ATF eForms Update
Over the past year, individuals submitting Title II weapon applications have been navigating an unreliable electronic application system. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) eForm system experienced down time in late 2013 during the government shutdown. Then in early 2013 the eForm system experienced problems and was taken offline. The ATF is planning to launch a new digital system that will help improve processing efficiency.
The main problem appears to be volume. According to the ATF, the number of online users was only 673 in 2013. This year is not even over and more than 10,000 users are active in the system. Efforts were made during the summer of 2014 to ensure the back log of pending electronic files did not mount. The number of examiners has almost doubled and is expected to nearly triple by year’s end. As a result of these efforts, ATF wait times were reduced by one month. The current wait time is approximately 9 months, but the ATF’s goal is to drop the average wait to 6 months.
The ATF eForm submissions are not currently available for every form. As of this writing, Forms 1, 2, and 6 are available electronically. For the time being, you can access a copy of the ATF Form 4 here, which must still be submitted as a hard file. The current number of pending files is approximately 50,000, which is down from a surge of over 86,000 applications.
The best way to ensure your ATF application moves through the process as quickly as possible is to complete paperwork properly. A simple review with an NFA gun trust attorney may catch a mistake that could add months on to one’s wait time, or even require the applicant to start the entire application from the beginning.