Late last week an article was posted on a popular website, dedicated to firearms news, about the engraving of firearms that had approved Form 1s. The author describes how easy it is for one to submit a Form 1, with the advent of eForms, to register your firearm as a Short Barrel Rifle (“SBR”) but laments the marking requirement. He accurately describes ATF’s response to any number of questions you could ask them by stating “Ask three people whether you need to engrave your information on your newly registered NFA device and you’ll get three different answers.”
The author then prefaces the remainder of the article with “In an effort to sort out the confusion I asked the ATF directly…”. Oddly enough, the author seems to forget his previous statement, a mere sentence prior, that if you ask three people at ATF whether you need to engrave your information that you would receive three different answers.
The article states that if you do not plan on selling your SBR, there is no requirement to engrave the firearm. The author also claims that if you remove the firearm from the registry in order to sell it, at that point you’ll need to engrave your information on the firearm.
Perhaps the most concerning part of the post is that nowhere does the author state who he spoke to, cite to any statutes or regulations, or produce a letter from ATF confirming his statements.
Confused yet? Let’s attempt to remove the dog from the hen house.
In an effort to make things simple to follow, a few terms need to be defined. We will examine both the National Firearms Act and its regulations.
26 U.S.C. 5845 is where one can find the definitions for the National Firearms Act.
The term “make”, and the various derivatives of such word, shall include manufacturing (other than by one qualified to engage in such business under this chapter), putting together, altering, any combination of these, or otherwise producing a firearm.
The term “manufacturer” means any person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.
It is important to differentiate between the preceding two terms. The term “manufacturer” applies to those who are engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms, while the other is in reference to individuals or entities not engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.
26 U.S.C. 5842 regulates the identification of firearms.
(a) Identification of firearms other than destructive devices
Each manufacturer and importer and anyone making a firearm shall identify each firearm, other than a destructive device, manufactured, imported, or made by a serial number which may not be readily removed, obliterated, or altered, the name of the manufacturer, importer, or maker, and such other identification as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe.
27 C.F.R. 479 et seq. is where one can find regulations pertaining to the National Firearms Act.
Make. This term and the various derivatives thereof shall include manufacturing (other than by one qualified to engage in such business under this part), putting together, altering, any combination of these, or otherwise producing a firearm.
Manufacturer. Any person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms.27 CFR 479.11 – Meaning of terms.
(a) You, as a manufacturer, importer, or maker of a firearm, must legibly identify the firearm as follows:….(2) By engraving, casting, stamping (impressing), or otherwise conspicuously placing or causing to be engraved, cast, stamped (impressed), or placed on the frame, receiver, or barrel thereof certain additional information. This information must be placed in a manner not susceptible of being readily obliterated, altered or removed. For firearms manufactured, imported, or made on and after January 30, 2002, the engraving, casting, or stamping (impressing) of this information must be to a minimum depth of .003 inch. The additional information includes:(i) The model, if such designation has been made;(ii) The caliber or gauge;(iii) Your name (or recognized abbreviation) and also, when applicable, the name of the foreign manufacturer or maker;(iv) In the case of a domestically made firearm, the city and State (or recognized abbreviation thereof) where you as the manufacturer maintain your place of business, or where you, as the maker, made the firearm; and…