A record surge in recent firearms production and transactions have swamped the federal government’s automated registration system for select weapons, including machine guns.
In a notice earlier this month to the firearms industry, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was temporarily suspending parts of its computerized system to shore up capacity in part to process the required registration and transfer of National Firearms Act covered weapons, which also include silencers, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles and some explosive devices.
Between 2005 and 2013, firearms act-related applications “skyrocketed by more than 380%” to nearly 200,000, according to the April 16 memo issued by ATF Deputy Assistant Director Marvin Richardson. The surge has contributed to a backlog of more than 70,000 applications.
Richardson’s memo states that the ATF is “immediately” hiring 15 people to assist with the application processing and deploying 15 current employees to the task.
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