How To Do The Paperwork Shuffle;

ATF’s Pistol Brace Rule (ATF 2021R-08F) has been out for a month now, and this has given me time to read the rule, digest the contents, ask questions, and determine a best path forward. Based on my best understanding, I offer the following to my clients. 

Paper Beats Electronic

The ATF makes clear it desires pistol brace registration submissions via electronic Form 1s. However, the agency will accept paper submissions of Form 1s. (See ATF 2021R-08F, 88 FR 6478, 6558 Footnote 154. Also seeupdated Form 1, Revised December 2022.) 

From prior experience with the ATF E-Forms, I realize the system is inflexible. For perfect submissions and recognized firearm models, the system can return fast results. However, unrecognized firearm models can cause long delays, and any errors on applications will result in denials without opportunity to correct.  

Paper submissions on the other hand can be completed for all models of firearms regardless of whether or not the ATF recognizes the manufacturer or model. More importantly, if an error is found on a paper application, the ATF will return a notice to the applicant allowing 30 days to fix the error. Thus paper applications are currently more dependable and forgiving than electronic applications. 

In this instance, we have until May 31st to register pistol braced firearms. If an application is received after May 31st, it will not be accepted. The tax free registration opportunity will be lost. To the best of my knowledge, there will be no second chance for applications rejected after May 31st. Given the large volume of firearms to register, I do not expect many registrations or rejections to occur before May 31st. This means an e-Form submission is the equivalent of a single chance.

I cannot advise my clients to use a system that provides no opportunity for correction of minor mistakes when the ability to comply with the law is at stake. Thus, I advise the use of paper Form 1 submissions.

The Application

To effect a paper application to register a firearm, I suggest the following documents:

To the ATF:

  • Form 1 (Duplicate) w/ 2 fingerprint cards and 1 passport style photograph if for an individual

To Chief Law Enforcement Officer:

  • Form 1 (Copy)

If the submission is in a trust, additionally include:

To the ATF:

  • Form 23s (1 for each Responsible Person) w/ 2 fingerprint cards and 1 passport style photograph
  • Trust with Assignment Sheet showing the firearm assigned to the trust 

To Chief Law Enforcement Officer:

  • Form 23s (one Copy for each Responsible Person) 

Additionally, if we are making this on your behalf  we will include in the packet to the ATF:

A Consent to Disclosure of Returns and Return Information

These documents will be mailed certified, return receipt requested with a cover letter explaining that the contents are pistol brace registrations under the amnesty period. 

Documenting Submission of the Application

The ATF suggests keeping the confirmation of application in the eForm system as evidence of compliance. No such form is generated for a paper submission. In lieu of that, you will have to keep a copy of the file and proof of mailing to show that you have submitted an application as required. 

For applications we submit, we will provide: 

  • A copy of the filed forms
  • A copy of the certified mail receipt and signed return
  • An affidavit that the firearm registration was included in the mailing for the certified receipt. 

Damn that’s complicated. Will you do it for me?

You certainly may submit these documents yourself, but I know a number of clients will want our help. We are happy to help and take the mystery out of this. Just reach out to me or directly to my paralegal Kathy, and we will start collecting information and preparing forms. 

An individual Form 1 or a trust Form 1 with the first Form 23 is $150. Each additional Form 23 per transfer is $25. 

You will need to provide for each registration: 

  • 2 fingerprint cards per responsible person
  • 1 passport style photograph per responsible person (no more than 1 year old)
  • Photographs of the markings of the firearm
  • A completed information sheet
  • A copy of the executed trust and completed trust assignment sheet if in a trust.

We will then prepare the documents for your signature and submission. If you are outside the Greenville area, please allow ample time for mailing. 

Moving Forward

We anticipate quite the paperwork drill during the next few months. I strongly encourage clients to not wait on this. If you would like our assistance, we request having everything in our office by April 30th, 2023. (Applications in May will be considered, but we cannot promise they will be processed in time.) 

To get started, email Kathy and request an information sheet. Get that back as soon as you can, and then begin work collecting your fingerprints and photographs. If you need helping finding where you can get those taken, don’t hesitate to ask on that either. We might know a guy . . . 

Good luck. And don’t be late.