Consumer Information

Buying Short-Barreled Rifles and Shotguns, Suppressors Just got Easier Thanks to the ATF!

American Suppressor Association

We have great news that I bet will surprise you! The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) wants to give every gun owner a new suppressor for Christmas. OK, yeah, that would be surprising, but not even on April 1 could I pull off that joke. However, the news is almost good. A few days ago, the ATF announced the launch of the eForms system.

ATF eForms System

If all goes as planned, eForms will launch between December 15 – 28, 2021. Instead of waiting nine months or more for approval for a short-barrel rifle, short-barrel shotgun, or suppressor, the new eForms system should result in approval in about four to six weeks.

Supressor Selection
Suppressors are a great addition to most any caliber. They make shooting fun and reduce the chance of negatively affecting your hearing or those around you. In a home defense scenario, this is a serious consideration.

From the American Suppressor Association:

MARTINSBURG, WV – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) announced the imminent launch of a new electronic system for NFA transfers. Known as the eForms system, this overdue modernization will allow consumers to submit both ATF Forms 1 and 4 electronically, hopefully resulting in a significant decrease in transfer times when compared to traditional paper Forms.

According to ATF, the transition to the new system will occur sometime after December 15th, but before Christmas. The new eForms system will handle all existing NFA transfer forms, including the ATF Form 4.

If you recently submitted an NFA application, keep it in the queue. We cannot stress this enough. Withdrawing your Form 4 and re-submitting electronically will take longer than allowing your Form 4 to make its way through the approval process.

With the Daniel Defense ISR, you get both a SBR and a suppressed AR-15 with one tax stamp.
Some offerings, such as the Daniel Defense ISR, allowed you to get both an SBR and a suppressed AR-15 with one tax stamp.

That’s because ATF isn’t going to dig through the tens of thousands of forms being processed to find your application. They’re going to wait until your Form 4 reaches an NFA examiner’s desk – the exact point at which it would normally be approved – to process your withdrawal. Instead of approving it though, they will acknowledge your withdrawal and release your serial number. You will not be able to re-submit an eForm 4 with the same serial number until ATF acknowledges your withdrawal and puts it back into your dealer’s inventory. Thus, withdrawing and re-submitting electronically will add months to your overall application process.

Transition Process

Once the transition to the new eForms system begins, ATF estimates that the transition will take between two to four days to complete, at which point the new eForms system will go live. ATF has indicated that they will notify the industry 24 to 48 hours prior to the transition, and we will let you know as soon as we receive this notification.

While traditional paper-based applications will remain a viable option, ASA’s recommendation to consumers is that they submit new NFA applications electronically. That’s because, if the new eForms system works as promised, it will increase efficiencies by reducing form submission and payment processing times, eliminating weeks of delays in data processing, and all but eradicating data entry errors.

With the reduced wait times, will you add a new suppressor or short-barreled long gun to your collection? Share your answer in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (14)

  1. I aborted the purchase of a suppressor today in favor of submitting paperwork after the transition assuming it would ultimately be shorter! Fingers crossed. I am also a little suspicious of big brother for reasons already stated.

  2. Literally just got approved last week and the can is currently in transit to my front door. Started the process late January ATF got the paperwork February 12th. Not a complete year so not ridiculous, but still too long. I’m not opposed to eforms. Whatever the reason for the sudden change, if it’s going to affect me now using the eform I’m sure it will later as well using the paper form. I guess we can only wait and see. I’ll be adding more to the safe soon.

  3. Bought my first suppressor recently my dealer told me to wait and e- file. Makes sense to eliminate duplicate paper applications. Also once your personal identifying information (fingerprints/pictures) are on file subsequent approvals should be even faster. But President Reagan once said the scariest words are “I’m the government and I’m here to help”.

  4. Yeah, I agree with Greg Vasquez… something smells rather fishy… and it’s not that tuna salad sandwich I had for lunch.

  5. I think it’s happening due to the sale of suppressors has fell off and the number of complaints has taken a toll.

  6. That sounds good, but what’s really going on? Why is big brother all of a sudden willing to make things easier? Doesn’t sound right. Just saying.

  7. Or you can hire some gun companies to thread the barrel and shorten it from services… well yeah it ain’t free.

  8. I’m thinking this is being implemented in preparation for the massive number of braced pistols out there that are going to be forced to register as SBRs after the ATF’s final decision is announced.

    FJB and FATF

  9. Probably won’t ever add any more tax stamps to my collection. Any NFA I could really afford, I already have; and I swore years ago I was not ever going to jump through their hoops again.

  10. Yea but…you still have to pay the 200 bucks for the tax stamp, be put on a national register and buy an over priced muffler. For the sbr or sbs all you get to do is cut down the barrel, put a regular stock on and/or a verticle foregrip. Big whoop.

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