First, here’s the text of the Proposed Rule by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau on 09/09/2013 [published on the Federal Register for public comment] re: Machine Guns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Corporation, Trust or Other Legal Entity With Respect To Making or Transferring a Firearm . . .
The Department of Justice proposes amending Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regulations that concern the making or transferring of a firearm under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The proposed changes include: Defining the term “responsible person,” as used in reference to a trust, partnership, association, company, or corporation; requiring “responsible persons” of such legal entities to submit, inter alia, photographs and fingerprints, as well as a law enforcement certificate, when the legal entity files an application to make an NFA firearm or is listed as the transferee on an application to transfer an NFA firearm; modifying the information required in a law enforcement certificate, so that the certificate no longer requires a statement from the certifying official that he or she has no information indicating that the maker or transferee of the NFA firearm will use the firearm for other than lawful purposes; and adding a new section to ATF’s regulations to address the possession and transfer of firearms registered to a decedent. The new section would clarify that the executor, administrator, personal representative, or other person authorized under state law to dispose of property in an estate may possess a firearm registered to a decedent during the term of probate without such possession being treated as a “transfer” under the NFA. It also would specify that the transfer of the firearm to any beneficiary of the estate may be made on a tax-exempt basis.
Whew! What that means: the CLEO sign-off will be extended, under the proposed law, to every “responsible person” on the trust/corp. That’s the grantee, grantor, trustee, beneficiary, corp officers, whatever. If they can legally possess the NFA item under the terms of the organization, they’ll have to have a signoff. What that line changes is that the current Form 4 says:
I certify that I am the chief law enforcement officer of the organization named below having jurisdiction in the area of residence of _______. I have no information indicating that the transferee will use the firearm or device described on this application for other than lawful purposes. I have no information that the receipt or possession of the firearm or device described in item 4 would be place the transferee in violation of State or local law.
Because one of the reasons that CLEOs have claimed to be unwilling to sign was that they were unwilling to certify the “other than lawful purposes” part, they’re simply removing that line. How exactly they will reword it is not known at this time, but that’s all they’re doing. Of course, it’s my firm belief that that vast majority of CLEOs claiming that line as their reason for not signing were simply using that as cover, when the real reason they wouldn’t sign was they “didn’t want those items in” their jurisdiction, or they “just don’t think anyone needs to own them.”
If this rule goes live as it’s written, it’ll be interesting to see how they will deal with it, and where we’ll go from there. Orange County, Florida’s (where Orlando is) current sheriff will absolutely not sign off on NFA items. If this law passes as written, it will completely remove the ability for anyone in my area to obtain NFA items. That’s actually true for most of Florida, believe it or not. The number of CLEOs in the state who will unreservedly sign off can be counted on one hand.