Journey of an NFA newbie, Part I

Huntertown Arms Guardian 22 suppressor

I have been a firearms owner for several years but it was only recently that I became interested in National Firearms Act (“NFA”) weapons. Specifically, I wanted to learn more about suppressors.

Suppressors or “silencers” fall under the same set of laws that also regulate short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, destructive devices, and the catch-all category known as “all other weapons.” To lawfully possess these items one must submit paperwork to the ATF and pay an excise tax. The process for individuals requires the signature of your chief local law enforcement official (usually the county sheriff), but you can also register the device to a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.

Months ago, I contacted an attorney in my state (Florida) and created an NFA trust suitable for this endeavor. This document is the basis for the creation of the legal creature that owns the NFA weapons and whose name will be used when completing and submitting the required ATF forms. My first step had been taken.

Some months passed. It was not until there was a proposal to significantly change the regulations on NFA weapons that I moved on purchasing and registering a suppressor. The settlors of my trust executed the trust agreement in the presence of witnesses and it was promptly notarized. Days later, I walked in to a local Class III dealer and, acting as trustee, purchased a suppressor with trust funds and filled out and mailed the required forms.

The expected processing time at the ATF ranges from seven to ten months. The wait begins.