ATF wants to streamline SBR/SBS application

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is hoping to streamline Form 5320.1.  This is the application to make or register a firearm, most commonly used to register a short barreled rifle or short barreled shotgun.  They’ve opened a public comment period on their proposed changes.  Comments will be accepted until Sept. 20.

What are the proposed changes?  They’re simple, really.  They want to accept electronic payments to pay the transfer tax by credit or debit card.  They also want to reduce redundancy by combing information currently captured on another form.  And they want to change the size of the form itself to 8.5 x 14.

How will these changes affect applicants?

A Colt SBR

A Colt SBR with a Troy Upper in 5.56

The proposed revisions to the application process seem logical enough.  Any reduction in redundancy will help streamline the process of data entry (on the applicant’s end) and data entry (at the BATFE).  Even though it is a minimal change, this should help speed up the application process.  That seems great.

Having electronic payment options are good for those of us who don’t like using checks.  It will also allow for electronic monitoring of the payment process on the applicant’s end, which may keep applicants more informed about the status of their application.  Maybe.

Standardizing the form size may seem trivial, but there is a benefit to a standard size, shape and look for common forms.  Anything that can make the application process less confusing is a must.

What other changes should the BATFE make?

Let’s stay within the realm of reality.  They’re not going to overturn the NFA or do away with applications.

They could work out a system that would allow for a streamlined application process for those interested in multiple NFA items.  Once an applicant is cleared for one SBR, he or she should be cleared for two.  Or a short barreled shotgun, or a silencer.  The biggest burden now for applicants is the hassle involved in jumping through all of the hoops for subsequent applications.

At the BATFE, I’m sure there is a desire for an electronic submission of applications.  Data entry from paper forms is ridiculously time consuming.  This is where things are backing up.  If applicants could apply electronically, the process would speed up dramatically.

How do you comment?

The BATFE asks that your comments address one or more of the following four points:

—Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

—Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

—Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

—Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Why would you want an SBR or an SBS?

Our reasons vary.  I didn’t think I wanted one until I’d shot one.  The SBR (fourth from the left) in the photo below is a select-fire Colt Lower with a Troy upper.  As it is now, the whole package is very close to the size of the IWI Tavor in the picture below.  When the stock is extended, they are the same size.  Yet the barrel on the Tavor is carbine length.

sbr 1

But we’re working on a way to put a folding stock on this gun, which will make it very compact.  And that has its benefits.

So now’s your chance.  Let the BAFTE hear your opinions.  They’re asking for them.  Contact Gary Schaible, National Firearms Act Branch at Gary.Schaible@atf.gov and put in your two cents.

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