Extremely Interesting Developments Relating to ATF’s Re-Opening of the Comment Period for the ATF 4473

As our readers are likely aware, I previously blogged that ATF had re-opened the comment period for the ATF 4473 form. After digging a little deeper, I determined that OMB issued a PRA Primer Memo of April 7, 2010 directing that an agency, after providing the initial 60 day notice period required by 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A), summarize the public comments received and any response by the agency, then submit that information to OIRA and thereafter provide an additional 30 day comment period so the public has an opportunity to respond to comments submitted.

Accordingly, on August 5, 2016, I submitted a correspondence to OIRA and ATF citing to the PRA Primer Memo and explaining that in relation OMB Number 1140-0020 “ATF has failed to provide either (1) the actual comments submitted or (2) any summary of the public comments received (as well as any response by the agency); therefore, depriving the public of any opportunity to know what comments were submitted and depriving the public of an opportunity to respond to those comments and thereby eviscerating the purpose of the 30 day comment period.”

Although I received no response from OIRA or ATF, today, Attorney Adam Kraut, who drafted our Comment in Opposition, initially received an email from the ATF Firearms Industry Program Branch (FIPB) in relation to his June 1, 2016 email inquiring as to why ATF was not posting or providing access to the comments submitted regarding the proposed changes to the ATF 4473. FIPB stated that “Comments received from this information collection will soon be available on the www.reginfo.gov website.”

Shortly thereafter, Attorney Kraut received a second email from FIPB with a response to Firearms Industry Consulting Group‘s Comment in Opposition. You can download a copy of ATF’s response to our Comment here. Additionally, I recently learned that ATF also emailed a response to our friends at Cannabis Industry Law Group in relation to their Comment in Opposition to the ATF 4473 and ATF provided this response.

It appears that OIRA was not exactly happy with ATF’s failure to comply with OMB’s requirements and directed ATF to correct its errors. It will be interesting to see if the 30 day comment period is extended to provide all interested parties with the requisite 30 days to respond, after ATF provides access to all comments received and its responses thereto.

If you are in the Firearms Industry and desire to file comments in relation to ATF, DDTC or any other federal agency’s rulemaking, contact us today to discuss how we can assist.

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