On April 3rd, ATF announced a major reorganization of the NFA Division. This could be significant news because outside observers have been looking for some indication of what would happen to the NFA Division after it completes its current backlog of applications for NFA firearms.
The backlog is a result of the rush of applicants who submitted NFA registrations before the executive action known as '41F' took effect on July 13, 2016--and thereby avoid fingerprinting and photographs. Industry observers were concerned ATF would reduce personnel of the NFA Division once the 41F backlog declines. Thus, the current low volume of post-41F applications could experience the same slow processing times becuase NFA Division would have fewer staff.
Instead of a reduction, ATF announced the creation of two branches within the NFA Division. The Industry Processing Branch (NFA IPBD) will process applications from the private sector. The Government Support Branch (NFA GSB) will handle SOT applications, government applications, law enforcement, etc. Additionally a new NFA Division Staff Program Office will handle inquiries, data collection, and FOIA requests.
ATF's objectives? Better oversight, reduced processing times, and efficiency. Time will tell.
Currently, the firearms industry, particularly the silencer segment, is experiencing a steep decline in demand. Bargains are becoming more frequent. Once the public observes quicker NFA approvals from ATF, demand for silencers, etc., will increase, and the bargains will disappear. Consequently, this could be the right time to buy NFA firearms to take advantage of lower prices and faster approvals.