Photo courtesy of American Suppressor Association.
After a long and frustrating fight against the overreaching ATF 41P, it was ultimately approved as ATF 41F on January 4. While the new rule introduces some irritating changes and will likely double the current wait time on some suppressor sales, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification requirement for all NFA applications was eliminated, leaving only the CLEO notification requirement.
The rule won’t take affect until 180 days after date of publication in the Federal Register, which means the effective date of ATF 41F will be July 13, 2016.
One of the irritating changes we hinted at earlier is the possibility of NFA wait times doubling once the rule change goes into effect. This is likely due to the rule change around fingerprinting for trusts and corporations. Two finger print cards and a passport photo of each person listed on a trust will be required every time someone wants to purchase a NFA item under the Trust after July 13, 2016.
However, the slow down can be avoided entirely if silencers are purchased under an NFA Trust before this date. The rule is not retroactive, meaning all pending applications submitted before the rule change will be grandfathered under current rules. If your customers are looking for the simplest route, one option is to just buy a $129 SilencerCo Easy Trust and start the purchasing process as soon as possible.
Note ATF will use the postmark date of submissions to determine when an application has been filed. If you have customers that can’t get their paperwork complete with enough time to file by July 13, they’ll need to file under the new procedures and with the new forms when they become available.
According to the NSSF’s FFL Compliance Consultant Team, key provisions of the new revised regulations are as follows:
- Responsible Persons—In the case of trusts, as well as partnerships, associations and corporations that are not already FFLs, the regulations define “responsible persons” as those who possess the power to direct the policies and management of the trust or corporation with regards to the receipt, possession and disposition of NFA registered firearms.
- Under the revised regulations, each responsible person must complete ATF Form 5320.23, known as the National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire, and two sets of fingerprint cards on FBI Form FD-258. Each responsible person must also provide a 2×2-inch passport photograph of themselves, that photograph being of a full front head portrait with head bare; that photo must have been taken within one year of the application being filed. Fingerprints, Form 5320.23 and the photograph will be filed with the copy of ATF Form 4 submitted by the transferor to ATF.
- CLEO Notification—In a key change from the proposed rule, the final revised regulations eliminated the CLEO certification requirement for all transferees. Now individual applicants will be required to notify the CLEO of the application by providing those CLEOs a copy of the ATF Form 4. Fingerprint cards and photos will not be submitted to the CLEO.
- In the cases of trusts, partnerships, associations and corporations, each responsible person will submit a copy of their ATF Form 5320.23 to the CLEO where they reside. In the case of partnerships, associations and corporations, the CLEO copy of Form 4 will be submitted to the CLEO located where the entity maintains its principal office or place of business as described on the form.
- In those cases where an FFL who has not qualified to engage in business under the NFA desires to obtain an NFA product for their own use, a Form 4 must be completed, but no Forms 5320.23 will be required. This is because the responsible persons for the FFL have already been the subject of an FBI fingerprint-based background check. The CLEO copy of the Form 4 will be submitted to the CLEO of that FFL’s residence at the time the application is filed.
It must be emphasized that trusts, partnerships, associations and corporations will continue to submit documentation proof of the existence and validity of the entity. All documents submitted with the Form 4 will need to be submitted in their entirety.