How to Fill Out the ATF’s FD-258 Fingerprint Card
The ATF FD-258 fingerprint card is perhaps the most difficult part of any NFA purchase. People are not used to filling out fingerprint cards, and may not know you can do it yourself at home. Many people think a fingerprint card has to be filled out by a law enforcement agency. But the truth is the FD-258 fingerprint card can be filled out at home, and in fact, nearly all D-258’s submitted with NFA purchases are done by the user themselves! We will give you some helpful instructions so you can successfully complete your FD-258 Fingerprint Card.
Use the links below to skip ahead in the guide:
How to Fill Out a Fingerprint Card
Fingerprints have been used to commonly uniquely identify people for over a century and a half, although there is evidence this practice goes back to ancient times.
In the present day, fingerprinting is mostly associated with the processing of criminals or as part of extensive background checks. The truth is, that through the entire 20th century and even to the present day, fully secure, trustworthy identity documents for individuals are uncommon. In the 1930s when the NFA was passed, the situation was even more dire.
Positive identification of a person required multiple layers of easily forged documents and even personal references from family and associates. Then, as now, the only unique way to identify a person was with their fingerprints. However, while today, we enjoy modern driver’s licenses and identity cards that are nearly perfect and secure, fingerprints remain a seemingly outdated yet almost absolute form of identity for a person.
Because NFA registration is wrapped up with that same primitive 1930’s method of identifying people, fingerprints are still required even though the process of NFA registration is now more akin to passing a security clearance than buying a gun. That is why NFA fingerprint cards are still very important.
Broadly speaking, filling out a fingerprint card is just getting your prints onto the card, and a bit of information. In practice though, this can be very difficult, as fingerprints must be correctly done, using methods mastered by the FBI for over a century.
Which ATF Fingerprint Cards are Needed for NFA Transfers?
In a peculiar fit of efficiency, the ATF uses the same fingerprint card as all other federal agencies. The FD-258 card is used for everything from NFA purchases, to low-level city government jobs that require any sort of comprehensive background check. That means the FD-258 is dirt common. You can see an example card here, and quickly discover that having been efficient with the card, the government made instructions on how to fill it out as clear as mud.
Regardless of the type of NFA transfer, there is only one NFA fingerprint card to use, and that is the aforementioned FD-258 fingerprint card.
How to Get the Correct Card
There are several ways to get the correct NFA fingerprint card. They can be found by searching for “FD-258 for sale”, which is when you’ll quickly discover something. These stupid little cards can be expensive. Why? Because most vendors realize that people who use them don’t understand them, and at this point in the NFA purchase (or build) process will just buy the first one they find in order to avoid more headaches and complication.
You can order NFA fingerprint cards from the ATF, but even this process isn’t easy. Or you can poke around online and quickly find some cards to buy.
Or you can do it the easy way and buy a complete fingerprint kit. Silencer Central has been in business for nearly two decades, and we know exactly what you need to get your ATF fingerprint card filled out. For just $9.99, you get a professional-grade inkpad, a full set of instructions, and a return envelope that goes straight to our in-house digitization team who will submit a digital copy to the ATF for the fastest processing.Buy a Fingerprint Kit >>
We even made a video showing you the entire process!
There are plenty of places selling NFA fingerprint card kits, but none with the same experience and expertise as Silencer Central.
Filling Out ATF Fingerprint Cards: It’s Complicated
We wish it was easy, but it isn’t. ATF fingerprint cards are direct descendants of primitive forms and tools originally used in the Elliot Ness era. But even though we are buying a silencer or other NFA device, and not chasing Chicago gangsters, we’re still stuck with a system designed for a time when typewriters ruled the office, and telegrams were still the preferred way to send long-distance messages.
To fill out an FD-258 card, you must provide a clear set of fingerprints, as well as some seemingly irrelevant identification information. And squeeze it all onto a single small card. But not to worry, we’re going to show you exactly how to do it, and how to do it right. Wearing a fedora and trenchcoat for that 1930’s vibe is optional.
The first time you look at an FD-258, you’ll notice it is full of weird things that make no sense. Cheer up. They are weird things that make no sense. Unless you are a government paper-pusher, the ATF fingerprint card is a wonderland of nonsense and meaningless data points. Fortunately, you don’t need to fill most of those in. Let’s get you started.
- Full legal name (Last, First, Middle)
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Citizenship (CTZ)
- Eye Color
- Hair Color
- Place of Birth (be sure to use City and State)
- Social Security Number
- Signature of Person Fingerprinted
- Residence of Person Fingerprinted.
There are specific codes that need to be used for the following fields: Sex, Race, Eye color and Hair color. Find your appropriate codes in the tables in our guide. Be sure to use the codes provided so your submission isn’t rejected.
At Home Fingerprint Guide
Taking Your Fingerprints at Home: 12 Easy Steps
We’ve prepared a handy YouTube video that shows the entire 12 step process for filling out an ATF fingerprint card, and here they are so you can follow along with the video:
Remember to wash your hands first, and if you have really dry hands, use a bit of lotion to soften the skin so you can get really clear prints.
Here are 12 simple steps to take your fingerprints at home:
Step 1 Fill out the fingerprint card using the instructions and codes from the last section.
Step 2 Clean and prep your hands. You don’t want dirty, oily, or greasy fingers as the ink will smear and smudge. If you think your hands are dry, use a lotion to soften the skin so your fingers roll easily.
Step 3 Watch the video a couple of times, and see how you roll your fingerprints for the first ten prints and practice on a blank piece of paper. Once you feel confident in rolling your fingertips to create a full fingerprint, go ahead and carefully take your fingerprints. You’ll notice that these are only part of the fingerprints you need to take.
Step 4 Follow the directions for which fingers on which hand to print in order. This is important, as each fingerprint section must contain the proper fingerprint.
Step 5 Take some sample prints of the tips of your fingers. By now you can tell that the ATF fingerprint card wants both full prints and examples of prints as might be found on objects. This is a relic of when fingerprinting was the only secure way to ID somebody.
Step 6 By now you should have fully taken all your fingerprints and filled in all the fingerprint blocks. Look them over one by one to make sure each print is clear, not smudged and complete. Any errors or partial prints will be cause for rejection by the ATF.
Step 7 If you have made an error, you’ll need to start a new card. You cannot correct fingerprint errors on the new card. This is why we ship a pair of cards with our NFA fingerprint card kit.
Step 8 Double-check the rest of the fingerprint card. Improper fingerprint cards are one of the biggest reasons NFA purchases get delayed. Did you use the correct codes for eye and hair color? Did you correctly fill out the place of birth information? Is the card correctly signed?
Step 9 If your silencer or other NFA device is on a trust with multiple people, you probably have to repeat this fingerprinting process for each person on the trust. Go ahead and fill out any additional ATF fingerprint cards now.
Step 10 Now it’s time to get everything together. Fingerprint cards should be signed, dated, and bundled with your purchase paperwork.
Step 11 Put the fingerprint cards in an envelope big enough to hold them. Do not under any circumstance fold or otherwise deform the cards This will get them rejected and you’ll have to do them all over again.
Step 12 Turn in your now completed fingerprint cards and NFA purchase application. If going through a local NFA dealer, you’ll have to leave them with the dealer. If taking advantage of Silencer Central’s unique direct delivery program, just mail us the completed application packet, and we’ll do the rest.
Buying a Silencer? Let Us Help Simplify The Process
For over 15 years, Silencer Central has been working hard to make the silencer buying process as simple as possible for you. Along the way, we managed to become the nation’s largest silencer dealer with locations in all 42 silencer legal states. That means we are the industry leader in silencer sales and have optimized the entire purchase process as much as possible, and even talked the ATF into giving us a few variances to make things easier for our customers.
No matter if you want one of our famous all-titanium BANISH Suppressor line of user-serviceable, multi-caliber suppressors, or another industry-leading brand, we’ve got what you are looking for. Silencer Central stocks silencers for every budget and every caliber, from rimfire to .50 BMG and shotguns!
Only Silencer Central allows you to purchase silencers directly by mail without ever stepping foot in one of our showrooms. No other silencer dealer can make purchases as simple as we can, and with NFA devices, the simpler the process, the better!
Check out our selection and let’s get you started on your first or next silencer today!Buy a BANISH Suppressor >>