By John Brown

Most of you know that the NFATCA has been working diligently to develop the NFA Handbook. This effort, spearheaded by two former ATF resources, has been underway since late 2005. What we fondly describe as the Machine Gun Dealers Bible on steroids is well on its way to being completed. At this stage we have reviewed, and are in final process of, six of what is expected to be nearly two dozen chapters on a wealth of information concerning the NFA world.

We have had many requests from the NFA community asking to look at the information that we are developing to be published this year. As many of you can appreciate, our process of getting to a “version one” of this handbook won’t allow for us to disperse the information in detail and allow the feedback that I know we will receive once the first version is completed.

Nevertheless, we do want to “wet your whistle” on what is forthcoming at a high enough level of detail and yet not spoil its unveiling later this year. So many of you have asked we felt it was time to let you in on some of the details.

The handbook is primarily for the use of persons in the business of importing, manufacturing, dealing, and collecting in firearms defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA), or intending to go into an NFA firearms business. It should also be helpful to persons having questions about the application of the NFA.

This publication is not, nor is it ever intended to be, a law book. It is intended to be a “user friendly” reference book enabling the NFA community to quickly find answers to questions concerning the NFA.

We have defined and drafted Chapter One, which details the history of the NFA and how all of the current rules and regulations took effect that all of us follow today. Many of us know and understand the history contained in this chapter, but it is intended to communicate to the reader the specific laws and their history that define the NFA.

Chapter Two is an in-depth attempt to define what firearms, under the law, are governed by the NFA. This chapter is dedicated exclusively to clearing up many of the issues of “what constitutes an NFA device or firearm.” The information contained in this chapter will provide a greater understanding of the rules and regulations that govern classification.

Chapter Three is an in-depth look at the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR). Many of us have had a variety of questions concerning the NFRTR, how it works, how NFA information is kept and what it takes to register new NFA items in the registry. The chapter explores all aspects of the NFRTR and will serve as the first shot at answering some of the questions the NFA community has concerning the NFRTR.

Chapter Four deals with the NFA tax issues. This chapter is dedicated to the explanation and detail of how NFA taxes work for the community and how different NFA weapons are taxed in our community. The first level of details on tax issues with NFA weapons are defined in this chapter.

Chapter Five deals specifically with licensing issues as they relate to the NFA community for dealers, collectors, manufacturers and those wishing to do business in the NFA environment. It will provide a wealth of information to those interested in entering into this business.

Our final chapter that has been completed is Chapter Six. This chapter details much needed information on making NFA firearms by non licensees. Details of Form 1 preparation and the rules governing the manufacture are detailed in this chapter.

That being the last of what we have completed thus far, the NFA Handbook moves forward with new chapters and new information being developed every day. As we finalize the plans of working with ATF on this document we will, in later articles, divulge the process on how we disseminate the entire handbook to the NFA community.

At nearly fifty pages of information so far, we are well on our way to providing the NFA community with one of the finest resources ever available to explore issues, answer questions, and to begin the definition of the framework on how the NFA community lives. The NFATCA will be proud to release this document in 2006.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V9N8 (May 2006)
and was posted online on February 22, 2013


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