BATFE Form 1 Taking Up To A Year To Process


A member was told that that his Form 1 (Application to Make and Register a Firearm) would take up to one year to process. 57Strat wrote

I just called today to check on a Form 1. The woman on the phone said if I sent an application in today, it would take 12 months. She said they currently have 46,000 applications backlogged. She said applications received back in January 2013 will take 9 months.
These delays are especially infuriating for gun owners because filing a Form 1 requires a $200 tax stamp, but the BATFE are said to employ only 9 examiners to process applications for the entire country.
The website NFA Tracker allows people to self-report how long their NFA applications took. People who had their forms approved in January 2013 had to wait about 9 months before they got their approval, which aligns with that the forum user reported, so it is not hard to believe that people submitting forms in August 2013 will have to wait a year.
Until the BATFE are forced to reform, the best advice I can give is to send in forms early and send them in often.
Thanks to J for the tip.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • bacon

    my first one took 4 months. second 5 the next few 6months. the last one i got was a transfer and that took 9 months.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I was antsy for my first can at ALMOST 3 months! Now I just forget about them until the stamp shows up!

  • floppyscience

    If they’re going to force this BS on people they could at least be expedient about it. With the laws on the books, why can’t one require them to process applications within a certain timeframe, just as most states do in regard to CC processing? 9 people to look at all the forms in the entire country is ridiculous.

  • Walter E. Kurtz

    The horror. The horror.

  • Rick Bonenfant

    Clearly done on purpose

  • Griff

    They’d bring in more revenue if they decreased the processing time of the forms…
    46,000 applicants which is about 200 bucks a piece that’s quite a bit of change.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      You underestimate just how much money the gov can waste!

      Yes, a private org could THRIVE with that guaranteed income. People would have their forms back, errors would be down, system steamlined, the gov could even pick up royalties of more money than they are making now. It would be a win win win and it will NEVER happen.

    • MegaDong

      That’s because the money goes to the justice department not the NFA branch, the justice department doesn’t care

    • C

      They don’t care about revenue. They don’t WANT to process the things at all, they just have to.

  • jamezb

    Anyone who has already been through the process once should be placed in a database that will allow them automatic approval for subsequent applications. The database could be linked to the NCIS, and names could be flagged if it shows a change in legal status. I’m betting that more than half of those 46,000 applicants have already been through the process at least once. There is no reason to make them play the waiting game over and over again on the taxpayers dime.

    • mig1nc

      Aren’t they prohibited form keeping a registry?

      • jamezb

        Sorry, MIG, but that [supposedly] applies only “regular” NON-NFA /applications/purchases/transfers/etc….

        (In my opinion, if you still believe “regular firearms purchase” NCIS background checks don’t already go into a file, well… you have learned nothing from Snowden’s NFA follies. )

        One of the founding propositions of the NFA was to create a registry as shown here in this BATFE statement, line 4,

        Numerous NFA internal databases, such as the NFRTR already exist to keep track of all registered NFA items and records processed, and these databases are almost certainly already accessible by other agencies.

        • mig1nc

          You know, somewhere in the back of my mind I already knew that. Not sure what I was thinking. Your suggestion to check new forms against the existing registry makes a lot of sense… Exactly why the ATF won’t do it.

  • jamezb

    Fun statement from the Form 1 pdf:

    The estimated average burden associated with this collection of information 4 hours
    per respondent or recordkeeper, depending on individual circumstances. Comments
    concerning the accuracy of this burden estimate and suggestions for reducing this
    burden should be addressed to Reports Management Officer, Document Services
    Branch, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Washington, DC 20226

    Suggestions, anyone?- LOL

    • avconsumer2

      FOUR HOURS. F**k me. You couldn’t milk that kind of clock with an entire dairy farm. Yay gubment!!!

    • Suburban

      They have to check fingerprints for those filing as individuals. Why it still takes weeks for corporate and trust applications, I have no idea, beyond standard bureaucratic quagmire.

      • jamezb

        According to this FBI document, a search of the entire FBI fingerprint database for a match of an UNKNOWN set of prints can be completed in less than two hours 96% of the time.
        If the match is KNOWN, as in the case of someone previously approved for an NFA purchase or transfer, confirmation is near instant.

  • KM

    If people spent half the time going through all the paperwork as protesting the BATF’s existence, this would not be an issue. Add the E to the FBI, add the AT to the Treasure, and leave the F to the states

    • BryanS

      I think get them out of the A & T as well. They have no business being there.

  • Nadnerbus

    Has the volume gone way up? Have all the 80% lowers that have been blowing out lately started to find their way into the the ATF morass?

    This is the future of America, the bureaucracies decide the pace of things from here on out. Don’t like it, fill out a form and wait…

    • BryanS

      No need to file a form 1 if you make a single 80% lower into a firearm. It comes down to state law and the ATF only gets involved when or if you sell it.


    Maybe the new director can hire more staff to process applications or modernize the process.

    • Anon

      Hahaha. Thank you! Best larf I had all day!

  • TangledThorns

    I wrote my state’s (VA) US Sentators about this. Sure they’re democrats but how can they say no to growing the government some in this direction? :)

  • BryanS

    The NFA needs to go away, especially for SBS, SBR, AOW and Supressors.

    • Patrick Henry,The2nd

      That would greatly reduce the processing time for sure. There is no reason those need to be NFA registered.

      • SnJohnson

        Seriously, it’s one of the most backwards things we do. Why can’t we just treat SBR’s like pistols. You know, like they do in (some) European countries. Now that’s sad.

        • Charles

          Because that would cause almost all AP ammo to be banned from importation, manufacture and sale.

    • Rob in Katy

      It would be interesting to sue them under the consumer protection act, where sellers have X days to provided goods/services purchased – yeah, just dreaming…

    • Dave

      I agree but think efforts to do so should wait until we clearly establish rights regarding magazine capacity and do away with things like all the “sporting purposes” silliness.

      Then we work on removing SBS, SBR, AOW, and suppressors from NFA requirements while at the same time working to amend the Firearm Owners Protection Act to remove the Hughes Amendment (AKA the 86 Machinegun Ban). Then finally we might want to work on eliminating the NFA but I have never been sure when would want to risk it since once we eliminate the 86 Ban we are only talking about a little paperwork, $200, and an apparently ridiculous wait.

  • aweds1

    If processing takes up to a year, then they shouldn’t be allowed to cash the check in 5 days!! That’s what’s most infuriating. Man, they take that money RIGHT NOW, then tell you to just wait. If they can’t process Form 1s or Form 4s within 30 days, you should automatically get your stamp and be done.

    • Suburban

      Most carry permit laws have a maximum timeframe built in. 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, whatever. If the issuing authority fails to get you your permit, or inform you that you’re not eligible within that timeframe, then you can probably sue and win, if you have a record of mailing the application.

      There is no maximum time written in to the NFA law, unfortunately. That was obviously a mistake.

  • orly?

    Tbh, there are only 2000 BATFE members.

    There IS a reason for this.

  • Tenacious221

    Shall NOT be infringed.

  • Tim U

    Convinced this is politically motivated.

    Too bad…. they’d raise more revenue if they bothered to do it right. I know I’d be up for some NFA items if turnaround was reasonable. I am NOT waiting a year for the permission to get an NFA item. And I don’t know any dealer who would hold on to property of mine for a full year to wait for the paperwork to come back.

    • Suburban

      Form 1s are for manufacturing, Form 4s are for transfers. Purchases from a dealer would be on a Form 4, unless you are a dealer yourself, then it would be a Form 3.

      Forgive me for sounding like a Vogon from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

      • jamezb

        The SBR craze has flooded the BATFE with form 1’s.

      • Tim U

        I’m pretty sure Form 4s are just as backlogged. It’s the same 9 people processing them as the Form 1s.

  • Bruce

    Uhmm, January 2013 was less than 9 months ago. How could we possibly know that it takes 9 months for an application submitted in January 2013 when by definition that application isn’t back yet?

    Did I miss something?

    • Jim Nanban

      It’s an estimate based on reports. Reread the article.

      • Bruce

        Ok, read it again. Here is the relevant line:

        “People who had their forms approved in January 2013 had to wait about 9 months before they got their approval,”

        • Zuckit Arrsehole

          Meaning that they submitted their Form 1s sometime around March or April of 2012.

  • Matt in FL

    At what point does this system become “too oppressive” and people start circumventing the system? How long do waits have to get? A year for a Form 4? Eighteen months? Everyone thinks it’s ludicrous that there’s only 9 examiners for the whole country, but I don’t really see anyone trying to do anything about it. I don’t really see any attempt at legislative or executive action to alleviate the situation. What’s it going to take?

    • jamezb

      I think we can pretty well write off executive action.
      I’d be afraid to even bring it up.
      I can hear our imperious leader now:
      “O..M..G! Are you telling me REGULAR PEOPLE can own MACHINE GUNS?”
      “I’ve got to put a stop to this right now!!”

      Talk to a gun friendly congressman perhaps, but lets leave the exec out of this one.
      What he don’t know won’t hurt him.

  • Fredo

    Backdoor Gun Control if you ask me.

  • NDHuntings little buddy

    I sent in app. for suppressor in late April 2013 called in August was told to expect return in April 2014. This is poor very poor. They were supposed to bring in about 25 more inspectors for paperwork alone ,looks like it didn’t happen. Damn!

  • Texas Chris

    According to ATF’s website, they’ve seen a massive increase in submissions, and a 25% reduction in staff.

    Rumor has it that the staff will be increased in 2014, but me, I’m not holding my breath…