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What is the ATF NFRTR?

Written by Orchid


March 30, 2017



What is the ATF NFA NFRTR and How Does It Impact My Federal Firearms License?

According to 26 U.S.C § 5841, the NFRTR is:

the central registry of all NFA firearms in the U.S. which are not in the possession or under the control of the U.S. Government. The registry includes (1) the identification of the firearm, (2) date of registration, and (3) identification and address of the person entitled to possession of the firearm (the person to whom the firearm is registered).”

But, what does the NFRTR look like?

The NFRTR is a data table (or “central registry” as referenced in the above statute) which contains information about the possessor, transferees and the NFA device itself.  It is populated by ATF personnel upon submission of an NFA related e-Form or a paper-based Form 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 or 5320.20.

Information relevant to each possessor’s NFRTR record can be found in the table and plain language description as shown below.


  • Last Name – The last name of the ‘person’ who is said to possess the NFA device. This may be an actual person or a licensee. For example, the Last Name might read “John Doe’s NFA Manufacturing Co.”
  • First Name – The first name of the person.
  • Trade Name – Trade name of the commercial entity, if applicable.
  • City and State – The City and State in which the possessor exists.
  • FFL – The Federal Firearms License number of the possessor.
  • EIN – The nine-digit Federal Employment Identification Number provided by the IRS.
  • Form Type – The type of ATF Form (e.g., Form 2) which was used to post the last transaction to the NFRTR.
  • Status Date – A date field that changes during the processing of the application.  The “Status Date” starts as the date the application was entered and ultimately becomes the Approval or Disapproval date.
  • Serial Number – The serial number engraved on the NFA device.
  • Mfg, Model and Caliber – The product specific markings as engraved on the device which, in all practical purposes should match the physical characteristics of the device unless they have been altered after-the-fact.
  • Barrel and Overall – The registered length of the barrel and overall length of the device.

How Can I Improve My NFA-Related Compliance?

NFA compliance is aided by having a strong understanding of the product being manufactured, imported, or transferred. Pertinent information can be found in the National Firearms Act of 1934 (the initiating source of the regulation), ATF’s website and the previously released National Firearms Act Handbook. However, it is important to note that while the NFA Handbook is a helpful guide it does not reflect more current releases such as ATF Final Rule 41F. To that end, licensees are encouraged to contact their local ATF office and the NFA Division with questions.

Understanding the regulations is only half the battle. Compliance also stems from establishing good company policies, delivering regulatory training and deploying robust internal controls.  These three areas working together increase the likelihood that your personnel will complete NFA related forms on a timely basis and with more accuracy. Leading companies often conduct self-audits of their forms and their inventory to gauge prior compliance and to better understand opportunities for improving their business processes. For example, several FFLs will reconcile their NFRTR against their A&D book, on-hand inventories and NFA forms to complete a thorough review.  Licensees may determine current NFRTR inventory through their eForms account or by requesting a copy of their NFRTR from the ATF’s NFA Division.

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