Silencer industry org hires lobbyists

posted Aug 20, 2013, 9:54 PM by Dick Clark   [ updated Aug 20, 2013, 10:29 PM ]

Politico published an item today noting that members of the seasoned legislative relations team at Shockley Scofield Solutions (S-3 Group) have registered as lobbyists for the American Silencer Association. ASA is an industry advocacy group formed by companies including AAC, Gemtech, and Silencerco. S-3's point men for this project seem to have the experience to tackle the job: John Scofield is a former communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, and Jeff Shockey was staff director for the Committee. Moreover, both men have also lobbied for the NRA.

According to Roll Call, the two hired guns were brought on board with the goal of fully funding the NFA branch at ATF, presumably to whittle down the application wait times that have markedly increased since the end of 2012Roll Call says: 

"They will lobby on funding for the National Firearms Act Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The Branch also processes applications and notices associated with the manufacture, registration, transfer and transportation of National Firearms Act firearms."

Updates to ATF eForms system

posted Aug 4, 2013, 9:15 PM by Dick Clark

The ATF recently implemented changes to its eForms system that affect persons seeking to make or transfer NFA firearms. ATF Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9 can now be submitted via the automated online system instead of by mail. For all of these forms but Form 1, electronic submission is only authorized for Federal Firearms Licensees who are current on their special occupational tax (SOT). For Forms 1, 4, and 5, only applications relating to trusts and business entities are eligible for online submission; applications pertaining to individual transferees or makers will still have to be submitted by mail. Payment of the making or transfer tax can be made via the Pay.gov payment portal.

For more details, see the following announcement email that was sent by ATF to users of the eForms system:

We're Updating Our eForms Systems 

On Wednesday, July 31st, starting at 6:00 PM, ATF’s eForms systems will be undergoing maintenance as part of an ongoing process to enhance our services. During this time, eForms will not be available. These systems are expected to return to full service by 2:00 AM on Thursday, August 1, 2013. 

The enhancements to the system will be as follows: 

The eForm 6A has been modified to display the “Number and Kind of Package Information” on a separate overflow page. “See overflow page for number and kind of packages” will be displayed in block 9(b) of the form and descriptive information that would normally be displayed in block 9(b) will be displayed on the overflow page. This change was made at the request of industry members who discovered that there was not enough room on the form to put all the information that was necessary in that block. This is another example of where we were able to make a change based on your recommendation. 

NFA eForms are finally here!!!! ATF is pleased to announce the implementation of the NFA forms into ATF’s eForms system. ATF Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 are currently available for eForms submission. 

The submission of Forms 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 can only be done by a Federal firearms licensee who has paid the special (occupational) tax for the current Tax Year. 

If the submission of the form requires fingerprints, photographs, and the Law Enforcement Certification, the submission cannot be done using eForms – the application must be submitted on paper to the NFA Branch. Accordingly, Forms 1, 4 and 5 may be submitted using eForms if the applicant maker or transferee is a legal entity, such as a corporation, trust, or LLC. The submission of the application will require that the documents establishing the legal entity be attached electronically to the application. 

For Forms 1 or 4 that are submitted with making or transfer tax due, the tax payment will be made through Pay.Gov, just prior to the submission of the application. Pay.Gov is a system, of the US Treasury’s Financial Management, that allows the submitter to pay the tax by credit/debit card or from a bank account. For detailed information on Pay.gov you can visit their website at www.pay.gov.

Louisiana: no more state-level NFA registration

posted Aug 1, 2013, 7:47 AM by Dick Clark   [ updated Aug 1, 2013, 7:47 AM ]

Until today, of the thirty-nine states allowing silencers, my home state of Louisiana was the only one to mandate state registration of these devices and other items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). After going through the rigmarole with NFA Branch, the "Sportsman's Paradise" still required owners to jump through state-level bureaucratic hoops to stay on the right side of the law. 

Thankfully, the Louisiana legislature passed HB 277 this session and Governor Jindal signed it into law on June 18th, removing this requirement. Now that the new law has gone into effect, staying legal with your NFA-regulated firearms in Louisiana is simply a matter of keeping up with your obligations under the federal law. The NRA-ILA has more commentary on the impact of HB 277 and other Louisiana firearms legislation here.

North Carolina ends prohibition on hunting with silencers

posted Jul 30, 2013, 10:42 AM by Dick Clark

Governor Pat McCrory signed H937 into law today, ending the legal prohibition on the use of legal firearms silencers while hunting in an otherwise lawful manner. A National Rifle Association omnibus bill that makes numerous changes to gun laws in North Carolina, H937 goes into effect on October 1, 2013. The NRA-ILA characterizes the bill as "the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in the Tar Heel State's history since 1995."

This legislation was passed after a coordinated effort by the NRA, the North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association, and concerned citizens who took the time to contact their legislators in support of the bill.

Changes to ATF Form 1 coming

posted Jul 23, 2013, 6:49 AM by Dick Clark

The ATF has posted a sixty day notice of their intent to request Office of Management and Budget review and approval of a new "Application to Make and Register a Firearm" (Form 1) that would allow for payment of the $200 NFA making tax via credit or debit card. Additionally, the proposed Form 1 revision will also "combine information currently captured on another form," and change the form size to 8.5" x 14" instead of the current 8.5" x 11". 

The National Firearm Act Trade & Collectors Association (NFATCA) reports that similar changes are in the works for the "Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm" (Form 4).

Silencers for home defense?

posted Jun 15, 2013, 4:44 PM by Dick Clark   [ updated Jun 15, 2013, 4:45 PM ]

At The Truth About Guns, blogger Nick Leghorn takes a crack at convincing readers that silencers are a good idea for home defense. He points out that discharging a firearm indoors can be disorienting due to the loud muzzle blast. He suggests mitigating this with a silencer. He points out that when you are facing an aggressor in low-light conditions, you can't afford to lose your hearing.

What Nick does not mention is that loud noises aren't the only thing that can be disorienting when shooting indoors. The muzzle flash from a firearm is detrimental to your ability to see in near dark, causing your pupils to contract and depleting your retina's rod cells of the rhodopsin that allows the human eye to see in low light. Silencers not only diminish the intensity of the sound generated by a muzzle blast, they also significantly reduce the visible muzzle flash. Rather than being in a visual time-out for half an hour while your eyes recover, use of a silencer allows a defender to maintain greater situational awareness after shooting to protect himself and his family members. 



Indiana silencer hunting bill signed into law

posted May 16, 2013, 10:03 PM by Dick Clark

Starting this summer, hunters in the Hoosier state will be able to hunt with silencers. On May 11, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed HB 1563 into law. The bill changes a number of provisions in law relating to activities governed by the state's Department of Natural Resources, including hunting, fishing, boating, and target shooting. Among the changes is a repeal of the prohibition on the use of silencers while hunting. The bill also includes enhanced criminal penalties for poachers who use or possess silencers while taking game unlawfully.

With this bill now law, Indiana becomes the second state this year to end its prohibition on hunting with silencers. In February, Wyoming passed a bill with similar provisions. Silencers will be authorized for use by hunters in both states starting this July. Like Wyoming, this victory for hunters in Indiana comes on the heels of lobbying efforts by the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action and the American Silencer Association.

Montana Gov. vetoes hunting safety bill

posted May 8, 2013, 3:52 PM by Dick Clark

On Monday, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana vetoed a bill that would eliminate criminal penalties for hunters seeking to protect their hearing through the use of firearm silencers. The American Silencer Association reports: "HB 205 was vetoed by Governor Bullock late Monday afternoon. Despite this setback, the ASA will revisit the issue in Montana during the next legislative session. We would like to thank everyone for their time and support throughout our efforts. Without your help, we would not have come this far."

In his veto message, Governor Bullock stated that "I do not see the need for suppressed weapons for hunting.... Hunting with suppressed weapons adds nothing positive to the hunt." If he is interested in learning about what a silencer adds to a hunt, perhaps the governor could speak with audiologists who have worked with patients suffering hearing loss from exposure to unsuppressed gunshots without hearing protection.

Trade association says gun trusts here to stay

posted Mar 7, 2013, 3:24 PM by Dick Clark

Over at The Truth About Guns, Nick Leghorn is reporting on a recent interview he conducted with someone from the National Firearms Act Trade & Collectors Association. The NFATCA is confident that, despite the recent article in the New York Times characterizing guns trusts as exploiting a loophole, gun trusts are not going anywhere. One reason for this belief is that the treatment of trusts under the NFA is laid out in the same statutory language and regulations as that of corporations, including private security contractors, movie studios, and other entities whose use of these firearms is unlikely to be further restricted. 

ATF has published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would change how "responsible persons" are treated and would eliminate the law enforcement sign-off requirement for individual taxpayers seeking to transfer or make an NFA firearm. However, Josh Prince, an attorney who prepares gun trusts in Pennsylvania, has noted that similar proposals in past years have not come to fruition.

[TTAG: "NFA trusts are here to stay"]

NYT reporter discovers gun trusts, cries "loophole"

posted Feb 25, 2013, 9:16 PM by Dick Clark   [ updated Feb 25, 2013, 9:22 PM ]

In an article in today's New York Times, Erica Goode characterizes gun trusts as exploiting a loophole in the federal firearms law. Goode's article does, however, reference Florida attorney David Goldman, who is cited extensively in the article, and to good effect. Goldman notes the importance of gun trusts as an estate planning tool for assets that are extensively regulated and for which trustees need substantial guidance:

David Goldman, an estate lawyer in Jacksonville who pioneered the use of gun trusts six years ago, said most dealers carried out background checks for restricted firearms. He called the notion that criminals might use the trusts to buy the firearms through a dealer "ridiculous." 

"Illegal versions of these items are not only cheaper," he said, “but you can obtain them six months faster and you don’t have to form a trust, which could be $500 or $1,000 depending on the level, and you don’t have to tell the A.T.F. about it." 

Mr. Goldman, who has prepared several thousand gun trusts and teaches courses on their use, said the trusts have many benefits, like ensuring that firearms were passed on responsibly when an owner dies, keeping them from falling into the wrong hands in a difficult divorce or helping to negotiate moves to other states that might have different gun laws.

"There was never a proper way of dealing with firearms with estate planning and whether beneficiaries were appropriate to receive them," Mr. Goldman said.

Gun trusts are not tools for law-breakers, who could illegally acquire NFA firearms far more quickly than the NFA registration process allows. Gun trusts are flexible estate-planning tools that can help ensure that you, your family, and your firearms-related assets are protected. 

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