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9/23/2020 3:47:02 PM
Posted: 6/13/2011 2:55:42 AM EDT
I included this cover letter when I submitted my form one to the CLEO.  Thought some of you might like to use it as a sample format.

Dear Sheriff __________,

The National Firearms Act(NFA) mandates the registration of NFA firearms.  All persons desiring to make an NFA firearm are required to register the firearm by filing a Form 1 with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(ATF).  The ATF also requires that the Form 1 be signed by the applicants chief law enforcement officer.  I have enclosed two copies of ATF Form 1 and request that you sign them.                                                                                  

I am an avid shooter, hobby gunsmith and active member of the National Rifle Association(NRA).  I have been a South Carolina concealed weapons permit holder since 2005.  I am aware of and abide by all federal and state laws concerning firearms.  My intended use for this rifle is target/recreational shooting.  The specifications of the rifle I intend to make can be found on the application.  Thank you for your time.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

 
Sincerely,
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 7:28:55 AM EDT
I'd add something to the effect of "Your signature is not granting the ATF permission to approve this transfer; it is simply stating that to the best of your knowledge I am not a criminal and possessing this weapon in South Carolina would not be illegal.  The ATF will double-check the regulations in South Carolina before approving transfer of the weapon."



Or something like that.  Just to ease his thoughts.
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 9:43:56 AM EDT
Thank you, DD.  Saved for future use.  
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 10:46:19 AM EDT
My Sheriff requires a cover letter as well.  If it's PJ Tanner - Beaufort County SO, he is looking more for something along the lines that you have the means to secure the weapon and a safe place to shoot whatever you're getting.  At least that's what one of the higher ups told me.  

My letter is pretty simple and just states that I've been in the hobby for a number of years, I have a safe place to shoot them, I have a way to securly store them and I already have multiple Form 4s that you've signed in the past.

YMMV
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 2:10:24 PM EDT
Silly and redundent.  Just send the form 1 to him with a self addressed and stamped envelope back to you.  There is no need for an explanation or a request.  If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.  If he refuses to sign and you know your legal, call an attorney.
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 4:58:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sanman28:
Silly and redundent.  Just send the form 1 to him with a self addressed and stamped envelope back to you.  There is no need for an explanation or a request.  If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.  If he refuses to sign and you know your legal, call an attorney.


Thank you so much for your opinion  Some CLEOs don't even know what the paperwork is for.  I'm sure others here will find the cover letter helpful rather that silly.
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 7:32:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sanman28:
Silly and redundent.  Just send the form 1 to him with a self addressed and stamped envelope back to you.  There is no need for an explanation or a request.  If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.  If he refuses to sign and you know your legal, call an attorney.


Uh, yeah.... only in TN. Everywhere else, they can do whatever the crap they want, and no court is going to find in your favor. Form a trust.
Link Posted: 6/13/2011 7:40:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DitchDr:
I included this cover letter when I submitted my form one to the CLEO.  Thought some of you might like to use it as a sample format.

Dear Sheriff __________,

The National Firearms Act(NFA) mandates the registration of NFA firearms.  All persons desiring to make an NFA firearm are required to register the firearm by filing a Form 1 with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(ATF).  The ATF also requires that the Form 1 be signed by the applicants chief law enforcement officer.  I have enclosed two copies of ATF Form 1 and request that you sign them.                                                                                  

I am an avid shooter, hobby gunsmith and active member of the National Rifle Association(NRA).  I have been a South Carolina concealed weapons permit holder since 2005.  I am aware of and abide by all federal and state laws concerning firearms.  My intended use for this rifle is target/recreational shooting.  The specifications of the rifle I intend to make can be found on the application.  Thank you for your time.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

 
Sincerely,


If he doesn't approve it, send a follow-up letter that because he didn't sign it, you are forming a trust, and instead of him knowing what's going on in his community and you undergoing a detailed FBI background check, you will just undergo a simple NICS check, and he can go pound sand. =) OH, and you're putting your deadbeat, trailer-trash (though not felon ;) ) cousin on the trust so he can use your SBR too.
Link Posted: 6/14/2011 5:18:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/14/2011 12:19:28 PM EDT by sanman28]
Originally Posted By ryknoll3:
Originally Posted By sanman28:
Silly and redundent.  Just send the form 1 to him with a self addressed and stamped envelope back to you.  There is no need for an explanation or a request.  If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.  If he refuses to sign and you know your legal, call an attorney.


Uh, yeah.... only in TN. Everywhere else, they can do whatever the crap they want, and no court is going to find in your favor. Form a trust.


Not true at all.  Have you read the LEO certification section?

“I certify that I am the chief law enforcement officer of the organization named below having jurisdiction in the area of residence of (your name.)

I have no information indicating that the transferee will use the firearm or device described on this application for other than lawful purposes.  I have no information that the receipt or possession of the firearm or device described in item 4 would place the transferee in violation of State or local law.”


There is nothing here that is subject to any interpretation or opinion and its in plain English.  Like I said, if they refuse to sign for no other reason than they "just dont do that"......call an attorney and get your signature or sue.  The Local whatever does not write law, he is the tool of enforcement, and thus does not have the right to infringe on your ability to do something lawful.

And as far as the firearms trust thing......while slightly more convenient than an individual purchase, I still have my reservations.  A trust is a legal tool that can be dissolved in a moments notice, thus putting your firearms into limbo while a bureaucrat decides where they go.  A dirt-bag admin like the obamas could easily instruct the atf to make trusts an unrecognizable form of buyer and could put your purchases in legal limbo.
Link Posted: 6/14/2011 8:47:00 PM EDT



Originally Posted By sanman28:


If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.



110% wrong. In Virginia, I can own anything class 3, and our local Chief WILL NOT SIGN. Hiring a lawyer would be a waste of time and money as he's entirely within his rights to do so.



 
Link Posted: 6/14/2011 8:51:00 PM EDT



Originally Posted By sanman28:



There is nothing here that is subject to any interpretation or opinion and its in plain English.  Like I said, if they refuse to sign for no other reason than they "just dont do that"......call an attorney and get your signature or sue.



You're not quoting a law that has to be followed by Chief LEOs; you're quoting guidelines from federal paperwork. You can't sue, nearly all Chief LEOs, in nearly all locales, can do as they please with regards to signing or not. Just because you're _allowed_ to own it under state laws, doesn't in any way mean they _have_ to sign it.





 
Link Posted: 6/15/2011 5:17:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2011 5:27:11 AM EDT by sanman28]
Originally Posted By CyberSEAL:

Originally Posted By sanman28:
If state/local law allows and your not under investigation, he has no legal authority not to sign off.

110% wrong. In Virginia, I can own anything class 3, and our local Chief WILL NOT SIGN. Hiring a lawyer would be a waste of time and money as he's entirely within his rights to do so.
 


Than you should have no problem naming the "right" or authority he is exercising over you and where he got it.  Im sure you asked him right?  Individuals have the same right to own class 3 as a Trust, and in most place, more of a right.  There is no legal justification to form some fake entity so that you can buy something without having to go through a CLEO that refuses to tell the ATF if he has  reason to believe the purchaser will do something illegal.  While it might be convenient to claim im 110% wrong b/c you have one of these CLEO that doesnt know what he is doing......your just proving my point.

Link Posted: 6/15/2011 5:19:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By CyberSEAL:

Originally Posted By sanman28:

There is nothing here that is subject to any interpretation or opinion and its in plain English.  Like I said, if they refuse to sign for no other reason than they "just dont do that"......call an attorney and get your signature or sue.

You're not quoting a law that has to be followed by Chief LEOs; you're quoting guidelines from federal paperwork. You can't sue, nearly all Chief LEOs, in nearly all locales, can do as they please with regards to signing or not. Just because you're _allowed_ to own it under state laws, doesn't in any way mean they _have_ to sign it.

 


I think your failing to read.  Its NOT a permission slip from the CLEO.  There is no such permission slip in existence.  Them turning it into a permission slip is the problem. A simple question put forth by the ATF. is all it is.
Link Posted: 6/15/2011 6:26:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/15/2011 6:28:45 AM EDT by Shermantor-AR15]
Originally Posted By sanman28:
There is nothing here that is subject to any interpretation or opinion and its in plain English.  Like I said, if they refuse to sign for no other reason than they "just dont do that"......call an attorney and get your signature or sue.  The Local whatever does not write law, he is the tool of enforcement, and thus does not have the right to infringe on your ability to do something lawful.

From the ATF's website:
Q: Is the chief law enforcement officer required to sign the law enforcement certification on ATF Form 1 or ATF Form 4?
No, law enforcement officers can be compelled to sign the law enforcement certification under Federal or State law. However, ATF will not approve an application to make or transfer a firearm on ATF Forms 1 or 4 unless the law enforcement certification is completed by an acceptable law enforcement official who has signed the certification in the space indicated on the form. See “What law enforcement officials’ certifications on an application to transfer or make an NFA weapon are acceptable to ATF?” for more information.

Only TN has a state law, that states the CLEO is compelled to PROCESS the paperwork not sign it.  Alread been one court case that says they only have to process it under a certain time limit and they can write on it that they refuse to sign, and that is considered processing it.

And to point out something about trying to sue.
Someone has tried to sue, and the decision was basically the CLEO is under no obligation to sign ATF Form 1's or Form 4's, and the problem is the ATF has a list of others that can sign.  Those that sued did not try everyone possible on the list before suing.  They only sued because the CLEO wouldn't sign.  At the bottom read the bolded paragraph.  

This used to be linked in the FAQ in the general NFA section.  I'll post the link below but the orginal site I remember reading it can't get to for some reason, but it's some of the best info out there if you are going to get into the NFA arena.

Below is from this link: http://fullautofun.homestead.com/page36.html

Written by James O. Bardwell

The below process is what the law and ATF regulations contemplate as the way to get a signoff, if you need one.

Step 1: You ask the following persons if they would sign; the local chief of police, the local sheriff, the local district (prosecuting) attorney, the chief of the state police, and the state Attorney General. The CLEO can delegate the signing duty, for his convenience. Insist they refuse in writing, if that is what they will do. You may be surprised, one might sign. Assume they all refuse. That list of persons comes from 27 CFR sec. 179.85, which is the regulation that created the law enforcement certification requirement for Form 4's. 27 CFR sec. 179.63 is the companion regulation for Form 1's. It is NOT in any statute passed by Congress. Although not listed, and ATF will NOT designate federal officials as also acceptable (see below) other persons whose certification has been acceptable in the recent past include; local U.S. Attorney's, local federal judges, local U.S. Marshals, and local F.B.I. agents. Other local federal law enforcement agents might also work, like DEA or ATF (imagine accepting their own certification!) or Secret Service. The federal law enforcement agents should probably be in a supervisory capacity, like the head of the field office or similar post.


It is helpful, in general, to quote the certification text, that is what you are asking them to certify. For a Form 4 it reads, "I certify that I am the chief law enforcement officer of the organization named below having jurisdiction in the area of residence of (name of transferee). I have no information that the transferee will use the firearm or device described on this application for other than lawful purposes. I have no information indicating that the receipt and/or possession of the firearm described in item 4 of this form would place the transferee in violation of State or local law."


Step 2: Copy the refusal letters, and send the copies to the NFA Branch of ATF. Ask them to designate other persons whose signature would be acceptable, as the ones listed in the regulation would not sign. They are required to do this by the same regulation, it is the safety valve for when none of the designated persons will sign. ATF will almost certainly say that they will accept the certification of a state judge who has jurisdiction over where you live (same as the chief, D.A. and sheriff in step 1, they have to have jurisdiction over where you live) and who is a judge of a court of general jurisdiction, that is a trial court that can (by law) hear any civil or criminal case. No limit as to dollar amount in civil cases, or type of crime in criminal cases. No small claims court or traffic court type judges, in other words. Let's assume they refuse.


Step 3: get back to ATF, Send them copies of the rejection letters, and ask that they accept a letter of police clearance, or a police letter saying you have no criminal record/history with them, in lieu of the certification, together with your certification that you are OK, and that the weapon would be legal for you to have where you live. They will either respond OK, or with more persons to try. If you reach the point where they will not accept the police clearance letter, and not designate someone who has not turned you down, you can sue, if the certification is for a Form 1, or the transferor (seller) on a Form 4 can sue.


There are two cases on this issue. The first is Steele v. NFA Branch, 755 F.2d 1410 (11th Cir. 1985), where the 11th circuit federal appeals court said a person trying to transfer a gun to one who was otherwise eligible to own the gun, but could not get the certification from anyone acceptable to ATF, could sue to force the transfer without it. In the case Steele (the transferor in a Form 4 transfer) had not asked everyone acceptable to ATF, as well as not alleged, as part of his case, that the potential transferee was otherwise eligible by law to own the weapon, and the case was disposed of on those grounds. Note that the version of the regulation creating the certification requirement, reproduced in the footnotes of this case, has a different list of acceptable persons. After some were sued in connection with this case, all the federal law enforcement officials were removed from the regulation. Correspondence from ATF indicates they will not designate any federal officials as other acceptable persons either. The Steele decision was followed in the case Westfall v. Miller, 77 F.3d 868 (5th Cir. 1996), in which a transferee, not transferor, sued over non-approval of a Form 4 without the certification. Again Westfall did not ask everyone listed in the regulation. Again his case was thrown out for lack of standing. The court said they could not tell if the reason he couldn't get the gun was an illegal requirement, the signoff, or his own failure to try and get a signoff.

This certification is not really a big deal for the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) making it, and it DOES NOT expressly make the CLEO legally responsible for the weapon or your use of it, or its theft. I have not heard of any successful case against a CLEO for signing the certification for a gun that was criminally misused. That is, in my opinion, a spurious excuse for not signing. There is even a case addressing this issue, Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282 (6th Cir. 1994). The estate of a drug dealer murdered by an off duty Dayton, Ohio, police officer with his personally owned "Mac-11" machine gun sued the city that employed the cop. One of the grounds for suit was the police chief's having signed the transfer paperwork for the murder weapon. The court held that that claim should have been dismissed by the trial court; without a showing that somehow the act of signing was negligent, (under Ohio law) and led to the harm (murder) complained of, there was no cause of action. Signing the form was not negligent in itself, nor was it a reckless or wanton act, as the trial court claimed the plaintiff could try to prove at trial. Although this case is only directly binding on the area of the 6th circuit, and need not bind state courts, the court recognized what common sense, and the certification say, the person signing does not open himself up to any liability by doing so.


The case is something to which you can point a CLEO who claims to refuse to do the signoff because of liability. Incidentally Stephen Halbrook, a leading lawyer in gun rights cases, and a longtime lawyer for the NRA, as well as an author, says in a note in Machine Gun News (3/95) this case is the only instance of a registered machine gun being criminally misused by its registered owner he is aware of. And it was by a police officer.


The key to getting the LE certification is persistence.


Link Posted: 6/16/2011 6:56:20 PM EDT
Why have a cover letter at all? I just walk in the door and ask to see the Sheriff. The secretary asks "what for", and I say "I need him to sign some NFA forms". She says "OK" with a confused look on her face and I walk into his office with her. It takes about 5 minutes of Hi, how ya doing and a handshake and I'm done.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 7:01:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/20/2011 7:05:07 AM EDT by Lancelot]
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 5:28:30 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lancelot:
In Colorado it is very common for a sheriff to refuse to sign off. If he refuses, nobody else in that county will sign off, if they could. The county sheriff's are adamant that the federal government can not tell them what to do, and they apparently have case law to back that up. So in those counties, you have to go the trust or corporation route.

There is also a well publicized video on you-tube where an Arizona sheriff makes the case that the federal government can not tell a sheriff what to do, an the authority they have supersedes the federal government. He cites the law and the reason that is so.

Link



2 things....

Case law precident is not law.  Just b/c something has been decided before does not make settled law.

A trust or a corp does NOT have legal superiority over an individual in this circumstance......at least there is nothing that says its supposed to.  Unfortunately the CLEO's refusal to simply indicate that he does or does not have any info that would restrict the purchase, has made this a defacto rule for the time being.  IMO, there will be a court case and that will be the end of the trust/corp route.  After that you WILL see many lawsuits against CLEOs that refuse.
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