ATF eForms allows electronic filing of various forms related to NFA items (silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, etc.), but the Form 4, the form required for an individual to purchase an NFA item and the only one that nearly everyone reading this cares about, has not been available on eForms (except for briefly during 2013). The biggest advantage to e-filing is a significant reduction in wait time from filing to approval.
According a letter from the ATF, beginning sometime between December 15th and December 28th, 2021 (as in, this month), eForm 4s will be back.
Silencer Shop has been preparing for the return of eForm 4s for years and is poised and ready to facilitate them like you wouldn’t believe. Have a Silencer Shop account? Have an ATF eForms account? Silencer Shop and their Powered By Silencer Shop Dealers have a tool ready to process and submit all relevant information quickly.
Check this out: you purchase a silencer on the Silencer Shop website, they complete a Single Shot Trust for that new purchase, your required personal info such as passport photo and fingerprints are already on file with them, and they input and attach all of this info automatically to the eForm Form 4 application and submit it.
But not before Silencer Shop’s software tool checks every field of the application for potential issues, avoiding the number one cause of approval delays. In fact, Silencer Shop has a 99.5% accuracy rate on forms they submit. The industry average is 60%.
This personal information is transmitted via SSL security protocol. While, sure, it’s possible this could be hacked, mailing printed documents with all of the same information is at least as vulnerable.
In fact, I’ve personally had Form 4 documents lost in the mail. ATF mailed back the approved Form 4 for my CGS Kraken-SK and it was lost in the mail. Not only did that have all of my information on it, but I had no idea the suppressor transfer had been approved. Knowing most Form 4s were taking about nine months at the time, I gave it a total of 13 months before calling up the ATF NFA Branch (worried that calling them to check status of my application would, in itself, possibly delay its approval) to ask for an update. “We mailed your approval almost six months ago,” they said. Oh for frick’s sake.
ATF eForms are submitted electronically and approved electronically. A PDF of the approved form is sent via email and is also available to you in your account on the ATF eForms website. There is no additional cost to using eForms (less cost, in fact, as you aren’t printing or shipping anything).
Whether we agree that electronically submitting the forms is safer than mailing them or not, eForms unquestionably eliminates the hassle associated with printing and mailing paper documents, and Silencer Shop eliminates the hassle of you having to fill out those documents. Likewise, the process on the ATF’s end is streamlined and simplified, which benefits us in the form of dramatically faster processing and approval times.
ATF eForms are currently available for ATF Forms 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9. The vast majority of us, though, only use Form 4s and those are [apparently] going live this month. Nice!
NOTE: if you already have a paper Form 4 that’s pending, stick with it. ATF states that any withdrawals of pending paper applications will result in a significant (e.g. one-year) delay. If you have an application pending with Silencer Shop that hasn’t yet been submitted, Silencer Shop will automatically switch it over to eForms once eForm 4s are live.
If you aren’t familiar with Silencer Shop, they’re the leader in NFA processing and are responsible for over half of all of the Form 4s submitted in the U.S. every year. They have over 23,500 reviews on TrustPilot with a 4.9 out of 5 stars rating. Nobody makes it quicker or easier to buy a silencer.