Suppressors Will suppressors be stamp free in the near future?!

culater

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Things Are Getting Real For The BATFE’s Firearms Technology Branch
Sometimes, you can get to know a bit about someone by taking a peek at their shopping list.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was served a lawsuit last week by SIG Sauer. This suit immediately followed ATF’s public chastising from a judge in a similar case brought by Innovative Arms (both cases where muzzle brakes were submitted for testing and classification and deemed “silencers” by the ATF, but no decibel reduction testing was provided to back up their determinations). It might be of interest to other muzzle device manufacturers (and possibly the legal team at SIG Sauer) that ATF themselves this month has admitted that their own sound testing equipment “…has reached end of life and requires an upgrade.” and has issued a sole-source solicitation to purchase a new “computer controlled firearm silencer testing system” from a Virginia-based Bruel & Kjaer representative that custom built ATF’s last system in 2005.


Click to view .pdf



Recently, ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch claimed that Innovator Enterprises, Inc.’s Stabilizer Brake was a highly-restricted silencer, even though the manufacturer’s intent was to make a freely-sold, unregulated recoil device. The ATF’s determination, however, was shot down with no small amount of candor by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia when Innovator Enterprises sued the ATF over the mischaracterization. District Judge John Bates’ commentary read that the ATF’s “decision to classify the Stabilizer Brake as a ‘firearm silencer’ is ‘arbitrary and capricious’ for at least two reasons: the agency failed to ‘articulate a satisfactory explanation’ for its decision and the agency failed to ‘examine the relevant data’ before coming to a final conclusion.”

The Court noted that the ATF did not provide any proof or determination of the Stabilizer brake’s ability to reduce noise, but gave FTB the benefit of the doubt by assuming “Although the FTB (Firearms Technology Branch) utilizes state-of-the-art sound metering equipment, these tests do not affect the classification of any item.” But ATF themselves, in what may wind up being an unfortunately-timed admission from them in any upcoming court cases, gives justification of their purchase by admitting that their sound metering equipment is actually not “state-of-the-art” but rather “has reached end of life.”

The Court goes even further to question the history of “what exactly Congress was concerned about in deciding to regulate silencers at the federal level”, and points out a study showing that “The 1934 congressional debates [over what became the National Firearms Act] provide no explanation about why silencers were licensed” in the first place.

The ATF’s National Firearms Act Branch is incredibly overworked and understaffed. It is constantly inundated with tens of thousands of silencer transfers, and is currently dealing with the frustrations of a contractor’s failed e-Forms website (that was supposed to help ease their workload and speed the processing times of these transfers). Add the issue of being repeatedly sued over arbitrary determinations – on what is not even a firearm to begin with, but rather a harmless noise-pollution reduction device – it is certainly a ripe time for Congress to assess if suppressors should be removed from the purview of the NFA entirely.

- Kel Whelan

Kel Whelan has spent decades working NFA issues, and is well known to many in the firearms industry. Plus, he can always recommend a great place to eat.



Tags: BAFTE, Kel Whelan

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 10:00 and is filed under 2A, Industry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed
 
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ZombieMonkey

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As much as they should be delisted, I do not foresee it ever happening. I wouldn't hold my breath...
 

BoilerUP

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I think most of us would be over the moon if we could pay for and receive the stamp at point-of-sale.
 

Grumulkin

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They will never be removed.

You may be right but I think they will be removed.

In many countries where firearms are very much restricted, suppressors aren't restricted at all for lawful gun owners and in some places are even encouraged. Regulating suppressors as they are regulated is a stupid waste of manpower that accomplishes nothing significant. The fact that the BATFE makes such a big deal about them should be a bit embarassing to them.
 

missed

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I hope they come off. No different than a muffler on my truck.... Whether it happens or not I will be optimistic.

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Smcarroll

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The shit I would own if I could just pay the 200$ at the time of sale. I can get a duck stamp over the counter but getting a rifle with a 15" barrel takes a year. So sick of the federales.
 

orkan

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    The entire NFA system needs to be gutted.

    No one has a problem with the $200 tax, but EVERYONE has a problem with the 10-14 month wait. A right delayed is a right denied.

    Getting them de-listed will be a tough sell, but getting the form 4 process replaced with a NFA "license" would seem a logical place to start. Apply for a "license" and have that process take no longer than 6 months. Then after that, FFL's can run a check on the license using the existing NICS system at the time of purchase, and conduct business as is with every other firearm. Most suppressor owners I've talked with would be willing to compromise a lot in order to have a system like that in place.

    Typical government bullshit at play here. We're required by law to have a muffler on our vehicle... but are impeded at every step if we attempt to have one on our rifles.
     

    Smcarroll

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    The 200$ tax was implemented at a time when a full auto colt was 300$, making it prohibitivly high to purchase a nfa item. There has been talk of readjusting the tax to account for inflation.
     

    micah7488

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    Well if they did adjust for inflation that would stop quite a few from having so many items. $3500 per tax stamp would be cost prohibitive for some folks.
     

    cal50

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    Lots of politicians (lawmakers) dislike firearms and anything related to them and their use. The odds of anything being eased up already on the NFA list is wishful thinking.
    I would love to have stamp free cans but I have little faith in anyone in government making that happen.
     

    athhud

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    I honestly believe that they will be removed one day. Maybe not in my lifetime, but as they become more and more popular, the Hollywood stigma will fall by the wayside. There is a Louisiana congressman that is proposing that sbr/sbs be legal under state law. There have been several states that have recently allowed suppressed hunting this year. I don't think it is very far-fetched to assume that the non-full-auto side of the NFA will eventually become irrelevant. NFA stuff is gaining popularity very quickly. The BATFE is doing the exact opposite. Our government has already shown that it prefers to shut the doors on a defunct department as oppose to growing it. Maybe I'm just a dreamer though....


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    Smcarroll

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    In Wyoming and Montana we have freedom of firearms acts which allow us to use and posses many nfa items. Not many manufacturers willing to risk selling a can, they have too much to lose.
     

    mkollman74

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    Logic dictates they should be removed, but where power and tax dollars apply, logic rarely prevails. That is all...
     

    SilentG21

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    Tax free suppressors....? I highly doubt it. ..the gov makes too much money off of those $200 stamps to just say..."they dont need stamps". Great wishful thinking though.
     

    SilentG21

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    Tax free suppressors....? I highly doubt it. ..the gov makes too much money off of those $200 stamps to just say..."they dont need stamps". Great wishful thinking though.
     

    MagnumSecurity

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    You may be right but I think they will be removed.

    In many countries where firearms are very much restricted, suppressors aren't restricted at all for lawful gun owners and in some places are even encouraged. Regulating suppressors as they are regulated is a stupid waste of manpower that accomplishes nothing significant. The fact that the BATFE makes such a big deal about them should be a bit embarassing to them.

    I agree. However reasonable logic does not always rule. I would own a bunch of suppressors if I didn't have to go through the ridiculous hoops to get one. I would own more guns too.
     

    darthmeanstreak

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    The law will never change... at least not in our favor.

    In order to get the restrictions removed, the NFA must be amended. First, you need a politician with enough balls to float the idea and get enough interest that it makes it into committee - this would be hard enough in its own right. Not many politicians want that kind of publicity - the congressman/senator who "wants to legalize silencers." But let's say you can find one. THEN the bill has to make it out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. Of course, it must do this in both houses of congress, and then be signed by the President. I don't like being a pessimist, but I am a realist. I don't see this happening in today's political climate and I don't see the climate EVER getting more favorable to gun rights.
     

    orkan

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    Right... and who would ever support the cause of a group of people that can't be troubled to say anything publicly other than "It'll never happen."

    It's not like the NRA is on our side when it comes to suppressor ownership. If we don't start making moves to get our situation improved, no one is going to do so on our behalf.

    ... or do you all just really LOVE waiting a year to get a can?
     

    richidaho

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    The Fed law will not change. Some states are delisting the items but the Fed will just get more proactive not less. Can't let anyone have a Can. You might shot a cat or squire in you back yard.
     

    mike in pa

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    The 200$ tax was implemented at a time when a full auto colt was 300$, making it prohibitively high to purchase a NFA item. There has been talk of readjusting the tax to account for inflation.

    The Colt manufactured Thompson Sub Machine Gun was $200 (with compensator) that's why it's $200. If you had the money to buy the Tommy gun you could afford the transfer/stamp.

    The only people talking about adjusting for inflation are the keyboard commandos on the Internet. And yes $3500 per tax stamp, adjusted for inflation, would probably stop just about all NFA sales.
     

    Mike_Honcho

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    There has been talk of readjusting the tax to account for inflation.

    Adjusting for inflation $200 in 1934 = $3,526 in 2014 dollars.

    Can you cite who in government has mouthed this concept?



    And no, they will never be delisted. There is this little thing called 'pandering to constituents' that ensures the process remains intact.
     
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    supercorndogs

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    If too many of us believe or except the fact that things will never change, then they probably won't.

    word. people have to do things like writing their reps to get things changed. saying it will never change and giving up never changed a law. more and more suppressors sell each year. that is more people to take action.
     

    supercorndogs

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    The Fed law will not change. Some states are delisting the items but the Fed will just get more proactive not less. Can't let anyone have a Can. You might shot a cat or squire in you back yard.

    those darn squires are always getting in my yard 2002 Ragley Knight and Squire.JPG
     

    HodgdonExtreme

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    Tax free suppressors....? I highly doubt it. ..the gov makes too much money off of those $200 stamps to just say..."they dont need stamps". Great wishful thinking though.

    Not really.

    Even if the ATF did a million transfers a year, it's still only $200M per year. We should look up how much money we the taxpayers spend yearly funding tge BATFE, but I bet it's more than $200M.

    The $200 tax is a means of control not revenue.
     

    kapp_badbloodz

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    The reason they wont be taken off is because firearms and firearm related items dont "sell" votes. It is an unpopular debate and it wont put or keep you in office. Reform, however, is something everyone can agree on.

    tax them, run you through a system check, and bam... walk out the door. Once I got my CC permit in NC I was able to walk in and buy whatever handgun or firearm I wanted that wasnt an NFA item. Whoever made the suggestion for a license is pure genius.
     

    yellowfin

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    Tax free suppressors....? I highly doubt it. ..the gov makes too much money off of those $200 stamps to just say..."they dont need stamps". Great wishful thinking though.
    I'm not sure the amount of revenue they make off of cans is really all that significant. Perhaps if they processed stamps at point of sale it would add up b/c the volume sold would be 5000x higher, but not with it bottlenecked the way it is now.
     

    yellowfin

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    And no, they will never be delisted. There is this little thing called 'pandering to constituents' that ensures the process remains intact.
    The only politicians with any vested interest in keeping the NFA alive would be the Congressman whose district includes Martinsburg, WV, and that's only a few dozens people in the NFA branch. Conversely, there's multitudes more who have firearms companies in their districts, all of whom would benefit greatly from having suppressors delisted.
     

    oldolds442

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    point of sale tax stamps.......ncis check, pay $200, and walk out the door......why would that be so hard to sell to the public and politicians? why should a muffler be any harder to buy than a 500 S&W revolver, or an AR15?
     

    HodgdonExtreme

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    point of sale tax stamps.......ncis check, pay $200, and walk out the door......why would that be so hard to sell to the public and politicians? why should a muffler be any harder to buy than a 500 S&W revolver, or an AR15?

    Because John Q. Public doesn't know "silencers" are even legal at all. Same goes for machine guns.

    It would be a big can of worms if John Q. Public learned the truth of it.

    Not sure we'd win the popularity contest with the public...
     

    yellowfin

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    That depends on which segment of the public you're talking about. Gun owners are pretty numerous, and we're gaining numbers every day. Carry licenses are way up too, so it's not just a matter of heirloom safe queens or once a year out of the rack hunting stuff. We may have the demographics tilt our way within a decade or two to where improving NFA matters may not be off the table anymore.
     

    Dogtown

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    It's been interesting living in New Zealand the past few years, where the attitude about suppressors among the population is "yes please, that's very considerate of you." They aren't restricted nor regulated for that reason. If you have a firearms license, you can walk into a store and buy one over the counter. Coming from the States, it's kind of a surreal experience.
     

    cal50

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    It's been interesting living in New Zealand the past few years, where the attitude about suppressors among the population is "yes please, that's very considerate of you." They aren't restricted nor regulated for that reason. If you have a firearms license, you can walk into a store and buy one over the counter. Coming from the States, it's kind of a surreal experience.



    I bet NZ has a lower percentage of dip shits vs here in the states as well.
     

    mallrat

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    Get a state government to "legalize" unregistered suppressors like Colorado and Washington "legalized" weed. Get a pro 2A spin on the "states rights" issue.
     
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    LongRifles Inc.

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    Get a state government to "legalize" unregistered suppressors like Colorado and Washington "legalized" weed. Get a pro 2A spin on the "states rights" issue.


    South Dakota already has!

    One of the last pieces of legislature signed by a former Governor deregulated essentially everything but fully automatic firearms manufacturing within the state of SD.

    Meaning, from the state's perspective ANYONE legally eligible to own/possess/use a firearm and/or suppressor is legally entitled to manufacture 1 to a zillion for the purpose of personal use and/or sale within the borders of South Dakota. This law also went so far as to plainly state that if one were to purchase raw materials from out of state, they CANNOT be subject to any laws regarding interstate commerce of firearms related items.

    Now, this is all well and fine, except for the little annoyance known as Federal Law that trumps any/all things at the state level.

    All this means is if one were to actually take advantage of this, the state WON'T be coming after you for it. Only the Feds would.


    Were not alone. Montana was the first I believe and a small but growing number of states are also adopting the same policies and views. Mostly in the central mid west corridor. Change is slow, painfully slow, but with every click on the handcuffs that the Federal Government seems to be committed to, the states with some degree of common sense goes the polar opposite in direction.


    SD also has a right to carry law for CC. Here, you pay 10 bucks, fill out the form, sign your name a couple times, and that's it. You'll have your temp permit within 72 hours and your card from the state within about 6 weeks.

    It's literally that easy.

    C.
     
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    BoilerUP

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    In the event of a federal prosecution, it would be interesting to see how/if the courts square federal enforcement of the National Firearms Act despite state legality of suppressors with federal non-enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act for state legality of the Schedule I drug marijuana.
     

    3DHUSKER

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    In the event of a federal prosecution, it would be interesting to see how/if the courts square federal enforcement of the National Firearms Act despite state legality of suppressors with federal non-enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act for state legality of the Schedule I drug marijuana.

    The feds are ok with the sale of MJ as long as its from their dealer that's paying tax to sell it.
     

    mallrat

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    In the event of a federal prosecution, it would be interesting to see how/if the courts square federal enforcement of the National Firearms Act despite state legality of suppressors with federal non-enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act for state legality of the Schedule I drug marijuana.

    There ya go. I just don't have enough faith in the feds to be a test case. Plus I don't live in any of those states, at this point.