Early last year, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) finalized their new regulations regarding fingerprinting for National Firearms Act trust members, and other changes to NFA paperwork processing.
There was a massive spike in silencer purchases. People submitted Form 4’s for Short Barreled Rifles in the run-up to that change. We hear that the first transfer applications which were submitted after the rule went into effect are finally flowing back.
According to the latest returns, the current processing time for Form 4s (transfer of an NFA weapon like a silencer from a dealer to a trust) is around 11 months. As data from our friends at NFA Tracker shows, that’s the result of the massive flood of paperwork that hit the ATF before the new rule went into effect.
Right now, silencer sales are stagnant. With the official blessing to shoulder pistol arms braces, SBR applications are also down. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of buyers are waiting for the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) to pass before shelling out their hard-earned cash for a new suppressor.
The ATF’s NFA branch has staffed up to handle the pre 41F push of paperwork. With the current backlog cleared I’m willing to bet that we’ll start to see processing times drop like a dirty Skrillex beat.
What does that mean for you? Now is the perfect time to buy a silencer. Manufacturers and dealers are swimming in unsold stock. You can get excellent quality silencers for more than 50 percent off pre-HPA retail.
Your paperwork might take some time to clear, but if things progress the way I expect, you should see the return of 60-day turnaround times on Form 4’s. If the Hearing Protection Act passes, you’ll most likely get your $200 tax fee back as a tax credit (language to that effect was in the original version of the bill). Plus, plenty of manufacturers are offering to cover your tax for you if you buy now.
I don’t see a downside for purchasing a silencer at this point in time. Buy cans. Buy them NOW!