ATF 41P delayed until 2015


Ever since the proposed rule change was announced last fall, ATF’s plan to revamp the application process for making and transferring National Firearms Act items has been causing quite a stir in this segment of the firearms industry. Application numbers that were already at record highs leapt even higher, and wait times were drawn out, too (though staffing increases at NFA Branch and the on-again, off-again eForms system have started whittling away at those wait times). Many consumers went ahead and made purchases that they had been waiting for, conscious of the fact that—for residents of jurisdictions with unfriendly law enforcement—there might not be an opportunity to legally acquire NFA items in the future.

The original published timeline for ATF’s proposed changes, dubbed “ATF 41P,” was for the standard ninety day notice and comment period to run at the end of 2013, and for the changes to be implemented early this year. After over nine thousand public comments were submitted to the federal bureaucracy, the rulemaking notice was updated with a June 2014 projected completion date. Many folks were treating June as the new zero hour for NFA purchases.

Public comments by ATF since the beginning of the year have hinted at the fact that the agency was overwhelmed with the task of formulating required responses to these comments. Now, ATF has updated the status of the proposed rule and published a projected final action date of January 2015. As Firearm Industry Consulting Group attorney Tom Odom points out, there are plenty of defects in the way that the ATF has handled this rulemaking process, if the agency chooses to go forward on the proposal and the new regulations must be challenged in court. Regardless, it looks like there is some more time on the clock for buyers still hoping to complete additional NFA transactions before the new rules are promulgated.