As we reported, the ATF seems to be singling out the activities of Austin’s Silencer Shop as one of the culprits for their e-Forms website being… well… terrible. We posted the email earlier this afternoon where they outline a new reboot schedule that takes the system offline for nearly half the day, and now we have confirmation of an additional attachment that was apparently sent only to SOT/FFL holders and not to Form 1 registered users (like me). The gist of the letter is that the batch uploads were breaking the system, and after reviewing the letter Silencer Shop says their methods are now in compliance and they can keep rolling with the batch uploads.
URGENT NOTICE TO: All Registered ATF eForms users
As you are aware for several weeks the eForms application has been experiencing some technical problems that have rendered the application difficult or impossible to use. We apologize for the issues that our customers have been experiencing. We have been diligently working to resolve these issues and have sought the assistance of IT systems experts.
Those experts have advised us of one major problem; that the eForms system is NOT designed to accept batch uploads. We have noted that several of our registered eForms users have designed and use a “batch/multiple submission process” that we have determined has been contributing to the problems that eForms is experiencing. ATF did NOT grant these users any authorization to use this process. eForms was designed to work as a serial application, with each user making one submission at a time. The “batch/multiple submission processes” are creating a situation where processes are initiated and not completed within the eForms application. This is causing “memory allocation errors” within the eForms application. The result is that many users are prevented from being able to log-in. Another symptom is that once users log-in, the system moves so slowly that it is taking 20 minutes or more to move from one screen to the next. Users are also reporting that they are unable to successfully submit an application even if they are fortunate enough to make it to the submission page.
Because the “batch/multiple submission processes” have been identified as a major contributing factor to these problems, we are requesting that any registered eForms user who is currently using any “batch/multiple submission process” discontinue the use of any such process IMMEDIATELY. Any user who continues to use a “batch/multiple submission process” for eForms, after the dissemination of this message will have his/her access to the eForms system suspended or revoked. Please understand that we are not asserting that the users of the “batch/multiple submission process” did anything wrong. Unfortunately, our system was not designed to handle batch processes which are causing unexpected problems for our system.
ATF is currently assessing whether there are other improvements that can address the problems identified. One of the issues that we will address in the future will be the creation of a batch process that will be available to all eForms users without a detrimental effect on the performance of the eForms system. Until that time we request your compliance with the above, and appreciate your cooperation and patience.
If I’m reading this right, then the real problem isn’t the batch uploading of forms to the website — the problem is people submitting multiple forms at the same time. Whether that means an automated system doing it in the background or an FFL having all of their employees manually entering multiple customer’s information during the day, it’s the same effect.
While this may appear to be an effort to stop Silencer Shop’s batch uploading of forms, in reality this is really advice that every FFL using the system needs to heed. One form at a time per account, no matter if you’re using different computers, is the way to keep the system from crashing.