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.
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.
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.
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.