COVID-19’s Affect on Silencer Wait Times
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 or whatever else you want to call it, from the funny to the unprintable, has seriously disrupted the lives of all Americans.
It has also disrupted the firearms industry. From causing panic buys to local authorities shutting down FFLs, which in turn leads to legal action, we’ve seen everything possible in terms of shutdowns, slowdowns and system crashes with FFL’s. Naturally, NICS is overloaded, and possibly more so as people stay home from work.
So, this begs the question of what is happening with NFA paperwork? What is the NFA wait time looking like now? What will the NFA wait time look like in the future? Unfortunately, we can’t be sure what will happen with NFA wait times. While NFA Tracker gives us a crowd sourced look at roughly what is happening in the moment, we really can’t use it to forecast NFA wait times under unusual circumstances.
So, let’s take a look at what we do know, what we think is going to happen, and what we can do about it.
What Does the Future Hold for NFA Wait Times?
Sadly, we were unable to summon the ghost of Hiram Maxim to help us figure out the future of NFA wait times. All we got was the spirit of some whining Treasury agent from the 1930’s freaking out that Americans had the audacity to still buy silencers. So, having failed with supernatural attempts to look into the future, we turned to something far more rational – our many industry insider contacts.
The American Suppressor Association believes things are still business as usual. They even suggest that should COVID-19 start having an impact on NFA processing, it will still be less than during the 2019 government shutdown.
In other words, in a strange fit of competency and willingness to aid, not hinder, the American gun owner, the ATF has a fairly reasonable plan in place in case the Coronavirus impacts their workforce. So, right now, it’s pretty fair to say that we are still good to go as far as getting NFA applications processed now and into the foreseeable future.
The Surge in Gun Sales in Response to COVID-19
You knew this was coming, right? Business as usual means, well, business as usual. We do not live in usual times. Gun sales are rising faster than a bat escaping a Wuhan restaurant. And when gun sales rise, NFA sales rise. And when NFA sales rise, you guessed it. The wait time goes up. Sometimes way up. Because the ATF can’t nimbly respond to increased applications that strain the system. So everything takes longer. And longer. And longer still.
And it gets better. Or worse. Or weirder.
Try going to a gunshop right now to look at a silencer. Assuming you find one open, and assuming you can get through the lines of people forming to buy whatever they can, you may or may not even find anything in inventory. After all, few NFA dealers have the means to keep more than a handful of silencers or other NFA items on the shelf.
But here is the other practical consideration. Normally you could chit chat with your dealer, look over different manufacturer catalogs, spend some time online in the shop, etc. But right now, that’s more impractical than ever. Assuming all that time spent selling you a single NFA item couldn’t be spent dealing with new customers who will buy something right now, it’s just a little too close and personal for all this social distancing stuff.
So it’s a pretty lousy time to meander down to your favorite SOT and try to buy an NFA item. And if lockdowns and stay at home orders continue, you may not have the ability to wander into your favorite SOT anytime soon.
But you still want to get that silencer paperwork going now while you stand a fighting chance of beating the spike in demand.
Your Options for Buying a Suppressor During COVID-19
So there is always the good old fashioned e-file Form 1, a weird “solvent trap” kit from Wish or some other place that looks like an ATF sting operation. And yes, if you have the know-how and technical skill to make your own NFA item, this remains your fastest choice even now. However, I’m sure a lot of other people are thinking that, and an awful lot of “solvent traps” are getting sold right now. So expect Form 1 applications to start taking more and more time.
You can always just go ahead and pull the trigger on a silencer or other NFA item as soon as you can and just wait, wait and wait. You may not be able to get into a store for some time, though.
But wouldn’t it be nice if you could do the entire silencer buying process online and through the US mail?
You might say “Oh, silly Silencer Central. I, too, have an active imagination. It would be nice, but clearly isn’t possible.”
But ahh, my good silencer buying friend, it is possible. It’s what we built an entire 42 state business around.
That’s right. You can buy a silencer from the comfort of your own socially-isolated home right now.
Here’s how it works:
- Find a silencer you like. Maybe it’s one of our special, all titanium, user-serviceable, multi-caliber BANISH Suppressors. Maybe it’s one made by somebody else. That’s ok, we sell silencers of all types.
- Not sure what silencer works for you? Feel free to contact us and tell us what you need out of a silencer and what your budget is. We’ll work with you one-on-one to match you to the perfect silencer, including providing access to our detailed scientific testing of dozens of different suppressors!
- Once you’ve settled on a silencer, great! We’ll start the paperwork right away. You can choose to use our handy 90 day eZ-Pay program to stretch out your payments, because after all it’s going to take a lot longer than 90 days for the ATF to do their job!
If you have a gun trust already, we’ll get that information from you. Otherwise, we start by electronically generating one of our totally free NFA gun trusts (a $250 value!) Once that’s filled out, we can send you a prefilled ATF Form 4 that you only have to sign and date, and send back with identifying information and your tax stamp payment. After that, as soon as the ATF authorizes your application, we’ll rush your silencer right to your door via the US Mail. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? There is no easier, safer, and simpler way to buy a silencer right now: from the comfort of your own home on your own timetable at your own leisure.
The Coronavirus may be disrupting all of our lives for weeks or even months to come. No matter what, things will not get back to normal right away, and the world around us will have changed legally, socially and economically.
In the meantime, expect NFA wait times to go up, expect it to be harder to visit an FFL for a few more weeks, and expect everything to be a bit slower and a bit more difficult in most places.
But if you want a silencer in the easiest, most efficient fashion without ever leaving your home, we’ve got you covered. Head to our online store and let’s get you going with that suppressor now, before it takes any longer for the ATF to process it!