With Form 1 and Form 4 wait times generally exceeding 6 months, many individuals complain about the Examiners taking too long to approve the forms. However, before complaining, and possibly offending the Examiners, make sure that you understand the current workload that they are under and that some are working 7 days a week.
Steve Albro, Chief of ATF’s Firearms/Explosives Services Division, previously commented that since 2011, until approximately April 2012 when the research assistants were hired, more applications were received than were processed. He attributed the increased demand on silencers/suppressor sales in states that previously prohibited the ownership of silencers/suppressors. Moreover, every month has been a million dollar plus month in revenue, since 2011. Just taking the figure of $1 million dollars and assuming all of those were $200 tax stamps (aka excluding AOW applications) that would result in 5000 applications a MONTH. Divided by the 10 examiners, that would result in each receiving 500 new applications per month. This number does not take into consideration the amount of dealer-to-dealer (SOT to SOT) transfers, as no tax would be due. Accordingly, you can easily double this number when you factor in the transfer from the manufacture or dealer to your dealer, before the transfer to you can occur.
While research examiners will need time to get up to speed, it seems, based on internet posts reflecting applications being kicked back for errors, that these research assistants have been fully vetting the pending forms, prior to the Examiners receiving them. This is a huge benefit to all, as this review will streamline the process and reduce the wait times, as the Examiners will not have to send the incorrect form back to the applicant and wait for a response. Since it is being dealt with during the pending or wait period, the applicant’s overall application approval period should be unaffected, if there are errors in the application.
So, you may be asking what spurred this blog article with information that I have previously blogged about. Well, I had a Form 4 pending for approximately 6 months and just received it back. Most would be excited about the approval and would pay little attention to the date of approval; however, I did. My Form 4 was approved August 12, 2012, by Nickie Dudash. So, you are probably saying, so what? August 12, 2012, if you look on a calendar, was a Sunday.
So, before you criticize or chastise the Examiners, be cognizant of the demands that they are under and that they are not shirking their duties. While entrepreneurs don’t mind working weekends and holidays, Government employees are rarely seen working anytime other than between 9am – 5pm (and usually, those time periods are truncated even more). So maybe next time that you submit a Form 1 or Form 4, submit a small note thanking them for their time and dedication. Let them know that it doesn’t go unnoticed and that they are appreciated. I know I will be sending a letter to NFA Branch Chief Edward Saavedra acknowledging Nickie’s outstanding service.