How to fill out Silencer & SBR Fingerprint Cards

How to fill out Silencer & SBR Fingerprint Cards


How to Complete Fingerprints

Every time you buy or build a Silencer, SBR, or other NFA Firearm, the FBI conducts a background investigation on each of the Responsible Persons in your Gun Trust. In addition to looking at criminal history, the FBI investigators check each Responsible Person’s fingerprints for matches in the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) Database.

The IAFIS database is a massive collection of millions of fingerprints. You may already be in the IAFIS database for any number of reasons. For instance: If you previously submitted a Silencer or SBR application to the ATF, if you work in certain areas of government, or if you are the head of a major criminal enterprise and you forgot to wear nitrile gloves during your last heist; it’s likely that you are already in the IAFIS system.


40% of all Silencer and SBR applications are delayed or denied

common errorsAccording to the ATF October 2019 FFL Newsletter, approximately 40% of all Silencer and SBR applications are delayed or denied. That’s a surprisingly large number, but the real shock is the reason for the delays and denials. Nearly all applications get delayed or denied because of incomplete or incorrect application information. And… fingerprint cards are at the top of the chart, just below missing photographs. FYI: ‘Head of a major criminal enterprise’ didn’t even make the list.

common errors 2


Fingerprints are excessively complicated

It seems that every stage of the ATF application process is designed to be difficult, and it’s no different when it comes to the fingerprint cards. There are almost no resources on the ATF website explaining the fingerprint process; and the directions on the Form 23 (Responsible Person Questionnaire) are as good as useless.

Because there aren’t any other resources available, you are forced to turn to the internet for help. And, while the internet can be a great resource for most things, that simply isn’t case when it comes to fingerprints. In fact, most articles about fingerprints are so chock-full of misleading, inaccurate, and outdated information; it’s no wonder 40% of applications get rejected. There is even one website that says:

"If you take your own fingerprints, you should have a friend sign where it says
Signature of Official Taking Fingerprints."
Apparently, the guy that wrote that article is unaware that fraud is a felony. Remember that whole "head of a major criminal enterprise" thing? If you weren’t already in the IAFIS system, just follow the directions from that website and you’re guaranteed a spot in the Federal Criminal Database.
So, in order to keep you out of the clink,
The Trust Shop presents
How to fill out NFA Fingerprint Cards.”
Step 1 – Find the correct fingerprint cards
The ATF requires all prints to be submitted on FBI Form FD-258 Fingerprint Cards. There are several places you can find the correct cards:
  Law Enforcement Agencies
Some law enforcement agencies use the FD-258 Fingerprint Cards. Typically, they will give you the cards and take your fingerprints for $10 – $15
  ATF Document Distribution Center
fingerprint order formYou can order cards from the ATF Document Distribution Center by completing the Document Order Form. When filling out the form you should check the box that says Fingerprint Cards. Then, select FD-258 LE – NFA, Imports ORI WVATF0800 from the list of choices, as the other choices have the incorrect ORI number (we’ll cover ORI later).
fingerprint order forms
fd-258 directionsThe cards are free, but it usually takes about 10 days to receive them in the mail. Unfortunately, you don’t get any directions, instructions, or explanations of any kind. There is a bit of info on the back of the cards, but it’s sole purpose is inducinc seizures.
fd-258 direction
  The Trust Shop
Your 3rd (and best) option is to eliminate the confusion altogether by ordering pre-filled cards from the Trust Shop. Just answer a few biometric questions (Height, Weight, Hair Color, etc.) and we’ll do the rest. The only thing you need to do is get fingerprinted. And, if you want to take your own prints, we have a Complete FIngerprint Kit that has everything you need to do it yourself.
Step 2 – Fill out the top half of the FD-258 Fingerprint Cards
Because the FBI Form FD-258 Fingerprint Cards are used for many different agencies, organizations, & institutions, the cards have some fields that don’t apply to people buying or building Silencers & SBRs. Some of the fields are for government agencies only, while others are for the private sector, and then there are the fields that nobody seems to know what they are used for. For example:
FD-258 OCA
Which of your numbers are they looking for? Do they want your lucky Power Ball numbers, your debit card pin number, or your hip, waist, & bust measurements? To make matters worse, there aren’t any directions on the fingerprint cards… Or the Responsible Person Questionnaire… Or the ATF website. There isn’t anything to tell you whether or not the fields need to be filled out when buying & building a Silencers & SBRs.
So what do the fields mean, and what info is required?
Nearly every other "How to fill out Fingerprints" article gets it wrong!
The ATF ultimately decides whether or not to approve your Silencer or SBR Application, so your fingerprint cards need to meet ATF guidelines. However, as the FBI will be processing your prints, you also need to comply with their guidelines for completing your cards. It’s because of these dueling guidelines that nearly every other "How to fill out Fingerprints" article gets it wrong! Most of the website articles we reviewed simply cut & paste the information from the FBI website, while completely ignoring the National Firearms Act Handbook. But, each agency has its own requirements.
You MUST comply with both ATF & FBI guidelines. If any of FBI’s required fields are unanswered (or incorrectly answered), the FBI will not process your fingerprints. If any of the ATF’s required fields are unanswered (or incorrectly answered), the ATF will not process your Silencer or SBR Application. Between the two agencies, the required fields (not counting the fingerprint impressions) are:
Name, Signature of Person Fingerprinted, Residence of Person Fingerprinted,Date, Signature of Official Taking Fingerprints, Reason Fingerprinted, Aliases, Citizenship, Social Security Number, ORI, Sex, Race, Height, Weight, Eye Color, Hair Color, Date of Birth, & Place of Birth.
A complete list of our Resources can be found at the bottom of this page
Now that we know which fields are required, we need to figure out how to enter our information in the correct format. Let’s go through the fields one at a time using the following diagram.
FD-258 numbers
1. Name
Your name must be entered in the Last, First Middle Suffix format. For example: If your name is Jonathan Doe Smith III, you should enter:
FD-258 Name
2. Signature of Person Fingerprinted
This is where you enter your signature. If you sign your name differently than the way you entered it in the NAME Field, you will need to add your signature name to the ALIASES field (see item 7. ALIASES for a more detailed description).
FD-258 Signature of person fingerprinted
3. Residence of Person Fingerprinted
Enter your complete home address. Make sure to include: Street, City, State, & Zip Code. You shouldn’t use a PO Box address, as you can’t use POB’s on your Form 1 or 4 Application.
FD-258 Residence of Person Fingerprinted
4. Date
Enter the date that you get fingerprinted. The format for the date is MM/DD/YYYY. For example: If you complete your fingerprint card on January 1, 2020, you should enter 01/01/2020.
5. Signature of Official Taking Prints
The person taking your fingerprints should sign their name in this field.
The title of this field (Signature of Official Taking Prints) creates a lot of confusion, as it implies that you must be fingerprinted by some kind of "Official." But that simply isn’t the case. You have to remember that these same cards are used for many different situations. For example, these same cards are used for Federal Explosives Licenses and federal employment background investigations, both of which require prints to be taken by a law enforcement agency. However, when buying or building a Silencer or SBR, you do not need to have your prints completed by a law enforcement agency. It is perfectly okay to take your own fingerprints. See "Step 3 – Fill out the Fingerprint portion of the FD-258 Cards" for more information.
6. Reason Fingerprinted
You can enter ATF Application, NFA Application, Form 1 Application (if building a Silencer or SBR), or Form 4 Application (if buying a Silencer or SBR). All of these reasons are acceptable.
FD-258 Reason Fingerprinted
7. Aliases
If you have ever used a different name you need to enter that name here. For example: If you have a maiden name or a prior married name you no longer use, each of those names must be entered here. If you have been married more than once and have had multiple different last names, each of those names need to be entered here.
Note: if you sign your card (in the "Signature of Person Fingerprinted" field) using anything other than your full legal name (as it appears in the "Name" field), you need to add your signature name to the "Aliases" field. For example: If your full legal name is Jonathan Doe Smith III, but you sign your card John Smith, you need to enter JOHN SMITH in the "Aliases" field.
FD-258 Aliases
8. Citizenship
Enter "U.S." in this field.
9. Social Security Number
The format of your SSN should be 1st three numbers hyphen(-) next two numbers hyphen(-) last four numbers. For example:
FD-258 SSN
10. ORI
ORI stands for Originating Agency Identifier. This field tells the FBI where they should send the results of your background investigation. Because you are buying or building a Silencer or SBR, the results of your background investigation need to go to the ATF, so you enter the ATF’s Originating Agency Identifier in this field. The ORI for the ATF should be entered like this:
FD-258 ORI
Note: One thing that confuses a lot of people is that the ORI uses the ATF’s Martinsburg, WV address, but Silencer & SBR Applications are mailed to the ATF’s Portland, Oregon location. Don’t worry, it isn’t a mistake. The feds were looking for a way to justify charging $200 per Silencer & SBR Application, so they built some nice new offices in the great North West. Now, instead of processing your entire application in one place, it gets mailed back and forth across the country a few times. Maybe that’s why it can take up to a year to process an application.
11. Sex
The following is a list of the FBI approved entries for Sex:
Description Code
Male M
Female F
Female Print, Male Reference G
Male Print, Female Reference N
Male, Unreported Y
Female, Unreported Z
Unknown X
Select the description that best describes you, then enter the corresponding Code on your fingerprint cards. For example: if you are a male, you should enter:
FD-258 Sex
12. Race
The following is a list of the FBI approved entries for Race:
Description Code
White, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. W
Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Polynesian, Indian, Indonesian, Asian Indian, Samoan, or other Pacific Islander A
Black B
American Indian, Eskimo, or Alaskan Native I
Indeterminable Race U
Select the description that best describes your Race, then enter the corresponding Code on your fingerprint cards. For example: if you are an Eskimo, you should enter:
FD-258 Race
13. Height
Enter your height in feet and inches, using one digit for feet and 2 digits for inches. Do not enter fractions of an inch. For example: If you are 6 feet 1.3 inches tall, you should enter:
FD-258 Height
14. Weight
Enter your weight in pounds. Do not enter fractions of a pound. For example: If you weigh 180.4 pounds, you should enter:
FD-258 Weight
15. Eyes
The following is a list of the FBI approved entries for Eye Color:
Description Code
BLACK BLK
BLUE BLU
BROWN BRO
GRAY GRY
GREEN GRN
HAZEL HAZ
MAROON MAR
Select the description that best describes your Eye Color, then enter the corresponding Code on your fingerprint cards. For example: if your eyes are Brown, you should enter:
FD-258 Eyes
16. Hair
The following is a list of the FBI approved entries for Hair Color:
Description Code
BALD BLD
BLACK BLK
BLONDE (or strawberry) BLN
BLUE BLU
BROWN BRO
GREEN GRN
GRAY (or partially gray) GRY
ORANGE ONG
PURPLE PLE
PINK PNK
RED (or auburn) RED
SANDY SDY
WHITE WHI
Select the description that best describes your Hair Color, then enter the corresponding Code on your fingerprint cards. For example: if your hair is Gray, you should enter:
FD-258 Hair
17. Date of Birth
Enter your date of birth in MM/DD/YYYY format. For example: If you were born on January 30, 1971, you would enter:
FD-258 dob
18. Place of Birth
Enter the name of the State where you were born. For example: if you were born in Phoenix, Arizona, you would enter:
FD-258 date of birth
If you weren’t born in the United States, enter the name of the Country where you were born. For example: if you were born in Queensland, Australia, you would enter:
FD-258 POB
Step 3 – Fill out the Fingerprint portion of the FD-258 Cards
FD-258 Place of Birth
Do I need to have the cops take my prints?
The number 1 question we receive about completing the fingerprint cards is: " Do my prints need to be taken by a law enforcement agency? " Of course, as with the rest of the Silencer & SBR Application process, the ATF’s directions aren’t clear. Here is the only thing the Responsible Person Questionnaire says about fingerprints:
The responsible person shall submit, in duplicate with the ATF copy of this form, his or her fingerprints on FBI Form FD-258 and the fingerprints must be clear for accurate classification and taken by someone properly equipped to take them.
So right about now you are asking: "What does properly equipped mean?" A person or agency is properly equipped to take fingerprints if they:
  Have the correct fingerprint cards;
  Have the proper fingerprint ink pad; &
  Have some wet wipes for cleaning inky fingers.
That means, you can go to your local Police Department or Sheriff’s Office to get printed, or you can do it yourself.
Most law enforcement agencies charge $5 to $10 to take fingerprints. But call before you go in, as many departments will only take your prints one day a week or "by appointment only". If you are really lucky, you live near an agency that will let you walk in anytime. But, it’s always a good idea to call ahead, just to verify their fingerprinting policy.
The other option is to take you own fingerprints. Doing it yourself is perfectly legal and much less of a hassle. Especially when you use the Trust Shop Complete Fingerprint Kit. All you need to do is answer a few simple biometric questions (Height, Weight, Hair Color, etc.), and we’ll send you everything you need.
The Trust Shop Complete Fingerprint Kit includes:
•  Four FD-258 Fingerprint Cards with all of your information preprinted on the top half of the cards
•  Portable Fingerprint card holder
•  Professional fingerprint pad (produces up to 500 prints)
•  Comprehensive instructions on how to properly add your prints to the cards
•  10 FBI approved correction tabs (used to cover up mistakes)
•  2 practice fingerprint cards, so you can take a few test runs before taking your final prints
•  And, if you mess up (you won’t, but just in case), we give you an additional 5th fingerprint card
Fingerprint Kit
For more information on the Trust Shop Complete Fingerprint Kit, you can click the button below.
Trust Shop Complete Fingerprint Kit
If you decide to take your own prints, here’s how it’s done:
1. Clean your hands with soap and water, then allow them to dry completely.
2. Place one of your fingerprint cards in the fingerprint card holder. Position the card to make the boxes visible that are for your right hand fingers (R. Thumb, R. Index, R. Middle, R. Ring, & R. Little)
Fingerprint Step 2
3. Start by rolling your right thumb on the ink pad so your entire fingerprint pattern is evenly covered with ink. The ink should cover your thumb from one edge of the nail to the other; and from the crease of the first joint to the tip of your thumb.
4. Now hover the left side of your thumb above the box labeled R. Thumb. Lower your thumb until it touches the left side of the box (the one that says R. Thumb) and roll it all the way across to the other side. When you finish rolling your thumb, lift it away from the card by pulling straight up. If you move your thumb in any other direction, the ink will smear, and your print will be smudged.
Fingerprints Step 4
5. Use a wet wipe to clean your thumb.
6. Repeat the steps 3 – 6 for each of right hand fingers. Remember, you always want to work from left to right, in order to avoid smudging your prints.
Fingerprints Step 6
7. When you are finished printing all 5 fingers of your right hand, it’s time to reposition your fingerprint card. Slide the card up until the boxes for your left hand fingers (L. Thumb, L. Index, L. Middle, L. Ring, & L. Little) are centered in the card holder.
Fingerprints Step 7
8. Repeat steps 3 – 6 for each of the fingers on your left hand. Remember, you always want to work from left to right, in order to avoid smudging your prints.
Fingerprints Step 8
9. When you are finished printing all 5 fingers of your left hand, it’s time to reposition your fingerprint card. Slide the card up until the bottom row if centered in the card holder (Left Four Fingers Taken Simultaneously, L. Thumb, R. Thumb, & Right Four Fingers Taken Simultaneously).
Fingerprints Step 9
10. Roll each of your left hand fingers (not your thumb) on the ink pad so the entire fingerprint pattern of all 4 fingers is evenly covered with ink. The ink should cover each finger from one edge of the nail to the other; and from the crease of the second joint all the way to the tip.
11. Now hold all four fingers together and hover them above the box labeled Left Four Fingers Taken Simultaneously at a 45-degree angle. Lower your fingers until they touch the box (the one that says R. Thumb) and push straight down. Do not roll your fingers. Now, use your right hand to reach over and gently push down on your left fingers. Lift your fingers away from the card by pulling straight up.
Fingerprints Step 11
12. Thoroughly clean all four fingers.
13. Roll your left thumb on the ink pad so the entire fingerprint pattern is evenly covered with ink. The ink should cover your thumb from one edge of the nail to the other; and from the crease of the second joint all the way to the tip.
Fingerprints Step 13
14. Now hover your thumb above the box labeled L. Thumb, but this time don’t hold it at a 45-degree angle. Lower your thumb until it touches the L. Thumb box and push straight down. Do not roll your thumb. Now, use your right hand to reach over and gently push down on left thumb. Lift your thumb away from the card by pulling straight up.
15. Repeat the process for your right thumb.
16. Finally, repeat step 11 for your right four fingers.
Fingerprints Step 10
If you make a mistake, you can cover it up with an adhesive retab, then reprint the finger on top of the retab. But, keep in mind, you can only use two retabs per fingerprint block, so if you screw up on the second tab, you will need to start from scratch using a new card.
Answers to FAQ’s about Fingerprint Cards
Each Responsible Person in your Gun Trust needs to submit two fingerprint cards.
Attach both copies of the fingerprint cards to the ATF Copy of the Form 23 with a paper clip. Do not staple your cards to the form.
Only attach the cards to the ATF Copy of the Form 23. Your 2nd Form 23 is for the CLEO and you do not attach fingerprints to the CLEO copy.

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List of Sources:
National Firearms Act Handbook Chapter 6.2.3
Federal Bureau of Investigation CJIS Department
Fingerprints and Other Biometrics
Capturing Legible FIngerprints
Recording Legible Fingerprints
Guidelines for Preparation of Fingerprint Cards
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
ATF Form 5320.1 Application to Make and Register a Firearm
ATF Form 5320.4 Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm
ATF Form 5320.23 National Firearms Act (NFA) Responsible Person Questionnaire
ATF – General 41F Questions & Answers
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