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The BATFE’s NFA branch has been in charge of processing all NFA paperwork — the tax forms that allow the legal purchase and possession of everything from short barreled rifles and silencers to machine guns and large explosive devices. And for each slip of paper, the ATF collects $200 (or $5 for some items), perform a background check, do some registration updating and so forth. It’s a long, involved process. However, as of Friday, the ATF has announced that it is finally “caught up” on all of the pending applications and the current turnaround time for new applications is now running around 4-6 days . . .

At the end of last year, the NFA Branch announced that it was hiring new employees despite the hiring freeze on the rest of the Department of Justice. While the NFA branch has yet to hire new investigators — the people who actually sign the paperwork — they have since employed a small army of clerical assistants that have basically turned the position of “investigator” into a rubber stamp job. Applications are reviewed by the new clerks and the ones that pass muster, are simply signed by the hundreds by the investigators.

The improvements come as the NFA Branch has been flooded by both Form 1 and Form 4 applications, caused by the devaluation of the dollar to the point where a $200 investment for an NFA device isn’t as much of a pain in the ass as it used to be. When the price was originally set it was intended to be used to keep the poor and minorities from owning “dangerous weapons,” allowing only the rich to buy suppressors and the like. However, thanks to the poor state of the economy, that value is so low that almost anyone can afford the fee these days.

Despite the relatively low value of that $200 tax, a change in the way the fees are handled has made it possible for the ATF NFA Branch to hire an army of employees. Previously, the fee had simply gone straight into the pool of money used to fund the government’s operations. However, a little-known change in the way those fees are routed was made through the recent efforts to keep the budget sequester from having too onerous an impact. That means the NFA branch now keeps all of those fees. Estimates put the new funding for the office at around $3 million.

ATF Spokesman William  J. Lepetomane said that as of Friday all pending applications had been processed and that the approved forms will be sent out in the coming week for the latest batch of applicants. According to Lepetomane, while the daily incoming application load had been too high to be processed in real time, the new staffing levels are more than sufficient to process every new application as soon as it comes through the door. When asked what the employees will be doing with their new spare time, Lepetomane said that the NFA Branch was investing in training aids for the office.

“It is important to keep the skills of our workers in top condition,” he said at a press conference on Friday. “We have found that visual training aids work best, especially in an interactive environment.” The training aides chosen are said to have been sourced from Microsoft and Sony. Rooms are being specially designed, with contracts let to Frito Lay, Coca-Cola as well as the new Hostess included in the deal.

When a local gun store owner was asked about the quicker turnaround from the ATF, he responded that “NFA items are our biggest seller. People are going crazy for silencers. But as for this news, all I can say is . . . Happy April Fool’s Day!”

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  1. In another story, Congress admits it is woefully unresponsive and inadequate, and suspends all pay raises and expense accounts, access to congressional gym and pool, and private jets until the budget is balanced and taxes are cut. Also, Congress seeks to follow the Constitution in making of all laws.

  2. Happy April fool! Got it just from the title even before I read the article…. But wouldn’t it be nice… Sigh

  3. “But as for this news, all I can say is . . . Happy April Fool’s Day!”

    I knew there was something about this story not tasting very kosher.

  4. Nope, sorry. Didn’t even make it to the article; I knew it was April Fools’ just from the headline. Good try, though.

  5. A fire. Get familiar with it.

    See, leaving some leeway! Not going straight for the char roast. :p

  6. I knew something was off when you said that because of the poor economy everyone can afford to put down $200. That just made no sense.

  7. I was SOOOO excited for a few minutes. I should have known better. I kept reading thinking maybe the reduced the backlog of checks to be cashed, not applications processed.

  8. I was moments away from calling in sick, ditching work, and spending the day SBR’ing my Arsenal with a suppressor on top…

  9. “…caused by the devaluation of the dollar to the point where a $200 investment for an NFA device isn’t as much of a pain in the ass as it used to be”

    Hilarious! …I mean… sort of 🙁

  10. Oh man – not cool! I almost forwarded this to my boss! Thank heaven I narrowly avoided looking like a total shmuck. 🙂

  11. In my sleep-deprived state, I was completely hooked. So excited. So delighted.

    Then I caught the name “William J. Lepetomane.” And then the disappointment followed.

    For those of you who missed that little reference, William J. Lepetomane is the name of the tail-chasing and tollway-pioneering governor portrayed by Mel Brooks in his 1974 classic, “Blazing Saddles.”

    “Does anybody got a dime??? Somebody’s gotta go back and get a shitload of dimes!!!!”

  12. That’s just wrong. May a dog in heat romance your shin for the next month of November.

  13. …good new! I heard OBama, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, Rangel, Bloomberg, Feinstein, are resigning to join Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Bill Maher and Piers Morgan to form a comedy troop, and congress is abolishing the IRS, Federal Reserve, Department of Agriculture, Monsanto is going green, and we are all getting a bailout this time instead of the people who rob us blind.

    Happy April First.

  14. Cruel. Funny but cruel.

    Admittedly, anyone who really believes the ATF would make the NFA process efficient probably also believes in the Easter Bunny ….

  15. I literally ran downstairs and grabbed my extra fingerprint cards.
    Ah hell. If there’s one thing TTAG should’ve taught me by now, it’s play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  16. Being that it is August 2013 now, the response is it is taking an additional 3 months. So I guess their hard work was for nothing? Their line of BS never stops

  17. I applied on Feb 22, 2013. Now Nov. 09, 2013. Good job ATF!!! You just got a free vacation. You should be charged up and ready to do your job! Good luck with that!!! Signed— Mad as hell!!!

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