UPDATE: ATF Releases Letter To Chief Law Enforcement Officers Regarding 41F

Joshua Prince, of Prince Law Offices, is a Second Amendment lawyer. He posted a copy of a letter from the ATF to CLEOs regarding 41F. Adam Kraut, a lawyer for Prince Law Offices, comments about the letter. Click here to see a copy of the letter.


The letter briefly describes some of the changes that will occur after the rule is implemented.

Of note is the notification requirements for the CLEO. In short, all legal entities will be required to forward a copy of all Applications to Make (Form 1s) or Applications to Transfer (Form 4s) and the Responsible Person Questionnaire to the CLEO of the localities where the Responsible Person is located.

The letter does note that no action on the part of the CLEO is required, does not specify in what manner a CLEO should store the documentation, if they choose to do so, and asks that if the CLEO has any information that may disqualify any maker or transferee, including a responsible person of a legal entity, from making or possessing a firearm to provide that information to the NFA Branch.

Of concern is that the letter does not specify the copies of the Form 1s and Form 4s that the CLEOs are receiving contain confidential tax information and should be treated as such. If CLEOs choose to destroy the forms, rather than keep them, are they disposing them in a manner that would not allow an individual to view the information contained on the form? Further, the letter does not advise CLEOs (those who may reside in states that don’t allow some or all NFA items) that an individual may be a trustee of a trust located in another state. This may cause some issues with CLEOs reporting to ATF that those items are not allowed in that state.

Interestingly enough, it would seem that ATF is continuing to have the CLEO involved by asking for notification as to whether they have information about that individual which would disqualify the entity from obtaining the item. Perhaps ATF believes that the CLEO is still the best person to know the affairs of an individual even though they are now required to submit fingerprints and photos as a responsible person.

The letter does confirm that as long as applications are postmarked by July 13, 2016, they will be grandfathered in under the current regulations.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Ambassador Vader

    I hope there are a plethora of lawsuits against the batfe for 41F. I mean if this isn’t un-elected persons making laws superseding congress I don’t know what is.

    • LG

      Ha. All “rights” were lost when Thomas Jefferson did not frame the current constitution. It was done by a federalist whose only wish was to grab power from the individuals and states for the benefit of a REPUBLIC. The Declaration of Independence is, without a doubt, THE BEST DEFINITION of individual rights and freedoms ever written.

      • Ambassador Vader

        Well said. The early history of america before the republic is an interesting time when federal powers and over reach was being debated.

        • LG

          Remember The Whiskey Rebellion, Shay’s Rebellion! Government elitists were not going to have a democracy and insisted upon a republic with representatives elected by the state legislatures. Even Washington stated that a people could not rise against a duly elected government. Only Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams stood by the rights and will of the people over big government. Jefferson’s phrase of fertilizing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots was his agreement with the rebellion. That could not be tollerated.

          • As a guy with “Texas” in my username, I feel compelled to point out that the last time any serious push to reframe the system of governance in These United States was attempted, it didn’t really turn out so well for anyone involved.

          • LG

            If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! Lee forgot what Washington did not. Washington knew that all he had to do was survive. He did not need to defeat or destroy the British. Lee in the Gettysburg Campaign forgot that he did not have to destroy the union army. He merely had to survive and continually bleed the north into a negotiated settlement. Lee ONLY surrendered The Army of Northern Virginia. General Kirby Smith, a relative of my wife’s, knew in the Trans-Mississippi Department ( including the former Republic of Texas) that he could still survive and continue bleeding the north. He did not lay down his arms until long after Lee surrendered. Longstreet advised Lee that the Army of Northern Virginia could disperse and fight as small units in every wood, town, field, and farm. What if???????

          • Sterling examples of “What If?” can be found in any balkanized and destabilized warlord-controlled hellhole around the globe; the endgame of most of those “Lee didn’t have the sense to stand down graciously from a fight he never had a goddamn chance in hell of winning” scenarios is “The Nazis take over the world in the late ’40s”, because the production capacity of the United States– ably protected by Admiral Atlantic and Admiral Pacific– was unequivocally what won World War II, and we would have been bucket-of-spit useless to the Allied cause if we were still stabbing ourselves in the back and shooting ourselves in the feet over an idiotic civil war seventy years gone.

          • LG

            That is not what won The Republic of Texas. Lee was loyal to his state, Virginia. Lee only surrendered his commission and refused command of the union army after Lincoln calling up troops for all the states to invade the South. What else could he do. And as far as the Nazis winning World War 2, Angela Merkel is now the feurer of Europe. Unfortunately we may have a female feurer here also. War is merely politics by other means. It is not the constant drop of water that wears away the stone. It is the tiny suspended, abrasive, particulate material therein.

          • jay

            Perhaps the 2nd time will prevail. Especially if the south has another Lee, and their own Tecumseh Sherman.

          • LG

            Lees are needed for defense. “Stonewall” Jacksons perfect the offense.

    • KestrelBike

      The more I think about and understand 41F, the more pissed I get.

    • MrEllis

      You can thing Congress for that, they legislate power away from The Hill so they can focus on lobbyist wants and fund raising.

  • Marty Wolf

    what does CLEO mean?

    • G.Banas

      chief law enforcement officer

    • aka_mythos

      Like G.Banas said. It generally refers to a Sheriff, a Chief of Police, or any law enforcement officer in their department immediately authorized to respond specifically for this purpose.

      • Diamondback

        The only CLEO is an elected Sheriff of each county or parish.

    • Justin William Officer

      Cheif Law Enforcement Officer

  • TimV

    Seems very sensible as i understand it, i see no reason for complaints, if you or people on your trust cant pass a background check it doesnt get approved. It should have been that way from the start and now with no CLEO sign off, being within state law and passing the background check are the only requirements, its easier than before. Finally the average citzen doesnt have to jump through hoops to own NFA. Good job ATF.

    • Flounder

      Wait… do you understand what is going on here? it’s just adding another layer of bureaucracy to the NFA.

      All this will really cause is a literal mountain of paperwork, well more like tens of thousands of small piles, and abuses by CLEO’s who make mistakes or deliberately abuse this power.

      • Sickshooter0

        Not to mention that with every addition (purchase or build) to the trust; everyone listed as a Trustee or “responsible party” , has to submit to the fingerprint requirement. My trustees are family members who live in 3 different states!

        • Diamondback

          I hope all you guys complying with these UNCONSTITUTIONAL and, therefore, unlawful, requirements are, at least, signing those documents with a FULL RESERVATION OF RIGHTS and indicating thereon each form that you consider it a KNOWING VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW.

          But, I seriously doubt it.

          That’s the ONLY WAY I sign ANY GOVERNMENT document including Income Tax Forms.

          I signed the Concealed Carry Application the same way and they did NOT want to issue it to me but had no choice or they’d have given me “standing” to sue their sorry, usurping arses.

    • Mark

      Wait… What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you understand?
      Apparently the taxation of a natural right escaped your notice.

      “Sensible”? Pffft… hardly! Tyrannical and the noose is tightening.

      • Kivaari

        It should have been pressed in 1934. Every session of congress should have addressed the over reach. In over 80 years we have not a rollback of many gun laws at the national level. States wont follow the US constitution regarding all rights. Washington state uses a more strict interpretation of search and seizure laws, while denying gun rights. No justice – no peace, is a popular saying, along with an injury to one is an injury to all. Good sounding leftist and union quotes, that should be used by our side.

        • Ambassador Vader

          Well said. However there was no way they were going to press that as an over reach in the 30’s. 1930 america was very socialist after the depression, with crime on the rise, a taxation on “organized crime weapons” was never going to be seriously challenged with everything else going on. Today they see the fact that NFA weapons account for 0.0% of crime as justification of the law. Its a downward slope with rights being chipped away for safety.

        • Juanito Ibañez, TopCop1988

          Since you mentioned “1934”, it’s obvious that you are referring to the National Firearms Act (NFA), 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, 48 Stat. 1236, enacted on June 26, 1934.

          The first case on this law was The United States v. Jack Miller and Frank Layton, 307 U.S. 174, where the government – which had their case dismissed by the District Court – made a direct appeal to the Supreme Court, where Associate Justice James Clark McReynolds, the former United States Attorney General under President Woodrow Wilson, issued what has become the ‘linchpin’ decision which has ‘anchored’ all following gun control laws via an ‘air of constitutionality.’

          Problem is – the Supreme Court violated its own precedential ruling in ‘Hopt v. People of the Territory of Utah’ – 4 S.Ct. 202, 28 L.Ed. 262 (think: ‘trial in absentia’).

          Ergo: the ruling in ‘Miller’ was UNCONSTITUTIONAL – therefore, ALL gun control laws since must be viewed with that in mind.

          16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256 states:

          “The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be In agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:

          The General rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it’s enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.

          Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…..

          A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the lend, it is superseded thereby.

          No one Is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”

          Now for the “kicker”:

          “The NRA supported The National Firearms Act of 1934 which taxes and requires registration of such firearms as machine guns, sawed-off rifles and sawed-off shotguns. … NRA support of Federal gun legislation did not stop with the earlier Dodd bills. It currently backs several Senate and House bills which, through amendment, would put new teeth into the National and Federal Firearms Acts.”
          —American Rifleman, March 1968, P. 22


          • LG

            Exactly. Also remember that the NRA prior to WW2 was run almost solely by military and ex-military officers. The NRA worked hand and hand with the DCM. In reality they did whatever the government told them to do.

    • Ambassador Vader

      lol you have that backwards. I hope that was sarcasm. Now CLEO’s have to sign off on trust and corporate purchases, as well as fingerprints + the existing background check. Which means before you could use a trust to purchase an nfa item with a background check and wait for approval. After 41F if your local CLEO doesn’t like you or doesn’t want citizens owning nfa items there is nothing you can do. No apeal process, no alternative, no freedom. The national firearms act was a law. This is a memorandum.

      • Jim Jones

        Wrong. The CLEO only receives notification under the new rules. They do not get hold up approval of the item.

      • LG

        Incorrect. CLEO endorsement was only necessary for an NFA item under an individual’s name. Trusts never required CLEO authorization. One’s individual state may have added another layer of bureaucracy. As a trust the CLEO was not even notified per BATF&E.

      • RSG

        CLEO can’t refuse/reject under the new “law”. They only need to be notified.

      • Diamondback


  • Holdfast_II

    There is going to be much confusion.

    When I sent my local CLEO my FFL03 “notification”, his secretary called me to ask what she was supposed to do with it. I explained it was just a notification, and so unless he had some information about me that would disqualify me from buying old guns, she could circular file it. I guess she’d never seen one before.

    This is not meant as a slag – I’ve had nothing but good experiences with my local PD and its chief, and his secretary was trying to help me by seeing what action was required. But there will be a lot of confusion.

  • Seems to me like 41F is primarily intended to replace a simple, hard-and-fast statutory requirement with a nebulous and poorly-defined set of “suggestions”, which will make it even easier for BATFEetc. to arbitrarily enforce the opinions of individual federal employees as if they were legislated federal law.

    …So, SNAFU is SOP for ATF.

    • LG

      No it is to make it easy to remove all NFA items. Under the previous rules, state trust law defined who the users of the items were. Now it is going to be the feds. If they stop accepting the fingerprint and photo cards then the next generation can not be legitimate users of the items. Faces change. How long before yearly, etc, photo requirements, and at what cost?

      • We’re speakin’ the same language here, you’re just talking motive while I’m talking method. I do think the (unspoken!) goal for ATF is more likely to be increased extrajudicial power over a segment of the population that the federal government considers suspicious than it is to be complete confiscation, though. That’s a Clinton Holy Grail, not an end goal for an Alphabet Soup agency that might not be able to justify its own budget if the main thing it exists to regulate is done away with.

    • The thing is, there was never a statutory requirement for a CLEO sign off to begin with. It was created, out of whole cloth, by the ATF.

      And the ATF’s argument on requiring each individual “responsive person” to be cleared for each individual transaction is merely their way of salvaging 922(o), after realizing that banning trusts from registering or possessing NFA “firearms” altogether (because of a vague and purely hypothetical worry a prohibited person might successfully take physical possession of an NFA “firearm” via a trust.)

      See, if ATF claims trusts aren’t “persons” for the purposes of the NFA (and they aren’t listed as such in the statute – various “legal entities” are, but trusts were committed) and can’t therefore register and possess NFA “firearms” (which they tried, and had an arguably legitimate case), then trusts *aren’t prohibited possession or “making”* of machineguns *without* registration, because 922(o) only applies to “persons” (as “person” is defined in the statute).

      By allowing trusts to continue registering and possessing NFA firearms , but requiring every single “person” of a “legal entity” (legal “persons” who aren’t actually natural persons) to prove their eligibility, they sidestep the problem of people *legally* making new machineguns via a trust.

      And as much as I dislike the ATF position on 41F, I believe it can be credibly argued (not to say there isn’t a reasonable counterargument) that it falls within the traditional regulatory deference given to regulatory agencies attempting to implement a statutory scheme that leaves some details up to the agency.

  • Bob

    any time the ANY gov’t comes out with a new rule or law, you should know it is NOT for your benefit.
    Remember the most famous 9 words you DON’T want to hear: “I’m from the gov’t and I’m here to help”

  • Hopefully the Hearing Protection Act passes. At least suppressor will no longer be part of this nonsense.