Join Date: Feb 2005
Originally Posted by melloyello
It's not my first dealing with an NFA item, but my first was 20+ years ago.
It didn't take much time at all back then, less than a month.
So how long does it take to process a request? 10-20 minutes?
If the investigators can do 3 an hour (worst case) that's $600 an hour.
The income alone can easily justify new hires/transfers.
From elsewhere but he does a really good job explaining the process.
Okay, here's the process, yes there are some gaps, sorry: |
Your tax-paid form goes to the bank in Atlanta where the payment is stripped out and processed. Once it's stripped out, all documents get stamped with the first letter of the transfer's or maker's name, the day of the year, and the number of that letter for that day. The first form for the letter A on February 1 is A03201. If it's an individual transferee or maker, a P is stamped in front of the A, and the two types of forms are segregated.
The forms get sent to Martinsburg where they go through data entry. There are six data entry techs, so this takes about a month. They input the info on the transfer form into the NFRTR, not the examiner. Once they are in the system, the forms get assigned to the examiner by letter. Yes, they do still do that. It's a little fluid due to workload issues. Note that being assigned a letter means that all agency transfers/registrations by states with that letter are also that examiner's responsibility.
Once it gets assigned to an examiner, things get a little hazy. Fingerprints are scanned and sent off to the FBI for processing. This takes time because FBI is backlogged, and if the prints are rejected, processing all other individual applications at that examiner gets stalled while that is resolved.
What the examiner actually does when they process an application: they examine who the parties to the transaction are, and whether they are allowed to take part in whatever they're trying to do. For individuals that means checking the print results. For legal entities that means going down a state-specific checklist to make sure everything DOJ's lawyers say should be there are actually there. If not, it gets sent over to legal for review by one of their lawyers. Once that's done, they check the history of the weapon (if there is one) to ensure it's allowed to be possessed by whomever is trying to possess it. Dealer samples, Form 10 guns, etc. They also look at the reason for possession. Current orders are that "cute" ones are to get sent to legal - another delay point.
Once that's done, they check to make sure the payment was good. If it was not, then all applications for that day/letter combo are held until it's resolved.
Once everything is settled, they stamp their name (and their supervisor's name) on the form and send it to the mail room. They update the NFRTR to reflect the new registrant. Done.
It should be noted that examiners spend a lot of time resolving errors. Bounced checks are extremely common, as are improperly made out ones (yes, it really does matter who you make the check out to, at least at some level). People sending in one-sided forms happens all the time. Unreadable fingerprints and invalid trusts are also big issues. It takes time to fix that, and time spent fixing people's mistakes is time not spent processing transfers.
It takes a fair amount of time - the branch record for transfers processed in a month by one examiner is a little over 4k, and that's with working weekends. It's not rubber-stamp work; they're expected to be able to resolve issues without having to go to a supervisor every five minutes. Which could easily happen with all the frankly bizarre stuff that comes across their desks on a daily basis.
As an interesting aside, the transfer tax money goes into the general fund, but is earmarked for HUD. That's right, we're paying for the projects.
On another reason why processing times are long and will be longer:
There are currently eleven examiners and two supervisors, handling approximately 85k applications per year. However, there are in reality nine examiners now, as one is out on maternity leave and another is on long term disability. By the end of the year, two will have been promoted to supervisory positions, one will have been promoted to a specialist position, and one will be retired. So figure on six examiners and two supervisors. There are currently no plans for a hiring cycle.
I will add that the examiner who was out on maternity leave has returned.
That info was from 2010 but most of it is still valid, with the caveat that just like the huge surge in gun sales, there has been a huge surge in NFA transfers too.
It's not always the size of the dog in the fight. Often it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Last edited by TACAV; 03-25-2012 at 11:38 AM.