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Fact Sheet - National Firearms Act (NFA)

May, 2018
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Fast Facts

  1. The ATF National Firearms Act Division maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the central registry of all restricted weapons.

  2. ATF's NFA Division maintains original registration documents dating back to the enactment of the National Firearms Act in 1934.

  3. The NFA Division registry records a firearm’s identification, date of registration, and the name and address of the person or entity entitled to legally possess the firearm.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Firearms Act (NFA) Division is responsible for the effective administration of the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53. The implementing regulations are found primarily in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 479, with numerous cross-references to 27 CFR Part 478.

In accordance with laws and regulations, the NFA Division maintains the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR), which is the central registry of all restricted weapons, as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 5845. These weapons include items such as machineguns and short-barreled shotguns. In the registry, the NFA Division records a firearm’s identification, date of registration and the name and address of the person or entity entitled to legally possess the firearm. Registrations are indexed by name of the registrant and serial number of registered NFA firearms.  image_of_gun_bullets_and_gavel

The NFA Division maintains original registration documents dating back to the enactment of the National Firearms Act in 1934. These documents have been imaged and stored, and copies are available upon written request. All requests are subject to the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 6103.

In addition, the NFA Division:

  • Researches and provides information to ATF employees in support of ATF’s federal firearms licensee (FFL) and federal explosives licensee/permittee (FEL/FEP) compliance programs. Provides record searches and certifications for use in federal court regarding the registration status of a person or firearm. Employees testify in court concerning NFA registration requirements and procedures.
  • Receives and acts upon all applications to make, export, transfer and register NFA firearms, as well as all notices of NFA firearms manufactured or imported.
  • Adjusts the NFRTR to reflect:
    1. Address changes of registrants
    2. Lost or stolen firearms
    3. Certain modifications to the description of firearms
    4. Destruction of firearms
    5. Transfer of firearms
    6. Export of firearms
  • Maintains a record of all FFLs who have paid the special (occupational) tax (SOT) to engage in importing, manufacturing or dealing in NFA firearms.
  • Maintains a record of persons who have been exempted from SOT payment, which includes manufacturers exempted from the requirements of 27 CFR part 479.
  • Receives and acts upon all requests for interstate transport of any destructive device, machinegun, short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun.
  • Prepares statistical reports and provides technical guidance and support to ATF offices.

 

Chart of Increased National Firearms Act Workload Applications Received versus Processed in Fiscal Years 2012– 2017Image of chart NFA_Applications_Received_vs_Processed

Chart of Increased National Firearms Act Workload Applications Received versus Processed in Fiscal Years 2012– 2017

 

special_occupational_tax_payers_2017

Chart of the National Firearms Act Branch (NFA) Special Occupational Tax Payers (SOT) for Membership Tax Years 2009 – 2017

 

 

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