FYI: BATFE Not Processing Any Applications

A reader wrote …

I called [the BATFE] today and Vicky (a pleasant sounding lady who answered the phone) said they have been affected by the government shutdown.  Staff furloughed, no applications are being processed, nor can they check status.  My Form 4 was sent in Feb 2013, so who knows when I’ll see it.


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.


  • Steve (TFB Editor)

    At $200 a pop, and only a few reviewers, this must be a revenue positive scheme … my understanding (correct me if I am wrong) the tax revenue collected does not go to the BATFE, so if the director is told to cut staff by X% until the debt ceiling is raised, they will cut the applications staff so they can keep their more prestigious law enforcement officers on duty (despite it meaning that the government has even less money than if they kept them on) … thats bureaucracy for you

    • Cymond

      About 1 year ago, BATFE supposedly only had 9 full-time examiners (and several part-time workers) processing ALL of the NFA transfer paperwork, including the Form 3 transfers from manufacturers to dealers & between dealers. Supposedly, they promoted the part-time workers to full-time to manage the growing NFA market. Still, we’re talking about less than 20 employees handling unknown thousands of forms each year
      According to the American Silencer Association, Americans bought over 27,000 suppressors last year. That’s $5.4 million dollars of revenue just from the suppressors. (That doesn’t include all of the MGs, SBRs, SBSs, and AOWs transferred each year.) The program is obviously revenue positive. You’d think the employees wouldn’t be furloughed.

      • Mystick

        Well, SOMEBODY has to pay for the staff “conferences” in Las Vegas…

      • bleh

        $5.4M would just barely cover 20 Federal workers’ salaries, benefits, and overhead. They wouldn’t be turning much of a profit at that level, even if they were allowed to keep the revenue in their department.

        • Suburban

          Can you maybe explain the math on that for me? Although I understand there must be management, a building, climate control, water bill and paper towels for the restrooms, computers, and all the rest, I don’t see how processing the paperwork could be much more than a $65k/year job, and the $5.4 million is only for new suppressor transfers. They’re not accountants, engineers, or architects. Seems like an associates degree would be more than enough.

          $65k/year x20 + 50%/employee for overhead = $1.95 million
          $85k/year x20 + 50%/employee for overhead = $2.55 million
          $65k/year x20 + 100%/employee for overhead = $2.6 million
          $85k/year x20 + 100%/employee for overhead = $3.4 million

          Still seems revenue positive to me. If we are spending double on federal employees as would be spent on private sector employees than the system is even more broken than I thought.

  • big daddy

    When everybody seems to keep saying to me just get a SBR, the tax form is only $200. I grow weary of that, I say 1- Who knows when I will get it. 2- I don’t think the local head LEO would sign the papers since I just moved here. 3- I’m sick of giving my government money and getting nothing in return. So I will cut a barrel as short as I can and have a Muzzle device pinned on. As long as it’s over 16″, I’m good. Anyway 5.56mm shoots best out of a longer barrel and 14.5″ is about as short as I would go.

    • Mike

      1- Never, if you don’t apply for it.

      2- You don’t need his signature.
      3- Get used to it.

      • Tim U

        1 – True, but it could also just as easily not come at all or for a very very long time.

        2- Yes, you do. ATF recently changed whether or not trusts would need a CLEO sign off

        3- Why? So it only continues the downward spiral?

        • J.T.

          2- Hasn’t gone into effect yet and pending applications will be grandfathered.

          • McThag

            We don’t know if they will be grandfathered yet, just that previous changes were. All in process applications could be kicked back with the requirement that the CLEO sig and fingerprints be amended to the application.

      • BryanS

        3- No. I will not get used to it, and will work my ass off to change it in the boundaries of the law. As should every person reading this page.

        *Cue the “Firearms not politics” comment in 3….2….

        • Martin M

          “Political power grows out of the barrel of a

          Mao “Problems of War and
          Strategy” (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II,
          p. 224.

        • 1 and 0!

        • HSR47

          “*Cue the “Firearms not politics” comment in 3….2….”

          Laws and the men who write them are not the same. There’s a difference between ragging on Feinstein and having a B&G session about the “non-essential” federal bureaucracy that is responsible for infringing upon our right to keep and bear arms.

  • will

    Sent mine in April 2013 and was told March 2014. Longer now I guess…

    • Random Suppressor Customer

      I saw the “pending date” column on go right up to the week before mine. Then it stopped. I figure mine is in a pile in a dark office somewhere sitting in someone’s “IN” basket….sigh…..good thing we have all these rules to keep us safe. Or something.

  • toby

    Ive only been waiting since June. They cashed my $200 check right quick but they just don’t have the staff to issue my permission slip. I think a canceled check should be able to be used in leiu of a tax stamp

  • AKSapper

    Took me 230 days to get my form 1 . Mailed it the day after Sandy Hook

  • KM

    at least they can’t hold any company barbque picnics

  • BryanS

    In many states, if an application for a carry permit does not go through in say, 45 days, it is accepted as submitted.

    NFA should be the same way. You get a NICS check when the item is transferred, why the extra division for a regulator agency?

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Sounds like a pretty good 2A violation case!

  • Peter Balzer

    I am waiting for an export permit for a Glockworx pistol for almost one and a half years now. I hope that makes you feel better… :-/

  • Guest

    I love my country but hate its government.

  • TangledThorns

    Amazingly I got my tax stamp the first week of the shut down.