Operation Secure Store (OSS) is a multifaceted initiative providing Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) with education on solutions and services that enhance operational security and aid in identifying potential risks, protecting interests and limiting the disruption of operations.

Central to the OSS initiative is the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s® (NSSF’s®) cooperative partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in working to deter and prevent thefts from FFLs, leveraging resources to enhance public safety and reducing the impact to communities affected by these crimes.

The OSS program focuses on five areas: “Education and Awareness,” “Assessment and Risk Analysis,” “Planning and Strategy,” “Engagement” and “Response.” This approach addresses many of the most common security concerns FFLs have, with a focus on providing a wide array of solutions that mitigate risk and protect these businesses.

Education and Awareness: Underpinning these five areas is the commitment to providing education and driving awareness to FFLs that ensures they have an ongoing awareness of potential threats, an understanding of security basics and access to the techniques and solutions that can be effective in protecting their businesses. Central to this is NSSF’s partnership with the ATF in developing educational programming, including our current and ongoing series of regional security seminars hosted by the ATF.

Assessment and Risk Analysis: This topic supports the initial step in identifying the vulnerabilities and weaknesses that could cause an FFL to be more susceptible to a criminal threat or other hazard that could compromise daily operations. Security and risk assessments, a service provided by NSSF, seek to evaluate credible threats and capabilities, identify vulnerabilities, test current controls and assess consequences of a breach.

Upon the assessment’s completion, gaps in existing controls may be identified and remedies suggested to ensure those areas in need of improvement can be addressed. Additionally, through these assessments, FFLs are afforded the skills and knowledge to conduct ongoing self-assessments that include assessing the potential risks and prioritizing how and when those risks need to be addressed.

Planning and Strategy: This details when, where and how an FFL will develop or modify its security processes and programs as supported by the knowledge gained through the “Assessment and Risk” material, always with the goal of mitigating risk and deterring potential threats. Strategies will include recommendations for evaluating relevant technologies and other security solutions, while also defining operational controls that can improve risk mitigation.

Engagement: Community engagement is often overlooked as a component of crime prevention, but it is one that can have a tremendous impact on crime and crime prevention strategies. Active participation and relationship building with local law enforcement, the business community and the community citizens can be critical to protecting a business, and engaging all of these also helps build a beneficial level of trust between the FFL and the community. Both the NSSF and ATF have established protocols for providing outreach and support to FFLs and their communities.

Response: Your ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a crime against your FFL business is critical to not only identifying the perpetrators of the crime and recovery of stolen goods, but to the speedy reestablishment of daily business operations. ATF and NSSF are both committed to providing timely support to FFLs when a criminal or other emergency event occurs.

When a crime or other emergency occurs, ATF will respond with a team of professionals to support the FFL and investigative effort, while also establishing communications to ensure other area FFLs are alerted to incidents. Complementing those efforts is NSSF’s team of Security Consultants. All experts in the retail security, the team is equipped to support an FFL’s crime-prevention and risk-mitigation efforts, as well as provide solutions and vendor partnerships that will aid recovery efforts and support getting back open for business if an incident occurs. These five areas must be intertwined and seamlessly integrated—if not, the criminals wins. The first step to getting it right is discovering where your weaknesses are and then finding the solutions to remedy them. The OSS program was designed to help our firearms industry members do just that, and we encourage all to explore the resources within.

The mission of Operation Secure Store is to support the firearms industry’s efforts in promoting public safety by educating retailers to proactively identify and quantify vulnerabilities and risks associated with the business of firearms commerce and industry-related operations as a whole.