User Fees For Firearms Licenses

Gao ID: GGD-94-111R March 14, 1994

GAO reviewed user fees for federal firearms licenses (FFL), focusing on whether: (1) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' (ATF) estimate for processing FFL was reasonable; and (2) Treasury is authorized to set FFL program user fees without congressional approval. GAO noted that: (1) although ATF has proposed to increase the costs to process, issue, and renew FFL applications, it has not adequately estimated the total FFL program costs; (2) the FFL program meets the statutory criteria for establishing user fees; (3) Treasury can establish and adjust firearm user fees without congressional approval; (4) allowing Treasury to set user fees would greatly facilitate the periodic reassessment of user fees to reflect FFL program costs; and (5) ATF could recover the full cost of managing the FFL program by establishing a user fee for the FFL program.

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