The ATF Town Hall meeting was held on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, and the NFATCA meeting was held tonight. While there was nothing earth shattering from the Town Hall meeting, there were some very interesting issues that were discussed at the NFATCA meeting.
With regards to the ATF Town Hall, the big issue discussed was the impending changes to the residency requirements for an alien. On December 22, 2012, the ATF issued an open letter to all FFLs regarding changes to its interpretation of of the residency requirement for aliens. Currently, 27 CFR 478.11 provides that residency be determined differently for US citizens than for legal aliens. As the letter states, “A U.S. citizen’s State of residence is the State in which he or she is present with the intention of making a home; while an alien is considered a resident of a State if he or she has resided in that State for a period of at least 90 days prior to the date of transfer with the intention of making a home.”
ATF is now entering into rulemaking to remove the 90-day residency requirement for legal aliens. However, until rulemaking is complete, the current regulation still applies. Nevertheless, ATF stated that no Industry Operations Inspector (IOI) should cite an FFL for not complying with this documentation requirement. Accordingly, if you are cited for an failure to comply with this requirement, contact me immediately to discuss your options.
Also discussed was the fact that all manufacturers will have until April 2nd, 2012 (not April 1, 2012) to file their annual manufacturing report. While ATF will mail you out a copy, if you don’t receive a copy or want to be ahead of the curve, here is a copy of the ATF Form 5300.11. For those who are unaware, you can file this report via email by emailing it to AFMER2@atf.gov. You will receive a confirmation email of their receipt of the form within several days. If you have questions about filling out the 5300.11, most of your questions can be answered here. And yes, even if you did not manufacture a single firearm, you must submit the form.
When the ATF was asked the status of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer signature being removed from the Form 1 and Form 4, ATF would only acknowledge that it was aware of the request, that the request had merit, but that it was still being reviewed internally at ATF and there was absolutely no time frame established for a determination, since even if ATF was in agreement, it would require them to go through rulemaking, which would seem to indicate that we are at least a year away from any change.
The issue of ATF Form 1 and Form 4 processing was also brought up. ATF’s response was that they are under the hiring freeze of the DOJ and while they have attempted to bring in temporary employees and move people around from different departments, due to the increase in NFA applications, the wait time of 4 – 6 months is not likely to change anytime soon.
During the NFATCA meeting, it was disclosed that the ATF, as of last week, has changed its opinion regarding the proper procedure for deactivating a barrel for importation. Previously, ATF issued a letter stating that drilling three holes into the barrel was sufficient. While destroying the functionality of the barrel, it allowed for the barrel to be used in a dummy-gun for a collector, who basically desired a non-functioning replica of a particular firearm. ATF has now announced that it is requiring any such imported barrel to be torch cut in three locations.
Also, ATF has now stated that after having the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) review 18 U.S.C. § 922, it has been decided by OLC that a manufacture may stockpile as many post-86 machineguns as that manufacturer sees fit; however, only the manufacturer may manufacture the post-86 machinegun. What this means, is that it is no longer acceptable or legal, even if the manufacturer has a variance approving the following, for one manufacturer to manufacture the receiver, register the receiver on a Form 2, and then transfer the receiver on a Form 3 to another manufacturer for completion. The OLC has determined that the only transfer of a post-86 machinegun is to a law enforcement agency. There are clearly other concerning issues with regards to this that I will not address, in the hopes that they have eluded ATF.
Lastly, the NFATCA informed everyone that ATF is under specific direction that anything less than 100% during a compliance inspection must result in some form of administrative action. ATF will be conducting compliance inspections of all dealers within 36 months; the days of not having a compliance inspection for 10 years are a thing of the past.
And that is pretty much all the hot topics from the ATF Town Hall meeting and NFATCA meeting.