ATLANTA, GA – As the government shutdown extends into its third week, suppressor buyers and dealers across the country have one resounding question: will the shutdown have an impact on suppressor transfers? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. After speaking with sources in the administration, ASA can confirm that the NFA Division is not processing tax-paid transfers during the shutdown.
Unlike the actual approval/denial of NFA applications, tax payments for NFA transfers are processed directly by Bank of America. Because Bank of America employees do not work for the government, the $200 tax payments are still being processed as usual. After the checks are cashed, the forms are still being mailed to the NFA Division in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Under normal circumstances, this part of the process accounts for the first one to two weeks of the average NFA transfer. As a result of the shutdown, forms are stacking up as they are received by the NFA Division.
Realistically, consumers can expect to see a short term increase in transfer times while the backlog builds. However, NFA examiners and contractors are known to work extensive overtime, including holidays and weekends. We anticipate that they will look to make up for lost wages and time by working hard once government operations resume. An additional counterweight to the mounting backlog is the fact that ATF has previously assigned non-NFA staff to temporarily assist NFA in reducing past backlogs. ASA will encourage ATF to do the same this time.
Once the shutdown ends, ASA will communicate with NFA Division staff to bring you updates. In the meantime, we encourage consumers and dealers to continue submitting transfer forms for suppressor purchases. After all, government shutdown or not, NFA forms will be processed in the order in which they are received.