ATF reminds CLEOs about rule change

Presently, the signature of a chief law enforcement officer will not be needed to transfer heavily regulated items like machine guns, silencers and short-barreled long guns.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent an open letter to CLEOs last week updating them about the new rule, which goes into effect next month, regarding National Firearm Act items.

Starting July 13, patrons will only need to notify a chief officer — usually his or her local sheriff — about the item rather than obtaining a signature, a step viewed by gun rights advocates as burdensome because the CLEO could arbitrarily decline to sign off.

The new rule also amends the definition of “responsible person” associated with an unlicensed trust or legal entity to mean an individual, company or organization named directly in the document to manage the items, the letter says. Responsible persons are required to complete ATF’s “NFA Responsible Person Questionnaire” and forward a copy to a CLEO.

There’s one caveat to the new rule though. The ATF says applications to make or transfer NFA firearms postmarked before the effective date will be processed under the current rules, so pending applications will still need to obtain a CLEO signature.

ATF issued the rule change in January alongside President Obama’s round of executive actions aimed at modernizing the background check system. The updated rule is the final version of ATF 41P, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking originally published in 2013.

Pro-gun groups supported the removal of the outdated measure.

“While their inclusion in the process made sense in 1934, before background checks, or even computers existed, the removal of this antiquated measure from the NFA process is a major victory for the suppressor and NFA communities,” said Knox Williams, president of American Suppressor Association, in a statement to in January.

Latest Reviews

  • Springfield SAINT: Your High-Value AR-15

    The Springfield Armory SAINT offers a high-value, no-frills-required AR-15 platform. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth adding to your collection. After several trips to the range, we can confirm this is a great gun.

    Read More
  • The Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion is an Amazing Pistol

    The Sig Sauer p320 X5 Legion has been on the market for a little while now. So I wanted to bring you a review after shooting more than 30,000 rounds through mine over a year of competing in 3-gun and USPSA.

    Read More
  • 17 Reasons to Love the Glock 17

    Glock 17s are trusted by law enforcement and militaries around the world. But they are also great guns for civilians. Here are our top 17 reasons to get a Glock 17.

    Read More
  • Sig P320 vs. Sig P365 for Concealed Carry

    Sig’s P365 and P320 offer two great options for concealed carry. Their compact sizes and high magazine capacities make them excellent choices for everyday carry. They're also easy to customize.

    Read More