ATF introduces new application for ‘marking’ firearms

Marking variances

Marking variances include model, caliber or gauge, company and company location. (Photo credit: Unblinking Eye)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revealed a new form on April 30 that aids licensed manufacturers and importers that apply for marking variances.

“The new ATF Form 3311.4 satisfies the requirements of a marking variance letter application,” the ATF said an update. “When properly completed, this form reduces processing time as it specifically requests information required to process a marking variance, thus eliminating delays caused when a request omits needed information.”

The phrase “marking variances” pertains to certain identifying marks a manufacturer or importer must include on a firearm in order to comply with ATF regulations. What marks are required and how they’re applied are subject to very specific regulations such as size, shape, depth of engraving, location on the gun, etc.

Gun companies, particularly smaller ones, typically contract a third party to physically engrave the markings on products. In these instances, the actual creator is omitted from engraving the required markings, according to the ATF’s website. Engravings include model, caliber or gauge, company and company locations.

Before the ATF made Form 3311.4 available, the process was more or less a cluster. Companies that wanted to submit an application had to include all the information in a formal letter. Needless to say, the new form will eliminate most or all confusion.

The form is available online at the ATF’s website and is fillable. The ATF Form 3311.4 can be submitted electronically, and accepts an electronic signature where available.

Submissions should be made approximately 90 days prior to the intended manufacture.