ATF recently relaunched its online system allowing the public to submit ATF Form 5320.1, also known as “Form 1 - Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” Previously, the online system, often referred to as eFile, provided extremely fast approvals. The new ‘eForm’ system already appears to be slashing the wait time for tax stamps compared to ordinary paper applications.
A Form 1 is submitted by an applicant wishing to make a firearm regulated under the National Firearms Act (“NFA”). NFA firearms include machine guns, silencers, short barrel shotguns, and short barrel rifles (“SBR”). The most popular NFA firearm applicants wish to make by submitting a Form 1 is an SBR. A Form 1 may not be submitted to build full auto firearms.
Under the NFA, a trust may be the registered owner or manufacturer of NFA firearms, but not for manufacturing for commercial purposes, which would require Federal Firearms License (“FFL”). A trust offers numerous benefits. Most notably, it could authorize possession of an NFA firearm by multiple people, and it could create an estate plan for the distribution of firearms outside of the probate court system.
Arsenal Attorneys™ have served thousands of clients nationwide using our proprietary Arsenal Gun Trust™ design, and we have taught this area of law for the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association among others.
To submit an eForm Form 1 in the name of a trust, follow these steps:
1. Create an eForms account by registering at https://eforms.atf.gov/EForms
2. Select the option to submit a Form 1, formally identified as ATF Form 5320.1.
3. Complete all required fields—remember the applicant’s name would be the name of the trust. All specifications for the firearm to be made must be specific. ATF no longer accetps responses like ‘multi’ to describe caliber, barrel length, etc.
4. Complete a ‘Responsible Person Questionnaire’ (Form 5320.23, known as ‘Form 23’ or the 'NFARPQ') for each ‘responsible person’, who would be required to provide fingerprints and a photograph (the Arsenal Gun Trust design helps clients submit NFA applications involving only a single ‘responsible person’). You must provide a photo for each responsible person identified in a Form 23. After submitting your application, ATF will provide directions for the fingerprinting (see #9 below).
5. Upload supporting documents, particularly the trust document (typically the ‘trust agreement’ and any amendments).
6. Identify your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (‘CLEO’), who is typically your Sheriff.
7. Use the link to Pay.gov to make the $200 tax payment.
8. Submit the completed Form 1.
9. Check your email for a confirmation of your application from ATF, which should include two attachments. The first is a cover letter to use when mailing your completed FD-258 fingerprint cards to ATF. The second is the copy of your application you must mail to your CLEO. It is your responsibility to provide the CLEO this notification of your application. It is best to mail or ship that document to the CLEO with some sort of delivery/receipt confirmation.
Here is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions about completed a Form for a Trust--REMEMBER, always confirm you are using the most up-to-date version of any ATF Form because they do change.
Box 2: Remember, the applicant's name is the name of your trust. The address should be the location where this firearm will be located. It should be an address in the same state as your state of residence. If your trust documents include an address that is no longer correct, Arsenal Attorneys can prepare an amendment to make that correction or completely revise your trust by means of a 'restatement' to match the Arsenal Gun Trust design.
Box 3a: Insert your own name and home address as the responsible person of this trust. If there is additional responsible person in your trust, he/she would be identified on a Form 23. The new Arsenal Gun Trust design includes forms customized for you to remove such people so they are excluded from this process and the fingerprinting and photographs. Later, you may appoint a responsible person to your trust, and such a person would not need to provide fingerprints or photographs if he/she were not appointed to your trust in the capacity of a responsible person while an NFA application is in process with ATF.
Box 4b: If you are making an NFA firearm using a firearm previously made by another manufacturer, such as a stripped lower receiver to be built as a new SBR, you must provide the name and location of the original manufacturer identical to how that information appears on the existing firearm/receiver. For an imported item, be careful not to confuse the engraved name of the importer, if any, with the name of the manufacturer. If you are not using an existing firearm to make your new NFA firearm, you must identify your trust as the manufacturer. This would be the case for an 80% lower or a new silencer you wish to make.
Box 4c: You must provide the model identical to how it appears on the existing firearm you are using. Like 4b, if you are not using an existing firearm, you should provide a new model name of your own creation.
Box 4d: As mentioned above, you may not claim 'multi' as the caliber. Specifiy the single caliber which will initially be used for the new firearm to be built.
Box 4e: Always double check you have reported the exact serial number appearing on the existing firearm to be used in making the new NFA firearm. If none, then you may create one of your choosing.
Box 5: Identify the CLEO for the jurisdiction matching the address you provided in Box 3a.
It is hoped that if this new eForms system proceeds smoothly, it will lead to the launch of an eForm 4, to submit ATF Form 5320.4 for the transfer of NFA firearms, such as required in a retail purchase of an NFA firearm like a suppressor.
In the words of one of Arsenal Attorneys’ favorite FFLs, these online systems could bring ATF from 1940s level of technology used for the traditional paper applications and fingerprints toward the 21st century.
Arsenal Attorneys serve clients in the area of firearms law. The firm serves clients across America from its headquarters in the metro-Washington, DC area. The firm is particularly renowned for its Arsenal Gun Trust, a solution helping clients in the registering, handling, and estate planning of firearms, particularly those regulated under the National Firearms Act. Arsenal Attorneys' team includes lawyers licensed to practice law in nearly every state where NFA firearms are lawful to possess.
Most NFA firearms, like silencers, are legal in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
This information is provided for informational purposes only, and it is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship.
Every day Arsenal Attorneys receives inquiries from across America about trusts and NFA firearms (silencers/suppressors, short barrel rifles, short barrel machine guns, AOWs, full auto, etc.). Here are the five most common topics we address for new and existing clients:
1. ATF Form 5320.20: Remember to submit this form to ATF if you have permanently relocated your NFA firearms. It is also required for interstate travel with NFA firearms, excluding silencers.
2. New Address: If you have a new address, identify this location as your trust's new 'place of administration' in a written statement providing notice to the beneficiary. As a courtesty, our firm drafts these statements for a very small fee.
3. New Design: If your Arsenal Gun Trust was drafted before 2016, or if your trust is not an Arsenal Gun Trust, we can completely revise it by means of a 'restatement.' Our new design provides guidance and customized tools to minimize the impact of Obama era regulations. It particularly helps you remove people before they must provide fingerprints and photos for NFA applications. See #4.
4. Add/Remove People: Contact us if you wish to change the people in a trust, particularly to exclude them from the fingerprint and photo requirements for new NFA applications. Remember, a person needs to provide fingerprints and photos only if they qualify as a 'responsible person' during the processing of an NFA application. We can help you appoint people to your trust after an NFA application is completed and when the fingerprinting and photograph requirements would no longer apply to those persons.
5. You Need a Trust: Ask us for an Arsenal Gun Trust if you want to register NFA firearms, to allow others to possess those arms, and to create an estate plan to avoid the need for new NFA registrations or a public probate court process.
For help with these and similar topics about the National Firearms Act, ATF regulations, and trusts, contact Arsenal Attorneys using our online form at this link.