It is finally possible to use the NICS appeal process for NFA denials

While those of us in the legal community have been helping clients file NICS Appeals and Voluntary Appeal File Applications since their inception, they were not designed with NFA applications in mind.

In fact, since July 13, 2016, when the ATF promulgated Rule 41F which moved all NFA background checks to the FBI, the official position of the FBI has been that NFA background checks are not standard NICS checks and therefore, the NICS Appeal process was not available for NFA denials.

However, starting in January of 2024, the ATF and FBI finalized an agreement to allow those denied when undergoing an NFA background check to use the standard NICS appeal process (what the FBI calls a “Firearm Related Challenge”) to dispute the basis of the denial.

They also formalized a method for those whose NFA applications are returned as ‘delayed/open’ by the FBI to use the Voluntary Appeal File (VAF) process to submit information that will allow the FBI to consider the issuance of a Unique Personal Identification Number (UPIN).  If a UPIN is issued and used in future applications, it should avoid the research delays that can lead to ‘delayed/open’ dispositions on NFA applications.

It is important to note that, despite the fact that both “NICS Appeal Process” and “Voluntary Appeal File” have the word ‘appeal’ in them, neither of these processes is an actual appeal of a specific NFA application.  Rather, they are challenges to the information on your record that led to the denial or delay/open disposition.

If your ‘appeal’ is successful, then it does not reverse the denial.  Rather, a new NFA application will need to be submitted, including any UPIN that may have been issued.

If you have received a denial or delay/open disposition status on your NFA application and would like assistance, then feel free to contact me.

This entry was posted in 41F, Administrative Law, ATF, ATF Ruling, Background Checks, BATFE, FBI, NFA Denials, NFA Open Disposition, NFA Transfers, NICS, Prohibited Persons. Bookmark the permalink.