Get your NFA purchases sooner


Now that the floodgates have opened and new NFA buyers are turning out like never before, the NFA branch waiting game is getting longer and longer. As mentioned before, NFA Tracker tells the tale: the expected wait time for a Form 1 or Form 4 went from about six months for December 2012 submissions to more than eight months for applications submitted in late January. As annoying as it is to get over all of the hurdles completing paperwork for submission, waiting patiently on ATF’s NFA Branch to process your application is still the hardest part of the process. With NFA sales booming like never before, lots of folks are wondering if there is anything that they can do to make it to tax stamp day a bit sooner.

There are a couple of ways to make sure that your next Form 4 goes through as quickly as possible.

  • Use the eForms system: As previously discussed here on Silencer News, ATF  rolled out its updated eForms system on August 1. The new and improved system now allows for electronic filing of  NFA forms, including Form 1 (application to make a firearm), Form 3 (for tax-free dealer to dealer transfers), and Form 4 (application for tax-paid transfer). How much time can eForms save? Instead of waiting 70 days for your Form 4 to go pending after a paper submission, recent reports indicate that you can expect your eForms filing to go pending in as few as four days.Only those transactions that don’t require fingerprint cards, photographs, or the CLEO sign-off can be submitted via eForms. That means that—for now—using a trust or business entity can shave time off of the clock. Also, for Form 4 transfers the eForms system is only available to FFL/SOT holders, so if you want to take advantage of the accelerated eForms timeline, you will need to find an NFA dealer who is willing to use the new system.
  • Buy locally from a stocking dealer: Sites like Gunbroker and Armslist make it easy to find what you are looking for at a great price. Unfortunately, the sellers you find using these sites are often located in another state. Interstate transfers between non-SOTs are a no-no, so if you find the NFA firearm you are looking for online, you are looking at additional lead time just to get the item transferred to your local dealer. If the item in question is on a Form 4 with a non-SOT in another state, you will have to wait for a tax-paid Form 4 transfer to be approved before the item ever lands in your local dealer’s possession. Because of apprehension about shipping firearms, many such transactions will involve two dealers, meaning that there will be a Form 3 approval required after the first Form 4 transfer to an out-of-state dealer. And if the purchased item is registered to an SOT in another state, you still have to wait on a Form 3 to be approved before you can submit your paperwork.The abbreviated eForms wait time on Form 3s is a significant improvement over the wait for paper filings, but you can go right to Form 4 submission if you start out with a purchase from an in-state dealer with inventory in stock.