Anyone who has known me for more than five minutes knows my displeasure at the current state of affairs at the ATF, and specifically the wait times for NFA (National Firearms Act) paperwork to be processed. Seven months for a single form to be processed is honestly too much, and the American Silencer Association agrees. They met with the ATF NFA branch and members of congress recently to discuss the current issues and try to speed up the process, and hearing them talk about what’s going on behind the scenes (as well as seeing the STACKS of NFA forms in their hallways) was very enlightening and enjoyable. Here are the cliff notes…
The ATF’s NFA branch is beta testing an electronic system for some of their NFA forms. Silencer supremo Kevin Brittingham (formerly of AAC fame) has frequently recommended e-filing to limit the length of time needed for an ATF OK to transfer a silencer from one KNOWN, LICENSED DEALER to another. Thankfully, the ATF now agrees; they’re working towards implementing office management systems circa the late 20th century.
The big news: the ATF NFA branch is pushing for the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) sign-off to go the way of the dinosaur.
The CLEO sign-off is used in many places to enact a de facto ban on NFA ownership. If the CLEO doesn’t sign off on your form you can’t get a silencer. Or machine gun. Or anything fun.
It’s doubtful if we’ll see this come to fruition given the politics involved, but it’s a glimmer of hope and an acknowledgement that the people at the NFA branch really do understand and want to make things better for law abiding citizens. [ED: in theory.]
The American Silencer Association are newbs (founded last year). They’re a promising group of individuals who understand what they need to do to get the job done. Watch this space.