To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow the transfer of a silencer after the end of the 90-day period beginning with the application for such transfer.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Finally, readers, a bill we can throw some enthusiastic support behind and make ground towards ending the burdens of the National Firearms Act and its companions. I am eleven months into my latest NFA transfer request. Eleven.. Months.. Imagine waiting a year for a process as simple as getting your internet set up. That’s what this is.
“Oh! But Keith, your background check is very important. We wouldn’t want NFA items in the hands of the wrong people.”
I may.. may be a tad more inclined to give credence, consideration, or at the least hear out that argument if, in the intervening space of time, I had not acquired both my FFL and my SOT and several months more have passed since those events occurred. I can freely transfer all the Title II items I so desire. I can buy machine guns, old and new. I am the right people. I am one of the people who have to be sure all the right paperwork is done for anyone else who wants these can buy them properly.
I was granted all these specifically licensed extra privileges (for business purposes, yes, but they are tied to my name directly through the company as an RP) and yet my personal SBR, that in truth was paid for at the end of 2018, is somehow still tied up because of a background check? A background check as equally tied to my name and person as being an RP on an FFL/SOT.
But is it really the background check? I suspect not. It’s more the pile of them the ATF has to go through and the rules they must follow while doing so. Now, on this topic I have spoken with individual employees of the ATF and the general opinion is that Congress has at every turn prevented their modernization because nobody wants to touch the NFA, GCA, or FOPA. I stress that these are individual opinions and not an official position of the ATF.
The ATF would love to make this easier. They can’t. They are bound by rules 40+, 60+, and 80+ years old because only Congress can modernize or remove this process.
So the ATF cannot take the logical step of having paperwork stack A of Form 4’s reference paperwork stack B of FFL/SOT holders to expedite anything. Hell, when they tired to implement a “fastlane” for Form 4’s whose requirement was solely “fill the form out correctly” it angered enough people that they canned it and went back to date of receipt as your place in the NFA line. They’re also extremely limited as to the ways the can get corrected information on the forms, if something like two numbers of your home address are transposed for example. The form must be mailed back, redone on a new form, resigned as a correction, and returned, all by snail mail.
An NFA branch employee cannot, by law, call you and ask so they can just type in the correction. They can’t just email you and have you sign, initial, or otherwise certify the authenticity of corrected information. They are so hamstrung that can’t even overtly suggest certain things to you to point you in the right direction because it could be interpreted as giving you advice on answering one part or another of a form or violating protected personal information.
Talking with an ATF employee on these topics is like speaking to a very nice employee in Wal-Mart’s automotive section and asking them where sporting goods is. But, even though sporting goods is literally right behind you, they are not allowed to tell you. They have to hope and pray you turn around on your own. They know you’re going to be mad when you do so and they didn’t tell you sporting goods was right there, rules be damned.
And Congress (keeper of the rules) won’t modernize them in any serious way. But there is a chance at it.
SEC. 2. 90-DAY APPLICATION PERIOD FOR TRANSFER OF SILENCERS.
(a) In General.—Section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
“(c) 90-Day Application Period For Silencers.—In the case of a transfer of a silencer, such transfer may be made, notwithstanding subsection (a), if 90 days have elapsed since the application required by such subsection was filed with respect to such silencer, and such application has not been denied.”.
(b) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to transfers more than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 3. ANNUAL REPORTS TO CONGRESS ON TIMELINESS OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS OF PROSPECTIVE FIREARM PURCHASERS.
The Attorney General shall annually prepare and submit to the majority and minority leader of each House of Congress a written report on the timeliness of the criminal background checks conducted with respect to firearm transfer applications under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. The report shall set forth information with respect to each type of firearm specified in section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and include information such as the average case disposition time, the number of criminal background checks (other than of prospective transfers of silencers) that took more than 180 days to complete, and the number of applications that, when initially filed, were incomplete.
This bill has the potential to start NFA modernization and officially building the evidence pile necessary to justify the NFA’s repeal in part or full. By implementing a “Brady law” like date of transfer on stamps for suppressors and building data for a similar measure on firearms it becomes easier to say, “here is why this is working and here is why we don’t need to do this.” For reference, in 2018 there were 1.5 million suppressors on registry compared to only 345,000 SBRs. Suppressors are the big chunk of transfers and make up the big chunk of in process paperwork. If that big chunk now has a 90 day expiration date a bunch of paperwork just starts getting filed in the complete box.
Retailers could say that 90 days is the absolute longest you will wait, boosting sales and helping drive business in an item that most other gun control heavy nations don’t bother to regulate at all.
It is nice to see another firearm related bill to endorse again. Go H. R. 6126.
And yes, still repeal the NFA. Inch by inch, one bite at a time.