INFORMATION ON SILENCERS

Episode I: Information on Silencers

We saw the introduction of H.R. 367, The Hearing Protection Act introduced in the House on January 9, 2017. This bill would have amended the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) eliminate the $200 transfer tax on firearm silencers, and (2) treat any person who acquires or possesses a firearm silencer as meeting any registration or licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act with respect to such silencer. Any person who pays a transfer tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015, may receive a refund of such tax.

The bill would have also amended the federal criminal code to preempt state or local laws that tax or regulate firearm silencers.

On February 6, 2017 it was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Subsequently on September 18, 2017 it was folded into H.R. 3668 “Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement Act” or the “SHAREAct”. H.R. 3668 SHARE ACT

Basically, this legislation, if passed, would make it possible to purchase a suppressor just as if it were any firearm. A Federal Firearms Transfer (form 4473) and NICS background check would be all that is required.

It is still possible to purchase, own and possess a suppressor. I will give you BATFE version here and then tell you how to purchase a suppressor after you’ve familiarized yourself with government explanation of purchasing a suppressor.

9.4.2  ATF Form 4. Forms 4, Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm, are for use in transferring serviceable NFA firearms in the following instances: transfers by non-FFLs/SOTs to other such persons; transfers by non-FFLs/SOTs to FFLs/SOTs; and transfers by FFLs/SOTs to non FFLs/SOTs.167  Appendix C contains a copy of the form.  See also Sections 3.2.6.1 through 3.2.6.3. These transfers are subject to the NFA transfer tax, so the forms must be accompanied by the appropriate tax payment.  Forms 4 transferring firearms to individuals other than FFLs/SOTs must also be accompanied by transferees’ fingerprints and photographs on FBI Forms FD-258.  If the individual’s receipt or possession of the firearm would violate Federal, State, or local law, the form would be disapproved.  

Alright, now if you’re still awake, I’ll tell you how to purchase your suppressor in about the same amount of time it took to digest the paragraph above. Ok it may take a few minutes longer but not much. Come into a Federal Firearm Licensee, preferably Royal Range USA, select and pay for the suppressor you desire and let us guide you through the Tax Stamp application. We will place you in front of a computer where you will complete the above-mentioned ATF Form 4 which takes about 5 minutes on your part. We will obtain your fingerprints and photograph, complete the forms and mail them to the BATFE with your check for the application fee of $200.00.  You may also purchase a suppressor and complete the Tax Stamp application through an online vendor such as Silencer Shop and have the suppressor transferred to you through our FFL.

Now you have legally purchased the suppressor, but you cannot legally possess it. On average it takes 8-12 months depending on how many places you’ve lived, and whether you have an arrest record, to complete a background check and process your application. If you can pass the standard background check for the purchase of a firearm, you will very likely be approved to own a suppressor. Once your application is approved you will be issued a “Tax Stamp” assigned to you and registered only to the serial number of the suppressor you have purchased.  Do you want multiple suppressors? Well that will require an application for each individual suppressor and $200.00 for each application.

Once you receive the Tax Stamp for your suppressor you should treat it as any important document. If you are found in possession of a suppressor you will likely have to produce this document.

Lastly, there are two types of ownership, individual and trust. If you choose individual ownership you are the only person legally permitted to possess the suppressor. You can not loan it, rent it or give it to another person unless you repeat the above process and legally transfer the suppressor to another person after they have obtained a Tax Stamp for that individual suppressor. Technically speaking, you can’t even let them use it when you’re standing next to them at the range. Should you decide to form a trust you can identify anyone that you’d like to be able to also possess your suppressor. This is most often done for family members or to pass on after the owner’s demise.  Anyone listed on the trust application must pass the same background investigation as the original applicant. Failure to pass the background investigation of any person on the trust will at a minimum delay the application and may result in a denial of the application. Any denials whether individual or trust will result in a refund of the $200.00 application fee.

So, if H.R. 3668, The SHARE ACT, ever becomes law all these forms and fees will become unnecessary. Please consider contacting your representatives and urge them to action on this proposed legislation.

In my next blog I’ll talk about purchasing, possessing and/or owning automatic weapons, you know, machine guns….

Frank Wilson
Director of Operations
Compliance Manager
Royal Range USA