Good advice on suppressors

80% Silencers, the Political Ramifications of Mass Ownership is a bit old but I found it very informative. Some of the more interesting takeaways (emphasis added) are:

Purchasing or legally making a firearms silencer is one of the most effective steps a Second Amendment supporter can take to undermine the National Firearms Act and incrementally restore Second Amendment rights. Second Amendment supporters are well on the way to removing the NFA through an unusual tool: Overwhelming compliance.

Once silencers become common enough so they do not draw immediate attention at the range or in the field, we have the ingredients for victory.

At that point, a law enforcement officer will not have reasonable suspicion to inspect a silencer and to demand information to prove the silencer is legal and registered. Such demands would violate the First and Fourth Amendments.

An important part of this structure is a practice I have seen on a number of Youtube videos. The manufacturer information and serial number of the silencer pictured is covered. The information is there; it is simply not available to casual inspection or to the public. Removal of the cover is a search, requiring probable cause or a warrant. Do not grant permission for law enforcement to remove the cover.

I have heard of numerous incidents where local law enforcement officers have contacted the ATF about mere possession of silencers, short-barreled rifles, or short-barreled shotguns, only to be told the ATF is not interested unless there is another crime involved.

This is anecdotal. It indicates enforcement of mere possession of silencers may not be a high priority for the ATF.


5 thoughts on “Good advice on suppressors

  1. Legally local and State law enforcement do not have the right to demand you produce your Form 4 or be able to inspect your suppressor for compliance. That is a Federal function and only the BATFE and IRS (the Form 4 being a tax document) have the legal right to demand immediate compliance. Any police officer asking you to prove you own the suppressor legally actually lacks the jurisdiction or probable cause to make that demand as it is a Federal matter.

    We produce the NFA paperwork for ranges to gain access but that is a private function. A condition of range use. I am free to not comply and not use their facility.

    My suppressor has a Cole-Tac cover and matching pouch for transport and handling. The manufacturer information, model and serial number are not visible at all.

    The question is: Who wants to be the test case?

    • Thanks Matt. Absolutely correct. I forgot that NFA tax stamps are private tax information. Imagine a local cop asking for your 1040 form?

    • Matt; while those are federal tax records, making such a blanket statement is – to be gracious – problematic.
      There are states that still ban NFA firearms, with an exception being if they are legally possessed under Federal law.

      Thus local LE does have jurisdiction and thus does have the legal ‘right’ (actually power, but that’s for another day) to demand compliance.

      Since the only way a person can prove legal possession, on their own, is by producing an approved NFA form, or a ‘reasonable facsimile thereof’, the alternative is deciding that the free ride to the graybar hotel is worth the time that LE will take to contact ATF, and let them unravel things at their convenience.

      Now you can decide to ROWYBS, but if you live in, or visit, a state with such a law, don’t complain if you run into that brick wall.

  2. It should be noted also. States like Idaho have passed laws that do not allow state employees to enforce federal NFA laws. Or spend state money on it at all.
    This stops police dead in their tracks. If their going to enforce federal NFA laws. Why not the federal immigration laws? Or thousands of other federal felonies the commie’s commit on a daily basis?
    And the fed would never be able to enforce NFA on it’s own.

    • Yes, some states have done that. My home state has recently done such, and more power to our legislature.
      But, that doesn’t include all the states that even, for all intents, have little to nothing to do with legal possession of NFA.

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