Filling out a Form 23

When completing a Form 1 or Form 4, each ‘Responsible Person’ on your trust must complete a Form 23

A copy of the ‘responsible person questionnaire’ form 5320.23 (Form 23) will need to be completed by each ‘responsible person’ of the trust (you and anyone on Schedule B of your trust).

Important Note:  Your fellow ‘responsible persons’ will find it much easier to complete this form if they have a copy of your completed questionnaire in front of them so they do not make any mistakes regarding the make, model, serial, etc. of the NFA item.  

The latest version of the Form 23 may be downloaded here.  The form itself is well designed with fillable fields which auto-transfer the data to two additional copies (however, this feature only works if you download the form and open it in Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.  It will NOT work inside the browser.)

You, and the Joint Trustees listed on Schedule B of your trust, should download the form and each one complete it according to the following instructions:

Form 23 – Page 1

  • In Box 1 you should check the box for the type of application the Form 23 is accompanying.  For example, Form 1 for making an item or Form 4 for buying an item.
  • In Box 2 you should put the name of your trust (exactly as it appears on the header of the trust document) and the mailing address for the location where the item will initially be stored.
  • In Box 3a you should put your full legal name and your home address.
  • In Box 3b you should put your telephone number.
  • In Box 3c you should put your email address.
  • If you have changed your name at any time during your life, including being married, then Box 3d should contain all other names you have ever used.
  • In Box 3e you will affix a 2×2 passport-quality photo taken within the last year (on the ATF copy of the form only).  As I noted here, many NFA dealers offer in-store photography options so you should check with your local gun store.  Failing that, Walgreens is a common provider of this service in many towns.
  • In Box 3f you should put your social security number (not required but highly recommended for faster processing).
  • In Box 3g you should put your birth date.
  • In Box 3h and 3i you should select your ethnicity and race.
  • In Box 4a, you should put either Silencer, Machinegun, Short-Barreled Rifle, Short-Barreled Shotgun, AOW, or Destructive Device. The ATF has rejected applications for putting ‘Suppressor’ instead of ‘Silencer’ in this field.
  • In Box 4b you should put the manufacturer’s name and the location in which it was manufactured. It is critical that you enter them exactly as they are engraved on the lower! However, if you have a foreign manufactured firearm, you must also be careful to identify the name and location of the original manufacturer and not the importer (which might also be engraved on the lower). If you are manufacturing your own suppressor, or your own SBR based on an un-serialized 80% lower, then your trust is the manufacturer and you should put the trust name, city, and state here..
  • In Box 4c you should put the model number of the item.  Once again, it is critical that you enter this exactly as it is engraved on the lower!  If you are manufacturing your own suppressor, or your own SBR based on an 80% lower, then you will need to assign a model name.
  • In Box 4d you should put the initial caliber of the item being built. Do not put ‘Multi’ as the caliber even if that is what is engraved on the lower. While you may have multiple uppers for your registered lower, you need to declare a specific primary configuration in this application and you need to retain the ability to return to this configuration. This value should contain the number and the unit of measure such as .30 Cal, 9mm, or 12 Gauge.
  • In Box 4e you should the serial number of the item. At the risk of repeating myself, it is critical that you enter the serial number exactly as it is engraved on the lower including any alpha-numeric characters! If you are manufacturing your own suppressor, or your own SBR based on an 80% lower, then you will need to assign a serial number. Many people simply start with 001 and proceed in series as they build additional items.
  • Box 5 should contain the information regarding the CLEO whose jurisdiction includes the home address in Box 3a of this form.

Form 23 – Page 2

  • You will need to answer the questions in Boxes 6, 7, 8, and 9 as they apply to you, the person completing the form.
  • Note: If you have been convicted of a felony but have since had your gun rights restored then the instructions state you should answer question 6d as ‘No’.  However, I strongly advise you to attach a copy of your restoration paperwork to the Form 23 when submitting it to the ATF.
  • You will sign the certification following Box 9.  (More about this in the signing section below)
  • You should enter the date in the field to the right of the signature block.

Printing The Completed Form 23

Once you have completed the Form 23, you will need to print it.  It will print 2 copies.

Signing the Completed Form 23

The only place you will need to sign the Form 23 is following the certification statement below Box 9.  You do NOT add “as trustee” to your signature on this form.

Do not forget to sign both copies of the Form 23.

Important:  The ATF requires all signatures to be in either blue or black ink.

Finally, you should scan the completed and signed Form 23 and email it to me.

Since the ATF releases new versions of this form fairly frequently, please let me know if you encounter any differences between this guide and the current version of the form.