TFB EXCLUSIVE: ’41F Q&A’ With The BATFE NFA Branch

    After months of anticipation, the new National Firearms Act (NFA) rules and procedures are finally here. And as much as we have covered 41F and its predecessor 41P here at TFB, there are people that still have questions about the process. Like me, for example. So we figured, why not go to the source – ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) for clarification on the new processes to make and transfer NFA items. As it turns out, they were happy to oblige.

    Now, admittedly, there is no earth-shattering reveal in the answers below. However, it is a unique opportunity to get information directly from the source. And maybe leave the door open for future question and answer sessions.

    Staying true to our mantra of “Firearms, Not Politics”, the questions posed were strictly administrative and procedural – we weren’t scheming for any ‘gotcha’ moments or attempting to get any government officials to comment on current policies.
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    TFB:

    Mr. Howard, thank you for taking the time to talk to The Firearm Blog about the new NFA application procedures. First off, I have a few Form 4s working their way through the process, is there any chance I can get those approved today?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    I’m sorry, but applications are processed in the order that they are received.

    TFB:

    (It was worth a shot.)

    TFB:

    Are the new 5320 Forms finalized? If so, what is the revision date as marked on the form so applicants know which forms to use after July 13, 2016? If not, when can we expect to see the new forms? (This question was asked before the official release of the new forms last week.)

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    The new Forms 5320.1, 5320.4, 5320.5 and 5320.23 have been finalized. The new forms should indicate a revision date of May 2016 in the bottom right corner of each page.

    TFB:

    How many copies of the application forms need to be submitted with each NFA application? How many copies of fingerprint cards? How many photographs? How many entity document copies? (This may seem basic, but there is a lot of conflicting information floating around).

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    For all applications submitted, fingerprint cards and photographs must be in duplicate. One copy of the entity documents is required.

    TFB:

    For example, if an individual is submitting a single Form 4 to transfer one silencer from their FFL/SOT, how many copies of their 5320.4, fingerprints and photographs need to be submitted?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    For all applications submitted, fingerprint cards and photographs must be in duplicate. Therefore, two copies of fingerprints and photographs must be submitted.

    TFB:

    If that same individual is submitting multiple Form 4 applications for multiple silencer transfers, do additional sets of fingerprints and photographs need to be submitted as well?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Yes, fingerprint cards and photographs are required for all submissions of ATF Forms 1, 4, or 5, including individual applications, trusts and legal entities. (See instruction 2 d. (5) on the Forms 1, 4, and 5, and the instructions on the ATF Form 5320.23.)

    TFB:

    In this example, if the applicant is an entity, how many copies of trust/corporation documents need to be submitted? One copy for each application?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    One copy of trust/corporation documents need to be submitted for each application.

    TFB:

    Do entity documents, fingerprint cards and photographs need to be submitted with each application, even if the applicant has submitted an approved application in the last two years? If not, is there a plan in place to simplify the application process where an applicant can submit the required documentation periodically

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    The Form 5320.23, with attached photograph and fingerprint cards, are required in duplicate for each person identified as a responsible person, for each submission, in order to initiate the required background check. The 24-month exemption for providing supporting “documentation” refers only to the documents proving the existence of an entity, such as trusts or corporate paperwork. (On Form 5320.23, see instruction 2 d. (4) and (5) on the Forms 1, 4, and 5. Include date of approved application and serial number.)

    entity

    TFB:

    As a follow up, does every trustee/responsible person need to submit photographs and fingerprint cards for every application? (i.e. 10 trustees for one Form 4 = 10 sets of prints and 10 sets of photographs with each application?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Yes, each responsible person is required to complete ATF Form 5320.23 (National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire), and submit photographs and fingerprints in duplicate each time the trust or legal entity files an application to make an NFA firearm, or is listed as the transferee on an application to transfer an NFA firearm.

    TFB:

    Can applicants roll their own fingerprint cards?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Fingerprints may be taken by anyone who is properly equipped to take them (see instructions on ATF Form 1, Form 4, Form 5, and Form 5320.23).

    fp1

    TFB:

    Are electronically taken/printed fingerprint cards (non-ink) acceptable? Is there a process to transmit fingerprints electronically?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Yes, there is a method for taking fingerprints electronically called live scan fingerprinting where fingerprints are electronically scanned and then printed onto federal fingerprint cards (FD-258) using a printer that is approved by the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). At this time, fingerprints or photographs cannot submitted electronically. At this time, fingerprint cards and photographs cannot be submitted electronically. However, ATF will continue to work towards improving the eForms system and expanding its use.

    TFB:

    Do photographs need to be printed on photographic paper? Is there a plan in places to submit photographs electronically?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Photographs do not have to be printed on photographic paper. Photos need to be attached to Forms 1, 4, and 5. At this time, photographs cannot be submitted electronically. However, ATF will continue to work towards improving the eForms system and expanding its use.

    eforms_logo

    TFB:

    Let’s talk about eForms. Will electronic submissions of Form 1 be available after July 13th? If so, how do applicants submit their required fingerprints and photographs?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    No. The eForms system was not designed to allow the filing of forms where fingerprints and photographs are required. Please check with local law enforcement for live scan fingerprint capabilities.

    TFB:

    If eForms will still be available, do you have a return date for Form 4? How about Form 3? How is the progress coming along for the new eForm system?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Forms 1, 4, and 5 are currently not accepted on eForms system, as additional documents (photographs/fingerprint cards) are required. Form 3 can be submitted via eForms. The ATF is continuing it work to improve the eForms system and expand its use.

    TFB:

    For CLEO notification, can applicants redact any personal identifiers from the submitted forms they send

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    No, applicable forms will already have redacted information.

    Redacted copy for CLEO notification (greyed out photo and serial number blocks).

    Redacted copy for CLEO notification (greyed out photo and serial number blocks).

    TFB:

    Has any guidance been given to CLEOs about how long they need to keep the submitted forms, how to store the forms or handling of personal information? What can the applicant expect to happen to their forms and data once they submit their CLEO notification?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    The CLEO is not required to file any of the NFA forms that may be received pursuant to this final rule. The ATF does not mandate actions the CLEO must take with the forms.

    TFB:

    If an applicant is an entity that has multiple responsible parties, does each responsible party send a copy of the submitted form to their respective CLEO or does one copy go to the CLEO covering the jurisdiction of the individual filling out the form?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    All applicants, transferees, and responsible persons are required to forward a completed copy of their NFA application and/or completed copy of the Form 5320.23, respectively, to the chief law enforcement officer of the locality in which the applicant or responsible person is located. In the case of a trust, this locality is the primary location where the firearm will be maintained.

    TFB:

    Some dealers believe that a NICS check is required for NFA transfers, even though the form states that no NICS is required. Just to clarify, no NICS check is required for NFA transfers, correct?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Prior to July 13, 2016, a NICS background check must be conducted if an NFA firearm has been approved for transfer to a trust or legal entity, such as a corporation, and no background check was conducted as part of the application process or of the individual who will receive the firearm.

    After July 13, 2016, a NICS background check will not be required prior to the transfer of the NFA firearm if the individual picking up the firearm on behalf of the trust or legal entity has undergone a background check as part of the application process. Responsible persons will be listed on the ATF Form 1, 4, or 5, so the licensee will know who has undergone a background check as part of the NFA application process.

    TFB:

    With the influx of applications, it seems wait times are increasing. Is there a plan in place to reduce these wait times? In the short term? In the long term?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    ATF processes applications as quickly as resources allow. That will continue after the effective date of July 13, 2016.

    TFB:

    Last year the NFA branch reported that there were close to 1 million registered silencers. Has that number been surpassed? Can you give a new estimate for silencers on the registry?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Yes, the number of registered silencers has surpassed 1 Million. There are currently more than 1.1 Million registered silencers in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).

    TFB:

    Is there any way that the NFA applicant can make the process easier? Faster?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    To make the process easier, all forms should be filled out correctly, and individuals should respond within 30 days of an error letter notice to avoid disapproval.

    Additional ways to make the process easier:

    • All supporting documents must be submitted and filled out completely (to include complete fingerprint cards, full declaration of trust signed with any/all attachments, applicant photos).
    • Tax Stamp fee must be included with the correct amount.
    • Forms must be submitted in duplicate and submitted front and back on one sheet of paper (i.e. 1s and 4s for individual).
    • Trust/applicant name must match exactly with current premise address.
    • Calibers are accepted in one specific size, additional calibers can be submitted on separate memo, or N/A (for MG’s).

    There are currently more than 1.1 Million registered silencers in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).


    TFB:

    What did I miss about the new 41F process? What do you want applicants to know about the new rules?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    The amended regulations make identification and background checks requirements the same for trusts and legal entities as they were for individuals, thus providing important public and security benefits.

    The final rule added a new section to address the possession and transfer of firearms registered to a decedent. The new section clarifies that the executor, administrator, personal representative, or other person authorized under state law to dispose of property in an estate may possess a firearm registered to a decedent during the term of probate, without such possession being treated as a “transfer” under the NFA. It also specifies that the transfer of the firearm to any beneficiary of the estate may be made on a tax-exempt basis.

    A change from CLEO certification to CLEO notification required a revision to Form 1 (Application to Make and Register a Firearm), Form 4 (Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm) and Form 5 (Application for Tax Exempt Transfer and Registration of a Firearm). There is also a new form, Form 5320.23 (National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire), that must be completed by responsible persons of a trust or legal entity.

    On or after July 13, 2016, all previous versions of ATF Forms 1, 4, and 5 will be obsolete and will be returned without action.

    Applications post marked prior to the effective date of July 13, 2016 will be processed according to the current regulations. All applications post marked on or after the effective date of July 13, 2016 will be processed according to the new regulations set forth by 41F.

    TFB:

    Are you sure you can’t sign off on my Form 4s today?

    ATF NFA BRANCH:

    Sorry, no.

    TFB:

    (Oh well.)

    Thanks for your time.

    Rob Howard is an NFA Specialist with the ATF.

     

    Note: If you decide to comment, please be courteous and respectful.

    Pete

    Editor In Chief- TFB
    LE – Silencers – Science
    [email protected]


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