By John Brown

I keep getting emails and phone calls with more and more NFA owners wanting to get on the wagon with the rest of us on our road to success. It is a great feeling to spend 15 minutes on the phone with someone and then have them sign up as members and work with us. We have picked up a community of NFA owners where everyone is making a contribution in their own way. We are enrolling attorneys, accountants, software engineers, and a host of other professionals that want to join the work the association is doing. We had a slow start but the ball is rolling in a big way. I get the usual questions about why the NFA Handbook took so long but those questions are far outweighed by those of you that want to do whatever it takes to make a difference and to work with the NFATCA to make a contribution. We have gathered some of the smartest people in the industry that have volunteered their time and energy in helping us in virtually every facet of our work.

This summer we start the NFA forums so that every member of the association can get hands on education with the letter of the law that is now embraced by ATF in the NFA Handbook. For the first time in the history of the NFA community, ATF agents, compliance officers, dealers, and collectors nationwide will have the same set of rules that we all abide by. At any show that the NFATCA attends this year we will have a truckload of handbooks available to anyone that wants a copy. ATF is loading the NFA Handbook on their website so a quick reference can be made by anyone interested. This major undertaking took nearly two years from start to finish but we made it work. Finally, a comprehensive set of regulations, definitions and interpretations. I have always believed that half the reason why we have all cowered at the mention of ATF is because there was not only the fear of the unknown but the fear of interpretation and subjective enforcement. This first phase of our work will eliminate much of the guesswork and the interpretation or misinterpretation of regulations. We know that this first iteration of the handbook isn’t perfect but it should be darned close. The NFA Handbook has been assembled by top ATF and industry experts. The final version has been reviewed and scrutinized by top counsel at both ATF and the NFATCA counsel.

Plans are to have two routine updates each year to keep the handbook alive and well. We are anxious to start getting phone callthat will literally polish our efforts and become the newest additions to the handbook. Phone calls from NFA owners that provides new questions, new issues and new information will be more than welcome. Now that we have launched this effort, the minds and ideas of a nation of NFA owners will soon increase the volumes of information already presented in the handbook. At 200 pages we have only just begun.

The next two ventures that we are immediately undertaking will include a couple of major efforts. The first will encompassthe research and development of a Firearms Technology Branch process and procedures handbook. Similar to the process of developing the NFA handbook, the NFATCA is selecting a group of industry professionals joined by members of the Firearms Technology Branch to undertake this massive effort. The objective is simple: develop an FTB procedures manual that will enhance and simplify the efforts of every individual in the firearms community. The major efforts underway today are selecting the right individuals from our community that have the time and the energy to pull this effort together. There are more than a dozen volunteers from the NFA community that want a piece of the action. The selection process must be calculated and well balanced to make an offering to this project that will enhance its pace and not impede its effort. This undertaking will not only help FTB but will provide a lot of much needed clarity to the manufacturing side of the NFA community. Just like the NFA handbook, we plan on designing the handbook, drafting one chapter at a time and getting thorough review and approval as we complete each section. Stay tuned for further updates as we organize and work this strategically critical effort for our community.

In parallel with the FTB effort we are working to build a long awaited Counsel Support Program for our membership. This program will work to develop a list of recommended attorneys within each state that can be called on to handle many of the issues that the NFATCA is constantly asked to support. Each week we are asked by individuals for help on many types of NFA situations. In many of the cases the individual simply wants help in answering a simple question or researching specific information. Unfortunately in some cases there is a problem that requires some serious help. We review every request and where the situation involves issues that can and might affect the entire NFA community we take it on and work the issue with our own counsel and the necessary resources. Many of the situations we approach with major horsepower and knowledge from within the industry. At the writing of this article there are at least three major situations where the NFATCA is working closely with ATF to resolve or better interpret a situation that will affect members of our community. This is where the rubber meets the road with our combined efforts. We are able to work many of the issues without a major blow-up or a decision that may not set well with the NFA community. In the history of the NFA this has never been done. ATF working together with members of the NFA community to reach a mutually agreeable solution to problems that could affect all ofus. I will continue to provide updates on these situations when we are free to release the information.

Where the call from the NFA community involves a personal issue or problem it is sometimes extremely difficult to find the right counsel fast enough. This where the Counsel Support Program will kick into action. With this resource NFA dealers and collectors can quickly find the right resource for the right kind of problem they encounter. We expect to launch this program in the late summer of 2007.

It will be a busy year for us and we look forward to continuing to support the entire community. Come join us and make a difference with your knowledge, expertise and much needed experience. Contact us at www.nfatca.org for more information.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V10N10 (July 2007)
and was posted online on November 30, 2012


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