This morning at midnight eastern, the federal government “shut down.” Well, except not really. You see, only “non-essential” services were shut down, like National Parks, NASA, etc. The DoD is still going, and the IRS is still going albeit in a reduced capacity. The mail will get delivered and you can still get your passport, but it might take a while longer. The NSA is still reading your email (hi guys) and Congress is still basically worthless.
However, the shutdown can affect gun owners in a number of ways. First, the good news: The National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS) will remain operational. Here is the quick rundown of how the government shutdown will affect the firearms industry:
- NICS: As mentioned above, NICS will remain operational. Regular transactions at your local gun shop shouldn’t be affected. Slowdowns and delays are possible, but unlikely.
- FFL Paperwork: If you recently filed FFL paperwork and having heard anything back from the BATFE, don’t hold your breath. Processing FFL applications is not considered an essential part of the BATFE’s mission, and that function will likely be suspended during the shutdown.
- NFA Paperwork: You thought the delay on NFA paperwork was bad now? It’s just going to get worse, as NFA items are even less essential to BATFE than processing FFL applications.
- Hunting: if you have a hunt planned on federally owned land, you may or may not be able to gain access to that land to conduct your hunt. This varies on a case by case basis, so double check your hunting area to be sure.
- Travelling to a match/event: Air traffic controllers and TSA will continue to operate, so you should be able to make it to and from your events. The TSA will continue to grope your private parts and steal stuff out of your luggage.
Hopefully if you’re reading this, you’re not one of the 800,000 people who has been furloughed, and if so the entire team here at Gun Nuts sincerely hopes you get back to work soon. Obviously, the current government shutdown isn’t about people, but the politics of Washington DC. If you’re aware of any other ways that the shutdown will affect the firearms community, let us know in the comments.