A senior official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released a white paper proposing to lift restrictions on firearms sales and imports. Associate Deputy Director (Chief Operating Officer) Ronald Turk penned the 11-page document “Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations.” Turk’s paper “provides potential ways to reduce or modify regulations, or suggest changes that promote commerce and defend the SecondAmendment.” Among several matters, a few notable items:

  • Federal regulation changes for silencers. Turk addresses the changing perceptions and state-level regulations pertaining to silencers. His paper documents the administrative burden and lengthy processing times (currently 8 months) for silencer applications. Considering this matters, the white paper proposes to evaluate the removal of silencers from National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations, which would alleviate processing times for NFA applications.
  • Gun show sales. Under current law, ambiguous provisions prevent clear understanding of whether Federal Firearms License (FFL) applicants that apply only to carry out business at gun shows should be regulated the same as FFLs operating exclusively online without physical locations. The paper proposes that the ATF should consider releasing new guidance. The process would either involve a “simple” policy change or formal publication of a rule change. The former would provide immediate clarity, the latter involves a significantly longer wait. Another option the white paper proposes is a combination: Instant policy change now, with a rule change for “long-term clarification.”
  • Lift import restrictions. Existing import restrictions prohibit re-entry of firearms with United States military origin without review of import authorities. Certain US-origin vintage military items may be denied entry, while equivalent firearms manufactured outside the US may be approved. The proposal recommends lifting import restrictions to allow re-entry of surplus firearms from foreign countries.

These are just a few topics of the sixteen Turk’s paper outlines. The ATF declined invitations from media outlets to comment on the white paper, and stated the paper remains the ideas of the author and not the ATF.

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