ATF recently posted two notices in the Federal Register. One stated that they would be combining ATF Form 7 (5310.12) and ATF Form 7CR (5310.16), the applications for an FFL and Curios and Relics license, respectively. The other notice is for the creation of a Responsible Persons Questionnaire (RPQ) for use with the new proposed form. I’ve included both proposed forms at the bottom of this blog post.
A poster on AR15.com stated that if the proposed changes go through “C&R applicants will not only still need to get CLEO signoff, but they will also need to submit fingerprints and photographs.” In the post, he includes a quote from an e-mail he received from ATF about the proposed changes.
18 U.S.C. §923(a) which deals with individuals engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition, specifically proscribes that an individual applying must submit fingerprints and photographs. §923(b) which addresses individuals obtaining a license as a collector omits that requirement. While the law does not have any specific requirement, it is not outside the realm of possible that ATF could enter rulemaking to require that. That is not the case currently.
Looking at the proposed changes, there is no indication that ATF intends for C&R applicants to submit fingerprints and photographs, which is contrary to the post on AR15.com. Nevertheless, on December 10th, I e-mailed Tracey Robertson from ATF to inquire as to whether ATF intended for a C&R applicant to submit fingerprints and photographs with their application. She responded later that day stating “Photo and fingerprint card are not required for C&R licenses. This will not change with the proposed new forms.” She went on to say that the changes are to combine the forms in order to make the processing more efficient and eliminate common mistakes made by individuals.
After obtaining a copy of the proposed forms, it is evident there is no requirement for C&R applicants to include photographs or fingerprints. The proposed RPQ does indeed have a place for an individual’s photograph. The box to the right does include the instructions that all RPQs, fingerprint cards, photographs and application fees should be mailed to the address below. While at first glance it might seem that it is required for all license applications, the form includes, in rather conspicuous bold font, that Type 03 license applications (those for C&Rs) are NOT required to submit a fingerprint or photograph. The proposed form for the replacement of the current Form 7 and Form 7CR also states in Instruction 6 “A fingerprint card and photograph are not required if applying for a Type 03 license only.”
Nevertheless, there is a problem with ATF’s proposed changes. As the Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG)® is often on the forefront of industry happenings (such as the blog post which created a number of applications for Form 1 machine guns that has now gained national attention, ATF 41P commentary, etc.), it came to our attention that ATF’s proposed regulation is in contradiction with 18 U.S.C. §926(b) which requires 90 days notice before proscribing a rule or regulation. These proposed changes have only given individuals 60 days notice to comment.