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Transfer Approved!


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#1 DC Chris

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 01:26 AM

All-

You have probably read my bitching over the last few months about the lack of service at the ATF and the same old story week in and week out. Well, here is what happened over the last 24 hours and I *highly* suggest that you do the same if you happen to be in my shoes.

As you may recall, I have been in a "pending" state for a Thompson transfer for over seven months. Every time I call, I get the same curt answer and end up in voice mail. I leave polite messages, I send polite faxes, I beg to talk to an examiner or supervisor live on the phone to the clerk and I get voicemail. I call at different times and try to be as persistent as possible. I never get a call back and see nothing for my efforts. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Well, I decided to break my cone of silence Thursday at around 11:45 AM and call the general ATF number and check my status. Same woman. Same status. Same voice mail. Twenty nine weeks is unacceptable. I guess I just got really pissed off at the whole situation and decided to do something. I went on the web and looked up my congressman. He is a liberal, minority democrat from Baltimore City. On his website, he does say that "if you have a problem with a federal, state or local agency, I encourage you to contact me." I figure, what the hell do I have to lose and punch up the numbers.

I spoke to a (actually very nice and helpful) young man and told him my story, explained the NFA process and what I was trying to accomplish at around 12:15 PM. He asked me to put the details in writing, list my address, sign it and fax it to him. I did so at around 1:00 PM. I went off to another meeting and when I returned to my desk at around 2:30 PM the same day, I was shocked to actually get a call back from the staffer. He said he just talked to the head of the NFA branch of the ATF and needed a few details from me that I did not include in my fax. I supplied him the details (make, model, transferror) and thanked him for his time. He said he would get back to me sometime soon.

Today I go in to work and get a voice mail while I am away from my desk at around 2:30 PM (Friday the 3rd). It is the same staffer saying he had an update and to please call him. I call him back and he says the magic words:

"Chris, I have good news..."

"Well, I could use some!"

"Your transfer has been approved and the paperwork was mailed today"

.... silence....

.... silence.... (jaw drop)....

After thanking him about three times, I hung up and realized the following:

1) A liberal, pro gun control democrat and his staffers CAN help get you a machine gun biggrin.gif
2) If I wasn't such an idiot, I would have called a few months ago when I had "that feeling" that there was a problem.

I highly suggest that you do the same if you are at 140-160+ days and get the same old story from our buddies at the NFA. As I understand it, a congressional inquiry requires a maximum of 48 hours of return time so they MUST act on it. In my case, that seemed to be true and now I can proudly say that I should have my Thompson in a few days. After all , I am only a state away from DC (Peoples Republic of Maryland) and mail is pretty quick around here.

Pictures will follow. Thanks for everyone putting up with my bitching and providing me with the suggestions. I cannot remember who said to me to contact your congressman.... and I said there was no way that they would help. Silly me. To whoever that was, I owe you a beer.

Chris.

Edited by DC Chris, 04 December 2004 - 06:25 AM.

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#2 Nick Iannamico

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 02:11 AM

Awesome story Chris!! With all the technology it's funny how a plain old phone call does the trick!! Congrats!
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#3 Sig

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 05:27 AM

That is not the 1st time I have heard success stories such as yours after contacting the Congressman.
Congrats on your soon to be in your hands acquisition.

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#4 Brickyard

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 09:04 AM

Well, I'll bet I know what you're going to be doing on Christmas morning !!!!

That's just great. I'm so glad it all worked out OK. It's a shame that it has to go as far as it did but. Don't let it cloud the moment. Get it, love it, most importantly - go shoot it! biggrin.gif And, .... pictures.


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#5 First Sergeant

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 09:55 AM

Chris,

Congrats !! Not only for the transfer but to hanging in there and building a better mousetrap to get a transfer approved ! I for one am axiously awaiting your pictures of your newly aquired old purchase. It's been so long but luckily not quite long enough for the WH 28 to become a C&R gun (50yrs old).

Good Job !!

Chuck


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#6 Sgt

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 10:59 AM

Many congrats!! Did you ever find out what the hang up was?
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#7 DC Chris

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 04:39 PM

I never did find out what the snag was, but it was pretty obvious to me and to the staffer that they had all of the information in house and no one was actively putting it all together and closing out my transfer. I think I told you all before that there was some confusion over who my examiner was (Moss or Chapman) sometimes when I call. My guess is that the finger print confirmations were with one examiner and my packet was with another.

I actually faxed a thank you letter to my congressman last night too, primarly because of the staffers help. He was a realy nice and helpful guy, even though most Maryland Democrats hate guns, not to mention machine guns. I guess he put politics aside for the sake of a happy constituent which I can respect.

Too bad I voted against his boss in November. Oooops.

Chris.
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#8 Sgt

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 05:59 PM

Chris--
That's the way to go!! Thanks for the information. My transfer is at the end of its third month. I won't panic yet, but it is good to have as an option, beyond five or six months.
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#9 DC Chris

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 06:35 PM

Thanks Sgt (and all!) I couldn't be happer.

I guess I wanted to share this story for a couple reasons. I have had many other successful NFA transfers and never needed to even bother calling because the system worked for me.

Here is what I have learned and I honestly hope that you all remember some of these things if time passes and you get "that feeling" like I did:

1) The NFA branch of the ATF is currently a disorganized mess. Some examiners do call back, but my new one never did nor did her supervisor. My best advice is to insist that you talk to your examiner in person and keep calling. I also learned that they are reoganizing.
2) Make your initial call within 60 days. I cannot stress this enough. Another board member and I have been privately emailing and he was doing the same thing I was... patiently waiting with crossed fingers hoping that the NFA would do its job. I begged him to call on his behalf and he found that there was a paperwork problem and supposedly the forms were returned to his dealer three months ago. Problem was his dealer didn't have the paperwork and the NFA didn't either. Funny how after he called his dealer got his paperwork.
3) Apparently there is a 45 day window on fingerprint cards after you go pending. The check is cashed and one set of cards goes to the FBI. If nothing is received within 45 or the cards are unreadable, they send in the second card in and allow another 45 day window. Hence the 90 day general rule for transfer time. If you allow 2-4 weeks extra for approval and administration, nothing should take over 120 days. On day 121, you can probably assume there is an issue and a call should be in order.
4) Many problems are only detected if YOU start asking questions. For example, my cards just sat on a desk for five months and it took me asking questions for someone to realize that there was a problem. You would think that they would be proactive in that respect, but no. If I never called, they would probably still be sitting there. The same holds true for Roland and his paperwork. It is quite scary that there doesn't seem to be checks or balances or at least a way that the examiners are alerted when something is taking a long time.
5) Ask the clerk who answers the phone questions about your transfer, not just the status! Ask for names of your examiner and supervisor. They can answer you as to when your fingerprint cards were sent to the FBI (I know its on the screen, they have told me that information before). They are more than happy to just say pending and say bye bye. Always ask questions and eventually ask to speak to your examiner in person or the supervisor. Never just call and get your status and say bye. If you get voicemail and was unsuccessful as I was, leave a message (or not) and dial them right back up and try again.
6) Use your congressman or senator! They all have websites and they all have a constituent services department. Remember that it is their job as your elected official to serve you. A congressional inquiry to any federal agency has to be answered within 48 hours. Notice I didn't say resolved in 48 hours, but in my case I was lucky and it was enough to get the process finished since everything else was done (finally!). Remember that NFA firearms are legal federally and in most states. Don't concern your self about your representatives politics if they are anti-gunners, they should help regardless because it is their job! It seems that they would rather sacrifice politics for votes, but the bottom line is it is legal and they are your helpers in dealing with the government.

Good luck on your next transfer and a sincere thanks to everyone on this board for reading and responding with advice about my soap opera. I really hope that everyone on here can learn form what I went through and use it to your advantage. Actually, I hope you NEVER have to do any of this because your transfer goes smooth and quickly. But as you know it doesn't always work out that way.

Chris.


P.S. - Nick, check your email - I made a donation to this site.

Edited by DC Chris, 06 December 2004 - 12:39 AM.

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#10 TNKen

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 06:55 PM

Now, what you need to do is put it in a box, wrap it up with Christmas paper and put it under the tree. What's another 20 days or so at this point????


Congrats!!!!

Ken
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#11 DC Chris

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 06:57 PM

Ken... I would rather have many boxes of .45 ACP under the tree!!!! It was actually my goal to get it before Christmas so I could clean it up and replace a few parts on it. I have some leave to blow and I will be more than happy spending time with my new gun.

Thanks-

Chris
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#12 First Sergeant

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 09:36 PM

I wonder if things would speed up if the $200 check can only be cashed "after" approval? Just a thought.
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#13 Sgt

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 08:00 AM

Maybe, but I doubt it. The impression I get is that the Feds consider the NFA crowd more of a nuisance than a way to make money. Looking at the big picture, I'm sure the gov. makes very little money from transfer tax, so it isn't much incentive for improvement.
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#14 stevedf

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 11:13 PM

Thanks for the info, I'am going on 60 days now for my WH28 and will wait about 30 more. Ilearned about 13 years ago about our LAWMAKERS (???). A Company put me in for a TS for overseas work, after about 6 months, I called our senator from Wy and had the FBI working on my TS in my area within about 1 month. It does work! Steve
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#15 DC Chris

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:18 AM

Thanks Phil. I wish I hadn't had to do it (because the system should work), but when all else fails you have to get help to get things done. I am still shocked that it took less than 24 hours from my first phone call to get it approved AND mailed....

Just for giggles, I decided to call the ATF this morning going to work. Interestingly, there was a different woman who answered the phone who was much more polite than that rude woman who likes to say one word sentences. It was nice hearing "It was approved on Decemember 3rd" for once.

I am guessing by Friday, I will be headed up to the dealer....
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#16 First Sergeant

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 02:59 AM

Chris,

You must have shook things up at the ATF, I just got an email that my 28AC was approved and enroute. It was two days shy of 15 weeks ! That is 5 days longer than the Reising even with the fingerprint card confusion. Might have it by Thursday.

Chuck
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#17 sten guy

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 10:24 AM

My 90 days are up on Dec 10. Maybe I'll have it next week. Been pending since 9-10-04...

STEN
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#18 BASS6621

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 01:28 AM

I'm coming up on 120 days PENDING (December 17th) for a STEN MK II.

Am still hoping I'll have before the New Year.... we shall see....

BASS6621
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#19 DC Chris

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:09 PM

Update:

Just got the call from my dealer. My paperwork is in and I can take delivery tomorrow!

The last form 1 I sent in took exactly seven days from DC to Maryland from the date on the tax stamp to being in the mail box. This was exactly seven days as well. Interestingly enough, a personal letter from my house to DC would only take two days, tops. You gotta love the governments speed...

Pictures to follow.

Sten & Bass - Call them! Keep us updated and good luck.

Chris
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