President Obama issued an executive order last week in an effort to redefine the ATF’s policy on certain objects as governed by the National Firearms Act. In response, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives submitted a policy change that would require all “responsible parties” (meaning, everyone) on an NFA trust or a corporation that owns NFA items to submit a photograph and fingerprints when attempting to buy an NFA item in the future.
In addition, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) of each person in an NFA trust or corporation would have to verify and authorize each person in the NFA trust or corporation. Most importantly, the CLEO must personally sign documentation stating each person is “okay” to own an NFA item.
All of these measures are time consuming and unnecessary. However, the CLEO sign-off is the most troubling of them all.
There are many parts of the country where the CLEO will not sign off on an NFA application because:
- Some believe that civilians shouldn’t own NFA weapons, whether it’s legal or not.
- They are too busy to sign requests
- They are afraid of the liability of “authorizing” a person without the procedure or tools necessary to perform a check
The ATF has about 90 days to “consider” the proposed change. Given that Obama just named his puppet B Todd Jones to the directorship position in the ATF, I don’t know if there’s much we can do.
However, we have 90 days to submit our opinions in writing to the ATF.
A common technique that has worked in the past is to submit specific reasons why a policy change will negatively / ineffectively impact the ATF or law enforcement. Please read that sentence again. The ATF doesn’t give a shit if the American citizen’s rights are negatively impacted. They care if a new policy change will make life difficult for them or other branches of law enforcement.
So, here’s a letter I wrote to my county sheriff, my CLEO.
Honorable Sheriff [YOUR SHERIFF],
I am a [YOUR COUNTY] county, [YOUR STATE] resident.
There is a potential change to how American citizens must make National Firearms Act (NFA) applications.
The change would require all parties named on an NFA trust to provide a photograph, acquire fingerprints, as well as the signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in their area.
The process would have to be repeated for every NFA application.
I don’t have statistics on [YOUR STATE], but the ATF reports that over 130,000 forms were processed last year in the United States.
Your office would have to fingerprint all of individuals in [YOUR COUNTY] who submit an application.
You would have to personally verify all parties named on an NFA trust. If an NFA trust has multiple responsible parties you would be responsible for validating and approving each of them.
I am very concerned that this policy change will put an undue burden on you and your office.
Would you be able to estimate how many CLEO NFA sign offs you had last year, please?
Do you support the ATF’s change that would require you to investigate and verify every NFA Form 1 or Form 4 request in [YOUR COUNTY] county?
Thank you for any information you or your office may be able to provide.
There were about 39,000 NFA items registered to trusts or corporations last year. None of them — none of them have been used in the commission of a crime. NFA items are almost never used in crimes (2 murders in the last 80 years). Obama is grasping for any anti-gun victory he can, and this is another piece of political bullshit.
Our goal is to make sure the proposed NFA policy change does not happen.
Our only hope is to submit opinions to the ATF, and the best opinions are the ones that detail negative impacts to the ATF and/or law enforcement.
The best way to detail the negative impact is to get direct information from your CLEO.
Please write to your CLEO (you are welcome to use my template) and do your best to help stop this worthless policy change.
As a footnote, NFA applications currently take an average of 6 – 8 months to process. Approved NFA items are highly restricted. For example, NFA items cannot be taken out of their home states without prior written approval from the ATF. The current system works just fine, and NFA items are not dangerous and do not contribute to increased crime.