Federal regulators on Monday announced a change to how they intend to process determinations on new firearm accessories.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives this week cautioned they will no longer issue a determination on the legality of a proposed accessory sent in the agency’s Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch unless the submission is attached to a firearm.
“Effective immediately, any requests for a determination on how an accessory affects the classification of a firearm under the GCA or NFA must include a firearm with the accessory already installed,” noted ATF. “Except in cases of conditional import determinations, FTISB will not issue a determination on an accessory unless it is attached to the submitted firearm.”
The firearms regulatory branch of the Department of Justice advised that those who had already submitted samples without a firearm could expect it to be returned without a determination.
According to ATF, FTSIB on average responds to about 750 industry requests each year “regarding importation evaluations and domestic manufacturing examinations, and provides licensed manufacturers and importers with marking variances.”
Guns.com reached out to a number of attorneys involved in firearms law and, in general, the consensus on the change in procedure is that it is not being done to make it harder to get future items cleared, but rather to avoid the sometimes curious task of having examiners create a testbed for a submission, which can lead to unintended consequences.
“I don’t think it’s a way to cut off future rulings. I think maybe it’s so that they have the device installed on the firearm as the inventor designed it to be,” said Adam Kraut, a Pennsylvania attorney.