Yesterday, the BATFE issued their ruling on the so-called 41P Notice of Proposed Rule Making regarding NFA transfers. Timing of the release was critical to ensure it was ready for President Obama’s announcement today of anti-2A Executive Action.
I was up into the wee hours reading this 248 page ruling. I was also on the phone with the ASA so kudos to them for getting this together. While the dreaded CLEO signature is indeed gone, it’s bittersweet. Corporations which own NFA items in particular are going to have a rough time dealing with the new regulatory requirements. And, use of a trust will become equally painful. Additionally, I’m not comvinced the change in the CLEO’s role in this process is enough to prevent reluctant CLEO’s from holding up transfers. At any rate, I expect this to cuase a panic buy of NFA items as we have 180 days from the time this change is published in the Federal Register until it takes effect.
I urge you to read the entire ruling because it references the thousands of comments the government received when it opened the proposed rule change up. www.atf.gov/file/100896/download
Written by ASA on January 5, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, January 4th, the Obama administration issued the final rule for Docket No. ATF 41P, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published on September 9th, 2013. The final rule has multiple provisions, most notably the elimination of the CLEO certification requirement for all NFA applications. The NPRM initially sought to amend the making and transfer process for National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms by extending the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) certification requirement for all NFA transfers to private persons, including those conducted by a trust or legal entity. Had this measure been enacted as drafted, it would have resulted in widespread de facto bans of NFA items in jurisdictions where CLEOs refuse to sign applications. To prevent this scenario, the American Suppressor Association (ASA) rallied the suppressor community by leading the charge to submit comments in opposition to the proposed rule. In all, over 9,500 comments were submitted to the Federal Register, virtually all of which opposed the proposal to expand CLEO certifications.
“Since the announcement of ATF 41P, the American Suppressor Association has spearheaded efforts alongside partner organizations on the State and Federal levels to block the expansion of CLEO certification requirements,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the ASA. “For the first time in 82 years, local law enforcement will no longer have de facto veto power over any NFA applications. While their inclusion in the process made sense in 1934, before background checks, or even computers existed, the removal of this antiquated measure from the NFA process is a major victory for the suppressor and NFA communities.”
In addition to removing the CLEO certification requirement, the rule creates a mandatory CLEO notification process, and establishes a definition for the term “responsible person” in relation to NFA trusts and legal entities. It also requires that the trust or legal entity provide complete proof of existence, and that all responsible persons associated with the trust or entity submit photos and fingerprint cards with each NFA application, unless the applicant entity has had an application approved within the past two years, and has had no change in structure or personnel. The final rule will not apply to pending or previously approved applications, and is set to take effect 180 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This will occur on or near July 2nd, 2016.
Although the elimination of the CLEO certification requirement is a victory for the suppressor community, the ASA still believes that suppressors should be removed entirely from the NFA. To accomplish this goal, we are working closely with Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) to pass the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 3799, S. 2236). The HPA will remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories. To contact your legislators in support of the HPA, please visit our Hearing Protection Act legislative contact form.