The Current Situation
Clients have noticed the availability of suppressors is limited, but short supply was expected as ATF 41F implementation approached. I expect in stock suppressors to further dwindle in the remaining two months before ATF 41F takes affect.
Limited supply is a temporary issue caused by customers beating the ‘ATF 41F deadline’. This is further exacerbated by the bottleneck of the Form 3 process which delays resupplying for dealers. Distributors are handling record numbers of suppressors, but they still remain unable to timely fulfill all orders.
Manufacturers are scrambling to produce as many suppressors (and other NFA firearms) before ATF 41F implementation, but long term concerns limit their ability to increase production for the temporary surge in demand.
The industry expects a noticeable decrease in demand after ATF 41F implementation. A reprieve will be welcomed after the first half of the year, and manufacturers are planning to use this time to develop new products for market release at the 2017 SHOT Show.
What does this mean for the consumer?
If you are looking for a suppressor, call around to see who has it in stock, and do not wait to act. Some clients are already purchasing in-bound suppressors and waiting for the firearm to be delivered to the shop. If a shop is expecting a suppressor to be delivered, ask when the Form 3 was submitted. If it’s been more than 45 to 60 days they should receive the suppressor before the July 12th deadline. (There is no guarantee: this article is written on May 18, 2016.)
If you are willing to deal with the fingerprint and photograph requirement, you can expect a surge in available products in August. By September most shops will have a full selection of suppressors in anticipation of hunting season, and you should have little difficulties finding whatever you like. If buying during this time expect minor hiccups as the industry learns the new process.
Come January 2017, new products will be on the market, and the industry will have a better grasp of the new procedures. While there will still be details to establish, the buying process will be smoother than before.
Gun Trusts will continue to be valid after ATF 41F implementation, and you will still enjoy the same benefits of privacy, ease of passing down your firearms, and the ability to have multiple people possess firearms owned by the trust. While fingerprints and photographs, as part of the Form 23, will be required of all trustees, this is a one time (per transfer) event and not a maintenance routine.
The next year will be interesting times for the NFA community. And that is regardless of who wins elections in November!