Lankford, Colleagues Stand Up for Law-abiding Gun Owners Against ATF’s Unreasonable Application Wait Times
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and eight Republican Senators today sent a letter to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Steven Dettelbach to share their concerns that ATF has accumulated a significant backlog of Form 4 and Form 1 applications. ATF requires these forms in order to transfer a National Firearms Act (NFA) item, which includes sound suppressors, from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) to a law-abiding citizen. The current wait time for processing paper applications is one year, and processing for an electronic form takes more than three months, which the Senators say is unacceptable. The Senators also raise concerns that ATF’s proposed stabilizing brace rule will make this backlog even more significant and cause even longer delays.
Joining Lankford in sending the letter were Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The Senators write, “Law-abiding citizens should not have to wait a year to receive approval to own a firearm to which they are lawfully entitled… It is estimated that at least 1.4 million Americans own at least 3 million stabilizing braces. We are deeply concerned that ATF is not equipped to manage the anticipated Form 1 applications that may result from this rule.”
Lankford continues to stand up for Oklahomans’ Second Amendment rights. Lankford voted against gun-control advocate Dettelbach to lead ATF after the White House pulled its previous nominee, David Chipman, whom Lankford also opposed. Lankford has called on ATF to provide answers on their recent actions that prevent law-abiding citizens from creating and owning sound suppressors.
Lankford joined a letter to ATF expressing concern over their use of secret internal guidance to push new regulations. This secret guidance has been used to justify the seizure of lawfully owned property, which is unacceptable and not in accordance with the Constitution. Lankford introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval to prohibit ATF from implementing a new rule to expand firearm definitions.
In April, Lankford introduced the Pistol Brace Protection Act, which would gut an upcoming final rule by the ATF by exempting pistol braces from regulation under the NFA. The bill eliminates subjective standards that exist in federal law that have allowed ATF to reclassify firearms under the NFA, and guarantees that law-abiding gun owners will not have to register, destroy, or surrender their pistol brace.
You can read the full text of the letter HERE and below:
Dear Director Dettelbach,
We write to draw your attention to an issue that requires immediate action.
We are concerned that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) has accumulated a significant backlog of Form 4 applications. This form must be approved by ATF before a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) can transfer a National Firearms Act (NFA) item to a law-abiding citizen. It is our understanding that the current wait time for approval of a paper Form 4 is one year and 100 days for an e-form. This is an unacceptable amount of time. Law-abiding citizens should not have to wait a year to receive approval to own a firearm to which they are lawfully entitled.
We also understand that in anticipation of ATF’s final rule regarding stabilizing braces, law-abiding citizens who currently own a stabilizing brace will need to register it as an NFA item using a Form 1. The current wait time for approval of a paper Form 1 is three months and 60 days for an e-form. It is estimated that at least 1.4 million Americans own at least 3 million stabilizing braces. We are deeply concerned that ATF is not equipped to manage the anticipated Form 1 applications that may result from this rule.
After the final rule is issued, individuals who wish to purchase a firearm with a stabilizing brace from an FFL must use a Form 4. Given the popularity of stabilizing braces, we are concerned that this final rule will result in an even larger backlog and even longer wait times.
We have long been concerned that this rule places burdensome and unnecessary requirements on law-abiding gun owners. It is unacceptable that individuals who wish to comply with ATF’s new requirements will have to wait several months, if not longer, for approval.
We therefore request answers to the following questions:
- How many Form 4 and Form 1 applications, on average, does ATF receive every week?
- How many Form 4 applications are currently waiting to be processed? How many Form 1 applications are currently waiting to be processed?
- How many ATF employees are assigned to work on processing these applications, and how many applications can each employee process in a typical work week?
- How does ATF plan to manage the increase in applications due to the upcoming final rule regarding stabilizing braces?
- To the degree the pending rule is intended to promote public safety, how can ATF effectively enforce its requirements when so many people who wish to comply with its terms may be subjected to lengthy periods of legal limbo, as they remain both in possession of potential contraband and forced to wait long periods for approval?
- What is the written decision criteria for acceptance or denial of Form 1 and Form 4 applications?
We request answers to these questions as soon as possible and in any event no later than August 19, 2022.