SayUncle notes that there’s a rumor circulating that ATF is going to eliminate the CLEO signoff requirement for Title II firearms. He’s skeptical it will happen. I’d also say it’s unlikely, but I’ll lend the idea some credence. In NRA’s Firearms Law Seminar last year, one of ATF’s lawyers mentioned that they are overwhelmed by the number of NFA trusts they need to review and check up on, to make sure they are all proper, and were looking for ways to alleviate the problem. It’s quite possible, in an attempt to reduce the amount of trusts they have to review, ATF is looking to ease the conventional transfer process, so fewer NFA owners resort to using trusts.
Trusts make a lot of sense in some circumstances, but they are often resorted to because CLEO sign-off is unavailable, in circumstances where a standard transfer would suffice. I would suspect the vast majority of trusts are for items like suppressors and short barreled rifles, rather than machine guns. I would love to help ATF eliminate this backlog by deregulating both of these items, but that’s something only Congress can do.