AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker
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Have you ever used an accountant or tax preparer to fill out your 1040 form? You know, they do all the work and when it’s ready, all you have to do is open a vein and give the government its share of your income every year. You sign the form, write a check, and mail it off. Simple.

You can’t do that with ATF eForm 1’s. At least, you can’t as of about June of this year. It’s back to manually submitting them with third parties or attempting to figure it all out on your own. Because…government.

Prior to that, a third party could help you fill out an electronic Form 1 using the ATF’s eForms system or paper forms. The ATF, of course, wouldn’t allow electronic signatures such as Docusign to be used for electronic forms. Never mind that there are millions of Americans who use electronic signatures with all sorts of government agencies for important documents such as mortgages, contracts, et cetera every single day. That’s far too efficient and just won’t do for the federal gun regulators.

build your own suppressor silencer form 1
Yes, it’s legal to build your own silencer as long as you file a Form 1 first. (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Still, things got done, with third parties making life (not easy, but) easier on law-abiding Americans who wish to build suppressors, short barrel rifles (SBRs), or short barrel shotguns (SBSs). Retailers and the industry try to work with the ATF to provide guidance on how to streamline the process. Unfortunately, the ATF did what it is they do.

In what is becoming a trend, the ATF did a 180 and jerked the industry around with another arbitrary, unexplained edict. Over the summer, the ATF decided that getting help with your electronic Form 1 is now verboten. Instead, if you want to make your own suppressor, SBR, or SBS you’re left to your own devices and confusion. And the seller, who’s experienced in navigating ATF Form paperwork, can’t legally assist you any more.

CMMG Banshee SBR
CMMG Banshee SBR (courtesy CMMG)

Instead, you’re now required to fill out your own documents, sign them, and send them in.

Don’t like it? Too bad. And if you make a mistake, you’ll get your form back, and have to start the entire ridiculous process all over again.

That’s why about 110 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday asking him to step in and push the ATF to get its act together.

We talked to Silencer Shop’s owner Dave Matheny about all of this yesterday. Silencer Shop is the largest NFA dealer in the country.

Dave tells us that Silencer Shop had been doing business under the ATF’s previous eForm 1 guidance issued a couple of years ago. Guidance that allowed third party processors, like Silencer Shop, to fill out an eFile Form 1 for their customers, making the process more efficient for everyone involved.

It should also be noted that this makes the ATF’s job easier, too, with fewer mistakes and a more streamlined process. All the customer has to do is sign the document.

Then, in June, the ATF did an about-face with no explanation. The ATF let it be known that buyers getting help from a third party electronically is no longer allowed. That threw a monkey wrench into the process and made submitting Form 1’s purely manual and more onerous for the buyer.

What’s the logic behind this? No one knows, and the ATF has never been interested in explaining the reasons behind its edicts.

Navigating the ATF’s Form 1 process is an arduous endeavor, to say the least. In other words, it’s a pain in the ass. A pain their eForms system was designed to alleviate (and was intended to rocket the agency into cutting edge 1990s technological sophistication).

But now, in effect, they’re telling anyone who wants to build their own NFA-regulated item, they have to go back to paper only and do it with companies like Silencer Shop.

It’s stupid. It’s inefficient. It’s the ATF.

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    • Trump can stop this any time.
      In truth he tried to get an rabid anti gunner appointed as head of the ATF. The president demanded that ATF change course and declare “bump stocks” illegal. Numerous cases have been stopped from proceeding to the Supreme court by ATF as they would, without any doubt be decided, in favor of the Victim, the Patriotic Citizen observing his Second Amendment Rights! By not prosecuting, they let the Regulations stand and continue to feloniously persecute and prosecute other Citizens that cannot afford the time, money, loss of job, damaged reputation, to take their case to the Supreme Court!
      In addition many ATF as well as other agencies retain “Deep State”Operatives, in position to cripple, infringe and deny Citizens Rights under felonious color of law! The last infringement on arm braces for AR pistols came not from Headquarters but from a Field office in Boston , Mass!

    • There is no government agency called the ATF. There’s an organized crime group called the ATF, which enjoys the open support of every member of the federal and every state government, sure. But as established in Marbury v. Madison, a law abhorrent to the Constitution is never a law to begin with. Ergo the ATF is not a government agency, and there is very little text of legal significance in the NFA and GCA, even if we suppose that Wickard v. Filburn is a reasonable ruling (it isn’t; look it up.) Every so-called ATF Agent is literally just a gangster that your congresses call a federal agent because it’s easier than admitting the truth. You should act accordingly.

      • Lots of people do. Don’t post it on Facebook, don’t do something else to get arrested while it’s on your person, and it’ll never come up. Nobody has ever stopped me to ask if my SBR has a (so-called) tax stamp to go with it, law enforcement or otherwise.

    • Especially as they are not a Constitutionally authorized agency ,defund and dissolve and fire each and every employee as they have proven themselves too stupid to work for another government office or agency.

      • The only issue with that, is what if you use it for home defense? Which is why most people have AR pistols because theyre easier to manuever indoors and fit in drawers.

        Having an unregistered SBR is a 10 year felony, most people don’t want to risk that. It’s obviously unconstitutional and should be repealed, but that’s the reality we face right now.

  1. The better solution would be a Congress with the balls and foresight to eliminate restrictions on silencers, SBRs and AOWs (and fully automatic weapons, too, but they’ll obviously never go for that).

  2. I smell a budget push. A classic, and inevitable course of government agency action to justify greater budgets is to enforce cumbersome rules and regulations in order to prove the need for greater budget, greater staffing, and thus greater influence and prestige. In both the military and civilian federal government, I have witnessed incidents where large scope decisions were settled by comparing budgets and thus influence with Congress. The military has the greatest advantage in that when losing the contest, a new war can always be influenced into being. (Yes, and I was an eager part of defending and extending military budgets, the greatest leverage being the embarrassment to politicians abandoning enormous sunk costs.)

  3. I don’t do a lot of shooting so I know nothing about it but it sounds like the ATF is trying to get a head start on what they can get away with after the election in case the democrats win something we are praying don’t happen because if it does this nation is screwed Glad I don’t own many guns LOL

  4. Well, so far, the comments posted are certainly effective, especially if the posters would like to see an improvement in the daily ops of the BATFE. (Sarcasm for those with the one-liners)

    A better idea would be to read the letter and see if any of the signatories are representing you and your district. If so, sign off from TTAG and write, call or email that rep and thank him/her for supporting the Second Amendment at least in this tiny gesture.

    • Craig in IA,

      So, you assume your brothers and sisters here on TTAG, are not taking action. You may not be correct, and your criticism may not be justified.

      Just sayin’.

      • I hope you’re right but my experience over 40-some years of lobbying and activism is that the majority of keyboard warriors never go far from the blog.

  5. Can a potential builder still file a form 1 electronically, saving the submitter a longer-than normal wait time over the manual mail-in method?

    And even more to the point, was the question I just asked considered proof I received assistance in completing the form 1, a now-considered criminal act?

    • Is good question. I am considering doing my first one for a SBS.

      I don’t like jumping through hoops when the various “short firearms” are easily bought and ATF says.. “ok, it’s a firearm not a shotgun.” Like the Mossberg ShockWave.

  6. Face it the ATF does NOT want anyone to own any NFA thngie, but they’re stuck with the law, so they have to invent this kind of foolishness to make it as difficult as possible to get your permit. The ATF is NOT on our side y’all.

  7. C’mon Man…joe is the man with pockets full of moola from Ukraine, China and Russia. Joe says he never took a dime from Ukraine, China or Russia but joe set up his son hunter to take mountains of money from Ukraine, China and Russia.and funnel it into joe’s pockets. According to joe and witnesses coming out of the woodwork joe is “The Man” heading the syndicate.
    The evidence is hard and overwhelming against hunter and The Man. Should there be enough ignorant people voting for joe and he wins he will be a lame duck from the get-go. The Man will either die from the pressure or hand over the presidency to his sicko VP who will serve the remainder of The Man’s term and be replaced with Trump or another Trump. America will toss the insane harris quicker than a hot rock. In other words the Man joe biden and his running mate should pray they do not win.

    TRUMP/PENCE 2020.

    • The money that creepy Joe and family acquired is off-shore. Tracking it will probably be tedious, but not impossible, takes time. I’m betting that some elite(s) said that for the ‘good of the country’ we can’t go after it until maybe later.

      Me? I say arrest them under the Patriot Act….even on the day of the election. No one should be above the law. The average citizen would already be charged especially if there was pictures of an underage girl was on laptop.

      • “I say arrest them under the Patriot Act….”

        Well, you would need actual evidence of wrongdoing in order for an indictment or charges.

        “No one should be above the law.”

        Except for Donald Trump, but that will all change shortly.

  8. Bazaar. The ATF has the computer system that is capable of excepting electronica filings, but they go retro and turn the whole thing off. Tell me why that makes any sense at all. Well, actually, it does. The ATF once out of the business of issuing these stamps so that no one can have these items. What surprises me is that the ATF is going so rogue.

    • The ATF is not going rogue.

      The ATF is following the directions of their Trump-appointed director.

      Donald Trump has been in charge of the administration and the ATF for four years, Donald Trump and the Republicans own the ATF and its actions.

      No amount of political disinformation will change this fact.

      Donald Trump was personally responsible for the bump stock ban, and the Trump appointed director of the ATF makes no moves without consulting Trump and his advisers.

      One can talk about Joe Biden and the Democrats all they want, but the fact still remains that Donald Trump and his administration have complete control of the ATF and are responsible for its actions.

      • There are a lot of rogue bureaucrats in our government who should have been fired by Trump. The atf and guns in general are not as high on the priority list as potg would like them to be. Hopefully when the scous it whole again things will change.

      • Trump’s BATFE did ban bump stocks and made some dumb changes in process of registration of NFA items.
        Biden promised us that he and his gun grabbing buddy Francis O’Rourke will ban anything that bump stock can be attached to. Ban normal capacity magazines.
        Ban online gun parts sales and ammo sales. Ban private gun transactions.
        Destroy gun manufacturing by repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
        That all on top of the Green New Deal and other Marxist idiocy.

        Yeah, I think I will stick with Trump for now.

        • The only thing bump stocks were ever good for was exactly the purpose they were put to in Las Vegas, in accurate shooting into a mass of people a quarter of a mile away where you couldn’t either hit or miss because you weren’t aiming at anything other than the blob. For all other purposes of the use of a semi automatic long firearm, you don’t need bump stocks ever. BTW, IIRC A book I read about the Philippine insurgency during the Japanese occupancy during WWII made the point that in the bush those guys, who were depending on airdrops for their ammo, cherished every round, and nobody used automatic everybody put their weapon on semi automatic and left it there, I’m speaking Thompson’s here, because frankly they couldn’t afford to blow through the rounds without aiming on the dubious possibility of hits as ammunition was precious. Nobody ever needed bump stocks.

        • “Nobody ever needed bump stocks.”

          Nobody ever “needed” to live, either. However, the founders proclaimed you have an unalienable right to life, and they created a constitution to protect that right, whether you need to live, or not. Same as with firearms, or any weapon at all.

  9. This action by the ATF is doing exactly what they want it to do, refuse and delay. No one can explain why the purchase of an actual firearm is easier than a accessory (suppressor) for that same firearm. ATF reasoning is to complicate the process, thus making it easier for them to delay or deny forms that are intentionally confusing resulting in the likely hood of making errors in filling it out.

    No one can give a actual logical reasoning why the purchase of a suppressor or SBR should be any more difficult than a regular form 4473 backround check and approval, pay the extra $200 and obtain the tax stamp at point of purchase. It can be that simple, so why is it not?

    • “Just wait until every gun has to be done this way.”

      At that point, we will find out if Trump’s SCOTUS picks save us, doom us, or provide the ‘KickStarter’ to Revolutionary War part 2.

      The choice is that stark…

  10. Barr is going to tell the congressmen to pound sand. He’s going to back the ATF. Why? For the same reason he wrote that amicus for Lon Horiuchi.

    • Bob Barr needs to be fired weeks ago, when The President ask Barr to procute the Russian Hoax Clowns, There is tee witness testimony now and a Biden LapTop and the FBI won’t act. Maby it is time for Lawful Gun owners to stick together unlike the ATF has never imagined and Call out them out to come before congress and have a face to face there is millions of us that vote, I think we would get more results?

  11. “It should also be noted that this makes the ATF’s job easier, too, with fewer mistakes and a more streamlined process.“

    This, in my judgment, is why the various computer programs for tax prep, I.e., TurboTax, have been so accepted by the IRS and states. Just like now, in NJ and especially NY, they’ve eliminated toll booths (and collectors making $45k+) from bridges and tunnels around NYC, installing cameras instead and either charging your EZPass or mailing a bill. All cheaper (in the longer or even medium term run), and equally important more accurate. But this ATF bs smacks of policy decisions, namely, ‘we see no need for John Q. Public to have suppressors, so let’s red tape it to slow it down, if not entirely eliminate it after Slo Joe (and the Hoe) assume anti-gun control.’ And notice how the government only gets efficient when the point of the exercise is to expedite the flow of money from you to them and not vice versa.

  12. Then how come I’m holding in my hands a Form 1 ‘digitally signed’ and digitally submitted dated 10/20/2020? the eForms program walked me straight through the process and, with a little coaching off YouTube, I got it done in about an hour.

  13. I’ll be the buzzkill. IMHO SS is the one to blame here. They have been doing sh*t against the rules for years. I’m surprised the ATF hasn’t kicked them in the nuts sooner. In there quest to be the biggest they circumvented the rules and screwed a lot of other people. All they are doing is taking people’s money to do a simple form 1. They used to (maybe still do) push/ sell their NFA trust (a legal document) then add a disclaimer that it is not legal advice. Anything to make a buck. ( I’m pretty sure they are the ones that got E-form 4’s shut down also.) I might be wrong but this is what has been discussed in NFA circles for the past few years +.

    You don’t have to agree with the rules but if you are in business you have to abide by them until they change.

    • “How is any communication restriction by the government not a 1st amendment violation?”

      Because the First Amendment is not absolute. Ergo, “common sense” speech control is permissible, even mandated.

  14. Just a random thought. Can we find out who authorized this letter? It sounds like they think the political winds are changing ( i.e Democrats may win ). 100% arbitrary and capricious , sue ’em.

  15. Guns & Gadgets on yt, just posted a vid saying ATFE has, as of 10/26/2020 classified AR and AK pistols as, AOW and subject to NFA SBR regulation . ATFE is preparing for a biden administration .


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