By Jeff Folloder
“Every cloud has a silver lining.” How many times has each of us heard that old saw? How many of us put stock in its accuracy? Probably far fewer today than 50 years ago! This column is being written as one presidential administration is exiting the White House, and another is preparing to move in. To be sure, many in the firearms community are a bit pensive. I objectively wrote last issue (SAR Vol. 25, No. 1) about many potential scenarios that could be served up. Frankly, I was surprised to recently learn that a Biden Administration may contain a silver lining for our community.
As many are aware, the NFATCA has been instrumental in delivering plain-English documentation of many of the processes and procedures relevant to the world of the National Firearms Act (NFA). We worked with the ATF to make publications such as The National Firearms Act Handbook a reality. We worked very hard to get that into your hands and worked just as hard to get some updates delivered to keep the publication current. We also tried to build upon that success by endeavoring to create a similar handbook with a working title of The Firearms Technology Branch Handbook. Many hours and countless revisions went toward a several 100-page tome. Unfortunately, ATF’s priorities shifted a bit and then the Trump Administration put a muzzle on the dissemination of industry guidance. The Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) does not even exist by that name anymore (it’s now FATD)! The goal was to create a handbook that would detail the way and manner of how submissions to the ATF are “graded.” The need for that is still present, and the need for a sharp update to The NFA Handbook is grossly needed.
Suddenly, there was a phone call that materialized from, seemingly, out of the blue. A key executive at the ATF was describing the need to reengage and update The NFA Handbook as well as resurrect the effort to create The FATD Handbook and create substantive enhancements to the eForms system. The ATF executive also suggested reengaging the firearms community with onsite visits and demonstrations. It was the second work day of the New Year, and ATF was proposing getting things done in a cooperative manner with your NFATCA. A very good start, indeed!
Time will certainly tell if this really is a silver lining to what portends to be a tumultuous season of battling ideologies. 2020 was difficult, and 2021 will likely be challenging. We are adopting the same posture as many of you: Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We’ve been here before and made progress. We hope to do the same, again.
The NFATCA board and leadership have worked through a variety of political administrations with a variety of intentions and objectives. We have always remained true to our goal of making more NFA opportunities available to more people, more often. We work with legislators and regulators to expand NFA opportunities for everyone, regardless of the politics in charge. We thank you for your continued support. Thank you and don’t forget to sign up or renew your membership today at nfatca.org/join.htm.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V25N4 (April 2021)|