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NFATCA Report: V21N8

By John K. Brown, III

Ken Houchens

Many readers of this publication may well remember the days of 2004 and beyond, when Ken Houchens served as the NFA Branch Chief for ATF in Martinsburg, West Virginia, Ken came to this position in hopes that he might be able to help get the workforce of the old NFA Branch in Washington, D.C., on the right track. The mission was further complicated by the need to build a new branch in Martinsburg with a lot of new personnel.

During that same time period, the NFATCA was holding regular meetings with the NFA Branch in an effort to help them strengthen the game plan and to support them with whatever help the industry could provide. Ken opened the door to regular meetings with the NFATCA and we worked tirelessly to help them improve forms processing times. Ken Houchens targeted success, and at the height of that success the NFA Branch was processing Form 3s and 5s within the same week and the average turnaround time for a Form 4 was 22 days. Ken and his team became overnight heroes, thanks to their Herculean efforts.

At one point during this Golden Era, the NFATCA canvased the industry for support and held a formal recognition ceremony in Martinsburg with the NFA Branch management team and the Specialists that represented such a monumental accomplishment. The Assistant Director of ATF, Mr. Lou Raden, hosted this ceremony. The ceremony was celebrated in the ATF newsletter as a first in the history of ATF/Industry relations. From both the industry side of the table and ATF, we all celebrated working together to move forms processing in the right direction. On one memorable occasion, Ken made the trip through Louisville to Knob Creek, in order to address the growing NFA community. Having made this same trip to Knob Creek on numerous occasions, Ken was always given a standing ovation for his team’s performance. The Creek denizens made sure that Ken knew his efforts were appreciated. After leaving the Creek that year, many will remember a pair of shoes that were immortalized on the...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N8 (October 2017)
and was posted online on August 18, 2017

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