Closing the ‘Loophole?’

Today’s announcements by the Obama administration signal a potential change in the regulations governing the purchase of NFA firearms by NFA Trusts and companies. The language of the to-be-proposed rule has not been released, but it is rumored to affect the background check requirements for individual trustees or officers.

The ATF has announced several times in the past few years that a potential rule change would be considered but had failed to take action. Prior to earlier this month the Senate had not approved a permanent ATF leader in seven years. With the help of our Senator Lindsey Graham, B. Todd Jones was sworn into office as the permanent chief of the ATF. With a new leader securely in place the ATF has decided to take action. (If you don’t like this, please contact Senator Graham and let him know!)

Now, what the media has announced as a “rule change” is actually just the beginning of a long process. (For a better understanding of the process itself I direct you to an article on Joshua Prince’s blog by a former Administrative Process professor.

This afternoon I spoke with Brenda Friend, the attorney at the ATF responsible for answering questions on this initiative. According to Ms. Friend, the proposed rule should be published soon for a 90 day comment period and will appear on the ATF website before an official publication by the Government Printing Office. Once the 90 day comment period is up the ATF will have to consider ALL comments and respond. A flood of comments could drastically slow this down.  Ms. Friend specifically confirmed that the rule would not be retroactive and those transactions already approved will stand. 

In short, the rule will not change for some time, and we all will have a chance to comment. This includes letting your representatives know your thoughts and asking them to contact the ATF on your behalf. (Let’s not forget who apportions funds for the ATF!)

I will be monitoring the situation and posting updates as the ATF releases the proposed rule. I will also provide links to where you can comment. For now all we can do is wait and contact our representatives. The current regulations still stand, and if you have been waiting to purchase NFA firearms now is the time. Past transfers should not be affected by this rule change and those with firearms owned by a trust will be grandfathered in. If you wish to proceed, please contact me to move forward as soon as possible.

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