NFATCA Issues Statement Regarding CLEO and ATF

It seems that there has been a lot written about the NFATCA recently because of the recent proposed changes to the way NFATCA wants to deal with Trusts and define responsible parties. While it is clear that the NFATCA did not request the changes that have been proposed, it might be fair to say their efforts opened the can of worms and perhaps given the current political client, it might not have been the best time to try to eliminate CLEO. Imagine the shock to President Obama and the Administration to find out that Machine guns were legal. For years Obama has been stating that everyone knows that Machine Guns are illegal.

The proposed changes are not in anyones best interest. I do expect to see changes to what we have seen and the NFATCA will be active in helping to justify the absurdity of the current proposal. In addition, we will be working on proposed actions and responses to the ATF once the comment period opens.

Follow this link for the NFATCA_Statement_083113.pdf or you may read the statement below.

The NFATCA® began its efforts to eliminate the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) signature requirement on several NFA forms almost nine years ago. At that time, ATF was reluctant to engage in a dialogue to address this issue and others that were considered to be important to the NFA and firearms communities. Although we had engaged in a productive and collaborative work environment before, ATF’s reluctance forced us to retain counsel to file a formal petition to attempt to achieve meaningful discourse.

Once the petition was formally delivered, ATF began working with us on advancing the CLEO signature removal issue. We went through several issues requiring clarification and patiently observed the effort moving back and forth from ATF to DOJ over a period of years. In early 2012, ATF clearly demonstrated their intention to remove the CLEO signature requirement in RIN 1140-AA43, though they still had not consulted with us regarding the trust/corporate items. We awaited the formal rule-making process to begin. On August 28, 2013, the RIN was changed without notice. In addition, a lengthy draft of a proposed Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was released.

While the NFATCA® has acknowledged in our petition that there is concern regarding prohibited persons receiving firearms without background checks via trusts and corporations, the draft NPRM does not reflect any discussions or negotiations we have had with the Federal Government regarding same. We did not support or advocate for the efforts of the Executive Branch that were recently published as the proposed NPRM. The proposed NPRM is being used as a political expedient to address areas of negligible concern. The Executive Branch proposals unduly burden the law abiding public, will restrain lawful commerce and bury an already overwhelmed agency with an administrative infrastructure that will not serve the public safety interest.

The NFATCA® supports the elimination of the CLEO signature requirement. The NFATCA® is willing to engage with DOJ/ATF and the Executive Branch to investigate reasonable, effective and manageable approaches to preventing prohibited persons from acquiring firearms. We cannot and will not support the NPRM in its current form. We will vigorously challenge this NPRM when and if it is published during the mandatory public comment period required by the Federal Rule Making Process. The NFATCA urges all of its members and the entire firearms community to do the same.

While no one knows if or when any changes will be made, now is the time to act before changes are made if you are thinking of purchasing a Title II firearm. If a CLEO is implemented for Trusts or business entities in the future, you may not have the opportunity to purchase NFA firearms if your CLEO will not sign a Form 4. For the time being NO CLEO is required on a Gun Trust. You should be prepared to have a NICS check as with any firearm regardless of what ATF is reporting.

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