Having had the opportunity to sit around a table with different members of ATF, a few different things were learned.
And don’t worry, the cartoon doesn’t reflect the attitude of those I spoke to.
In regards to the NFA Branch and processing times, it appears that they are aiming for a processing time of about 90 days for Form 1s and Form 4s. They are currently around the 120 day mark and are working diligently to improve that time. They have gone from 9 to 26 examiners, which should allow them to meet that goal after everyone has been brought up to speed.
Trusts account for the majority of Form 1s and Form 4s that the branch is receiving. I also learned that there is a substantial increase in Form 1 submissions since the introduction of the eForms system. Additionally, the processing times for eForm and paper form submissions are now currently running about the same time, so there is not necessarily any advantage time-wise to utilize the eForms system.
Furthermore, I learned that ATF hoped to have had the eForm 4s back by SHOT but they indicated that did not look like it would happen. They are currently in discussions with a contractor regarding the system.
There was also a question asked of the NFA branch in relation to 3D printed parts. The attendee asked if he printed a part, that was technically a NFA firearm, would he need to notify the branch of its creation and/or destruction. The answer was yes, provided the part was functional, it would be controlled by the NFA.
The Import section fielded a question relating to the “sporting purpose” exemption. Disappointingly, there does not seem to be any hope in the near future for it to be revisited in order to consider such sports as 3-Gun, USPSA, IDPA or other shooting sports.
Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division
I also had the opportunity to sit down with the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD).
For Industry Members, if you’re looking to receive a determination on your product, you can expect it to take about 120 days. That means if you WANT a determination on your product prior to SHOT 2016, you need to have your submission to FATD before September.
They did state that they would not give you priority just because your attending SHOT and need a determination prior to it. So you have to get moving on the product and submission now. If you’re an industry member and require a letter with your submission please contact us, as letters for determinations are something we handle on a frequent basis.
The new product on the block that is catching a lot of attention by the industry seems to be the APS 1 Shot Dynamic Pistol Rest. Having had the opportunity to sit down with FATD and discuss the dynamic pistol rest, I can say several issues have arisen. Contrary to the claims of the company, ATF stated that it has no record of receiving any samples of the product in order to issue a determination. Additionally, FATD stated they welcome a sample to be submitted for a determination. This is in stark contrast to the statement that the company has proffered that ATF will not issue a determination.
The company had stated in a Recoil Web article:
“We asked the ATF their opinion and they had none, as it is not a permanent part of the weapon…”
Furthermore, having shown FATD a picture of the product, I was immediately informed that it was a shoulder stock and ATF had previously ruled on “friction stocks” in other determinations. It would behoove APS to submit a sample to ATF in order to have a formal determination on the product, so that individuals can know whether possession of the product with a handgun would potentially subject them to criminal prosecution or not.
Firearms Industry Operations
Good news for licensees. Is there a topic you want ATF to cover for training? Apparently, you can either call your local field office or headquarters to request a seminar on the particular topic. Furthermore, if you receive or have received conflicting information from your local field office, you may want to contact the Firearms Industry Programs Branch to get a “final determination” on the matter. Of course, I’d recommend you get it in writing, which they stated they usually provide a copy of their decision to the field office as well as the licensee with the question.
ATF 41P was mentioned several times. The news? ATF is still reviewing comments and there is no news as to when/if they will move forward with any kind of final rule. Additionally there are 4 reviewers for the comments and all of them have been assigned to ATF 41P.
ATF 51P has had no action as far as the review of comments on it yet.
ATF stated that the priority for rulemaking determinations were ATF 41p, ATF 51P and Reporting of Losses of Firearms in Transit.
Federal Firearms Relief
If the appropriations bill is enacted as written, Federal Firearms Relief would become available again, for the first time since 1992. ATF stated that if the appropriations bill is implemented, they do not currently have an action plan in place to address the forecasted river of applications it will receive.
ATF Ruling 2013-5
ATF also stated that it would be entering into rulemaking to clarify the electronic record keeping for FFLS in relation to Ruling 2013-5. Issues that would be addressed include cloud storage, the maintenance of records offsite but on a server and tracking changes in the bound book.
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