|The ATF has been working on their new eForms 2.0 system, internally referred to as the Firearms and Explosives Application Module (FEAM), since the original system was taken down in the spring of 2014.|
Since that time, the NFA Branch has reduced wait times significantly by simply hiring more examiners (remember the 12+ month waits?); but, now that the market has had a taste of electronic filing, everybody wants it back.
This morning, the ATF officially announced that the new system is delayed – and they’re going back to the drawing board to reset the process. In the meantime, they are looking at what it will take to boost the performance of the legacy system in order to get Form 3 transfers working electronically again.
Although the first version of eForms was essentially designed in a vacuum, the ATF has worked closely with industry partners (like Silencer Shop) on eForms 2.0 – to be sure it will meet both performance and functionality requirements.
The ATF has a solid understanding of what the new version needs to do; but, it’s easier said than done when working within the government bureaucracy. (Remember the much better funded healthcare.gov?)
As we mentioned in our previous post about the eForms design process, most businesses would take an iterative approach to the design. That way a working system could be put in place quickly – and then updated to meet additional requirements over time.
Unfortunately, the government tends to start with a fixed budget and then releases an all-or-nothing product as a result of their time-consuming contractor bidding, approval, & background check processes. The main problem being that once the new system is online, it’s unlikely to change.
At this point, it looks like the ATF will be going back to the drawing board to refine requirements, secure additional funding, and potentially hire a new contractor to continue work on the eForms 2.0 project. It’s hard to imagine this wouldn’t add at least 6 to 10 months to the overall project; but, we won’t know for sure until the new development plan is released.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we get more information.