Ask Foghorn: Should I Send In my ATF Form (1/3/4) Now, or Wait for the Post-Sandy Hook Debacle to Blow Over?

boardsnbikes writes:

Considering the great fluctuations in gun policy we may see in the near future, should I delay my NFA SBR application or would it be better to get it in ASAP? Just curious about your and other TTAG readers opinions.

No, you should do the exact opposite. You should send in your forms ASAP.

Right now, the ATF is absolutely 100% overloaded. Not only do they currently have about a 6 month wait for paperwork processing, but they are getting in more forms every single day than they send out. Which means the backlog is getting bigger and bigger.

Especially following the Sandy Hook shooting and everything that is going on politically right now, the volume is much more than usual. Which means that every day you delay sending in your forms is probably two days that you add to your total wait time.

So, in other words, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you wait any longer. DO IT! DO IT NOW!

In terms of gun policy changes, either one of two things will happen if NFA rules ever change. Either the entire queue will be processed if your check has cleared (and any past that date will be rejected), or they will refund your tax payment and return your forms.

But, in reality, I don’t see any changes to the NFA being likely right now. All of the focus is on the evil black rifles, not NFA devices. Which I’m fairly certain the “gun control advocates” have no idea exists, to be quite frank. I’d be honestly surprised if you asked Michael Bloomberg what the NFA is and was greeted by anything other than a smile and a vacant stare. So I wouldn’t be concerned.

[Email your firearms-related questions to “Ask Foghorn” via guntruth@me.com. Click here to browse previous posts]

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

16 Responses to Ask Foghorn: Should I Send In my ATF Form (1/3/4) Now, or Wait for the Post-Sandy Hook Debacle to Blow Over?

  1. avatarMatt in FL says:

    After the nice drop we saw from about April through October of last year, wait times have really leveled off in the last few months. The average is hovering just under six months. I expect that to increase.

    http://www.nfatracker.com/TrendGraph.aspx taken from
    http://www.nfatracker.com/Default.aspx

    I encourage anyone who applies to enter and update their information as they get it, because it’s our only real way of keeping track of what’s going on with wait times.

  2. avatarDP.Science says:

    Also, I wouldn’t expect any change to the NFA because it’s a perfect example of what many of the grabbers want – added taxes to price people out, a registration with address, a laborious paperwork process, a long waiting period and an additional lengthy background check.

    Crime with legal NFA items is practically unheard of… so there’s little to no attention being paid to it. Now, just don’t let the pols know about it because imagine if the process for every gun was just as much a PITA.

    • avatarAnonymous says:

      Violent crime with legal machine guns was literally nonexistent, but they still banned those in 1986.

      • avatarJake says:

        No they didn’t! How else would all these spree killers get their hands on all these legal machine guns huh?! We need to ban them, and if that doesn’t work, DOUBLE BAN! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN!

  3. avatarRoll says:

    “…Michael Bloomberg what the NFA is and was greeted by anything other than a smile and a vacant stare.”

    Bloomberg didnt even know what semiautomatic was or that it even existed. He thought every gun was fully automatic. How can you try to regulate something you know nothing about? What an idiot.

    • avatarBobtheGrape says:

      That’s why these a**holes like Bloomberg have body guards. Leave the dirty work and the liability with them.

  4. avatarBobtheGrape says:

    Unfortunately it depends on the mood of the bureaucrat on whose desk it lands. It could be whizzed right on through if the ‘crat is sympathetic to gun owners or it could be held up or lost until the law changes so that it will be rejected.
    I workfor the FAA and I have seen this kind of thing hapopen time and time again. It just depends on if the bureaucrat is OTR that day or not. (OTR = on the rag)

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      I think I have to disagree with this one. The NFA branch may have ATF in its name, but I have never seen any accusations of foot-dragging or less-than-desirable behavior on their part. They seem to work as hard as could reasonably be expected of them, but they are completely, utterly, thoroughly overwhelmed. Have you seen the pictures that were taken there earlier this year? A workplace shooter at the NFA branch would kill absolutely no one, because everyone in the place is working behind a five foot high, two foot thick pile of papers.

  5. avatarJim says:

    Generally speaking, when it comes to the government needing to do something for you it’s a bad idea to wait around. Be it the DMV or the ATF, they’re just not going to get to you all that quickly.

  6. avatarPro-Liberty says:

    There are substantial regulatory changes to the NFA process in the pipe right now: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201210&RIN=1140-AA43

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      Any idea what the timeline on that is?

      Those changes don’t look particularly egregious to me, at this point. Using a trust allows you to avoid the Federal background check, but you still have to do a NICS check upon actually receiving the item in question, and most people don’t do trusts to avoid the background check anyway. In my experience, most people use trusts to get around a CLEO that (illegally) refuses to sign off on the paperwork for an individual. That rule would add Federal background checks to the principals of a trust, but it also turns the CLEO sign off into a CLEO notification, thus sorta removing the reason that many people do a trust in the first place.

      • avatarPro-Liberty says:

        A major advantage of using a trust is that you can name co-trustees and they are legally authorized to possess the NFA firearms registered to the trust. The proposed changes would mean that I would have to drag my wife down to the police station for fingerprints, then I would have to get passport photos of her, and then I would have to file an additional form for her along with the rest of the stack of papers that ATF requires.

        Besides all the bother, if your fingerprints aren’t already in the system, you might not want to give them up if you don’t have to, you know?

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          Yeah, no denying that would be a hassle. I was considering adding a buddy here in town as a co-trustee for precisely that reason, but that was kinda only because I was getting it anyway, as I have an unfriendly CLEO. If I wasn’t already doing the paperwork for that reason, it’s unlikely I’d go to all the trouble just so he could use it too. I understand that a spouse is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

  7. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    Nick, if you don’t think that the NFA is in their sights right now, can I have some of what your smoking?

    How many NFA items reside in NY at this moment?

  8. avatarJesse Nelson says:

    Yeah, I’d personally wait.

  9. avatarInBox485 says:

    Unlike cheaper than dirt’s crap, tax stamps aren’t quadrupling in prices. The difference between now and later will be getting in the waiting list now or latter and possibly missing a grandfathering date if one comes up.

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