Monday, 16 December 2013 13:43

'Army Chief' of m4carbine.net, RIP

Arsenal Attorneys had the honor of serving a fine gentleman, citizen, soldier, and family man.

This client, known as 'Army Chief' on m4carbine.net, first contacted us over a year ago. I can still remember our first phone call. He was engaging, knowledgeable, concerned, and, most of all, warm-spirited. We had a great conversation. I would later learn he already knew his doctors' prognosis about his health was very pessimistic. Chief was expected to live only a few months longer. He wanted our help to ensure his family would be safe inheriting his firearms collection. 

In the last week we've heard clients in two different states say their gun dealers believed NFA regulations had changed on December 9, 2013. That's not true.

We're experiencing the best time in years to obtain NFA firearms. The new ATF eFile system processes NFA tax stamps in a fraction of the normal time, but this system is only availalbe for applications made by legal entities, such as trusts.

BATFE launched the ATF eFile system in August 2013. Since then, we've observed a consistent 90 day turnaround time for tax stamps issued to legal entities (trusts, corporations, etc.). This system is available only for applications by legal entities because these applications do not include fingerprints, photographs, and a police chief's signature. Fingerprints specifically are not valid if they are submitted electronically. 

So if you're using an Arsenal Gun Trust, you may take advantage of ATF eFile. Based on our observations during recent months, you can expect your tax stamp in as little as 1/4 of the usual wait time.

A tax stamp is needed for each NFA firearm you wish to acquire--whether you are buying or building one. NFA firearms, specifically those firearms regulated by Title 2 of the National Firearms Act, include: silencers, short barrel rifles, short barrel shotguns, machine guns, and more.

You may transfer an NFA firearm through a Class 3 gun dealer, otherwise known as an FFL/SOT. It is important to confirm your gun dealer is prepared to use the ATF eFile system.

 

A bill has been introduced to require police chiefs to sign NFA paperwork in Virginia, and Arsenal Attorneys have been asked to testify in support of it at a hearing at the Virginia House of Delegates this afternoon.

According to our industry partners, the American Silencer Association (AFA), BATFE will need about a year to review all the submissions made during the public comment period for ATF 41p—the Obama Administration’s proposal to create more red tape for paperwork for NFA firearms. We learned this yesterday during our attendance at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas during which discussions took place between BATFE and ASA.

Many states have their own requirement for the registration of machine guns. Typically, once a machine gun has been acquired after BATFE has issued a tax stamp in the transfer and registration process, a machine gun owner must then register a machine gun with the state police immediately after taking possession of the firearm. Maryland requires a machine gun owner to re-file and pay a fee for machine gun registrations annually. Virginia has a single registration to be submitted to the State Police within 24 hours after taking possession of a machine gun. It is crucial for machine gun owners to confirm whether they must obey such requiremens following the issuance of a tax stamp by BATFE.

Arsenal Attorneys will be returning to the Virginia House of Delegates to support various pieces of proposed legislation concerning firearms. We will also address an overlooked area requiring clarification and reform: registration of machine guns by a trust. In a recent advisory opinion (#13-083), former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speculated the Virginia Uniform Machine Gun Act allowed registration of machine guns by a "firm, partnership, association or corporation," but his statement argued this broad definition did not include trusts. 

For years, the Virginia State Police has approved the registration of machine guns by trusts. BATFE, like gun owners, relied on that policy to complete the transfer of machine guns using trusts in Virginia. 

An advisory opinion by a Virginia Attorney General has been called by one academic as "an extra-judicial form of advice-giving"* for officials leading state agencies. An advisory opinion might be viewed as constructive or persuasive, but it does not necessarily have the force of law. 

Arsenal Attorneys will be clarifying the status of completed, pending, and future machine gun registrations as well as determining a course of action in advising clients and in promoting any necessary reform.

 

* Long, Kevin L. "Distinctive Competence: The Role of Virginia Attorney General Opinions in State and Local Governance." October 2004: Center for Public Administration and Policy, Blacksburg, VA.

 

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