Simply put, the BOF 116 is a form that allows a person to conduct a personal eligibility check to identify potential issues that could prevent one from purchasing a firearm.
Watch this episode of "Duck After Dark" to learn more (if you don't feel like reading - but there is a lot of great information in the paragraphs below, so we suggest reading also).
Who Needs The BOF 116?
Everyone has a past. Some have lived what could be considered a wild or questionable life in the past. Though you may be a different person now, those younger days (and youthful mistakes) can come back to haunt you, especially if they haven't been cleared up.
If you are unsure about your (uses best child-like voice) "permanent record" it may be best to take this step before attempting a firearm purchase.
What Does BOF 116 Do For Me?
It's not just felonies that affect your eligibility to buy a firearm. Other potential things that can get in the way of your next gun purchase are:
- Owing taxes
- Unpaid parking tickets
- Possibly a DUI
- A bar fight
The above list is incomplete, and the examples include only those that are top-of-mind.
When Should the BOF 116 Be Used?
The BOF 116 is a way of checking your eligibility to purchase a firearm. As a recommendation, it may be best to perform the check before attempting to buy. Especially as a first-time buyer.
If you're unsure of your eligibility, or if something in your past is going to catch up with you, the BOF 116 falls into the "better to be safe than sorry" category.
Why Use The BOF 116?
Sticking with the "better to be safe than sorry" statement, the BOF 116 can save you money (and embarrassment, anger, or all of the above).
In cases where firearms cannot be released to the intended purchaser, many gun shops charge restocking fees. Those fees are variable (meaning each shop can charge whatever they want) and can range from 25% to 50%.
On top of the restock fees, the DROS (background check) fee is non-refundable and will set you back another $40 (roughly).
The DROS is a requirement for purchasing a firearm. For more information on DROS statuses, check out this article specifically related to that topic.
Here is the abridged version of the DROS status results
- Approved = Great news! We shake hands and you pick up your firearm. I'm happy (or your gun shop is as happy) you're happy, and we're good to go. We got our money you got your gun fair trade good business.
- Delayed = The 10-day wait wasn't enough and it will take 30 more days while the DOJ digs a little deeper into your paperwork to determine your eligibility.
- Undetermined = The DOJ did not find anything that approves or denies you. Releasing firearms in this case is at the discretion of the gun shop; many will not release weapons in this scenario since liability falls back on the shop.
- Denied = there is nothing anyone can do. Guns will not be released and refunds will not be applied.
The BOF 116 form reduces the risks mentioned above. Another notch for the "pros" column is it saves time by eliminating return trips to the gun shop to remedy problems. If your shop is not nearby, the savings in gas quickly rack up too!
Lastly, the BOF 116 prevents the awkward moment where the FFL has to let the customer know what happened. Nobody likes to talk about this stuff or argue about refunds and background checks. Especially while standing inside a gun shop where everyone can hear.
How Much Does It Cost?
To run a BOF 116 costs $20 plus any notary fees. Considering the time, money, and embarrassment one might save, 20 bucks isn't all that bad.
How To Fill Out The BOF116 Form
The form asks for basic information to help identify who you are. You can search the internet for it, or you can just use this link, provided for your convenience. Simply print it, fill it out completely, and take it to a notary. They will take your thumbprint to verify it's YOU filling out the form.
Authors Note: DO NOT SEND CASH! The DOJ does not accept cash. Send a check or a cashier's check.
The mailing address is on the back of the form and it tells you exactly which office to send it to.
What Happens Next?
A report is sent to you identifying if it is approved or not. If it's not approved, it will tell you why. It's up to you to fix the items in the report before you can purchase a firearm.
The good news is, you'll have a list of exactly what needs to be done. For example, if you have unpaid parking tickets, take care of the parking ticket and get proof it's resolved.
Did something happen in Florida on a wild night? Get the paperwork from Florida PD (or wherever you were) that it's cleared up and send it back to the DOJ. Reference your report number when sending all paperwork and proofs that clear your name and the unresolved issues from the report.
You will receive another letter from the DOJ once those issues are verified and cleared.
That is the rundown of the BOF 116 form. Again, it's a great resource if you have questions about your eligibility to purchase a firearm. This can be a great first step that can save you a lot of time and a lot of money.