When the updated ATF eForms platform relaunched in January 2022, expectations among FFLs and gun owners were high. However, what was supposed to ‘reduce the effort and time required to review and process application’ has yet to perform as advertised. Instead, patience among gun owners wears thinner as eForm 4 wait times continue to rise.
Unlike paper Form 4 applications, which can take 10-14 months to process, ATF initially set a lofty goal of approval within 90 days for the new eForm 4. The agency even seemed to keep up for the first few months before posting an average processing time of 100 days on its website in July, signaling a slowdown. Now, three months later, and 10 months after the eForm 4 first went online, many are still waiting for approval.
Using available data from submitted approval times and those posted to r/NFA subreddit megathreads, we can get a better understanding of just how long gun owners are waiting on eForm 4 approvals.
According to Silencer Shop customers, the median wait time for individual and trust eForm 4 approval is 7 months, or 210 days. Data from National Gun Trusts isn’t much better, with applications now taking 101 days and 148 days, respectively – an increase of roughly 12% since our last update in July.
State-level data from 41 states shows a similar trend, with the average approval time of all reporting states (minus Utah) reaching 117 days, up from 97 days. Of states, Alabama posts the quickest approval time (48 days) while Maryland and South Dakota are tied for the longest average wait at 244 days. Currently, 25 states are averaging approval times of 90 days or more, with 18 states averaging over 120 days.
Though validating the accuracy of available data is difficult, online posts and local gun counter fodder are also all evidence of increased eForm 4 wait times. And while we can’t say when wait times will improve, we can assist your FFL in the compliant manufacturing, storage, and selling of suppressors and NFA items. Contact Orchid today to learn more about our trusted ATF/NFA compliance software and services.
After this article was published, ATF updated the current processing times for paper and electronic Forms on its website. eForms 4 are now being processed, on average, in 180 days.