President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to spend $13.2 million to hasten the “approval process” for suppressors and other items regulated under the National Firearms Act (1934).
The goal is to address a workload that has seen approval times for sales go from two months to eight months or more in recent years.
For example, to acquire suppressor an individual goes into a gun store, picks out a suppressor, fills out forms for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), acquires passport photos, gets fingerprinted, and writes a check for $200, payable to the ATF. The forms, money, photos, and fingerprints are mailed to the ATF and the buyer waits roughly eight months to hear back. Following that approval time the buyer can pick up his suppressor, which is registered with the ATF.
ABC News reports the overloaded “approval process” has led to “a backlog of applications” for purchase/registration.
National Shooting Sports Foundation executive vice president Lawrence Keane said, “ATF is overwhelmed with NFA [National Firearms Act] paperwork. It has been a significant problem. It takes eight to nine months to process a single form.”
To understand the workload one must consider that NFA-regulated items are not limited to suppressors. Rather, they also include machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and other devices, all of which require the submission of ATF forms, photographs, fingerprints, and a check to the ATF, just like suppressors. Approval for sales on all these items are backlogged.
Sales for NFA-regulated items have been increasing in recent years. For example, there were “360,000 registered [suppressors] in 2011,” but there were over 1.3 million in 2017.
A part of the extra funding desired by the DOJ would got to adding 25 more individuals to “support the timely and effective registration of restricted weapons under the National Firearms Act while upholding the constitutional rights of the American people.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.