Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This Is My Rifle Part 3

Got anything to go out today?
Yesterday was a big step toward Project SBR. My completed ATF paperwork is now on the way to Uncle Sam for approval. Fingers crossed, I think I got all the I's dotted and all the T's crossed.

For those of you who don't know, here is a quick rundown of what you need to get ATF approval for an SBR (short barrel rifle). Other NFA items such as suppressors and automatic weapons require a very similar process: (more after the jump)

1: Know your local laws. If you live in a "red" state, then you're either screwed or are gonna have to relocate.

2: Get a high quality lower receiver that you will plan on registering with the NFA as an SBR rifle. If at all possible, assemble it using a quality lower parts kit and fire it on another upper receiver to ensure proper function. Not testing your lower prior to getting it engraved and registered is just plain out stupid. It's even fine to register a lower you currently own, just make sure it functions and don't plan on selling it after this process is done (the serial number is legally registered with the NFA to you).

Not my lower, but an example of lower receiver engraving
3: Get your lower receiver engraved (AT LEAST 0.003" deep) with your name and city of residence, or if you are using a firearms trust, the name of the trust instead of your name.  A couple of online companies which specialize in SBR engraving are Orion Arms and Ident Marking Services. Don't try to do this yourself, unless you have a laser engraving machine in your garage. There is some debate on the interwebs about whether or not you absolutely have to engrave your lower. There are plenty of keyboard commandos who makes claims that they didnt engrave their lower and they have had no problems. I CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH: Do the right thing and engrave your lower. Don't take any chances. Violation of NFA laws results in prison time. Don't take any chances, regardless of what you read on forums.

Christ Costa has function tested a lot of rifles. Just sayin' ....
4: After engraving, reconstruct your lower receiver and test function again by shooting it on another upper receiver group.

Form 1: You need 2 complete copies, front/back, both signed by your CLEO
You need 2 fingerprint cards, complete, and filled out by your local CLEO office
You need one completed ATF certificate of compliance: basically states you promise you are a
legal US citizen
5: Fill out and complete NFA paperwork. This includes 2 copies of Form 1, which can be downloaded as a fillable .PDF so that messy handwriting is not an issue. It needs to be carefully and completely filled out, including all the details about the rifle you are building. Use the company name and serial number on your lower receiver and be sure you give an approximate rifle length for whatever length SBR you plan on building. Also, make sure you list the exact name and city you had engraved on your lower. Next is 2 fingerprint cards.  Whichever fingerprint service you use to get these completed should have these on hand (I used my local sheriff office when I dropped off my Form 1 to be signed). Most local law enforcement offices will offer free fingerprinting, and ATF paperwork should be included in that. If you aren't sure, CALL YOUR LOCAL CLEO OFFICE AHEAD OF TIME and ask if 1)the person is willing to sign ATF paperwork and 2)if they offer fingerprinting services. 

Caveat: You have two options for the Form 1 application. Apply as an INDIVIDUAL, which requires a Chief Law Enforcement Officer (the Sheriff in your county of residence or the chief of police) to sign off on the paperwork. Usually local gun shops or other shooters know if the local CLEO is ATF friendly or not. Find out ahead of time before you start this process. If you happen to live in an area with a non-friendly CLEO, then your other option is to form a firearms TRUST. Forming a trust does not require CLEO signature, but involves legal paperwork, and depending on how legal-savvy you are, may require hiring a lawyer familiar with such things. Once you form a trust, then you can use the same trust for future NFA items (suppressors, etc.) But don't jump into this lightly if you are unfamiliar with what a trust is. The easiest route out of these two is an ATF-friendly CLEO in your county.

6.  Add personal check or money order for $200, the standard fee for many types of ATF tax stamps. Don't use cash. Use one of the above. A personal check is easier to track because you can see on your bank account when it is cashed. That will give you an idea of the progress of your application.

Seriously? How much longer?
7. Wait. NFA approval takes months. Mail your paperwork and forget about it for a while. The US is divided up into Districts and there is only 1 reviewer per district. This info is available HERE. If you are interested in the progress of your paperwork, calling the office of the examiner in your district is the best way to do that.

8. Receive approved tax stamp. Purchase SBR upper receiver. Shoot. Enjoy. Rinse. Repeat.

A big thanks goes out to scottryan for a lot of the information contained herein. More information about this process is available HERE.

Be safe and see you next time.

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