The ASA Weighs in on ATF Ruling 41P Removing CLEO Signoff for NFA Items

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ATF 41P eliminates all of the CLEO certification requirement for NFA applications. (Photo: Slowik)

The American Suppressor Association, ASA, has weighed in on the final ruling for Docket No. ATF 41P, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking amending the process for acquiring and transferring National Firearms Act-regulated firearms, issued late Monday night.

It will take some time for legal experts to come to a consensus on all of the ramifications of the ruling, but one element stands out clearly: the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) signatory requirement has been removed for all NFA transfers. Instead, transfers will require only CLEO notification.

“Since the announcement of ATF 41P, the American Suppressor Association has spearheaded efforts alongside partner organizations on the State and Federal levels to block the expansion of CLEO certification requirements,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the ASA. “For the first time in 82 years, local law enforcement will no longer have de facto veto power over any NFA applications,” explains Williams. “While their inclusion in the process made sense in 1934, before background checks, or even computers existed, the removal of this antiquated measure from the NFA process is a major victory for the suppressor and NFA communities.”

By eliminating the CLEO sign-off requirement, the ruling eliminates back-door bans on NFA transfers by CLEOs who blanketly refuse to sign applications. It’s a surprise, but welcome, change. Other changes have only raised new questions.

The ATF ruling also creates new requirements for “responsible persons” or the people who are allowed to take possession of NFA-regulated firearms owned by a trust. Each person will be required to provide photos and fingerprint cards with each NFA application. These credentials will remain on-file for two years for future applications, assuming the trust has not had any other corporate or personnel changes.

The Prince Law Offices have pledged to fight the ATF on any final ruling and are still looking to challenge at least some of these terms.

“Throughout the final rule, ATF seemingly proposes several different interpretations of what constitutes a responsible person based on the entity type,” said Joshua Prince for the Prince Law blog. “This results in serious questions, such as whether the language is overly vague. Are now all employees who can possess a firearm of a corporation responsible persons? And also, whether ATF is treating different fictitious entities differently in violation of the law. Are trustees who can possess firearms of the trust responsible persons, but employees who possess firearms of corporations not? Moreover, what is the basis for treating non-licensees and licensees differently?”

“In the next week, we will be taking a comprehensive review of all 248 pages and providing further insight into the final rule, ATF’s responses and a potential legal challenge to the final rule,” said Prince.

The ASA is still committed to making suppressor ownership easier, and their primary goal is still to get suppressors removed from the NFA entirely through the Hearing Protection Act, or HPA.

“The HPA will remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns,” states the ASA. “In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories.”

This is one announcement that will unfold over time, and we’ll continue to follow the story as things progress.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • wRecKaGe May 31, 2016, 5:48 am

    The 2nd Amendment is the only specifically codified part of the Constitution that provides a legal basis for the citizenry of this nation to protect their rights as provided by the rest of the Constitution. Without the 1st, we’d have not gained the 2nd, but without the 2nd, the 1st would have been the first to go. It, being the 1st Amendment, is already under attack. As is the right of free assembly. These facts should scare the hell out the liberal/progressive movement. A nation without the freedom to speak truth to power is a slave state. The 2nd Amendment ensures that the State keeps faith with the people is supposed to represent and protect. Why is that so hard to understand?
    I hear the argument made that the American populace couldn’t really resist the government even it turned into the 4th Reich. I beg to differ.
    A bunch of former (and some present) goat herders have done a pretty damn good job at convincing both of the world’s largest Superpowers to leave them alone, armed primarily (at least in the beginning of their resistance to the Soviets) with mostly WW1 weapons and a very limited number of more sophisticated arms, mostly captured from the last idiots that tried to take their country away from them.
    Does anyone seriously believe that we American citizens wouldn’t do exactly the same thing. If men in United States Military uniforms begin rounding up guns, and troublemakers (read anyone who disagrees with them) then those are no longer United States Military men and women. The real Armed Service members take their oaths deadly seriously.
    But Kent State!! I can hear the cries already. Different time. Different ideologies at work. Today I do not know personally of a single member of any branch of the U.S. services that would fight other Americans, regardless of orders, and would instead take their toys and join the citizens they swore to defend in protecting the United States of America as it is represented through our beautiful Constitution.
    #OathKeepers #NRA #WakeUpAmerica

  • munchie February 5, 2016, 12:41 pm

    ATF is one of the several orgs that need to be disbanded. All govt agencies that think up new laws without the vote of the people or congress should immediately have all their funding cut off

  • Blankovich January 8, 2016, 3:19 pm

    Well I hope that making sound, logical arguments would get us closer and closer to having the freedoms “in fact”, that we already have simply by being human beings. As someone already said, good government has nothing to fear from “the people.” Unfortunately, the U.S. Federal government and many State governments do not trust their citizens; it is that simple. I am not completely happy we don’t have Constitutional carry here in Texas, but at least our governor, Greg Abbott, has said that citizens carrying either concealed or openly are welcome in his office. Hopefully, after some time passes, and ONCE AGAIN, all the silly predictions of blood running in the streets are, AGAIN, proven false, that Texans can get rid of all licensing for human beings who happen to be inside its borders and replace the all the gun statutes with a simple addition to the Texas Constitution that states that, unless you are a violent felon, you have the right to carry whatever weapon you want where ever you want to carry it without a permission slip of any kind, even a drivers license. I expect that anyone who visits from other States or countries would also have their natural right of self defense un-interfered with.

  • Anthony Freed January 8, 2016, 11:23 am

    An honest statesman does not fear an armed populace folks.

    “War is when the government tells the people who it’s enemies are. Revolution is when the people figure it out for themselves.”

    • EV GREER January 8, 2016, 5:22 pm


    • Dave Hicks January 9, 2016, 9:57 am

      “We The People” need to enforce the BILL OF RIGHTS

  • Fred from Philly January 8, 2016, 8:20 am

    The Prince law firm are the people that handled my trust after Philadelphia refused to sign off on my paperwork, they are very helpful in the handling of the NFA process. I’m just not really sure why the CLEO needs to be informed I own a 10″ ar15 rifle when he doesn’t need to be informed when I purchase a 10″ ar pistol.

    • DaveGinOly January 10, 2016, 10:36 pm

      The AR 15 SBR is more dangerouser than the AR pistol. (And they don’t trust you with things that are more dangerouser.)

  • Joe McHugh January 8, 2016, 7:41 am

    If one lacks a sound suppressor on the shooting range in some European countries, one is frowned on. The Europeans have this curious idea that by reducing the report of the muzzle blast, hearing damage is minimized. They also seem to think that the people living in nearby neighborhoods, appreciate less noise from the shooting range.

    Perhaps the Europeans didn’t watch enough 1940’s Hollywood movies showing the bad guys using silencers to assassinate their victims. Gun laws only impact on competent, law-abiding citizens, not criminals. Call me crazy but I don’t think that a criminal worries all that much about gun laws when they rob banks or blast other drug gang members. I’m almost sure that such miscreants even lack pistol permits. But hey, such laws make the liberals feel safer, and the politicians also feel better when gun ownership is reduced. You know, they can abuse our inherent rights with more confidence. Fear the government that fears your guns.

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