Here are the key takeaways:
- The ATF 41F ruling won't be enforced until 6 months AFTER it has been published in the Federal Register - which hasn't happened yet.
- The CLEO signature requirement will be removed for customers who are registering as an individual. (This is about the only good news in 41F.) Instead of a signature, there will be a notification requirement - which is much easier since the CLEO will no longer have the power to prevent your NFA purchase.
- All pending applications from before the as-yet-unknown enforcement date will be grandfathered under the existing rules.
- If you're registering using a trust or corporation (which is the best option for most customers) then, once the 41F rule goes into effect, you'll need to submit both fingerprints and passport photos for every responsible person with the application. (This is the worst part of 41F.)
- Once you receive an approval under the new rules, you'll be exempted from having to submit fingerprint cards or passport photos again for 2 years from the date of the most recent approval. (We're still digging into how, exactly, this will be implemented.)
How is this ruling going to impact the NFA industry?
- First, we expect there will be a lot of confusion over the updated paperwork once 41F goes into effect. We're already working on ways to streamline and simplify the new submission process as much as possible.
- The ATF's own estimates claim that NFA wait times could double once this change goes into effect. This is predictable since the overhead required to run fingerprints will increase significantly.
- Although a trust or corporation is typically a better way to register, we fully expect the mix to change more toward individual registrations since they'll be easier with the new ruling.
- Over the next 6 months, the market is going to be crazy as buyers attempt to make purchases with their trusts and corporations before the go-live date. We are working with manufacturers to ensure we have enough inventory to cover the increased demand - but please be patient if you see something is out of stock.
- Unless the NFA Branch switches to electronic fingerprint submission (which the ATF 41F ruling says it isn't ready for), then eForms will become irrelevant for Form 1 trust & corporation submissions once the rule goes into effect.