Office of the Inspector General – Industry Operations Inspectors Not Confident in ATF NFA Records

As many of our readers know and are intimately experienced with, the process to obtain National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms and regulated items can be a royal pain for the customer. As an FFL and knowing many others, we likewise share the same frustrations on delays, lack of communication, and cumbersome hoops to jump through – especially if a correction is needed.

Of Arms and the Law has been pursuing a Freedom of Information Act Request against the United States which recently won a partial motion for summary judgment. As part of the documents released was a survey of IOI or Industry Operations Inspectors. IOIs are who conduct the inspections of FFLs for compliance and generally serve as the field eyes and ears of the ATF within the industry.

The survey was relating to the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the national database of NFA items. By the results of the survey (in fairness, dated to 2007), reveal significant accuracy issues of the database. In many cases, the IOIs are not confident in the data offered, which makes inspecting FFLs difficult.

As highlighted by Prince Law, one of the responses to Question 12 (Q12 – How do errors and discrepancies in NFRTR inventory reports affect your ability to carry out compliance inspections?):

“This calls into question the accuracy of the information from the NFRTR, reflects poorly on ATF, and makes it difficult to hold FFLs accountable for correct records when the NFRTR is not held to the same standards. Often, follow-up work is required, but the records are not updated in the NFRTR.”

Having now been through two FFL moves and a few inspections, I personally can attest to this information. The printed sheet was largely out of date, making the inspection more difficult.

The full document is available courtesy Of Arms and the Law. 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Brett baker

    Well, this might explain a lot.

  • USMC03Vet

    It would just be better to abolish the ATF. Just sayin.

    • GR Arnold

      +1 … absolutely.

    • some other joe

      So you want the FBI handling all the data? That’s comforting….
      The info’s going to be kept and collected. If not a specialty organization, by a larger one under the aegis of the same cabinet department.

  • RocketScientist

    The ATF makes a mistake in their NFA records keeping? No big deal brah, don’t worry about it. FFL makes same mistake? Gray-Bar hotel for you sucka. We’ll also ruin your career and your livelihood in the process.

    • AK™

      and shoot your pupper,cause we the ATF yo.

  • nova3930

    Could be 100% wrong but they’d still have no issues throwing your butt in jail over it

  • D

    So the gov is incompetent. Who wooda thunk?

  • Havok

    “You are United States National Firearms Act Branch, stop operating like a third world country Dept of Motor Vehicles office.” -Quote of the day right there

  • Mystick

    They should be held to the same standards of responsibility that FFL’s are. Make one mistake: heavy fine and maybe jail time. Too often today being in government seems to be an open ticket to shun responsibility under the color of law. They need to be held to a higher standard.