UPDATED DECEMBER 23 2021: Today, the ATF’s eForm system has been upgraded to accept electronic submissions of the Form 4, which is the form required to take possession of what are known as “NFA Items”. That term, NFA Items, encompasses all firearms that are regulated by the National Firearms Act, and includes suppressors (aka silencers). Prior to today, consumers would be required to complete the Form 4 on paper, mail it to the ATF, and wait 8-10 months (at least) to receive their Tax Stamp, and permission to take home their suppressor.
As of today, that process has changed in the following three ways:
- The consumer completes the Form 4 electronically at the ATF eForms website: https://eforms.atf.gov/
- The consumer must create an eForms account in order to complete the Form 4
- The ATF has publicly stated that they expect to “approve Form 4s within 90 days”
It seems like little has changed, but in fact, this upgrade is a huge step forward for consumer purchases of suppressors.
UPDATE 13DEC2021: We’ve just received an email from the ATF, and it looks like THE date will be Tuesday, December 21. According to the email, all ATF eForms will be unavailable from Friday, December 17th, through Tuesday, December 21 at 6AM. That means the eForms portal will be upgraded as of 6AM on the 21st, which is the Tuesday before Christmas. Here are some of the upgrades coming to eForms:
- After the upgrade, you will be able to submit the ATF Form 4 electronically through eForms.
- Electronic submission of ATF Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6A, 9, 10 and 5300.11 with the required electronic documents.
- Electronic submission of fingerprint cards for ATF Form 4. You will be able to attach your “digital fingerprint cards” to your submission.
- Support for larger file attachments. The updated eForms will accept electronic documents up to 30 MB in size.
- Enhanced validations to ensure that the upfront validations of your data occur prior to submission.
- User PIN for validating the submission of all forms as part of the submission process.
- Self-service support for forgotten passwords and PINs.
- Rules of behavior that must be accepted to proceed with the use of eForms.
- “Ask the Expert” to send your questions to our subject matter experts.
- Use of smarter technology to improve customer service and build a foundation for future enhancements such as an Application Programming Interface (API) and Captcha.
It’s been a long time coming, but the ATF has just recently announced that they will begin accepting electronic Form 1 and Form 4 sometime between December 15 and December 28. If you specifically don’t care about suppressors for your guns, then you may not have any idea what this is about. But, if you have been hoping and yearning for eForms for suppressors, this is THE news you’ve been waiting for. Once you purchase your suppressor, the wait time to take your suppressor home is about to change from 8-10 months to 30-60 days.
Details: eForms for Suppressors
The “perhaps 1 or 2 months” information is probably where most people tuned out, because that’s the big news. But there are many more details. Here’s the short version.
- ATF eForms for Suppressors (and other NFA items) will open sometime after December 15, 2021
- The process for purchasing (and taking home) a suppressor will be largely the same
- The forms you complete will be all electronic
- The processing time should be between 30-60 days
- ATF Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 can be submitted via eForms
I say “should” be 30-60 days because we just don’t know what will actually happen. It might be faster than 30 days. Who knows. We’re just the messenger here.
I Just Submitted My Paper forms! What now?
Well, this is kinda like buying that sweet AR15 and then finding out it’s on sale a week later. You’re hosed. Here’s what the ATF has officially stated for those of you who just bought an NFA item: stand down.
In other words, the ATF is going to put resubmitted eForms for suppressors at the back of the line. If you just submitted your forms in the last few weeks, you’re going to have to wait the traditional 8-10 months. Sorry.
Why Open eForms for suppressors Now?
I can’t get to the real actual reason here, but I can give you my two cents. First, this system has been ongoing for a very long time. Years. Since the electronic system for NICS Background Checks was opened up, the ATF has been working on a scalable system to accept the forms for processing background checks for NFA (National Firearms Act) items, including suppressors, short barreled rifles, etc.
Second, revenue. Currently, submitting all the paperwork, paying the $200 Tax Stamp fee, and dropping somewhere north of a grand to wait nearly a year seems like putting money down a black hole. Even people who consider $2k pocket change for guns hesitate to make that move just because it seems unattainable. Time does go by, and you do get that magical letter in the mail, but it just seems like it takes forever.
So, the Federal Government in its infinite wisdom believes that, if they make it easier and faster to apply for a suppressor (or other NFA item), then more people will do it. We agree. In fact, we’re of the mind that buying a suppressor specifically should be exactly like purchasing a firearm: NICS check, out the door.
OK, So What Happens on (or after) December 15?
According to SilencerShop and the American Suppressor Association, you’ll do all the same paperwork electronically for eForms for suppressors from the SilencerShop kiosk here in our store. Follow SharpShooters as well as SilencerShop and ASA on social media and you’ll be the first to know when this big news actually happens.