August 17th, 2018

Don’t Get Barrel-Busted! Federal Barrel Length Requirements

short barrel barreled rifle shotgun NSA tax stamp ATF legal brief guncollective.com

The Legal Brief is a feature of TheGuncollective.com that focuses on firearms rules and regulations. In this Legal Brief video, Attorney Adam Kraut explains key State and Federal regulations governing firearms, and explains how to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

This five-minute video explains barrel length rules for rifles and shotguns, and also explains the best (and most fool-proof) methods to measure your barrel. In addition, the video explains how to measure firearm overall length. A rifle or shotgun which is less than 26 inches overall can also be classified as a “Short-barreled” rifle/shotgun subject to the NFA. NOTE: Under federal law “If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock EXTENDED”.

Highlights of LEGAL BRIEF Discussion of Barrel Length and Firearm Overall Length

The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length.

How to Measure Barrel Length: Drop [a] dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length[.]

Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly.

How to Measure Overall Length:The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. … If the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. … If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended.

READ FULL ARTICLE on Ammoland.com.

Links for this episode:

ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
Firearm – 26 USC § 5845: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11

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August 8th, 2018

Firearms Transfers — Federal Form 4473 and Cannabis

ATF Form 4473 Marijuana Cannabis background check
Read Orchid Advisors’ Full Form 4473 Revision Report on Ammoland.com.

Dope or Guns. But Not Both…
Federal law is clear on this. Make your choice. — Dennis Santiago

You may live in a state where private use of marijuana has been decriminalized, but you still have to worry about the Federal Government. Use of marijuana (cannabis) is still prohibited under Federal law. Admitting that you smoke dope can and will prevent you from being able to purchase firearms. We raise this point because in 2016 ATF modified Forum 4473, the Federal Firearms Transaction Record, to include a new warning. The Shooting Wire explains:

ATF Form 4473 Marijuana Cannabis background check “ATF notified licensees last week that ATF Form 4473… has again been revised. There’s now a warning attached to question 11.e.

11.e is the famous question, ‘Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?’

The warning simply says that use and possession is illegal under federal statute regardless of the state’s rules. Some on social media said, ‘ATF is telling you to mark that answer “no”. Apparently they don’t remember Scooter Libby.

Lying on ATF Form 4473, as noted right above Block 14, is a federal felony — punishable by fines and a term of imprisonment. Want an all-expense paid vacation at Club Fed? If not, don’t mess with the [Federal Government].”

There are a number of other small changes and additions in the latest revision of Form 4473. These changes are reviewed in great detail by Orchid Advisors, firearms industry compliance experts. If you sell firearms, we recommend you read Orchid Advisors’ full Form 4473 Report on Ammoland.com. Below you can read all six pages of ATF Form 4473.

Download current Form 4473 from the ATF’s website at https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearms-forms. FFL dealers should note that all six pages of Form 4473 must be printed and retained as permanent transaction records.

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July 7th, 2018

Traveling with Firearms — Learn the Laws that Apply


Chrysler’s 2014 Outdoorsman Series Trucks offered an optional “RamBox” with locked rifle storage.

This summer, many of our readers will be traveling to shooting matches near and far. Many of you will drive 1000 miles or more to attend major championships at Camp Perry (Ohio) and Camp Atterbury (Indiana). Along the way you’ll cross multiple state lines, and be subject to a patchwork of different state and local laws. While traveling with firearms you want to ensure you comply with all laws and regulations, even if you’re “just passing through”.

Ford F-250 Cabelas crew cab gun storage bench seatOn the NRA’s American Rifleman website you’ll find a helpful article that provides basic tips on avoiding legal entanglements when traveling from state to state with firearms in your vehicle. The basic advice is to plan out your trip in advance, researching all state and local laws that will apply. This can be a daunting task, but a Federal law, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) does provide some protection for travelers.

According to the NRA: “FOPA shields you from local restrictions if you’re transporting firearms for lawful purposes. Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

The NRA cautions that: “Laws vary place-to-place, and if you do anything other than pass through a state, you must obey all local laws. This is especially true when you are carrying a loaded firearm in your vehicle or on your person. There’s no shortcut here. You need to map out your trip state-by-state to be sure you stay legal during your trip.”

Resources for Travelers

The American Rifleman article also lists useful print and online resources you can consult to learn more about laws that apply when traveling with firearms:

Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms (From NRA ILA.)

Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (BATFE publication.)

BATFE’s State Laws and Published Ordinances — Firearms, 2010-2011

BATFE’s Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

State Gun Laws at a Glance (Includes interactive chart with info on state laws.)

The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States (Printed handbook.)

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June 5th, 2018

NSSF Answers Tough Firearms Transfer Questions

FFL license holders questions and answers about transfersThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has published a Q & A Page about FFL transfers and other FFL-related matters. The NSSF’s experts provide answers to common questions to ensure that neither FFLs nor their customers get caught in regulatory traps. Here are some of the recent questions and answers:

1. Purchase of Firearm by Parent for Child.

Q: May a parent or guardian purchase firearms or ammunition as a gift for a juvenile (under 18 years of age)?

Yes. However, possession of handguns by juveniles (less than 18 years of age) is generally unlawful. Juveniles generally may only receive and possess handguns with the written permission of a parent or guardian for limited purposes (e.g., employment, ranching, farming, target practice or hunting), and that permission slip must be carried by the juvenile while possessing the handgun. [18 U.S.C. 922(x)]

2. May an FFL Transfer a Firearm by Way of a “House Call”?

Q: I have an elderly customer who cannot leave his home. I have a gun in my store that he wants to buy. Can I go to his house, have the Form 4473 completed, call for a background check and deliver the gun to him, providing that all the background checks clear?

A: Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are required to conduct business from their licensed “business premises.” The Form 4473, Part 1, is for an over-the-counter transaction. The buyer must appear in person at the FFL premises. Licensees may not conduct firearms transactions from locations other than their licensed premises, with the exception of gun shows or other events dedicated to the sporting use of firearms and held in the state where the FFL’s premises is located. An FFL who locates purchasers by other means must complete the transaction and all required paperwork at the business premises indicated on the FFL’s license.

3. Can the Spouse of a Transferee (Buyer) Pick Up a Firearm?

Q: A customer filled out a Form 4473 on a shotgun. The NICS background check reply was delayed, but the following day NICS approved the purchase. The customer could not get back to my store during open hours, however, so he sent his wife to pick it up. May I transfer the shotgun to her?

A: The shotgun may not be transferred to the customer’s wife, as she is not the intended transferee. The customer must return to the store himself and complete the ATF Form 4473 to receive the firearm. He must recertify that his answers in section A are still true, correct and complete by signing and dating Section C on the ATF Form 4473.

4. What Is the Procedure for an Older Firearm with No Serial Number?

Q: I have received a firearm on trade. It was made before 1968 and has no serial number. I must note the physical markings on the firearm in my records. What do I do in this case?

A: Unfortunately, marking requirements that existed before 1968 did not apply to all firearms. Many of the firearms manufactured and imported prior to 1968 bear no serial numbers or other markings. Licensees who receive these firearms should note in each descriptive column in the acquisition record the physical markings that appear on the firearms. If no serial number was placed on the firearm, it should be specifically noted that “Firearm has no serial number” or recorded “NSN.” Remember, however, it is illegal to remove or alter a firearm’s serial number, and a licensee should report such a firearm to the nearest ATF office. Refer to the ATF P 3317.2, Safety and Security Information for Federal Firearms Licensees.

5. What Should Be Done if an FFL Finds a Firearm That Was Previously Reported Lost?

Q: I’ve reported a lost firearm. I’ve done all the necessary paperwork and notifications. Now, I’ve found the firearm. What is my course of action?

A: FFLs who report a firearm as missing and later discover its whereabouts should advise the ATF, as well as their local law enforcement agency, that the firearms have been located. The ATF can be contacted at 888-930-9275. In addition, once the firearms are located, they must be re-entered into the Acquisition and Disposition (A&D) record as an acquisition entry.

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February 16th, 2017

ATF White Paper Recommends Changes in Suppressor Laws

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

In the near future, there could be changes in the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) treats sound suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”). An official government White Paper, dated 1/20/17, was recently leaked to the press and revealed by the Washington Post.

CLICK HERE to READ FULL Text of ATF WHITE PAPER

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

The ATF White Paper makes some key points about suppressors:

1. 42 States currently allow silencers.
2. Silencers are not a threat to public safety, and are rarely used in criminal activities.
3. The inclusion of suppressors in the NFA is “archaic” and should be reevaluated.
4. The definition of regulated suppressor components should be narrowed, so that only key items are regulated as opposed to “any combination of [silencer] parts”.
5. A change in Federal law removing silencers from regulation under the NFA would save resources, allowing the ATF to focus on reducing actual gun-related crime.

ATF silencer suppressor white paper

Here is the operative text of the ATF White Paper:

Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.

At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.

ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act] (GCA].

If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of [silencer] parts”, as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be useful.

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December 22nd, 2016

Giving a Firearm as a Gift? Some Reminders from NSSF

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

By Bill Brassard for NSSF
‘Tis the season of gift-giving (and Christmas Day is almost here). As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

Though there’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state, some states (such as California) require you to transfer the gun through a local firearms dealer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun.

The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it on your own and giving it to, say your father, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate from that retailer and giving it to Dad as his present. That way he’ll get the exact gun he wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.

You can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.

What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

About the National Shooting Sports Foundation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

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September 2nd, 2016

ATF Defers Change to Smokeless Powder Classifications

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose
Smokeless Powder Photo courtesy GunsAmerica.com, Reloading Powder Feature.

There has been a hue and cry on some internet sites about changes in smokeless powder classifications by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Writers have been concerned that recent interpretations by the ATF would make it much more difficult to store and transport reloading powders, which in turn could lead to price increases and/or powder shortages. Concern arose over the potential re-classification of “wetted” Nitrocellulose as a “high explosive”. Since “high explosives” are subject to more stringent rules, such re-classification would alter the way common smokeless propellants could be lawfully stored and transported.

Thankfully, there is good news. On August 31st the ATF issued an Addendum to its June 16 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter saying that its policies regarding smokeless powders containing Nitrocellulose will not change… at least for now:

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose

Based on this “Addendum”, it seems the ATF has tabled its proposal to classify Nitrocellulose-based smokeless powders as “high explosives”.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA ILA) confirms that the ATF has backed off, so that current practices for powder storage and transport can continue unchanged. Thus hand-loaders should NOT face an impending powder shortage and/or price hikes. Here is the NRA ILA’s report:

ATF Delays Any Changes to Nitrocellulose Regulation
Earlier this summer, ATF released an Explosives Industry Newsletter that changed the agency’s treatment of nitrocellulose, the primary component in smokeless powders used in modern ammunition. This change had the potential to seriously disrupt ammunition supply in the United States because it changed a long-standing ATF policy that exempted properly “wetted” nitrocellulose from treatment as an explosive under federal law.

NRA and [shooting industry representatives] raised these concerns to ATF and any change in ATF’s treatment of nitrocellulose is now officially delayed. In an addendum to the earlier newsletter, ATF announced that it “will conduct further industry outreach concerning wetted Nitrocellulose. In the interim, previously authorized industry practices concerning wetted Nitrocellulose will NOT be affected.”

While the addendum doesn’t indicate that ATF has permanently abandoned this change to nitrocellulose regulation, smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation, at least for the time being. NRA will continue to work to ensure that any future change to nitrocellulose regulation will not affect ammunition supply.

ATF Industry Newsletter Caused Concern
The cause for firearms industry concern was the ATF’s statement about Nitrocellulose published in the June 2016 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter. The key language is shown in the right column below. According to the NRA ILA, the ATF has, at least for the time being, decided NOT to change its policies regarding the storage and transport of “wetted” Nitrocellulose. Accordingly, “smokeless powder manufacturers will be permitted to continue normal operation”.

NRA ILA ATF BATFE Bureau Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Wetted Nitrocellulose

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March 20th, 2016

America Got 12.25 Million More Guns in 2014

NICS, ATF, BATFE, Statistics, Guns, Gun Sales, Background Checks

Guns and more guns — over 12.25 million guns* were added to U.S. private inventories in 2014 based on reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In 2014, 9,050,626 firearms were manufactured in the USA, while 3,625,268 firearms were imported and 420,932 firearms were exported. The total of guns made and imported in 2014 (minus guns exported that year) works out to 12,254,962 firearms, bringing the total U.S. cumulative stock to over 375 million! Yes that means there were over 375 million firearms in the USA as of the end of 2014. That’s more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. And a lot more were added in 2015…

While the number of guns added in 2014 was impressive, it appears that the number of guns added last year (2015) may exceed the 2014 figures, breaking all-time records.

Dean Weingarten explains: “You see, 2015 was a record year for NICS checks, at 23,141,970. It will take another year before we find out if the number of firearms added to the private stock exceeded the record set in 2013, of 16.031 million. I expect that another 13.422 million will have been added in 2015, but it could be as high as 17.588 million, based on the 2013 ratio of NICS checks to firearms added.”

“The number of NICS checks for 2014 was 20.969 million, slightly lower than in 2013, which was 21.094 million (rounded to the nearest thousand). Many NICS checks are used to purchase firearms that are already in the private stock; a fair number are used for background checks on carry permits; and more than one firearm may be purchased with a single background check.”

Story based on report ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. For more information: Link to Gun Watch.

*This 2014 firearms total includes rifles, shotguns, handguns and others, “others” being mostly receivers that might become either rifles or handguns when finished. It does not include firearms produced for the military services.

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February 21st, 2016

ATF Changes Rules on Firearms Lost or Stolen in Transit

BATFE ATF lost stolen firearm weapon FFL Rule transit 3310.11

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has issued updated regulations regarding firearms lost or stolen in transit. The new standards require FFLs to report in-transit theft or loss of firearms within 48 hours of discovery. Each licensee shall report the theft or loss by telephoning ATF at 1–888-930–9275, and by preparing and submitting ATF Form 3310.11. The disposition entry should indicate whether the incident is a theft or loss, the ATF-Issued Incident Number, and the Incident Number provided by the local law enforcement agency. If any of the firearms are later located, they should be re-entered into the A&D Record as an acquisition entry. A comprehensive, 12-page discussion of the new rule, which went into effect on February, 11, 2016, is set forth in the Federal Register.

The BATF has provided compliance instructions on its website. The NSSF anticipates these instructions will be updated in the near future to reflect the new regulations. In the meantime, we suggest that FFLs read the Rule Change Notice in the Federal Register.

Official Summary of Rule Change for Firearms Lost or Stolen in Transit
SUMMARY: The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) concerning the statutory reporting requirement for firearms that have been stolen or lost. The final rule specifies that when a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) discovers a firearm it shipped was stolen or lost in transit, the transferor/sender FFL must report the theft or loss to ATF and to the appropriate local authorities within 48 hours of discovery. The rule also reduces an FFL’s reporting burden when a theft or loss involves a firearm registered under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and ensures consistent reporting to ATF’s NFA Branch.

In addition, the rule specifies that transferor/sender FFLs must reflect the theft or loss of a firearm as a disposition entry in their required records not later than 7 days following discovery of the theft or loss; moreover, if an FFL reported the theft or loss of a firearm and later discovers its whereabouts, the FFL must advise ATF that the firearm has been located and must re-enter the firearm into its required records as an acquisition or disposition entry as appropriate.

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August 9th, 2015

39% Increase in Suppressor Ownership in Past Year

Can Suppressor Moderator Silencer BATFE ATF Guns.com Registered NFA 800,000 suppressors in USA

There has been a huge growth in the number of registered suppressors in the USA. From 2014 to 2015, the number of NFA-registered suppressors rose from 571,150 to 792,282. That’s a 39% increase in just one year! It’s remarkable that there are nearly 800,000 suppressors now registered in the USA. These stats are based on data published in the latest Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) Firearms Commerce Report.

According to Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, “The suppressor market grew more [from 2014-2015] than it did in the previous two years combined. This unprecedented growth is in large part due to educational initiatives, and the passage of 11 pro-suppressor laws and regulations last year.” (Source: Guns.com.)

We expect suppressors (also known as “cans”, “silencers” or “sound moderators”) to become even more popular in the years to come. This trend will continue: “As more target shooters and hunters realize the many benefits suppressors provide, their popularity across the United States will continue to increase,” said NSSF Senior Vice president and General Counsel Larry Keane.

Texas Leads the Way in Suppressor Ownership
Currently, 41 states permit ownership of Federally-registered suppressors. While suppressor ownership rates are increasing in all those 41 states, forty percent (40%) of all registered suppressors are found in five key states: Texas (130,769), Georgia (59,942), Florida (50,422), Utah (50,291) and Oklahoma (27,874).

Can Suppressor Moderator Silencer BATFE ATF Guns.com Registered NFA 800,000 suppressors in USA

Suppressor CAD drawing by Reimo Soosaar, hosted on GrabCAD.com.
Silencer infographic by SilencerCo.com.

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September 16th, 2014

How to ‘Keep It Legal’ When Traveling with Firearms

Ford F-250 Cabelas crew cab gun storage bench seatOn the NRA’s American Rifleman website you’ll find a helpful article that provides basic tips on avoiding legal entanglements when traveling from state to state with firearms in your vehicle. The basic advice is to plan out your trip in advance, researching all state and local laws that will apply. This can be a daunting task, but a Federal law, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) does provide some protection for travelers.

According to the NRA: “FOPA shields you from local restrictions if you’re transporting firearms for lawful purposes. Under FOPA, notwithstanding any state or local law, a person is entitled to transport a firearm from any place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry such firearm to any other place where he or she may lawfully possess and carry it, if the firearm is unloaded and locked out of reach. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm must be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console.”

The NRA cautions that: “Laws vary place-to-place, and if you do anything other than pass through a state, you must obey all local laws. This is especially true when you are carrying a loaded firearm in your vehicle or on your person. There’s no shortcut here. You need to map out your trip state-by-state to be sure you stay legal during your trip.”

Resources for Travelers

The American Rifleman article also lists useful print and online resources you can consult to learn more about laws that apply when traveling with firearms:

Guide to the Interstate Transportation of Firearms (From NRA ILA.)

Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (BATFE publication.)

BATFE’s State Laws and Published Ordinances — Firearms, 2010-2011

BATFE’s Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

State Gun Laws at a Glance (Includes interactive chart with info on state laws.)

State-by-State Handgun Laws (Website summarizes laws by state.)

The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States (Printed handbook.)


Chrysler’s Outdoorsman Series Trucks offer an optional “RamBox” with locked rifle storage.

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April 13th, 2014

FFLs Take Note — BATFE Shuts Down eForms System

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives ATF BATFE

If you have a Federal Firearms License, or work with an FFL-holder, please read this story — there is an important change in the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) will handle forms. It appears the the BATFE’s eform system was not ready for prime time, so it is being shelved for the time being. This means that import forms, NFA forms, and AFMER reports must now be submitted via paper “hard copies”.

In early April, BATFE took its troubled eForms program offline. A BATFE notice stated that: “The eForms software is not performing to our expectations. As a result, we are taking the eForms system down until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work with our industry partners to deliver a quality product. Any eForm (already) submitted will continue to be processed. The finalized forms will be sent to the user via email. Until the eForms system is returned to service for the industry, all imports forms (Forms 6 Part I and 6A), NFA forms (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10), and AFMER reports (Form 5300.11) must be submitted via paper, including any eForms in draft status.” Questions should be directed to eForms.admin [at] atf.gov.

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March 24th, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait — ATF Taking More Time to Process Forms

ATF BATFE Form 4 Processing Delay TimeThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF) Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS) Division has posted a new chart for its form-processing times, and the latest information is not good. NFA Forms 1 and 4 are now taking 10 months to process.

The ATF’s NFA Form 4, is one of the forms required to legally purchase a suppressor (sound moderator). The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is working to get additional resources committed to EPS through the Congressional appropriations process. NSSF Senior VP and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane stated: “The delays and lack of timely customer service, which grows worse every month, is significantly interfering with the ability of members of our industry to engage in the lawful commerce and grow their businesses[.] It also infringes on the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights in a timely manner, and a right delayed is a right denied.”

Related Resources:

ATF BATFE Form Processing Delay Time

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March 14th, 2012

ATF Notice Regarding Private Online FFL Application Services

BATFE ATF FFL Application Notice

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a bulletin on March 9, 2012 regarding web-based services that promise that the purchaser of an commercial application package will be issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL). ATF notes that such commercial services are not sponsored or approved by the ATF, and these service may use non-authorized forms which the ATF will neither accept nor approve. Here is the exact language of the Notice, highlights added:

Private Application Services and Non-Approved Application Forms

ATF has recently become aware of web-based companies which guarantee the issuance of a Federal firearms license (FFL) if a prospective applicant purchases the company’s application packet and advice about how to obtain a FFL. Anyone considering applying for a FFL should be aware that the fees paid for such consulting services and materials are not required, endorsed, or received by ATF. Any fees for application consulting services and materials are paid voluntarily by a prospective applicant, who should understand that such fees are in addition to the license and permit application fees required by law and collected by ATF. ATF collects no application fees online at this time. All ATF-required fee payments must be made by check, money order, or credit card and accompany the paper application form sent to ATF by the applicant.

It is also important to note that ATF does not guarantee the issuance of FFLs. Each application is reviewed on its merits under the qualifying criteria set forth by law.

Some private application services provide their own version of license application forms. Please note that ATF will not accept any application form not approved for use by the Office of Management and Budget and will return without action applications submitted on unauthorized versions of ATF forms. All ATF application forms are provided free of charge and may be obtained from the ATF website or forms Distribution Center by calling 202-648-6420. You may also contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center at 1-866-662-2750 for assistance in completing FFL applications.

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August 31st, 2011

Todd Jones Named New Acting BATFE Director

BATFEThe Department of Justice today announced the appointment of U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones to serve as Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Jones will begin serving as ATF Acting Director on August 31, 2011.

A veteran of the Justice Department, Jones has served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota under two presidential administrations. He first served from 1998 to 2001. He was nominated again in 2009 by President Obama and has been in that role since being confirmed that year. During his several years as a federal prosecutor, has been the lead trial lawyer in many federal prosecutions involving drug trafficking, firearms, financial fraud and violent crime.

“As a seasoned prosecutor and former military judge advocate, U.S. Attorney Jones is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Jones Served as Lawyer in U.S. Marine Corps
Following admission to the Minnesota bar, Jones went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of courts martial proceedings. Jones holds a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

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July 19th, 2011

ATF Reports Rifle Production Down, Handgun Production Up

Americans are apparently buying more pistols but fewer rifles — that’s the trend suggested by the latest Firearms production statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to the ATF’s 2010 Interim Annual Firearm Manufacturing and Export Report, U.S. firearm manufacturers produced more than 5.4 million firearms in 2010. This represented a small (2.7%) reduction in total U.S. firearm production compared to 2009. However, the really notable statistic was a dramatic 18.8% reduction in rifle production. Rifle production decreased 18.8%, while handgun production increased 14.9%. That’s a big swing. Shotgun production remained relatively steady, only dropping 1.2 percent.

Firearms Production ATF

Editor’s Comment: Since these are production numbers, not sales figures, it may be premature to say that American shooters are spending a lot less money on rifles, but we know that sales of AR-type “black rifles” are down significantly. There was a rush of AR “panic buying” after the last presidential election that was not sustained. We are also concerned that fewer young Americans are learning to shoot rifles, while the average age of target rifle shooters continues to climb. We need to expand efforts to get young people involved in rifle shooting and hunting.

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February 22nd, 2011

U.S. Gun Production Rises to 5.4 Million Firearms in 2009

According to the latest Firearm Manufacturing and Export Report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), U.S. firearm manufacturers produced more than 5.4 million firearms in 2009. That’s a big increase compared to the start of the decade in 2001, when less than 3,000,000 firearms were manufactured by U.S. companies. In recent years, production of both handguns and long guns has grown significantly, as show in the graph below, prepared by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) based on ATF records from 1984-2009.

Firearms production chart

The ATF data (from 1984-2009) reveals some interesting trends:

  • Total firearms produced in 2009 topped 5.4 million, exceeding the previous high total in 1994.
  • Over 3,000,000 long guns were produced in 2009, the highest quantity in the past 25 years.
  • The total number of firearms sold in 2009 works out to one gun for every 57 citizens, based on the 2009 U.S. population of 305,529,237.
  • After a decade-long decline, handgun production rose dramatically from 2004-2009. If trends continue, in a few more years, pistol sales could out-number long gun sales.

NSSF research has updated its 14-page Industry Intelligence Report, titled Firearms Production in the United States, with the most recent data on U.S. production of pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. Additional updated data found in this report include: Annual Survey of Manufacturers figures and U.S. International Trade Commission firearm import and export figures. The report is available for free to NSSF members by logging into the members section of the NSSF website, clicking “NSSF Industry Research” and then clicking “Industry Intelligence Reports.” For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

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February 12th, 2011

ATF Seeks to Impose Long Gun Reporting in Border States

BATFE ATF logoIf you’re one of the nearly 71 million Americans who live in the four southwest border states, some of your gun purchases may soon be reported to the federal government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) seeks to require all of the 8,500 firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report all sales of two or more semiautomatic rifles within five consecutive business days, if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines. For example, a dealer would have to tell the government every time a deer hunter in Phoenix or Houston finds a good deal on a pair of semi-auto .223s or .30-06s.

The NRA states: “The ATF has no legal authority to demand these reports, and the flood of new paperwork will waste scarce law enforcement resources that should be spent on legitimate investigations. Every concerned gun owner’s voice should be heard on this critically important issue.”

Unfortunately, there are only a few days left to comment on this proposal. Comments will be accepted until Monday, February 14.

To read the ATF proposal, CLICK HERE. | To read the NRA’s comments, CLICK HERE.

If you comment on the ATF long-gun registration proposal, be sure to cite the Dec. 17, 2010 “Notice of Information Collection Under Review: Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles.”

Submit Comments to:

OMB
Office of Information & Reg. Affairs
Attention: Dept. of Justice Desk Officer
Washington, DC 20503

Send a copy of your comments to:

Barbara A. Terrell
Barbara.Terrell@atf.gov
Fax: (202) 648–9640
Firearms Industry Programs Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, N.E.
Washington, DC 20226.

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January 2nd, 2011

BATFE Ruling Covers Manufacturing Work by Dealer-Gunsmiths

BATFELast week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued an important ruling affecting gunsmiths. The ruling covers the obligations of dealer-gunsmiths who work as sub-contractors for a licensed firearm manufacturer. Specifically, the ruling addresses record-keeping requirements and whether dealer-gunsmiths must have a manufacturers’ license to complete certain types of production work. We recommend that all gunsmiths involved in external finish work (such as cerakoting or parkerizing) review the ruling carefully.

The ATF explains: “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received inquiries from firearms industry members asking whether licensed dealer-gunsmiths who would be engaged in the business of repairing, modifying, embellishing, refurbishing, or installing parts in or on firearms for, or on behalf of a licensed importer or manufacturer are required to be licensed as manufacturers and abide by the requirements imposed on manufacturers.

In recent years, licensed firearms importers and manufacturers have contracted certain firearms manufacturing activities on their behalf to specialized licensed firearms manufacturers. Such activities include applying special coatings and treatments to firearms (e.g., bluing, anodizing, powder-coating, plating, polishing, heat/chemical treating).

This has caused confusion over which importers and manufacturers are required to identify/mark firearms and maintain permanent records of importation or manufacture. For this reason, licensed importers and manufacturers have asked whether licensed dealer-gunsmiths, who are not required to mark firearms and keep production records, may engage in such manufacturing activities on their behalf.”

Summary of ATF Ruling 2010-10
ATF Ruling 2010-10 addresses questions about activities such as bluing, anodizing, powder-coating, plating, polishing, heat and chemical treating. There has been confusion over whether these activities require a federal firearms manufacturers license, and what are subcontractors’ firearms-marking and record-keeping requirements. As stated by the BATFE in a 12/30/2010 Press Release:

Ruling 2010-10 holds that licensed firearms dealer-gunsmiths are not engaged in a manufacturing business, and are not required to hold a manufacturers license, under certain specified conditions. The ruling was issued to address modern firearms manufacturing processes, which often involve a number of contractors other than the manufacturer whose name is marked on the firearm.

Under the ruling, licensed dealers may perform manufacturing services if:

(1) The firearms are not owned by the licensed dealer-gunsmith;
(2) The licensed dealer-gunsmith returns the firearms to the licensed manufacturer or licensed importer upon completion of the manufacturing process and does not sell or distribute the firearms to any other person; and
(3) The firearms were properly identified and marked by the importer or manufacturer in accordance with the law and regulations.

We recommend that gunsmiths whose activities may be covered by ATF Ruling 2010-10 read the complete text of the ruling: ATF RULING 2010-10 Official Complete Text.

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December 20th, 2010

BATFE Posts Instructional Videos on YouTube

BATFE logo ATFThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) is turning to the internet to spread its message and to inform Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) regarding the latest regulations and reporting requirements. BATFE is posting a series of online video seminars designed to educate Federal Firearms Licensees on a host of topics related to the Federal firearms laws and regulations and best practices.

FFL instructional videos are now available on the BATFE’s recently created YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/ATFHQ. Linked below is Part One of the video on Record-keeping Requirements. Note that some videos are in segments and should be viewed in order. CLICK HERE to view Part Two and other BATFE videos.

Record-Keeping Requirements for FFLs — PART ONE
YouTube Preview Image

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