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NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Sun May 21, 2006 8:06 pm
by mjmensale
Since this gets asked several times, I thought it would be a good idea to lay out the process for those interested in acquiring NFA items.

I don't want this topic to get out of hand but if there are any corrections to make please note them.

Moe
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1 – Buyer searches for the item he wants and pays the seller for it.

2A – Seller fills out Form 4 and Certificate of Compliance in duplicate but does not sign it yet. Note that both forms are 2-sided and must be submitted that way or they will be returned unprocessed. Forms are available for download at http://www.atf.gov/forms/firearms/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
2B - Seller sends both copies of the completed Form 4 and CoC to the buyer for his signature and other required information.

3A – Buyer signs both copies of the completed Form 4 and the CoC.
3B - If being purchased individually, the buyer must get the local CLEO signoff as well as supply two (2) fingerprint cards and a 2x2 photo of the buyer.
3C - If being purchased corporately, a copy of the corporate/LLC Articles of Incorporation or the trust agreement must be included in the package. The CLEO signoff, fingerprint cards and photo are not required. Due to time constraints, the corporation, LLC or trust should be legally set up prior to purchasing the NFA item.
3D - Buyer makes out a check for the $200 transfer fee payable to the BATFE. (See NOTE 2 below)
3E - Buyer returns both copies of the completed Form 4 and CoC, his check and either the fingerprint cards and photo or the corporate/trust/LLC documents to the seller.

4 - Seller signs the Form 4 and sends both copies of the completed Form 4, the CoC, the buyer's check and the appropriate buyer's documentation to the BATFE's NFA Atlanta office. Seller should make a copy of all the documents sent to the BATFE for his records. The package should be sent USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation.

5 – Once the NFA office receives the paperwork and logs it in, the clock starts. Status updates can be requested by calling the NFA branch at 304-616-4500. The caller must have the item's serial number and transferor's (seller's) name for an update. In order for the buyer to request an update, the seller must have checked off "I Do" on line 9.
6 – BATFE cashes the $200 check.
7 – Transfer will go pending around 30 days from check being cashed. BATFE and FBI perform their due diligence.
8 – Transfer will be approved within 30-60 days after going pending.
9 – NFA office returns approved Form 4 with affixed tax stamp to the seller.
10 – Seller receives approved Form 4 and notifies buyer.
11 – Buyer can now legally pick up his NFA item and Form 4.

If the NFA item is coming from out of state the process is basically the same but the seller must first transfer it to a Class 3 dealer in the buyer’s home state. The home state Class 3 dealer will then follow steps 3 – 11 above. Additionally, there is a second $200 transfer fee involved from the seller to the Class 3 dealer. This additional fee may end up getting paid for by the buyer also and is usually negotiated prior to the sale.

NOTE 1 - It is my personal opinion that since the seller is the legal registered owner of the item being transferred, the seller should maintain control of the entire paperwork flow even though either party may do so.

NOTE 2 - Under the law, the seller is legally obligated to pay the transfer fee. If the Form 4 is rejected, BATFE will return the funds to the seller regardless of whose name was on the check/money order. However, today, almost all NFA sales are done with the assumption that, unless specified otherwise, the buyer is responsible to pay the transfer fee.

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:10 pm
by Makers Mark
Question.

Does the CLEO signoff need to be in the same county where the item is being purchased? Or can it be from a different county?

I personally know the Sheriff of my home town, but there is no class 3 transfer avaliable in that county. Can he still sign off on it given its being purchased in another county?

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:59 pm
by tony k
Makers Mark wrote:Question.

Does the CLEO signoff need to be in the same county where the item is being purchased? Or can it be from a different county?

I personally know the Sheriff of my home town, but there is no class 3 transfer avaliable in that county. Can he still sign off on it given its being purchased in another county?
The signoff must be from CLEO of the jurisdiction where you reside, not where you're buying it.

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:43 pm
by CoosBay
tony k wrote:
Makers Mark wrote:Question.

Does the CLEO signoff need to be in the same county where the item is being purchased? Or can it be from a different county?

I personally know the Sheriff of my home town, but there is no class 3 transfer avaliable in that county. Can he still sign off on it given its being purchased in another county?
The signoff must be from CLEO of the jurisdiction where you reside, not where you're buying it.
What if you relocate to another state? Just update your address or find another CLEO signer too? What do you do with your stuff in the meantime?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:50 am
by tony k
CoosBay wrote:
tony k wrote:
Makers Mark wrote:Question.

Does the CLEO signoff need to be in the same county where the item is being purchased? Or can it be from a different county?

I personally know the Sheriff of my home town, but there is no class 3 transfer avaliable in that county. Can he still sign off on it given its being purchased in another county?
The signoff must be from CLEO of the jurisdiction where you reside, not where you're buying it.
What if you relocate to another state? Just update your address or find another CLEO signer too? What do you do with your stuff in the meantime?
First, you can only take NFA items to a state where they are legal, so if you're going to move, make sure your new home state allows them.

Second, if they are legal at your destination, you must file a Form 5320.20 (Application to Transport Interstate) with BATFE listing your new address, and have a signed, approved copy in hand before you transport your NFA out of the old state.

No new CLEO signatures or additional taxes/fees are required for a 5320.20.

Approval of a 5320.20 usually takes about two-three weeks, so just file it before you move.

If you forget and have to move before you receive the ink-signed copy, you can store your stuff in the old state, then go back later and get it. BATFE recommends keeping them in a bank safety deposit box. They must be stored somewhere under lock-and-key where no one except you has access, so a safety deposit box works best.

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:54 am
by JMJ1987
Wow, so were talking like 3-4 month's of waiting after the money has left your pocket?

And this process has to be repeated for every single supressor, every single automatic thats class 3?

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:24 am
by tony k
JMJ1987 wrote:Wow, so were talking like 3-4 month's of waiting after the money has left your pocket?

And this process has to be repeated for every single supressor, every single automatic thats class 3?
Yes, the same process (and the same wait) each and every time.

Be glad you're doing it today. In the mid-1990's, the turnaround averaged eight-nine months for a direct transfer, about a year for an out-of-state purchase. I know of several that took over two years for approval, and there was nothing wrong with the application.

OTOH, the mid-'80s through the mid-'90s was when BATFE had a staff that would reduce their own workload by routinely feeding random applications into the shredder. ](*,)

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:22 pm
by JMJ1987
tony k wrote: Yes, the same process (and the same wait) each and every time.

Be glad you're doing it today. In the mid-1990's, the turnaround averaged eight-nine months for a direct transfer, about a year for an out-of-state purchase. I know of several that took over two years for approval, and there was nothing wrong with the application.

OTOH, the mid-'80s through the mid-'90s was when BATFE had a staff that would reduce their own workload by routinely feeding random applications into the shredder. ](*,)
Damn, [-X

You would think that the thing's would process a little faster now a days because of the internet. I mean if they really tryed im sure they could cut wait time from purchase to be two week's or less...

Monopoly's suck. If they had competition im sure the wait time would go down.

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:34 am
by tony k
JMJ1987 wrote:You would think that the thing's would process a little faster now a days because of the internet. I mean if they really tryed im sure they could cut wait time from purchase to be two week's or less...

Monopoly's suck. If they had competition im sure the wait time would go down.
It's not a monopoly at work here -- it is intentional government policy.

Two branches of the U.S. are working together -- Congress and the administrative branch -- to make it impossible to exercise your rights, and the only thing standing in their way is the third branch (the judiciary, a.k.a. the U.S. Supreme Court).

In 1934, Congress decided that they found some firearms to be more dangerous than others in civilian hands: Suppressors, MGs, SBRs, SBS's, DDs and AOWs. Congress believed it did not have the power to make them illegal, so they did the next best thing: The put a prohibitive $200 per item tax on them -- in 1934, the average six-room house cost $2,600, a new Colt 1911 cost $25, and a steelworker made $423 per year. Then they added in a long, difficult approval procedure on top of the prohibitive tax.

(Interesting note: The original draft of the 1934 National Firearms Act included all handguns. Congressmen then realized there would be riots if they took those away, so the handgun clause was deleted before passage. Can you imagine if you had to pay a $200 tax and wait months for ever single handgun purchase?)

In the decades since then, Congress and the administration have worked together to keep approvals long and slow by underfunding and understaffing the federal agency that handles the paperwork. ATF did not have any funds budgeted to computerize their records until the 1990's, so they had to file and retrieve all paperwork by hand.

Yes, it could be done much faster. But .gov does not want it to be fast or easy for you to buy NFA items.

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:06 pm
by JMJ1987
Whoa, thanks for filling me in on that. I see how it is now. :ber ^^

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:22 pm
by Mahamotorworks
If I wanted to get a Short barreled, Full auto, Suppressed M16. Would it be a $200 tax or a $600 tax?

I am really dreaming here but it can happen.

MAHA

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 6:08 am
by Azrael2004
$400 Taxes
If you have a registered MG you can have any barrel length without an SBR stamp.
The suppressor would be your other stamp.

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 8:18 am
by TC
Though sometimes you might see a gun that has both SBR and MG taxes on it (eg, maybe it was SBR'd before being converted to auto).

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 9:26 am
by tony k
TC wrote:Though sometimes you might see a gun that has both SBR and MG taxes on it (eg, maybe it was SBR'd before being converted to auto).
Not if the same item is registered -- MG registration trumps and therefore replaces SBR registration. A single item cannot be registered in two different classes simultaneously.

However ... often a sear or other registered MG conversion device is installed in a host firearm, and the host is separately registered as an SBR so that it remains legal when the conversion device is removed. Even though you have one firearm, it is composed of two different NFA items, so two taxes are due.

It used to be common for MG conversion devices to be "married" to a host gun, to avoid a second SBR tax for the host. There are still many married guns out there, but most have been divorced from the hosts so that the conversion devices can be moved from gun to gun (when possible; there are some married couples which BATFE will not allow to divorce.) When a divorce is approved, if the former host firearm meets SBR spex (barrel under 16") it must also be registered, as an SBR.

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri May 16, 2008 10:37 am
by TC
tony k wrote:However ... often a sear or other registered MG conversion device is installed in a host firearm, and the host is separately registered as an SBR so that it remains legal when the conversion device is removed. Even though you have one firearm, it is composed of two different NFA items, so two taxes are due.
Aha! Thanks for clarifying

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:16 pm
by flcracker
Thank you, Gentlemen! =D>

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:18 pm
by mjmensale
I cleaned up this thread by deleting several posts and consolidating the details in the original post which has also been updated where required.

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:53 pm
by MAVRIK
Did I read somewhere on a FSN topic that Fl Legislature is considering waiving the step that requires signoff by CLEO ?? Or, am I dreaming! [smilie=011.gif] Thanks in advance. Mav /:f

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:25 pm
by tony k
MAVRIK wrote:Did I read somewhere on a FSN topic that Fl Legislature is considering waiving the step that requires signoff by CLEO ?? Or, am I dreaming! [smilie=011.gif] Thanks in advance. Mav /:f
ATF is in the process of dropping the CLEO requirement everywhere in the U.S.

It's not a done deal yet, but it looks good. It will probably be a few months before they announce it, if and when it does happen.

Re: NFA Purchase Process

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:49 pm
by MAVRIK
Thanks Tony.