The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) plan to remove the cumbersome required signature of the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) from NFA firearms transfer requests.
WTF, that’s a lot of acronyms. What’s it all mean? It’s pretty simple: this is going to make it easier to acquire weird guns.
Right now, Uncle Sam has a regulation system for all of your basic firearms like hunting rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Things get a little bit tricky when you’re talking about NFA firearms or Any Other Weapons (AOW… yes, that’s the official term). NFA firearms include machine guns or some short-barreled shotguns, while AOWs include cane guns, umbrella guns, or cigarette lighter guns.
If you want to own any NFA firearms, you’re required to register them with the federal government. Transferring these devices requires the owner to submit forms to the NFA asking for permission. The big wrench in the plans is that the CLEO needs to sign off on both of these forms before your request can be approved.
Worst of all, CLEOs are under no obligation whatsoever to sign the documents, and they are fully in their right to just outright refuse. So, if your winning charm and a “pretty please with a cherry on top” isn’t enough to sway your local CLEO then you’re SOL.
But not for long! Once this pesky barrier gets removed, you’ll automatically be one step closer to owning that machine gun you’ve been dreaming about for all these years. It also opens up an interesting loophole with AOWs. States generally prohibit AOWs, but in states like California it’s actually legal to posses AOWs if you acquire them through an NFA transfer.