Previous Post
Next Post


A few years back the ATF issued a proposed change to the way they process paperwork for items regulated under the National Firearms Act. That proposal — 41P — was heavily opposed by just about everyone in the firearms industry and as a result nearly 10,000 comments were submitted during the comment period. While the government can ignore the content of these comments, they are required to read each and every last one before making their rule official. That process has taken since the comment period closed December 9th, 2013. Two years later it looks like the ATF is finally ready to make their rule official, and that means now is the time to submit your paperwork if you like in an area with a chief law enforcement officer that refuses to sign all paperwork. Here’s what’s going on . . .

Currently there are two ways to obtain things like silencers and short barreled rifles: either as an individual or as a “corporation.” Filing as an individual requires photographs, fingerprints, and a sign-off from the local law enforcement (Chief Law Enforcement Officer or CLEO). Some cops refuse to sign off on that paperwork, effectively banning these otherwise legal items from being purchased in their jurisdiction. The way around that road block: a corporation. Since a corporation doesn’t have fingers or a face or a criminal record there’s no need for any of that, and all that is required is a 4473 when the item is picked up. This enabled people with anti-gun CLEOs to continue to purchase NFA items.

The NFATCA petitioned the ATF to remove the CLEO sign-off, and offered that they might get behind the idea of requiring fingerprints and background checks for everyone on a trust in trade. This backfired — the ATF proposed instead to require that those with trusts jump through the same hoops as those filing as an individual — photos, fingerprints, and CLEO sign-offs for the lot.  This gets exponentially more annoying for people who have multiple individuals attached to their trust, since every single person must go through the exact same process every time a new item is purchased.

Our one saving grace so far has been that the ATF was completely overwhelmed with comments. The date when these proposals would be finalized has slipped time and again, allowing more and more people to get in on buying NFA items in the meantime. That date slipping seems to have come to a halt, and the final date for the rules to go live remains firmly set in January of 2016.

What does that mean for gun owners? It still takes a long time to process paperwork, but the indications we have gotten are that any forms received before the new procedures go into effect will be processed according to the old rules. In other words, if you send in your NFA paperwork right now, no matter when they actually get around to processing it they will apply the current set of rules to your transaction.

If you have never purchased an NFA item but always wanted to, now is the time to do it. For those living “behind enemy lines” this may be your last chance to turn your AR-15 into a registered SBR. For detailed instructions on the paperwork involved, click here for buying a silencer and click here for building an SBR.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. RF, you need to drop this entire thread until you get straight the basic facts. There are THREE ways, individual, corporation, or TRUST. The way this reads is simply wrong, from the ground up. I say this as a trust holder, not involved with any corporation. Info is needed, but this info is misleading/inaccurate. Adding confusion is not a legitimate goal, here.

    • So are you saying that if you currently have a trust you are GTG to get more NFA items in the future with no extra fingerprint/CLEOsignoff crap?

      Link to your info?

      • I believe that he means as it stands “right now”. If you have a trust as the ATF NFA rules are written at this moment you can have a trust and do not have to go through any LEO. A trust if different then a corporation. With a corporation you have to file a tax return for that said corporation yearly. A trust is a legal entity unto itself that is between then members of the trust. Items added to the trust (SBR’s, Suppressors, ect) that get a NFA tax stamp are controlled by the trust and can be used by any member of the trust at any time.

      • All I was saying is you do not have to incorporate in order to buy NFA items, there is a third way, with a trust. Much quicker, much cheaper. Some very few people already have corporations, a whole bunch more have family trusts, and creating a family trust takes little time or money. Currently that means no fingerprints, no CLEO,
        but you still need the ATF signoff and it still costs $200 for an SBR or a silencer. What will be required for new additions to your trust under the new rules, nobody knows except the ATF, although you can be sure it will make no sense at all.

      • The whole point of this endeavor is for the ATF to “pierce” the trust to the individual(s) behind it. That aspect is how the entire exercise is one in futility, since the ATF hardly wields the firepower to go up against four-hundred years of trust law precedent. But, the O decreed that all applicants for NFA tax stamps must be background checked (and printed, and LEO’ed, and delayed for a year-plus, and whatever other nonsense they can get away with) and so the ATF lawyers must try to jump that shark, no matter how high.

    • The article is perhaps not worded correctly in places, but the basic thrust of it is correct:
      If you use a trust or LLC to obtain NFA items in order to avoid the CLEO sign off requirements, you might want to think about filing those Form 1’s and 4’s now so that they are grandfathered in before the rules change.

      Comprehensive write up from a very knowledgeable gun lawyer is here:

      And to answer the comment below, just because you already have your trust already is immaterial. If/when the rule change happens (assuming Congress doesn’t block it by refusing implementation funding — there are proposals in the budget bills that would do that), then Form 1’s and 4’s received after the effective date will require CLEO sign off even if they are filed by a trust or corporation.

  2. But, for clarification sake, if you’re a sucker like me, and you fill out everything as an individual, not much changes. All the hoops are the same. Wait times might get nasty again, though.

    • Or you could be F’d like me. I have a nice Anti Gun CLEO that will never sign off on my paperwork. Unless you are another officer or a family/friend of his you are Shit outta luck. And me and my father just got into the NFA world thanks to our TRUST. This is just BullShit.

      • I’m missing the problem, Chris! Once you have the trust you can flip the bird to that CLEO, buy what you want. Best deal I have heard of, I’m not thinking we’ll get better until repeal of NFA. Me, the bride, and both sons are on the trust, if I could have figured how to include a few hundred million other Americans I would have done it.

        • If this passes you and everyone on your trust will need to get a Cleo sign off ,photos and fingerprints.

        • Kevin, for prior purchases, I would like to see someone try to require that. For future additions, you may be right. But if my CLEO refuses to sign, do you think I’m going to throw my multi-thousand dollars of previous legal purchases into the lake?

        • Larry this would be for any future purchases after this law passes. It would not affect what you have now. It would however knock me out of the game since my county has written in to the contracts of the police chief,sheriff,district attorney that they can’t sign off on form 1/4’s. They have also asked all judges to not sign,most won’t unless they personally know you. So I guess after 15 years I’ll be out of the game if this passes

        • I’m not certain what game we’re talking about, if you get to keep what you’ve collected over 15 years without hassles. I just started 2 years ago, haven’t decided whether to buy more, since I discovered my can will work for the gun I have my eye on, without even the slightest modification.

      • CLEO also includes judges and distract attorney. Email every police chief in the county, every judge, and every DA to see if one will sign off. If that doesn’t work email the state Judges. You aren’t totally screwed if the sheriff or police chief won’t sign off. It’s probably best to not go to them 10 times so get as many items signed off at once as you can if it comes down to that.

        It must be someone who prosecutes, hears, or enforces criminal cases-misdemeanors and felonies. It can’t be the local traffic court judge.

      • There is no place in Texas you cannot get a Sig. You are not not trying. I get sigs in Dallas County. Get the full list of ATF approved CLEO and go from there.

      An individual as a “Stamp-ee” allowing someone else “at the range” to use their suppressor, is not the same as a Trustee of a Trust temporarily designating an additional co-Trustee to use the assets of the Trust according to the Trust.

      • True, and a real plus for trust holders. If one of my sons wants to go shooting with friends, or hunting or whatever, he can take the suppressed SBR without problems. If I had an individual stamp, that would be illegal. He can also allow other people to shoot it while under his direct supervision, just as I could.

  3. Depending on how the BATFE rules, which you and I and everyone else here already knows will never be anything good regardless, there will need to be a renewed push at the state level for passing CLEO shall-sign legislation. Several states have already done so, including my state (NC). At leas until we know the outcome of Hollis v. Lynch and Watson v. Lynch.

  4. My hope is that this will go the way of the M855 ban, but seven years of hope and change don’t leave me with too good a feeling about it.

    So far I’m sitting on four unused stamps from efiled form 1s, with one more completed. May have to file several more.

    • Now you’ve got me going. How does that work? You pay for a stamp, and they issue it without a specified item attached? Then what? You buy something and just fill in the blanks? Inquiring minds and all that, I might need to get me some of those.

      • If you’re constructing your own silencer or other item, rather than buying a commercial made product, you fill out a form 1. You have to list the caliber and length, and assign yourself a serial number. When you build the item, you have to engrave it with the trust name and serial number. For an SBR on an existing receiver, you would need to have the serial number for the receiver, but it doesn’t have to be a complete firearm. Just a stripped lower is enough to file the form 1.

        The advantage for me is I learn how to use machine tools (should have taken metal shop in high school), the cost of materials is far lower than retail for a commercial product, and I can sit on the approved stamps as long as I want with only the $200 paid.

        I figure, if I have $1000 to spare, that’s five permission slips or at most, two commercial silencers.

  5. The atf can go to hell. They give us literally zero gain for the tyranny they force on us. A completely useless agency that only serves to enslave law abiding citizens and steal their hard earned money. Go to hell you tyrants, I hope you have a hard time living with the joke of an existence you live.

  6. I hope that the old rules apply. I put in my form 4 in October for a trust owned suppressor. Glad I did because I don’t trust my CLEOs to sign off. Plus the hassle of multiple people. No thank you.

  7. Nick pardon my ignorance, but it the same for LLC’s as it is for trusts in regards to the pending ruling? Will my LLC be considered the same as a trust regarding a CLEO sign off?

    • It’s one of those deals where you answer question “B”, and depending on your answer it sends you to section “D” or section :F”. If “B” answer is “individual”, you are sent to the section which requires CLEO signoff, fingerprints, etc. If your answer is “corporation” or “trust” it skips that part. If you mean LITERALLY where in the law, could just be an internal decision by some high-school dropout employed as a clerk with the ATF, making $27,000/year, after a coin toss, which somehow can throw you or me in the hoosegow for the next 20 years without any action by Congress. Don’t ask me how that works, it does not resemble what I was taught in government class in school.

  8. I may be moving to a pro-gun state where my CLEO will sign off my NFA paperwork, but I find it extremely offensive that citizens would be required to register with photographs, fingerprints, and a background check in order to be permitted to exercise their human right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment. These are not armed battleships and fighter planes. For a mere short barreled stocked firearm, a sound suppressor, or grandfathered standard modern military rifle, we’d have to be registered, photographed, and fingerprinted like criminals. Between NFA and permit registration requirements they’ll end up with an ever-increasing proportion of American gun owners registered, especially enthusiasts. As inflation further decreases the worth of $200 and suppressors continue to dramatically improve, more and more gun owners will end up registered. And fingerprinted, of course, since legal NFA owners leave their fingerprints at the crime scene during all the murders they commit with their legal registered weapons. Reality check: looking at factual crime rates, registered NFA owners are about the last group we need to have fingerprints from.

  9. I have 20 transfers going back to 2000 in my trust and this will shut me down. My city has it written In the contracts of the chief of police,sheriff,district attorney and has told the local judges not to sign( a few will but only if they know you) any form 1/4’s. I have no problem with photos or fingerprints and would gladly have done them as a individual but in 15 years I could never get anyone to sign. So if this goes through I’m out of the game.

    • I feel you man. This just totally sucks. Me and my Father just finally got into the world of owning NFA stuff and I have a few Form 1’s and a few Form 4’s still awaiting approval. I sure as Hell hope this won’t affect them. I have so much money tied up in all those stamps. And I just filed two more Form 4’s tonight on a Saker 7.62 and Griffin Rev 9. I can not believe just how much money I have given the ATF in 200dollar Tax stamps in the past year. What an unconditional joke.

      • Won’t let me edit my last reply lol. Must of spelled unconstitutional wrong because auto-correct turned it into unconditional. Silly auto-correct.

  10. I’m looking for some clarification and maybe someone can help. I’m in the process of setting up a gun trust which will hopefully be completed soon. But with the rules possibly changing quickly I won’t have enough time to save and buy the things I would like. Can you purchase tax stamps and save them for future purchases or must they be tied to a sbr, silencer, etc at the time you submit the paperwork. Thanks!

    • Form 1s (self made NFA items, except MGs)have no “shelf life”. Form 4s are for manufactured NFA items, and are submitted at the time of purchase.

    • Sorry you can buy them in advance. All tax stamps (MG,SBR,SBS,SUPPRESSOR)are based on the serial numbers of the item being purchased. If fact when you receive your tax stamp it has the serial number written on it.

    • Tax stamps are tied to specific firearm serial numbers*. Perhaps the best option for you is to file Form 1 applications where you are the manufacturer of the SBR or SBS. With this option you can purchase a stripped lower receiver, apply for the Form 1 stamp, receive approval, and then build/complete the SBR or SBS as your budget, time and knowledge allow. AR-type lower receivers are a fraction of the cost of a complete rifle.

      * So much so that if you happen to damage a stamped receiver beyond repair, the stamp becomes worthless because it is not transferable.

    • The only 2 ways I can’t think of; are 1) to either register the serial numbers all the weapons you INTEND to SBR now; and complete the action at a later time. Or 2) if you’re talking about building a suppressor; then designate the number of cans you want, assign them serial numbers and Form 1 them. Build them at your leisure. Not sure what the build threshold is before being considered a “manufacturer” under 02/07 SOT rules though………

  11. We need to file suit ASAP on this. There has got to be some good legal arguments for bad faith on the part of LEOS like this.

  12. Looks like I’m screwed. I’m not sure I will be able to file a form 1 before the new is put into place.

  13. Can someone tell me again how the ATF is in any way Constitutional?

    Oh, right, this is modern America.

Comments are closed.