The ASA needs your help.On August 29, 2013, the Obama Administration issued an executive action that seeks to amend the transfer of NFA firearms. Known as ATF 41P, it was published in the Federal Register on September 9. The public comment period, which lasts 90 days, will come to a conclusion on Monday, December 9.

To help, please voice your opinion by submitting a comment to the Federal Register. Directions, and two of our draft comments for individuals, can be viewed here:


Included in ATF 41P is an amendment to require a Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) signoff for all NFA transfers, including those conducted by a trust or legal entity. When the National Firearms Act of 1934 was signed into law, computerized background checks did not exist. At that time, the CLEO signoff was the only means by which individuals applying for a transfer of an NFA item could be vetted.

Since 1934, technology has come full circle. The subjective approval from local Law Enforcement is no longer a necessary method to prevent criminals from obtaining NFA items. According to the proposed amendments, “ATF conducts its own background checks of individuals applying to make and receive NFA firearms. In addition to transmitting fingerprints to the FBI for a criminal history check, ATF routinely queries the following databases and indexes:

• National Crime Information Center
• TECS (formerly named the Treasury Enforcement Communication System)
• National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System
• Interstate Identification Index
• National Instant Criminal Background Check System”

The purpose of using these databases and indexes is to offer objective criteria on which to base the approval or refusal of an application for an NFA firearm. In stark contrast, the purpose of extending the CLEO signoff requirement to all applicants is a calculated effort by the administration to institute a subjective and often politically motivated method to hinder the ownership of NFA items throughout the country.

ATF 41P also expands the definition of a responsible person (RP), and requires that all RP’s submit fingerprints, passport photos, and to a background check for all transfers. While the ASA does support background checks, it unequivocally opposes CLEO signoff requirements for any NFA transfer. Additionally, without offering any monetary compensation to local Law Enforcement Agencies for their time, this onerous proposal will unnecessarily burden these agencies with yet another layer of bureaucratic paperwork.