Everyone is focused on SHOT right now, and understandably so... but the ATF emailed me an update on NFA processing and eForms this morning, and I think it's worth sharing... so here it is, copy-pasta'd, and some followup thoughts below.
In follow-up to ATF’s letter dated April 16, 2014, regarding the status of the eForms system; this update is being provided to inform the industry of ATF’s progress in addressing eForms and paper NFA applications. To accommodate the substantial increase in application volume that has recently occurred, ATF is working diligently to decrease processing times while continuing to enhance the eForms platform.
What is our progress to date?
From a peak of over 81,000 pending NFA applications at the end of February 2014, as of January 14, 2015, ATF has reduced the number to less than 38,000 applications pending (54% reduction in pending applications). In the last four weeks, although the NFA Branch received over 19,500 applications, the Branch processed more than 22,300 applications.
- The authorized staffing level of 25 Legal Instrument Examiner (LIE) positions for the
NFA Branch has been reached.
- ATF continues to expend overtime for those employees processing NFA applications.
- ATF has cross-trained and utilized LIEs from various other ATF branches to support
NFA application processing. This is an ongoing process and has already beneficially
impacted application processing.
- ATF has trained and utilized 23 Industry Operations Investigators (IOIs) in the
processing of NFA forms and utilized these IOIs for a 3-week period to help reduce the
- ATF has dedicated additional data entry contract resources to continue to reduce the
time it takes for an application to be entered into the National Firearms Registration and
Transfer Record (NFRTR) and to keep it reduced in light of the volume of submissions.
- For paper submissions, the processing times for NFA forms have been reduced to:
o Forms 1 and 4 – 6 months
o Forms 3 and 5 – 2 months
o Forms 2 and 9 – 1 month
- ATF Forms 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 and 5300.11 have been returned to service in the eForms
- While eForms 3 and 4 have not yet been restored to service, there has been progress.
ATF has engaged a new vendor to create a more robust platform for the processing of
the eForms 3 and 4.
The new platform will be designed to eliminate the issues that caused the removal of the
eForms 3 and 4 from service. The new eForms will also provide enhanced functionality
such as batch processing and possibly some automated approval functionality for certain
forms. The vendor has recently been cleared and has already started to work with ATF
in engaging the industry for system requirements on certain processes. Once the
requirements have been finalized, we will begin the design and review of the new
eForms platform. We hope to have eForms 3 and 4 returned to service by late 2015.
- ATF met in July in a roundtable discussion with some of the larger users of the eForms
system to exchange information about the development of the new system. There have
been additional information sharing meetings since July with the goal of additional
industry input to the design and review of the process.
Look, I think the whole NFA tax-stamp nonsense is stupid too. The backlog on processing is obscene. Hell, I'd even grind my teeth and continue to pay the $200 stamp if I could do it at the same time my NICS check is done when I buy an item ... as in "cash and carry".
That said, the ATF has made huge strides in their processing. My suppressor was turned around in five months (paper form 4), and my first SBR was done in five weeks (e-filed form 1). I'm right at five weeks on the second SBR and expecting the magic email anytime now. Knocking down half of an 80,000-item backlog in eight months is damn impressive, because they are still getting applications at record rates.
If they can get e-filed form 4 processing down to a consistent 4-6 weeks, and don't get stupid about trust/corporations and NFA items ... I can see a rather rapidly-expanding stamp collection. I'd really like to add a couple more suppressors (primarily in rifle calibers), and there are some other wants on the list in the AOW category... but I don't want to deal with 6-month waits to get them out of limbo. Will I? Probably. Eventually. Still don't want to.