The 13th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference was hosted by F.A.I.R. Trade Group and the National Shooting Sports Foundation on August 5th and 6th. On August 5th, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) presented and provided the Industry with news and updates. Below are some of the more interesting or important updates in the order that they were discussed:
NFA Branch Updates
- William Boyle, III is now the NFA Branch Chief.
- Kimberly Ramsburg is now NFA Section Chief.
- By October 2014, they expect to have 24 examiners.
- By December 2014, they hope to have total of 29 examiners.
- Alphonso Hughes, Division Chief, Firearms and Explosives Services Division (FESD) said that he is taking aggressive steps and *hopes* to have Form 1 and Form 4 processing time down to 6 months and Form 3 processing time down to 30 days by the end of the year. He recognized that this is optimistic but it is his goal to achieve.
- Average monthly revenue is $1.5 million.
- The highest revenue month was December 2013 with $2.5 million received in revenue (thanks ATF-41P).
- They are receiving on average 8,838 calls, per month.
- In FY 2013, there were 44 Congressional Inquiries.
- It is the first time since 2009 that the NFA Branch is processing more applications, per month, than are received.
- The backlog is approximately 56,000 Forms, which is down from 81,000 in February (25k reduction in 5 months isn’t too shabby).
- They are working on revising the NFA Handbook in time for the 2015 SHOT Show. See Attorney Tom Odom’s blog on this here.
Import Branch Updates
- Under Category 1 of the U.S. Munitions List, scopes no longer require a Form 6 to import.
- Category 7 of the U.S. Munitions List has been modified somewhat substantially.
- Under Category 14 of the U.S. Munitions List, gas masks no longer require a Form 6 to import.
- Shotgun barrels must be brought in on a Form 6, even though they are not on the U.S. Munitions List, because the GCA says they must have a sporting purpose. It is to be treated as an implement of war and the model must be listed on the Form 6. Barrels are NOT being considered a firearm part.
- As we all already know, eForm 1s are back online.
- eForm 2s should be back online shortly, hopefully by the end of the year or early next year.
- eForm 3 and 4s will be next to go live, on the new site that they’re developing. See, Attorney Tom Odom’s blog on this here.
- They still cannot update the website to reflect the one additional (not listed) requirement for the eForms password, so remember that your eForms password must have 5 alpha character.
Marking Variances and Electronic Recordkeeping Updates
- 90 day turn around on Marking Variance Requests.
- Updating the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (hasn’t been updated since 2005) with new rulings and Q&A.
- Confirmed that it is a VIOLATION to use cloud storage for electronic A&D Records. This was an issue I wrote about previously.
- ATF Counsel Andrew Lang stated that ATF is currently on track to make a decision by January 2015; however, he acknowledged that many of the Comments filed by attorneys raised some issues that ATF hadn’t considered. He stated that the rulemaking may get significantly sidetracked internally, depending on internal responses to their review of the Comments and proposals on how to address the concerns. In response to a question on why ATF didn’t provide the underlying materials used for drafting the proposed rule, Attorney Lang, in addition to saying the petition was posted by the NFATCA at some point in time on its website, said ATF hasn’t had requests for such material in the past (aka, ATF hasn’t been complying with the Administrative Procedures Act and therefore, it didn’t need to with ATF-41P…well, maybe now that we made an issue out of it, there will be a change in course in future ATF rulemaking.)