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As recently as June, Nick lamented the ever-increasing wait times for the NFA approval queue. As I am currently not-so-patiently waiting for approvals on three silencers, I’ve been watching this situation with more than a passing interest. Fortunately, there finally seems to be some good news on the horizon . . .

The nice folks over at collect statistics on actual wait times from readers and use it to forecast what your wait time is likely to be.

As you can see from the scatter plot above (courtesy of one of the members of the NFATracker site – read more about Randominfo’s analysis here), at some point in late June 2012, wait times turned a corner and started to move downward for a change.  Randominfo has even set up a site where you can plug in what type of form you submitted (Form1 or Form 4), whether you applied as an individual or a trust, what caliber your NFA item is and when either your check was cashed or your application moved to “pending” status. The site will then give you a bar graph predicting when you can expect to get your tax stamp back.

In my case, my check was cashed on July 3 for my .22 silencer so Randominfo posits my chances of receiving my stamp thusly:

For the mathematically challenged, this means my predicted time from start to finish is four to five months – a definite improvement over the previous estimates of six to seven months.

While the hiring freeze is still in effect, my understanding is that the ATF has brought in some temps to help work through the backlog and they appear to be making some headway. There is, of course, no way of knowing if the improving trend will continue or not, but it seems to me that now might be an excellent time to get into the queue. Come January, who knows how government headcounts might be affected as congresscritters try to come up with some way to cut more costs in hopes of restoring the pending and devastating cuts to defense spending that are currently scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the year.

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  1. Devastating cuts in in spending? What are you smoking, and where can I get some?

    Please look at the federal budget and tell me where else you’d like to make the necessary cuts to get us into the black. Something like half of the deficit growth over the past 12 years came from defense/offense/war spending. We spend as much as the next 26 or so countries combined, and 25 or so of them are allies.

    No only do we need to slash defense spending, we need to slash contractor spending by enough to improve the presently deplorable treatment of returning vets.

    • “We spend as much as the next 26 or so countries combined, and 25 or so of them are allies.”

      Hey, I watch The Newsroom, too!

      • Lol, I actually only saw one episode, but if that’s how that figure crept into my head, so be it. I guess I didn’t mind it, but I can’t stand preachy pseudo-fiction, even if it agrees with me.

        • Quick fact check – it appears as though Mr. Sorkins latest project is accurate – Iran is the only enemy state that appears in the top 26 (#25). China and Russia are numbers two and three, and even if they decided to turn against us and combine their power, and we cut our spending in half we would still be spending twice as much as the two nations combined. As they say, just sayin’.

        • Haha, yeah, I wasn’t blasting you for using that number; I just thought it was amusing. I didn’t doubt the veracity of the information, either. Sorkin is known to be a detail/accuracy freak; very little of what he puts in his shows is inaccurate. That attention to accuracy would go double for the opening “monologue” of the premier of his latest show, I would think.

        • No offense taken; there’s at least one book I cite frequently and have been ‘called’ on it several times.

          I do like Jeff Daniels. Here’s to hoping he and Jim make Dumb and Dumber 2 (to) work.

    • “We spend as much as the next 26 or so countries combined, and 25 or so of them are allies.”

      That is assuming, of course, that the numbers you cite are true. My guess is that those numbers are pure BS, and we really have no idea how much other countries spend on defense. Why would China release correct numbers anyway?

      • A quick Google search indicates that, like any other large number, defense spending by China is likely extrapolated based on a number of factors, and I’m assuming it’s fairly accurate. That said, I’m happy to hear opposing evidence in regards to China’s defense spending, or all the other countries… I’m not really sure what would lead you to believe that generally accepted figures are inaccurate but I’m happy to hear why.

    • I have no problem with cutting defense spending, but I also want to see cuts in lots of other areas as well. The whole reason for the automatic defense cut trigger was that it was intended to be a sufficiently large lever that would presumably force both sides of Congress to get serious about an overall budget overhaul. Fact is that it did not work as intended so the impending cuts are very severe. Consider the fact that defense spending pays for a lot more than bullets and bombs. It also pays the salaries of a lot of folks who work for various defense contractors working on next gen stuff. As currently planned, the cuts will force massive layoffs down the whole defense contractor line including many small businesses that sell small components to the big guys. Bottom line – a massive injection of unemployed people into the system which will further stress the existing safety net.

      Spending needs to be cut, but it needs to be done across the board, not just targeting one sector.

  2. I think we should start an effort to replace the NFA law requiring registration of – at least silencers and short barrel rifles/shotguns. And maybe machine guns too.

    • It would be nice, but I’d prefer John Q. Public just stay in the dark all together. Repealing the Hughes amendment would be great (as has already been discussed, that’s likely to get push back from owners and dealers on our side as well as the anti’s), and making the process easier would be awesome as well, but the second you bring up silencers and machine guns on the senate floor you’re going to have a whole lot of people wondering why we don’t just outlaw them outright.

    • The tax is passed. The chances of getting rid of a tax that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and only affects a small segment of civilians approaches nil.

      What they could do, however, is upon the purchase of your first NFA item, you are issued a card. They already have passport photos and everything! With that card, you can purchase a silencer, SBS, SBR, or machinegun from the appropriate dealer. You give the dealer your $200, which they hand over to the ATF. You go through an instant background check, or whatever the procedure is in your area for a normal purchase after everything’s been cleared by the ATF. Easy peasy. Form 1’s would be handled by mailing a check to the ATF with your paperwork filled out, but should be assumed A-OK as soon as your check clears. I mean, you’re asking permission directly from the ATF and sending them money–I’d like to see stats on how many people are actually refused on anything but a technicality.

  3. Thanks for the info. I put in my paperwork for a .22 suppressor at the beginning of this month not expecting to see it this year. It looks like I’ll be seeing it this year after all.

  4. Not sure if this has anything to do with it but I contacted the office of Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and tried to get some of the process expedited. When they came back saying they had never seen anything like this (meaning BATFE not expediting a case), they were shocked and I then pressed them that something needs to be done about the wait times. I even pointed them to some of these TTAG articles about the wait times. Hopefully I was not the only one who did this and maybe, just maybe, they were starting to feel a bit of heat with this backlog. Anyhow, my paperwork was in at the end of Feburary and I’m still waiting… I should call them now and see when they expect to approve the paperwork. They originally stated it would be Oct/Nov, meaning 8-9 months wait.

    • Paperwork processed on April 4th, they now say beginning to middle of September. That would be 5 months from when they received/processed the paperwork and 6 months from when we sent it.

  5. 2 checks, 1 suppressor and 1 SBR. Both cashed within 7 days of each other (15 to 22 Feb). Suppressor stamp came back 9 Aug. Alas, still waiting on SBR stamp. YMMV (no kidding!)

  6. It’s predicting almost 100% Nov. or Dec. for my personal Form 4 or Form 1, with checks cashed on July 31. Much better than I was expecting, but still too dang long!

    I’ve been waiting a WHILE on a stamp for a silencer, but can’t find where I wrote down when the check cleared.


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