Back at SHOT Show I asked the ATF agents at their booth a simple question: once you have an approved Form 1 to make and register a NFA weapon, when are you required to engrave your manufacturing information on your new firearm? The response was somewhat surprising — the ATF agent informed me that you only need to engrave your NFA firearm if you intend to sell it. I wrote an article to that effect back in January and also immediately emailed the ATF for additional clarification. The ATF has just responded and their written response is a complete 180 degree departure from what they verbally communicated.
Here’s the email I sent the ATF with their response in bold.
To whom it may concern,
At SHOT Show this year I asked an ATF employee a question about NFA marking requirements. I was wondering at what point I needed to engrave my firearm with my information when making an NFA registered item from an existing non-NFA regulated device.
*Upon approval of the Form 1 to make and once you make you must mark the firearm with your information. That is the information you put on your form as the maker. So if you used your name you would mark your name, city, and state. If you used a trust you would mark the name of the trust, city, and state.
The ATF employee informed me that the only regulatory requirement for marking a firearm pertained to firearms that were intended for sale in interstate commerce. This regulation is the reason that homemade non-NFA firearms were legal to possess without any markings whatsoever so long as they were not sold or transferred to another person.
*Licensed Manufacturers/Importers are required to mark firearms by law. An individual who makes a firearm qualified under the Gun Control Act (GCA) for themselves is not required to mark.
According to the ATF employee the same logic applied to NFA firearms – since the markings required to identify the firearm on the registration paperwork already exist there is no need to add the markings for the NFA manufacturer (the owner). The only time those markings are required, according to the employee, is when the firearm is sold or transferred to another owner, even if the firearm is no longer in a configuration that would classify it as an NFA regulated device.
The above information is incorrect.
ALL firearms that qualify under the National Firearms Act (NFA) are required to be marked by the manufacturer/maker at the time it is made. It has nothing to do with when the firearm enters into commerce.
I have been informed that there are other conflicting opinions about this requirement beyond what your employee has told me. I would sincerely appreciate a written confirmation of the exact regulation to stop further confusion.
So there’s the word straight from the horse’s mouth.
We here at TTAG strive to get you the most complete and accurate answers possible. The information provided in the first post was accurate and truthful to the response I received from the ATF in person, but I do personally apologize for not confirming that information with a second source at the ATF before publication.