Changes NFA Fingerprint Requirement—–Corrected

Note to all readers. This information was in error. I had an attorney who represents many FFL’s across the country with license matters as well as NFA cases contact me. I’ve consulted with him several times on these types of matters. He informed me there has been no change in the law or BATF policy. Local law enforcement does not have to do the fingerprints.

So nothing has changed this was an error caused by some rather unclear information on the ATF website. The requirement is for explosives only.

The source of this article was a very large, very well known brick and mortar gun retailer. Someone there was obviously given in correct information which was passed onto us. 

My apologies for the confusion.

Steve (Phil previously took the blame, but the blame falls squarely on me)

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.


  • G B

    “Well, @#$%” – SilencerShop

    • BattleshipGrey

      They spent a lot of money on their kiosks to be able take finger prints didn’t they? I hope they sue. It’s clear the ATF waited just long enough to inconvenience them and confuse the issue for other dealers. They’re trying to rub out NFA users by constantly changing regs. They’re as fickle as teenage girls.

      • Joe

        I’m sure they did. In addition to the actual hardware of those kiosks, the software to make them efficient and secure was probably very expensive. Up until this point, I’ve stayed away from silencers because I didn’t want to deal with the hassles and extra expenses, and I didn’t want to play the ATF’s game. However, this appears like they are harming an innovative company and I just might support them with my hard earned dollars.

        • Chrono777

          This is from the explosives manual. It has nothing to do with the NFA side of things.

          • retfed

            LE agencies tend to be stricter about ID requirements than fingerprint businesses are. A few years (decades) ago, the old Immigration Service had to similarly change its fingerprint rules. Seems the businesses would take the prints without filling in the card, to save time (they said). So Mother Teresa would get her prints taken, then sell the card to Osama Bin Laden. Osama would fill in the blanks and hand Mother Teresa’s prints, bearing his info, to the INS. The check comes back—clean!

      • Zach Wenner

        Just as the ATF spent a lot of money creating E-Forms, which can no longer be used. Difference is, we paid for E-Forms.

        • It can be still be used for stuff other than Form 1 and Form 4.

          In fact I am told it is still being used internally to get the form information into the NFA database. And that it wasn’t a purpose built system for the NFA, it was built for another function within the ATF and adapted for NFA which is why it couldn’t handle the load.

          And I was also told that the ATF is building a eForm 2.0 which will return the ability to file the forms electronically. How exactly it will work I am not sure.

  • PK

    Cute, so I can’t roll my own prints any longer. Well, that’s inconvenient.

    • TennTexan

      As others have pointed out, this article has it wrong… The “LEO only” rule only applies to prints for an explosive licenses. Yes, you can still roll prints for Form 1/Form4.

  • Paul O.

    Makes ‘ya love the ATF just a little bit more.

    • PK

      “Loved”, or more accurately a substantially less polite synonym, is definitely the feeling I’m getting from this, yes.

  • datimes

    Who couldn’t see this coming?

  • Dave Y

    This appears to be an agency policy change, not a “regulation change” which requires posting in the federal register, public comment and subsequent publication in the CFR.

    As we have seen over the years, not everything ATF (agents, employees, etc) say is true, not every one of their decisions is correct, not every one of their “letters” are accurate and their website data is not necessarily sustainable.

    While they probably have some latitude here, it remains to be seen if they have that much latitude here. Agency interpretations are sustained in court at an astonishing rate, over 90% of the time because courts basically “defer” to their co-equal governmental partners. This, however might go a little over the boundary of a reasonable interpretation.

    If sustained, we are right back to the “CLEO sign off” loophole as CLEOs can simply say not to take prints on ATF forms.

    I would say this needs a legislative fix.

    • Drew Coleman

      Good luck with getting Congress to help us out at all. This is just making it easier for LEO’s to have a de facto ban in their area.

  • None

    But there is no way to know if a Law Enforcement agency or a business did the prints.

  • MikeSmith13807

    I don’t think you have to tell your local LEO the purpose of the fingerprints… you just take in the card, do it, they sign it, and you leave, right?

  • milesfortis

    Whoever came up with this line of craptasic fantasy is WRONG.

    This rule for LEO taking prints is for explosive licensing. Read the damn ORI for the card and the FAQ page – EXPLOSIVES).

    This rule for explosives licensing is not new and has been out there for years. and this exact ‘fear’ was put to rest years ago.

    Just, Damn people.

    • Joe

      Good catch.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Cool, I dont need this crap first thing in the morning.

    • BillC

      “Just, Damn people.”

      Or Just, Damn TFB for being TFB.

    • Best Falafel in Town

      BATFE Changes NFA
      Fingerprint Requirement.
      How sad!
      Perhaps, I should report about that
      on TFB.

      • milesfortis

        Except that BATFE didn’t.
        From the article, some (most probably) newby customer skimmed ATF’s website, jumped to a conclusion and started running around like Chicken Little.
        Happens all the time.

        • Best Falafel in Town

          Happens all the time?
          You should learn to rhyme
          Your stupid and irrelevant replies.
          Because it’s all about falafel, fool!

          • milesfortis

            Falafel, schmalafel.
            Go Baklava, or go home.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Falafel is not a desert.

          • milesfortis

            And neither is Baklava an arid place either.
            BFIT just needed his ‘just desserts’.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            lol true

    • I was 100% wrong, I put faith in a source I though was above reproach. All I can do is apologize. See apology above.

      • milesfortis

        These days, especially with the current political climate, even more knowledgeable people can find themselves smacked around by ‘rumor control’.
        With all the new people getting into NFA controlled items, it could be a lot worse than it is.

      • chess

        Do your own research before taking someone’s word about anything the ATF does. They don’t operate in a vacuum and they publish everything they do. This is almost as bad as the paranoia about 41P… which people still don’t understand changed dramatically when 41F (the Final version) came out. Because people who report stories do so without bothering to do any kind of fact check.

  • I’m shocked! ATF arbitrarily changing the rules again, who would have thought.

  • BillC

    “…why this regulation was changed…”
    Because the ATF wants to be as big of a pain as possible.
    was just about to submit forms for a SBR, I don’t have time to take off
    to go to the LEO (especially since a lot of LEOs only have certain
    window hours for printing the public).

  • LazyReader

    How about slimplify the entire process. Give every American a card like a drivers license; it’s free (you shouldn’t have to pay for exercising constitutional right) Your 2nd amendment card, you commit a felony you card get’s cut up and you can appeal every 5 years. The card would have a picture of your ugly mug, a thumbprint a serial number and if the police catch you with a weapon and you have no card automatic ten year sentence. You wouldn’t need a firearms registry anymore, since only those denied are typically worth investigation.

    Granted this is not a total policy I would endorse but an interesting thought experiment.

    • Bradley

      Brilliant. You shouldn’t have to pay for your rights, but you should have to register and serialize yourself. I think I’ll pass.

      • LazyReader

        Which you already do with your drivers license and Social Security card, Voter ID, etc. And like I said it’s a thought experiment, not a proposal. You wouldn’t need a firearms registry, so guns, number of guns, type, etc is irrelevant.

  • Glenn Bellamy

    Calm down everyone. The link to the ATF website is for “explosives” licensing. The amended Rule (41F) specifically states: “Two properly completed FBI Forms FD–258 (Fingerprint Card) for each responsible person. The fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and should be taken by someone properly equipped to take them.”

  • cawpin

    I believe this is another thing the ATF doesn’t actually have the power to change. They need to be sued immediately. They don’t get to determine how fingerprints are done.

  • Nicholas C

    My friends are saying this only applies to Explosive Requirement.

    • milesfortis

      They’re right.
      So maybe flog the staff to remind them to do this thing termed “due diligence” beforehand?

  • Nicholas C

    Here, Adam Kraut confirms it. It only applies to explosives. NOT NFA Firearms or Suppressors.


  • HH

    Thanks for the correction.
    No harm, no foul.
    Keep up the good work.

  • 40mmCattleDog

    Everyone makes mistakes not a big deal. Thank god I didn’t wake up to see the original article, I hate taking my morning dump pissed off.

  • The_Automator

    Starting to make a bit of a habit of not bothering to check facts before running a sensationalist story.

    • tazman66gt

      better clickbait that way

  • Mystick

    Considering that a misinterpretation such as this actually occurred speaks volumes to a regulatory device where a simple error is considered non-compliance and can result in heavy fines, jail time, and other consequences as being overly complex and burdensome on non-attorney citizens.

  • This was all my fault. Sorry everyone. Had a very reputable, well placed source. Source was wrong. My fault for not double checking. ~ Steve