The Sbr Process How to: A-Z (or, finally finishing the article from last year) Part 1
Ahhhh.… remember when? There is a lot of interest in getting through the hoops and hurdles of either buying or building your own SBR. Our previous post is our second most viewed on the site. That tells us that people are more interested than ever in compact freedom dispensers. We couldn’t agree more with all of you. Once you get through the process, which let’s face it, really isn’t that difficult, it really does just become an exercise in patience.
We, specifically me, thought this would be a great time to finally knock out the second part to this article considering I had good reason to. Last week I did my civic duty and went to vote early and while I was at city hall, after casting a straight party red tsunami ticket, I strolled over to get my finger prints done on my cards from the ATF. You see, SBRs are like potato chips. You can’t have just one.
So let’s begin at the beginning. Your very first point of action will be to either find and print the documents you need from the ATF (links provided below) or visit ATF.gov and request to have the official documents mailed to you. Now, if you are forming a trust, you will have a few other steps to go through. This article is meant for the individual to go through the process. If you are trying to get obtain a gun trust, you will more than likely pay a service to fill out your paperwork. Again, this is meant for the individual.
Visit the ATF web site: Distribution Center Order Form and fill out the online form. You will need to identify the forms you need.
- ATF Form 1 (5320.1) – Application to Make and Register a Firearm, as revised in August 2017; and
- ATF Form 23 (5320.23) – National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire, as revised in May 2016.
- Finger Print Cards (FD-258)
- Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C. 922
Filling out the Form 1 is very straight forward. All of the directions are provided within the packet. The one question I have had more often than not though is Section (i) State Why You Intend To Make Firearm. I wrote in “Any and All Lawful Purposes” as my answer and that was okey-dokey with them.
You will also need to go get two copies of passport photos made. You could go to most Post Offices, but I found the quickest way was to go to CVS and in 5 minutes I had my photos in my hand.
Speaking of copies, you’ll notice you have to send copies of everything to the ATF. Thankfully the provide you with as many forms as you’d like. Believe it or not, the forms are one of the few things you can get for free from the government.
So, fill everything out, attach your pictures, write a check for $200, stuff it all in an envelope and get ready to mail it of. It should go without mentioning here that you will either need at bare minimum a stripped lower receiver or an 80% receiver that you will be engraving with makers marks and a serial number. You will have to include the information on your form 1 either way you are choosing to go.
Alright, we’re closing in here. Check, check again and triple check you have everything stuffed into your envelope. Thankfully you no longer have to a CLEO (chief law enforcement officer) sign-off before sending your application and getting you approved Form 1 back in the mail, but there are forms you will need to fill out and drop off with your Police or Sheriff (or Constable) leeting them know that you have sent in your paperwork. The good news is, depending on where you live and exactly how liberal your area, the CLEO can’t hold up the process as they could before. You are now merely showing them a courtesy of letting them know.
With all that done, seal up your legal size manila envelope and drop that sucker in the mail. Now comes the fun part. You have just bought yourself about 8 months of free time to go to the range, almost have a child (or finish that process if one is already baking), clean your other guns, but new guns, read more of my snark here on ReloadOne. Let’s face it. You have time to do anything your want. Just try not to serve any sort of prison sentence.
Once you have given up all hope of ever hearing back from the ATF, wait some more. You will know that they did receive your package within about two weeks of you sending it because they will cash your check. That is literally the only thing that will provide you with any information over this period of time. They want them dollar bills ya’ll! Let’s remember, this is a bullshit tax anyway, made up by politicians just to screw over those of us who are ACTUALLY law abiding citizen and statistically the least likely to use a gun in a crime. But I digress.…
One thing I did the first time going through the process was visit NFATracker (provided by SilencerCo) every week or so to see if the wait times were improving. They weren’t. Although the best news was that the Form 1 Individual seemed and still does take much less time than a Trust. So yay for that.
After about 7.75 months I was happily surprised when picking up the mail to discover my packet from the ATF. Last thing you need to do, or don’t do, honestly I have no idea on this one, is get your receiver engraved. There is such a heated debate between guys who both know someone in the ATF who have given conflicting information about this step that I have no idea who is right. Calling the ATF will not provide you with answers either. If you call twice you’ll get two different answers.
From what I can tell, 80% (or similar) receiver obviously have to be engraved with a makers name, city, state and serial number. We all know this. But what really is under scrutiny is whether of not a receiver you are making into an SBR by filling out the paperwork has to be engraved. The schools of thought are once you go through the process, you are now the manufacturer, regardless if you only put a real stock on it or you built if from parts. Others will tell you that if you are using the serial number from the original manufacturer on your paperwork, you do not need to have the SBR engraved while it belongs to you. In this case, you would only have to engrave it with your information if you sell it.
Now, I don’t know which one is true or correct. Like I said, the camp site is divided on this one and each side has a spokesman who will showcase his authority of understanding as often and loudly as possible.
So, I got mine engraved anyway, just in case. Safe not sorry.