eFile

Five-star ratings aren’t handed out willy-nilly around here, so when I said that Lancer’s L15 lower receiver was worthy of the $200 tax stamp and the commitment to register it as an SBR, I meant it. Now, money has been placed where my mouth was and the BATFE has collected yet another two bills from me. With articles like RF’s recent “ATF’s Secret Air Force Revealed,” and the linked articles therein demonstrating just a couple of ATF’s complete and total CFs, I can’t help but feel highly conflicted about sending the agency more money. Now, I’ve heard or read that the NFA Branch has a separate budget, but. . .

it still feels like donating money to the other side. Some around here with less restraint than I might go so far as to call it supporting state-sponsored terrorism. What say you?

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63 Responses to The Moral Conflict Presented by the ATF

  1. “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.”

    Proverbs 25:21-23

    • we dont even need to heap the coals, come on, its a govt org we are talking about here. They will buy the coals themselves (with our fees), then start playing around with the gasoline and matches.

      All we really need to do is watch and wait. probably with a video camera, cause im sure they will try to blame someone else.

  2. “Love thine enemies. Do good to those that persecute you.”

    In all seriousness, it is a separate budget, and not all agents are on the side of evil. The ATF agent who interviewed me for my FFL application was rather supportive of the industry and getting me set up.

  3. “and not all agents are on the side of evil.”

    But most are?

    Who would willingly apply for a job with this bunch? A seriously pro 2A type? Really?

    • To change a system you either have to openly oppose it from the outside, or join and work from within.

      As long as you are on the side that wants to protect the 2nd ammendment, I have no problem with the either approach.

      The hardest part if you have two such groups thinking along these lines would be to align goals and form coalitions…

  4. The NFA branch is not — and cannot — even be fully funded just from the tax revenues collected from NFA tax stamps alone anyway.

      • It’s mere existence is reason enough to abolish it, and then make it illegal to recreate. Since we’re on the subject, the entirety of the federal government can’t be funded through its many unlawful revenue streams as it is, either. Hmmm…

        • Sounds about right.
          Another gift of the New Deal by FDR.
          Rickenbacker was right about FDR.

        • FWIW, the NFA branch processed like 235,000 applications in 2014 and it’s only picking up. …close to $50MM in revenue…

          No, I’m SURE that doesn’t cover the operating expenses of the NFA branch. But it damn sure could if it were run like a private business haha.

    • Exactly. I very much doubt that there are enough people paying $200 every year to adequately fund the NFA branch of the ATF. I also wonder if people haven’t brought this up because they fear that anti’s would simply have the ATF adjust the price for inflation, making the stamp cost $3000 instead. But this would mean nobody would register and make the branch’s existence a wast of resources and manpower because they have nothing to process anymore since nobody is going to pay $3k to make their rifle barrel a few inches shorter.

      • Uh, the NFA branch’s existence is already a total and complete waste of time and resources, as is the BATFE in general. Adjusting the price of the tax stamp for inflation would make no difference on that point alone, much less the prospect of having very few to no applications come through afterward. I wouldn’t be surprised if they closed the NFA branch, and with it the NFA registry, altogether after seeing their tax monies disappear virtually overnight. Such a move would be purposefully aimed at removing the only mechanism available at the federal level for “legally” owning what is in fact already every American’s birthright to begin with.

        I would like to think it would prompt a wave of bills like those proposed or passed in Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Alaska, Alabama, and elsewhere that emphatically state that not only are all “NFA” items made and kept within state lines exempt from federal law, but it’s also illegal for federal agents to enforce any and all federal laws against people in possession of said items. But, alas, I have my doubts.

  5. While not quite as silly as the recently deleted post about airplanes and doors….this is not too far off. ttag, stay on topic, don’t abuse your hard earned Internet reach by posting stuff that is no better than msm commentary.

    • This has gone through my mind since the very first time I wrote a $200 check made out to the BATFE. I joked to my FFL, “can I just make it out to B. Todd Jones & Eric Holder? I’m a huge fan of their work!”

      Every dang time I’ve sent $200 there I feel bad. I’m conflicted because, as stated, it feels like donating money to the other political party but also because I’m perpetuating and supporting something that I believe to be unconstitutional (not the ATF, per se, as an org originally intended just to collect taxes on a, t, and f, but the National Firearms Act itself). I completely disagree with the necessity or legality of the NFA, especially for silencers and SBRs, and here I am sending yet another $200, tacitly supporting everything about it.

    • Considering some of the other completely absurd “constructive possession” laws, I’m surprised ownership of a rifle and a hacksaw at the same time isn’t a felony under the same reasoning. Or anything that could work as a silencer, such as a pillow or an oil filter. There’s so much ridiculous BS in these laws that it’s truly just shocking they’re allowed to stand.

      Really, any of the sort of laws that are regulatory in nature instead of related to an actual action by an individual that harms another. What the frick does it matter if somebody owns a rifle with a 15″ barrel instead of a 16″ one? Let alone a legal rifle but also a short barrel somewhere without having an appropriately legal SBR or pistol on which to install it. Why is that a 10-year minimum Federal prison sentence. He hasn’t done anything to infringe upon the liberties of anybody else. He hasn’t caused any harm. Mere possession of an arbitrarily-regulated item cannot justifiably be criminalized, IMHO. It’s a massive step towards the whole “pre-crime” thing like in the movie “Minority Report.” It’s ridiculous, it’s scary, and it’s shocking that these sorts of regs (not just for firearms, but across the board) have stood the test of time and been accepted by the population. I hope the .gov tries to pass a law along the lines of ‘owning enough alcohol in one’s home and owning a vehicle at the same time is ‘constructive possession’ for drunk driving,’ and maybe that will get peoples’ attention at how ridiculous this sort of criminalization is. Start throwing folks who haven’t done a bad deed in their entire lives, and haven’t done anything but break a paper regulation, in prison and we’ll see if the sheeple sleep through that also. But it would have to be something pretty darn universal. SBRs are too niche for the populous to care about.

  6. “Five-star ratings aren’t handed out willy-nilly around here”, unless the subject is a Sig product.

    I do not want any tax stamps, I want a repeal of the NFA.

      • It has 5 stars in every category with a glowing 4.5 stars. The mpx review, the “just released”post shortly before, and all the information presented leading up to the review left a bad taste in my mouth the day I read the review. That’s my opinion and it was shared by other readers, as per comments under that review. I still read TTAG reviews, but bring a little more skepticism.

        • I write a negative review of a widely publicized product and people claim I have a grudge. I write a positive review about a widely publicized product and people claim I’m showing favoritism. I can’t win.

          Think what you want, but I know that review was truthful and accurate. Just like every other review I’ve ever done.

        • Nick can be a bit of a fan boy, but his reviews are generally spot on. Give the man some credit. I’d gush a little too if I got to shoot some of fun toys he does. Rock on Captain Chaos!

        • Nick, I will be happy to read your further content. The MPX probably deserves a higher rating for all I know. But as I said above the way things were written previous to the review, it was presented in much the same way dead tree mags present reviews.

        • I don’t give much merit to any review. I’ve never read an accurate one anywhere.

          But since the recent glockgasm, I delete all notification emails regarding a review from TTAG without even opening them.

    • I’m confused by the whole process as well. Gee it would be great if somebody, anybody were to write an article on the whole process. Hmmm I wonder what gun related web/news blog could do something like that?

        • Ah. ok that clears up a few questions Thank You. I’ll prob just get one of the braces much easier. Because I travel alot and don’t want all the hassels about crossing state lines or leaving the weapon at home with the wife while I’m away for months on a ship. I talked to the LGS that deals in supressors and SBR’s about this he had said something about a trust – something or another?

        • Well, hey, Nick, I still have some problems. I have a .300 SBR with a 9″ bbl. Are you saying that if I want a 12.5″ 5.56 mm upper I have to get another tax stamp? I don’t understand the necessity for the measurements, the lower I already have is a registered SBR, and I have already used it with a 16″ 5.56 mm upper, and was thinking of a 6-8″ 9mm upper as an addition to the collection, since I can only shoot one at a time and it takes 15 seconds to swap out uppers.

          I purchased from Silencer Shop, and they pride themselves on doing all the thinking, not to mention the paperwork, so I got little experience in the kind of issues you mentioned. Most was pretty clear, but taking those measurements from a gun it is illegal for you to possess seems weird, since you mentioned a 10″ bbl, which requires the stamp regardless of overall length.

          Also, in this case, I’m thinking Jeremy already has the lower, is he applying for the stamp without the upper, and when he gets the stamp it’s time to go shopping? The reason I wonder is that I have a couple more AR lowers which I may decide to register as well, since my kids like to play with my toys, too. Can I just send off the paperwork for a lower in my possession, which I have owned for 10 years, and then shop for caliber and bbl length after the form 4 comes back?

          These posts are really helpful, BTW, thanks.

          James69, yes, a trust is probably your best bet. I got a trust, cost $300 and prices have gone way down, it names me, my wife, and my 2 sons, after which any one of us can possess the registered gun, shoot it alone or supervise others shooting it. Makes life easier.

        • “Also, in this case, I’m thinking Jeremy already has the lower, is he applying for the stamp without the upper, and when he gets the stamp it’s time to go shopping?”

          That’s correct. I don’t currently have a pistol lower receiver here, so owning a sub-16″ upper would be considered constructive possession. What you get when your Form 1 is approved and the tax stamp comes back is permission to manufacture an SBR. Your gun isn’t an SBR until you configure it as such.

          You can change the configuration of your registered SBR lower as much as you want. You can change caliber, barrel length, overall length, etc etc. The numbers you put on the Form 1 application for caliber, barrel length, and overall length are the “permanent configuration” numbers. The general advice is that you are capable of putting the firearm into that Form 1-stated configuration at any point, however there’s no requirement that it’s in that configuration at any given point and it isn’t something you’d have to do “on the spot” or whatever. So, I filled out my Form 1 saying the rifle I’m building is a .300 BLK with 8.5″ barrel and I think the overall length was 25″ or so. YES, you basically have to guess on this since it is a felony to configure the SBR before you have the Form 1 approval. I had my gun configured with the stock I wanted to use on the lower and with a 16.5″ bbl upper on top. I measured that overall length and subtracted 8″ to come up with the OAL of the gun in SBR config. When my Form 1 comes back approved, I’ll go ahead and purchase the parts I need to complete the upper that matches the description I gave the ATF. Actually, I think I’m going to have Shaolin Rifleworks build me a .300 BLK upper w/ 8.5″ bbl. Well, they just put a .300 BLK carbine in the mail to my FFL so I can borrow it for a couple months and review it for TTAG… assuming that goes well I’ll purchase a shorty upper from them 😉

          Anyway, one reason I wanted to have this registered SBR is in case a review situation comes up in which I’m supposed to check out a sub-16″ upper receiver. I could put that upper (or a 16″++ upper, for that matter) on this L15 lower and could leave it on there for as long as I wanted. However, I’ll always keep that 8.5″ bbl, .300 BLK upper so I can revert the gun to “permanent,” Form 1 configuration. The necessity of this (the ability to revert to Form 1 stated config) is debated a little bit, but I’m erring on the slightly safe side.

          Now, just as a final note, if you DO decide that you want to honestly and permanently change the configuration of your gun and sell the parts that match your Form 1 description, you can file a config change document with the ATF to amend the barrel length, caliber, and overall length. No charge for that. Some people say it doesn’t actually matter. But considering there’s no cost for it I don’t see why you wouldn’t do it.

          One additional note is on crossing state lines. Originally I was avoiding doing an SBR really freakin’ hard, because I live in WA but do nearly all of my shooting in ID. I cross the state line on average probably once a week. Having to get permission from the ATF every single time would not be feasible, and it would make owning an SBR a total PITA for me. BUT… turns out on form 5320.20, which is the form for crossing state lines with some NFA items, your timeframe can be up to a year. So the ATF currently has a 5320.20 from me filled out for permission to bring my SBR to/from WA/ID from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. There’s no cost (other than mailing the form to the ATF) of filing that form, so I’ll be doing it annually I guess.

          Hope it helps. I intend to create a post about this when the CZ Scorpion is assembled into an SBR and the AR-15 goes SBR just to discuss how the thought process went. The Scorpion will have some 922r information that I’m still working through.

        • “Your gun isn’t an SBR until you configure it as such”

          Never make absolute statements, that isn’t necessarily true, and is in fact where my question came from. I purchased an AAC complete rifle in .300 blk with a 9″ bbl, ie, an SBR prior to the first hint of an application, which is why the Silencer shop buried it in the back room (which must be warehouse sized) along with the suppressor to wait until all paperwork was complete. In retrospect, that was a teaching moment, too, I paid for everything and dealt with them exclusively, but it was my son who dropped by and discovered that the form 4 for the suppressor had arrived, and since he was named on the trust, they allowed him to pick it up on the spot, didn’t check with me.

          My lgs was determined to engrave the upper (apparently a necessity when I “manufacture” an SBR), dropped it when he found out I “bought” it. There are a lot of ways to screw this up, is all I’m saying.

        • It is true. It wasn’t an SBR until AAC configured it as such. It was not “prior to the first hint of an application,” as AAC had to apply for the licensing necessary to manufacture NFA items. You weren’t ever the manufacturer (which is why you didn’t have to engrave it, as it was already engraved by the manufacturer. And your FFL was way off base thinking about engraving the upper, when the lower is the part that carries that requirement as it alone is the “firearm”), and changing the configuration of the upper doesn’t change that. It’s already an SBR, so changing the barrel length isn’t manufacturing an SBR. Everything I said about permanent config changes or non-permanent, notifying the ATF about it or not, etc, still applies.

          On a Form 4 you’re transferring an already-manufactured NFA item into your possession. On a Form 1, you’re manufacturing one. The Form 4 is a transfer and when it’s approved you immediately become the legal owner. The Form 1 is permission to manufacture. It isn’t an SBR until you configure it as such. The receipt of the approved Form 1 doesn’t not turn your firearm into an SBR. Absolute statement 😉

      • Purposely attaching a sig brace to avoid SBR paperwork could get you into hot water. A sig brace is just that a brace that aids in firing an AR or AK style pistol, while using that search bar you should read the conflicting ATF “opinions” regarding the brace.

        • I misspoke, I would never ever put the brace anywhere but on my forearm just like the rest of you.

    • I think he meant the lower was durable enough and had enough bling to be good enough to add the $200 tax stamp to this firearm.

      @ james69 use the search at the top… The topic has been covered a few times on TTAG.

  7. “Some around here with less restraint than I might go so far as to call it supporting state-sponsored terrorism. What say you?”

    “Do unto others. Then split.” – ‘Unknown’

    In all seriousness, it’s your money and-or conscience.

    Will your sleep be troubled?

  8. Best of luck on that. I’m out at 60 days now with an eFile Form 1, when everyone was telling me 30 days. I’m at April 3rd on a silencer I filed paperwork for in October. What’s that whole bit about a right delayed?

    • Who told you a month? Just recently we had bragging here about less than 3 months. Last year, my SBR and suppressor took just under 6 months, both EFiles. God, if we could do a month, I might have to go shopping. Elder son would like me to add a nice suppressed AR-10, since I seem to have a lifetime’s ammo lying around.

      • It was for a while. You can see on this graph (especially if you filter it so you’re only seeing Form 1s for Trusts that were eFiled) that, since ~July of last year, it was trending at 30 to 45 days but starting in January of this year it has been increasing in turnaround time. My Form 1, eFiled for my Trust on February 2nd, was approved on March 27th. So that’s, what, 52 days?

        • Not to get myself in trouble, here, let’s say I know somebody …

          Once I have gotten my trust, then applied for the stamp, then gotten the form 4 and picked up the NFA items, how am I supposed to annotate the items on the trust? Or am I? Or is that the way they are listed with ATF, as on that particular trust? And if that is the case, how do I add a 7″ 9mm upper, for example?

          Once the Form 4s came back everything just kind of stopped, going from enormous and ridiculous complication to, essentially, “nobody cares”. Is another shoe poised to drop?

        • There is no requirement to update the schedule of trust assets. You can continue applying for further Form 4s, Form 1s, etc, and continue using the same trust doc with the same schedule of assets and that schedule does not have to be updated. At least not legally. This is on the FAQ of a lot of NFA law firm websites… You can update it if you want to, though. Especially if I bought anything via a Form 4, I’d add it to mine. On a Form 1, since it has to be engraved with the name of my trust anyway, it wouldn’t be as relevant.

          And again, an upper is not a firearm on an AR-15. Only the lower is the firearm. There would be no reason whatsoever to list a bunch of uppers on the trust’s schedule of assets.

  9. Giving money to the government to own firearms preferred by government thugs is treason to the 2A cause.

  10. Right now it’s the only legal way to play the game. I also give money to suppressor manufacturers and the ASA, and the NRA so that one day my kids can walk into a gun store and walk out with a can for their firearms without having to go through these shenanigans.

      • It’s a one-time tax per NFA item. Not necessarily a transfer tax, as in the case of the Form 1 mentioned here it’s actually a tax for permission to manufacture the NFA item (I’m building an SBR). But, yeah, it basically comes down to having to pay a special tax fee in order to own the things regulated by the NFA. It’s been a $200 tax since 1934 (which was like $3,100-ish in 1934 dollars!).

        The exception is AOWs (Any Other Weapon), for which the tax is $5. These are NFA-regulated items that don’t fall into the categories of machine gun, short barreled shotgun, short barreled rifle, silencer, or destructive device.

  11. Every time you pay taxes of any kind, you fund terrorism and persecution. I do my best to limit the comfort and aid I give to the enemy.

    You cannot defeat the enemy if you’re too much of a politically correct coward to even name it. I think there’s a presdent in a white house somewhere that can’t manage to do this, either…

    • This. The vile criminality of the government must be recognized. All money voluntarily given to the government is willful funding of that criminality.

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