ATF NFA Branch Catching Up Slowly. Very Slowly.

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Our friends at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gave a regulatory update at last week’s 13th Annual Firearms Import/Export Conference. Among the tidbits they dropped were a few more non-surprising data points indicating the (relative) slowdown in firearms and related sales. Number one on the hit parade as reported by princelaw.com: The NFA Branch is now processing more applications than they’re receiving for the first time since 2009. Oh, and they’ve whittled their backlog down to a mere 56,000 applications from 81,000 in February . . .

For you eForm fans, there’s good news! After an ObamaCare-like meltdown of the eForm platform, the ATF’s crack team of government-employed systems developers managed to get Form 1s back on line recently. And they let it slip that Form 2s will be back “shortly.” In government-speak, that means maybe by the end of the year. Or next year. Probably. Then they’ll start working on Forms 3 and 4. Eventually. Once they actually hire someone to do the work.

And if you have a firearms trust and have been sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what they’ll be doing with any new proposed ATF-41P requirements, you can breathe easy. At least for now. The good news is the ATF is about as efficient and responsive as the Veterans Administration:

ATF Counsel Andrew Lang stated that ATF is currently on track to make a decision by January 2015; however, he acknowledged that many of the Comments filed by attorneys raised some issues that ATF hadn’t considered. He stated that the rulemaking may get significantly sidetracked internally, depending on internal responses to their review of the Comments and proposals on how to address the concerns. In response to a question on why ATF didn’t provide the underlying materials used for drafting the proposed rule, Attorney Lang, in addition to saying the petition was posted by the NFATCA at some point in time on its website, said ATF hasn’t had requests for such material in the past (aka, ATF hasn’t been complying with the Administrative Procedures Act and therefore, it didn’t need to with ATF-41P…well, maybe now that we made an issue out of it, there will be a change in course in future ATF rulemaking.)

But they swear they’ll have a new NFA Handbook out in time for the next SHOT Show. Really.

comments

  1. avatar OakRiver says:

    Good enough for government work I guess…..

  2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I have a better question: why don’t we bring a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that reigns in Congress’ infinite power to “regulate interstate commerce” … and then have the U.S. Supreme Court throw out all the bogus firearm laws which depended upon “interstate commerce” for their existence?

    Baring that, why don’t we just introduce a U.S. Constitutional Amendment that clarifies Congress’ power to “regulate” interstate commerce as ONLY REMOVING barriers and impediments to direct interstate commerce?

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      OK by me.

    2. avatar Scrubula says:

      +1
      That’s how it is supposed to be. The government wasn’t given the power to monopolize interstate commerce, really only to ensure that it thrives.

    3. avatar tfunk says:

      Or we could introduce a Constitutional Amendment that says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be…oh, wait…

    4. avatar B says:

      Only takes 38 states to ratify an amendment (I think? 3/4?), I’m sure theres pretty close to that number of states that would like the EPA to get the heck out of their ditches and ponds.

    5. avatar JasonM says:

      Are you referring to the same supreme court that decided a farmer growing wheat on his own farm was considered interstate commerce?
      I doubt the modern court will oppose centralized state power more than their predecessors 80 years ago.

  3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I would just like to see Executive Orders go bye bye. Where doe the Constitution state Congress can delegate its authority?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      It doesn’t, directly. But many laws as passed by Congress are broad and/or vague, and it’s up to the Executive to implement them. Where the specifics are not stated or not known, someone has to make the call and then promulgate that decision, ergo Executive Orders. They have to be issued under the purview and in support of some form of primary legislation. If the Orders are seen to be overreaching or in conflict with the intent of the primary legislation, they can be overturned either in court or by Congress passing a new law in opposition to the order that clarifies or expands on the original legislation.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      We almost had that as a precedent. When Lincoln declared the emancipation proclamation as an executive order, many people pointed out that only congress had the power to make law. They were getting it overturned, when the 13th amendment passed, making it a moot point.

  4. avatar Scrubula says:

    As far as I am concerned, an 8 month waiting period is an undue delay of the second amendment.
    Getting a new passport takes a few weeks. If they can process secured information like that quickly, maybe the ATF is under-funded. Not that I want them to grow in size, but the wait time on all of their forms is ridiculous.

    1. avatar Sam Schifo says:

      The ATF just needs to be more efficient. That’s easy to do without giving them more power; all they have to do is hire more people to sit at a desk and file paperwork. But that would be too logical a decision.

      1. avatar Scrubula says:

        I don’t think the money would only go into pencil pushers. Some would probably end into hiring more thugs to harass gun stores that haven’t committed a crime.
        Still, forced registration with a ridiculously long acceptance time is the closest the antis will get to an outright ban of all guns, so I think we shouldn’t let the systems get corrupted.

  5. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I need to buy a can, but I keep finding other things to spend my money on.

  6. avatar jimmyjames says:

    Would be nice to know how long a e1 would actually take to process/approve now.

    1. avatar mike says:

      Believe it or not, some recent eForm 1’s have been approved within a month or so.

  7. avatar RALPH says:

    Sometimes government incompetence is a bug; sometimes it’s a feature.

  8. avatar Matt in TN says:

    Out in time for the next shot show they say? I’ll regard that with the same level of faith as anyone else who says they swear to God they’ll have something by show show.

  9. avatar Mark A. says:

    Form 2 has been back for a while now. Form 3 and 4 won’t see the light of day until 2017 at the earliest as they haven’t even started the acquisition process yet to hire someone. Based on current govt contracting regulations, it will be 2015 before they even issue an RFP, mid to late 2015 before they hire someone, 2016 before they finish the clearance process to put anyone to work. All they did to bring Form 1 back online was start to clear out some of the records by shutting off the site for a couple of months, then just let Form 1 come back online. They did nothing to fix the underlying problems with the system. It still throws the same errors as before. In fact, there seem to be more issues with it now than before and a lot more rejections due to the system still dropping data. For 41P, for them to say that they can make any decision by January is an indication they intend to violate the law and not comply with the APA. To date, they haven’t responded to comments per the law. For them to say that they have not received any requests for the underlying material is complete BS.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Same people have been working on that e-form website since 2006 (not as good as the Obamacare site).

      But at least they send apology emails.

      Lenora (Lee) Alston-Williams
      Industry Liasion Analyst – IT
      Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives
      Office of Enforcement Programs and Services
      Firearms and Explosives Services Division
      99 New York Avenue, N.E. (6.E-333)
      Washington, DC 20226
      E-mail: Lee.Alston-Williams@atf.gov
      Office: (202) 648-7166
      Fax: (202) 648-7166

    2. avatar Joe R. says:

      And. . . [say it with me] it ‘feels’ like “throttling”. Which is not in their charter or mandate.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Wait-n-see, probably just added 6 mos. to my wait by complaining. Nothing like having the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government working . . against you.

        Many years from now, when the paperwork shows up, my grandkids aren’t even going to know that they will be in violation of the law just taking receipt of the goods. ; P

  10. avatar Southern Cross says:

    And what are the chances you will still need IE6 to access the site to process the form?

  11. avatar Morgan Gatorsee says:

    Last Form 4 they processed, cashed check n October, did a kickback of Form 4 in July, approved and item in my hand early August. This is 2 months ahead of what they quoted me which was 12 month turn around time.

    I filed another Form 4 on father day (SBR), Really hoping it gets processed a bit faster this time.

  12. avatar Matt in FL says:

    One of my buddies just picked up a pair of .22LR silencers last week. Purchased and paid for August 1, 2013. Transferred to the FFL on a Form 3, November 1, 2013. Form 4 submitted a week later. Forms returned and picked up silencers on August 5th, 2014.

    Your tax dollars at work.

  13. avatar Joe R. says:

    14 mos. = projected stamp issuance period says “304 616-4500” [In all fairness first 4 months wasted on inop e-file with no notification of e-file application failure (although check cleared immediately); before paper filing as recommended by the happy and friendly (’cause they don’t care) staff].

    Sign up for their email updates:https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USATF/subscriber/new?preferences=true
    and read their newsletters, and ask yourself Where is the $ going???

    Follow ATF on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ATFHQ or @ATFHQ

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    Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your email address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      If you are/or become too frustrated with the ATF, you can always visit their K-9 page.

      http://www.atf.gov/content/about/atf-canines/canine-gallery1#overlay-context=content/about/atf-canines/canine-gallery1

      At least we got man’s best friend working for us on the inside. ; ) Like we used to say with the working-dogs in Iraq. ‘Thank God someone remembered to bring a dog’

      🙂

  14. avatar smackdab says:

    Let’s repeal the Hughes amendment, then go one step further and de-fund the ATF.

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