National Firearms Act Division

ATF’s National Firearms Act (NFA) Division is the only federal authority permitted to regulate firearms covered by the National Firearms Act. The NFA Division processes all applications to make, export, transport and register NFA firearms and destructive devices. The division also responds to requests from individuals to temporarily or permanently move destructive devices between states. Within the division, there are two branches that support the work and mission of the NFA; the Government Support Branch (GSB) and the Industry Processing Branch (IPB). Although each branch has individual primary mandates, they both work to support the overall mission of the NFA Division.

Processing times for NFA applications 

Government Support Branch

an assault rifleThe Government Support Branch processes all NFA applications from local, state, and federal law enforcement and government organizations. They share information about ATF’s federal firearms licensee (FFL) and federal explosives licensee/permittee (FEL/FEP) compliance programs. The GSB staff often work with special agents and investigators on criminal cases and testify as expert witnesses in court. The GSB also maintains the records of Special Occupation Tax (SOT) payers. All importers, manufacturers and dealers of NFA weapons must pay the SOT (also known as the stamp tax) unless they fall under specific exceptions.

Industry Processing Branch

The Industry Processing Branch processes all non-government applications to make, export, transfer and register NFA firearms. The IPB also maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR), the central registry for all items regulated under the NFA. More than 3 million items are currently registered in the NFRTR, which dates back to the enactment of the NFA in 1934. 

Chart of National Firearm Act applications received in the National Firearms Transfer Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) and processed by the NFA Division in fiscal years 2017 – 2019.

NFA Applications FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019
Received 259,147 339,278 370,347
Processed 386,210 322,692 342,860

Contact Information

To ask a question about the NFA or check the status of an NFA application, please call the NFA Division at 304-616-4500 or email NFA@atf.gov.

Additional Resources

Last Reviewed July 2, 2020