the background check on the customer requiring a background check and receive a proceed. You right click their record in the background check status grid and choose proceed. At this point the notification text of the Background Check button disappears and the notification text on the Disposition button changes to a 2.
    These visual indicators help to keep you apprised of the status of 4473 Form processing within FFL Tools. This can be a life saver in many hectic scenarios where you are processing multiple customers at the same time.

  9. Auto Generation of Multiple Firearm Sales Reports

    With every handgun disposition, (and rifle disposition in Southern Border States) FFL Tools checks if a multiple firearm sales report needs to be generated. The algorithm uses the Days of Operation to determine the "5 business days" when generating the reports. If there are more than six firearms on a report, supplemental pages will be generated.

  10. Inline Entry of Information

    In some Combo Boxes (drop down list) there is an item labeled <New>, If the <New> item is selected then the Add dialog for that item is displayed. This allows new items to be added to the system without having to leave the form that is being used. Combo Boxes that have this feature are:

    • 4473 Seller: Name of Event
    • 4473 Seller: Type of Identification
    • Acquisitions: Vendor
    • FFL to FFL Dispositions: Vendor

Although FFL Tools is a very inexpensive software when you consider how feature rich it is, many of our customers have multiple workstations in their shops where they interface with customers and would like to process 4473's. Because of this need of our customers, we have developed a trimmed down version of FFL Tools we're calling the 4473 Seller.

The 4473 Seller application uses the same core code as FFL Tools and gives the user a subset of functionality found in FFL Tools. The capabilities of the 4473 Seller application are based on what is required to process 4473 paperwork with a Customer up to and including a Background Check if required.

The workflow and design of the application are identical to FFL Tools. If you are familiar with FFL Tools, then you won't have any problem utilizing the 4473 Seller.

Because of the reduced functionality of the 4473 Seller, the price is also reduced. The 4473 Seller application is a licensed per use application just as is FFL Tools with the cost of a single license being $100.  To use 4473 Seller in your environment you must have at least one licensed copy of FFL Tools.

This includes the first year of email, forum, and phone support. After the first year Maintenance Subscription renewal costs $20 per licensed copy of the 4473 Seller. This continues your same level of support and makes you eligible for all minor and major upgrades to the software.

As with FFL Tools, the 4473 Seller comes with a 30 day trial license for evaluation purposes. You may of course purchase a license at any time during the trial from the Evaluation Dialog box.

We hope you find the addition of the 4473 Seller application beneficial to your business.

 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 14:50

Went to the Shot Show

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Well we've returned from the Shot Show 2015 as a first time Exhibitor. A bit more tired from all the standing and walking and walking and standing and a whole bunch of talking!

Our wallets are a bit lighter from the costs involved in being an exhibitor, as well from those evil slot machines!

But our spirits are high! We got the opportunity to meet some of our existing customers which was great to put faces with names. In addition to that we met a lot of potential new customers.

Along with the prospects for new customers comes the list of new things to add to FFL Tools. Some suggestions were a bit ambitious or not suited to our vision of what FFL Tools was intended to be.

But for the most part, the suggestions and feedback we received are feasible, and add value to the software. However with the huge influx of ideas and suggestions we can't do them all at once so here's the plan.

 

1. We identified and categorized the suggestions into rankings of merit and impact. In other words the most valid suggestions, and the suggestions which add the most value to existing and future customers got to move to the top of the list.

2. Another consideration to our list was an estimation of time involved to accomplish the task. If it was an easy addition to code it might move up higher in the list. Likewise things which are very involved might move lower in the list than step one initially indicated.

3. Stagger releases to lessen the support impact from questions that might arise from a new list to our support channels.

4. Restructure the suite of applications to a more modular coding paradigm to allow for updates of sub components of the applications.

Hopefully we don't forget things we told people we would consider adding to the applications. If you don't see a particular feature you asked for that we told you we should be able to do show up in the upcoming updates, drop us a line to remind us.

 

Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00

Going to the Shot Show

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We are going to Shot Show 2015

That's right! We made it into the Shot Show on the first try. We feel extremely lucky to get into the Shot Show as an Exhibitor so we can show off FFL Tools to the masses.


The other thing that we're really looking forward to is meeting our existing customers. So if you are at the Shot Show, please stop by and see us at Booth #1959

Sunday, 01 June 2014 17:17

Buyer Beware - ATF Compliancy!

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FFL Tools is ATF Ruling 2013-5 Compliant

As an FFL it is your responsibility to remain in compliance with ATF rulings. If you are considering the purchase of software to manage your Acquisition/Disposition Bound Book, you need to be ever vigilant in your research of software on the market.

Many companies market AD software to the FFL and make the claims that their software is ATF 2013-5 compliant when in fact they store your data in the cloud. This is a forbidden practice as per ATF ruling 2013-5

It is your responsibility as an FFL to perform due diligence into any software you would consider using to keep your AD Bound Book. You can lose your license, while nothing will happen to the software vendor who purports their software to be in compliance with the ATF when it is not.

Item 9 of ATF ruling 2013-5 states the following:

Electronic firearms acquisition and disposition records may be stored on a computer server owned and operated solely by the person (as defined by 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(1)) holding the license, provided that the records are readily accessible
through a computer device located at the licensed premises during regular business hours. The server must be located within the United States.

You can read the ATF Ruling 2013-5 yourself by clicking on the link below.

ATF Ruling 2013-5

FFL Tools utilizes a Microsoft SQL Database which is installed as part of the application suite to a computer on your network. This satisfies the requirement of the ATF Ruling 2013-5 Item 9 as specified above.

If you choose the wrong software for keeping your electronic bound book, you could incur some penalty by the ATF, and could possibly have your license revoked.

Saturday, 05 April 2014 11:19

Why a Blog?

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Some of you might wonder why this Blog has been created. There are a number of reasons a blog has been chosen as a feature of the website.

  1. Our customers have the same inquiries about features and functionality of FFL Tools. A Blog seems like an appropriate format for answering these inquiries to give our current and future customers more information about the FFL Tools software.
  2. A Blog affords us the opportunity to easily embed rich media content like graphics and video in an effort to address and elaborate on the product.
  3. The alternative of creating separate articles about topics we'd like to address is cumbersome and less intuitive to navigate.
  4. An FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions) is often used for a task of this type, but is in our opinion less flexible than a blog.
  5. Having spent so much time at a computer keyboard over the years, the printed word has become a better medium for explaining at times complex thoughts and actions than can be expressed in words.
  6. Information recorded in printed text as opposed to gathered through conversation can be referenced at a later time.
  7. Most users of a piece of software would prefer to seek help first in any documentation available before consulting the Support Hotline.
  8. If help and answers to frequent inquiries can be utilized by future and former customers as opposed to a phone call, that help is delivered in a more cost effective manner which will keep the cost of FFL Tools stable.
  9. I always wanted something to blog about so hey why not!

If I come up with other reasons for this blog I'll update this entry at a later time.

Friday, 04 April 2014 22:50

Why no Point of Sale?

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Why does FFL Tools contain no point of sale functionality?

That's a question we've heard from some of our prospective customers so I'd like to address that in this Blog entry.

When one of the developers of FFL Tools, an FFL himself started up his business, he looked around at existing software in a quest to streamline his business. What he generally discovered were two types of software.

  • Point of Sale software that tried to implement tools needed by an FFL. ( AD Bound Book, ATF Forms ... )
  • Non Point of Sale software that's primary goal was to provide an AD Bound Book and other tools exclusively

Point of Sale Software (POS)

What he found with Point of Sale software that tried to implement FFL related functionality was that the functionality was lacking because the developers primary interest was in creating POS software and FFL functionality was an after thought. In many cases this functionality for FFLs found in POS software does things that is forbidden by ATF regulations. In other instances, the functionality is fractured and difficult to use. Many pieces of POS software that claim to have the features needed by an FFL fall far short of what an FFL really needs to keep up the stringent demands of ATF record keeping.

Non Point of Sale Software (NPOS)

Where the Non Point of Sales software is concerned, many applications still lack all the functionality an FFL requires to keep and maintain accurate records. Some get close to hitting the mark but others fall far short. Some are ATF compliant while others are not. Some seem to be updated when necessary, but others seem to have no ongoing developer presence and lack of support.

Given these facts, FFL Tools was born out of the necessity first and foremost to create the best possible piece of software to address that part of being an FFL which can determine whether you get to keep your license, or remain fine free after an ATF audit. There are plenty of good software packages out there to provide for the accounting functions which are a part of doing business as an FFL.

This is not to say that FFL Tools will never contain any POS functionality, it's simply that rather than create POS software and then try to implement FFL functionality into it after the fact, or even as a secondary goal was not something we wanted to do. Our perspective is to create the best software for addressing the Non Point of Sale operations of an FFL as the primary goal, an effort to integrate with existing POS software, or the inclusion of POS functionality into FFL Tools is our secondary goal.