ATF Memo: Silencer, Machine Gun, Other NFA Applications Up 380 Percent

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) memo indicates applications for "the registration and transfer of National Firearm Act (NFA) weapons" rose "380 percent" between 2005 and 2013.

As a result, the ATF currently faces "a backlog of more than 70,000 applications."

According to USA Today, ATF Deputy Assistant Director Marvin Richardson sent the memo, in which he also announced the immediate "hiring [of] 15 people to assist with the application processing." 

Fifteen "current employees" will also be assigned to processing the applications. 

NFA weapons include machine guns, "silencers, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, and some explosive devices." 

According to ATF records, "a total of 512,790 machine guns were registered across the country in 2014, more than 571,000 silencers, 2.2 million so-called destructive devices (which include grenades and other explosives), 137,201 short-barreled rifles and 131,951 short-barreled shotguns."

The backlog in application processing "tracks a record annual increase in overall firearm production to more than 8.5 million guns in 2012," the "most recent year" for which the ATF has compiled data.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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