As the government shutdown extends into its third week, suppressor buyers and dealers across the country have wondered: will the shutdown have an impact on suppressor transfers? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
After speaking with sources in the administration, the American Suppressor Association (ASA), an industry trade group, has confirmed that the NFA Division is not processing tax-paid transfers during the shutdown.
Unlike the actual approval/denial of NFA applications, tax payments for NFA transfers are processed directly by Bank of America. Because Bank of America employees do not work for the government, the $200 tax payments are still being processed as usual, an ASA release said.
After the checks are cashed, the forms are still being mailed to the NFA Division in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Under normal circumstances, this part of the process accounts for the first one to two weeks of the average NFA transfer. As a result of the shutdown, forms are stacking up as they are received by the NFA Division.
Realistically, consumers can expect to see a short-term increase in transfer times while the backlog builds. However, NFA examiners and contractors are known to work extensive overtime, including holidays and weekends.
ASA reported, “We anticipate that they will look to make up for lost wages and time by working hard once government operations resume. An additional counterweight to the mounting backlog is the fact that ATF has previously assigned non-NFA staff to temporarily assist NFA in reducing past backlogs. ASA will encourage ATF to do the same this time.”
“In the meantime, we encourage consumers and dealers to continue submitting transfer forms for suppressor purchases,” ASA reported. “After all, government shutdown or not, NFA forms will be processed in the order in which they are received.” — Todd Woodard, Editor, Gun Tests.
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