Much to the chagrin of gun control advocates everywhere, a surge of firearm applications has overwhelmed the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Between 2005 and 2013, firearms act-related applications skyrocketed by more than 380 percent to 200,000.
According to the USA Today, the ATF 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.
In an April 16 memo from ATF Deputy Assistant Director Marvin Richardson, the surge contributed to a 70,000-application backlog, requiring the ATF to hire 15 additional people and to reassign 15 existing employees to combat the backlog.
“We have seen dramatic, unprecedented … growth in the firearms and ammunition industry as the direct result of consumer demand for our products in the last five years,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade association, said on its website. “Not surprisingly, growth has placed added demand on the (ATF’s) Office of Enforcement Programs and Services. Today, the office simply does not have the funding or personnel it needs to serve the industry and, by extension, our customers.”
According to ATF records, a total of 512,790 machine guns were registered across the country in 2014, more than 571,000 silencers, 2.2 million so-called destructive devices, which include grenades and other explosives, 137,201 short-barreled rifles and 131,951 short-barreled shotguns.
The automated system launched last year and grew from 673 users last year to 10,000 today.
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