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NFA Wait Time Skyrockets 200%


We’ve been tracking a nice, steady decline in the time it takes for the ATF to process firearm registration paperwork required to own items controlled by the National Firearms Act. At its peak you would expect to hear a reply from the ATF right around the 1 year anniversary of when you sent in the forms. In recent months that wait time has dropped damn near to the 30 day mark, but it looks like things are once again taking a turn for the worse . . .

Over the last three months, the average time it takes to process an electronically filed Form 1 as tracked by has increased close to 200% (from 30 days to well over 90 days). Paper filed Form 4’s are also taking longer, up roughly 30 days from their lowest point (90 days) to about four months.

The ATF has hired more people to deal with the increased workload, and those new employees should be coming online right around now. There’s no word as to the cause of this additional waiting time on NFA paperwork, but I get the feeling that opening my big mouth and telling everyone about how quickly they were moving may have had something to do with it. Oops.


  1. avatar jwtaylor says:

    I’m at 4 months on an efiled form 1.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      My most recently disapproved Form 1 took 70 days. They also won’t give back the $200.

      1. avatar TITAN308 says:

        It takes about 45 days to get a refund.

        1. avatar HamChuck says:

          Hmm. I’m approaching 90 days on my disapproved E Form 1 ( my fault, wrong model number) refund.

    2. avatar CW says:

      Same here
      i also love how they have enough people to CASH THE CHECKS

  2. avatar Cliff H says:

    Is there any indication as to what has caused the up-tick in the increased number of requests for NFA items?

    1. avatar TITAN308 says:

      I am absolutely confident the increased time is due to a massive boom in Trusts being created. With the advent of the $49 Trust there is basically no reason NOT to have and use one.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Oooh! I assume some entity provides a template which we fill out and file with Big Brother. Who is offering a gun trust template for $49?

      2. avatar RonnieB223 says:

        I haven’t seen a $49 trust yet. Do you have a Link?

        1. avatar marcopolo says:

          I got a trust through for $49 back in May. They now appear to be selling them for $79

    2. avatar Phil LA says:

      I’d say the short answer is there are a lot of reasons. Another shooting. Another Dem push for gun control. Another upcoming election.

      I wonder if the ATF’s letter concerning the AR pistol Sig Brace had any effect on the wait times? Seems like all those people that wrote the ATF clarifying that they planned to shoulder the brace felt compelled to just finish the process.

      1. avatar Phil LA says:

        Plus, we’re assuming that the ATF operates like any other business that has goals and progress reports. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re just taking their sweet time on every step, intentionally delaying the process.

        1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

          ooooh trust me. On the outside it may well appear to be deliberate lollygagging, but on the inside, I would bet my paycheck someone who was good at their job left, and the replacement person is a half asser.

          I have held the same position for nearly 10 years, and have seen lots of govt workers who seem to make a career of just bouncing around every 18 months. No matter how lousy, screwball and lazy you are, you can find and keep a job for that amount of time in a govt position. When you leave, people will be happy so see you go and even though working short staffed, things will be better, faster and get done. If they make it 2 years, welcome them aboard for the long haul.

    3. avatar bob says:

      Barry Soetoro and his pen?

      1. avatar Nate says:

        LOL I don’t know why I find this funny but I do.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    One unpaid intern took another offer not with the ATF. The paid employees are trying to figure out the database software.

  4. avatar Paul McCain says:

    My SBR took only 28 working days.

    My suppressor? 6 months two weeks.

    1. avatar One of the good guys says:


    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      They cashed my check for my latest .338 suppressor in March. Still no stamp.

  5. avatar Brandon says:

    I was thinking about this as I anxiously awaited the paperwork on my Saker 7.62 to clear (took almost 4 months from check cashed on 03MAR15). It is probably a combo of word getting out that times were dropping right about the time that the early birds were getting tax return money and looking to add some new fun to their gun safe. My SBR took a total of 35 days to clear, and that was over Christmas/New Year.

  6. avatar Chris says:

    About 30 days so far on my Form 1 e-file. I was led to believe that it would be around 30 days, But I was checking some forums the other day and learned that it will be more like 90-ish, unless the wait time trend continues. Might well be 6 months at this rate. Oh well. ABOLISH THE BATFE! REPEAL THE NFA!

  7. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I don’t think singing about the shorter wait time should have effected the ones already in the system, it just should have started increasing time for newer ones. I am at about 65 days from my e-form 1 submitted date and about to start a paper 4.

  8. avatar JD says:

    Filed a form 1 electronically on 3/10/15. Still waiting. Have not heard anything back that something wasn’t the way they wanted it so hoping with fingers crossed I get the stamp by the end of the month.
    Another thing that bothers me is the fact my tax was paid on the day I filled. NFA is supposed to be nothing more than a tax on certain types of firearms. Why is it I have to wait for approval? I have a receipt that shows I paid the tax already. I should be able to make the weapon immediately.
    The NFA needs to go!

  9. avatar Hi Power Toter says:

    Note that the wait time started going up around in early January, around the time the ATF was made to look foolish over the Sig brace. Coincidence?

  10. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

    I picked up a 308 suppressor from my dealer yesterday. I filed as an individual. From date the check was cashed to yesterday when I picked it up, it was 3 months 2 days. It was approved on the 21st of last month, so the approval time was less than 3 months. After waiting a year in the past, I am not complaining.

    1. avatar SpeleoFool says:

      It’s worth complaining until wait times drop down to right about how long it takes a check to clear. After that, I’ll still complain that I have to pay a $200 tax for hearing protection, an arbitrary barrel length or a 30-year-old gun that eats ammo too fast.

  11. avatar John says:

    I efiled two form 1’s at the first of March. I received approval for one and disapproval for the other on June 17. I called about the disapproved and was told they have a glitch in caliber selection. My 300 AAC BLK cannot use the 300 AAC Blk selection in the drop down. I was informed that I would have to resubmit everything including payment( they would credit the first payment back) and select .300 caliber and add the description of AAC Blk….. Our tax dollars at work

  12. avatar Bob says:

    This is because the ATF is going to rule on Trusts in December and everyone wants to get their Stamps before we are required to send in fingerprints, a photo, and the permission of your CLEO for a Trust.

  13. avatar ThomasR says:

    Yep. A Government agency that exists to regulate, infringe and hinder a civil right of law abiding citizens, the laws that the human predator simply ignores.

    A civil right that if you don’t pay a two hundred dollar tax stamp and wait for the approval months or years to be able to practice that right, you can be charged and jailed for up to ten years.

    Which the criminal will again, simply ignore.

    Government, serving no purpose except to guarantee it’s own existence at the expense of the law abiding citizens freedom and abuse of their natural and constitutional civil rights.

    1. avatar Glenn collins says:

      Very very well said!!

  14. avatar HamChuck says:

    My paper form 4 for my Harvester Suppressor took 90 days from cashed check (2/9/15) to approval (5/11/15). My E-filed Form 1 (trust) for my SBR was 60 days from online payment (2/6/15) to disapproval (4/9/15). I screwed up when I picked the wrong model number in the drop down list on the ATF e-form site. I re-filed the day I was disapproved with the correct model number. That was 4/9/15. Approaching 90 days and still nothing. No refund either…

  15. avatar DJ9 says:

    How much of this delay might be laid at the feet of the new microscopic double/triple-checking of CT applications? Not only would that directly affect CT applicant approval times on the chart, it would indirectly affect processing times for other folks because of the additional man-hours are being utilized to scrutinize CT applications, as described in this TTAG article:

    Perhaps someone could weed-out the CT applicants from the chart to removed the potentially-foot-dragged approval times, then we’d be able to more clearly see how the indirectly affected processing times are being affected for other-than-CT residents.

  16. avatar Red in Texas says:

    I filed 4 form4s mid February, to early March. All 4 were approve by 6/18, longest one was 113 days.

  17. avatar SRW says:

    Interesting that the F4 trust and individual timelines are converging. I suspect the ATF is trying to deincentivize one of the most popular aspects of trusts- shorter wait times. No doubt in response to guidance from above…

  18. avatar Tom from Bruce MI says:

    I filed a form 4 as an individual for a SilencerCo Specwar .762 July 15th.2015 and received my stamp Aug 31.
    2015 I was floored…. its my third can but I don’t think that has anything to do with it.

  19. avatar JAMES says:


  20. avatar Mike says:

    I E-filed my form 1 on Nov 22 ’15. I received my approval E-mail on 24 Feb 16. So just a touch over 3 months.

  21. avatar TheTruth says:

    The answer is simple, the ATF is good for two things


  22. avatar Davis says:

    I have sold some of my old stock at retirement- Machineguns on form 4 have been running four to seven months with no rhyme or reason since February. All have been approved though.

  23. avatar James says:

    Iam now waiting on my last supp… payed 3/1/16 check cashed 4/9/16 they say now with the 41F that the times are 6 mouths, iam in the 6 mouth now, but who knows,,,,, iam just done this is my last supp that i want,, the wait sucks, plus i have what i want

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