Silencer manufacturers have been making progress with informing the public that silencers are legal to own. However, there is still a lot of confusion about the ATF eForm System. Is it faster than using the standard paper forms?
Our friends at Liberty Suppressors were kind enough to share the following article with us that sheds some light on what you should expect from the ATF eForm System:
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the eForm system and the issues related to it. There are a lot of people that have a misconception about the speed at which the eForm system operates. It is apparently believed that there is a special group of mythical pixies at the ATF that work some sort of magic and will complete the eForm forms in record time as compared to the conventional paper forms. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been working with ATF for over a decade and what we have seen is a simple increase in applications due to the internet (as well as several public awareness campaigns from silencer makers) informing people that silencers are legal and available. The staff at the ATF has not increased appreciably while the exponential increase of applications has.
There was a small period of time when the eForm system was fast. This was when it first came online and there were only a few registered users. There was a specific examiner assigned to the eForm setup and this made some Form 4 transfers slip through ahead of the conventional paper applications. This gave the appearance that the eForm system was remarkably faster than the paper system. Well, it only took 6 months to overburden the eForm system and choke it down to the point of crashing. Now the ATF is adding staff to process paperwork as well as making changes to the eForm website. The rub here is that the eForm website is down without any real indicator of when it will be back online meanwhile the paper system will still be trudging along and maybe even picking up its pace a little due to the extra staff being added. It could be soon or it could be weeks, the government isnt saying, and that isn’t good. We all know how efficient the government is in doing things and how reliable there web building skills are so take it for what it is…
What all this means is that if you are waiting to buy your suppressor till the eForm system is running, just temper that with the knowledge that the time you “wait” for the system to come back online, is the same “time” your paper forms could be already processing at the ATF in conventional means. So waiting 3 to 4 months to file your forms to save 3 to 4 months of processing time isn’t really saving anything at all.
The bottom line is this, whether you choose to use the broken eForm system or the tried and true paper form system, the sooner you start the process, the sooner you finish it and get that magical tax stamp on your form.