ATF Form Under Review and Open for Comment

Sprawled out across various pages of the ATF website, the Federal Register, and other postings is the chatter that several, commonly used ATF Forms have been up for revision since December 2013.  One, in particular, is still in an open comment period until May 2, 2014, specifically, the ATF Form 3310.11, the FFL Inventory Loss Report.  It’s worth a moment to review the notice and comment process for agency information collection activities, what can be pulled from the notice requirements, and thoughts on participating in the comment process.

Let’s use the ATF Form 3310.11 as an example, since it’s still in an open comment period.  The notice published by the Department of Justice in the Federal Register on April 2, 2014 is an alert that there are 30-days to comment.  It states that the notice is actually an extension from the original January 30, 2014 notice.  The notice contains all the contact information for submitting comments.  It also provides contact information to obtain a copy of the “proposed information collection instrument” (presumably, the draft form with any revisions).

The notice also gives us the estimated total number of FFLs which will utilize the form on an annual basis and the DOJ estimate of the time to complete the form.  In this case, DOJ estimates 4,000 FFLs will report a loss from inventory and that it will take an FFL an average of 24 minutes to complete the form.  One of the comments sought by the notice is an evaluation of the “accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information.”

It is very difficult for anyone other than the FFL to abstractly estimate how long it would take to properly complete forms that require retrieval of firearms information from the book of acquisitions and disposition, communication with the ATF, communication with local law enforcement, and then having the right pieces of information from at least those three sources to complete the precise questions asked, for example, on ATF Form 3310.11.

Although our days are busy, filled with compliance activities related to completion of ATF Forms, taking the time to participate in open comment periods is part of how we can reverse share our expertise with the ATF.  It is the industry’s voice to communicate what is working and what isn’t.  These comments, each and every one of them, have to be reviewed by ATF.  DOJ requires that the industry concerns be considered before moving forward.

If you’re running a 5k in spring conditions on a relatively flat grade, you’d be happy with 24 minutes on the timer at the finish.  But ATF paperwork isn’t only about running against a clock; it’s about accuracy with potential penalties for mistakes. Perhaps you have something you would like to add to help to shape the regulatory process?

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