Criminal misuse of sound suppressors?


September 4, 2004, 03:56 PM
Are there any recorded instances of criminal misuse of sound suppressors in the US? I'd be interested to know if there were a lot of criminals running around with suppressed weapons before the NFA of 1934.

I would also be curious to find out if there are instances of legal sound suppressors being misused by criminals in those European nations where they can be readily had.

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September 4, 2004, 03:59 PM
In particular, I'd be interested in knowing the number of times a legally owned suppressor has been used in a violent crime.

Probably about the same rate as legal MG uses. :neener:

September 4, 2004, 04:35 PM
Registered ones? I doubt it's ever happened. Illegal makeshift ones are so damn easy to make it's probably quite high.

El Tejon
September 4, 2004, 04:43 PM
Black Gangster Disciples in Chicago made extensive use of stolen suppressors in the early 90s. A CPD copper was stealing guns, ammo and suppressors from CPD and the feds and selling them to BGDs, Blackstone Rangers, and assorted gangs.

Jim K
September 4, 2004, 05:53 PM
They were used some in the Prohibition "wars", but it was mainly that FDR's anti-gun AG (Cummings) was looking for easy targets, and the "sneaky" suppressor was an obvious one.

It is not generally known today, but the NFA was all they could get through Congress of the AG's initial proposals, which included registration of all guns and transfer taxes of $1000 on a pistol or machinegun, $500 on a rifle, and $200 on a shotgun, with a tax of $5 on each shotgun shell or rimfire round, $10 on each CF rifle round, and $50 on each pistol round. For today's equivalents, multiply by 30, and you see why the intent was to ban guns through exorbitant transfer taxes.

And Roosevelt said that he didn't want to take away anyone's hunting gun. Sound familiar?


Jeff White
September 4, 2004, 05:55 PM
El Tejon,
What was CPD doing with suppressors? They are illegal even for the police here in the PRI. The ISP tried to get the law changed several years ago because they felt their TRT boys needed them for working in potentially explosive environments like some drug labs. No go the legislature wouldn't even give the ISP an exemption.

I know that Chicago is an entity to itself and that many of the laws the rest of the state lives by don't apply there, but I don't think that possessing suppressors is one of them.


September 4, 2004, 06:32 PM
Are there any recorded instances of criminal misuse of sound suppressors in the US? I'd be interested to know if there were a lot of criminals running around with suppressed weapons before the NFA of 1934.

Of course! You just don't hear about them cause they're.......well.....silenced. :neener:

Sorry couldn't resist. :D

September 4, 2004, 07:30 PM
I think most of the pre-1934 crimes involved poaching.

September 11, 2004, 09:05 PM
Yeah, but is there any actual info on this? Not just hearsay, but real statistics, or even anecdotal stories?

PAC 762
September 12, 2004, 02:54 AM
I violate the law with a sound suppressor almost every day of the week.

... They force me to put a muffler on my car and bike and driving the speed limit will get you rear-ended quickly.

Zach S
September 12, 2004, 07:42 AM
Well, the supressors on my car dont do a very good job;)

September 12, 2004, 10:07 AM
There was a dissertation on one of the law blogs, either Clayton Cramers blog, or the Volokh Conspiricy, on the NFA '34, in which the subject of suppresors came up. Poaching was the reason givin. Some poor schmuck would get caught poaching, and show up in court with a wife and multiple kids (this was the middle of the depression, remember) and claim he was only trying to feed his family. Juries would acquit. Suppressors became popular as a way to avoid capture in the first place, and since the govt. couldn't get a conviction on the original charge, this was added to the NFA at the request of the Fish and Game people.

Think about the current Federal gun laws. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the "Omnibus trade, health and Safety act of 2005" to include repeal of the suppressor restriction, protectionism regarding importation of foreign guns, and other parts of the current "Big 4"?

Democrats are big into class warfare. They also are for gun control, which has caused the deadliest firearms to be too expensive except for the rich to buy. So, if class warfare ever goes to blows, it won't last long.
Frank J.

September 12, 2004, 11:08 AM
I have only ever heard of one crime committed with a legally tax-payed NFA. Some police officer took his registered MAC and issued a little pay-back to community thugs that had wronged him in one way or another. I will see if I can dig up the story and get the particulars in better light. I am not saying for certain, but I think this instance is the one and only.

El Tejon
September 12, 2004, 11:12 AM
Jeff, the MP5SDs and tubes for 16s came from the feds.

September 12, 2004, 11:22 AM
It is not generally known today, but the NFA was all they could get through Congress of the AG's initial proposals, which included registration of all guns and transfer taxes of $1000 on a pistol or machinegun, $500 on a rifle, and $200 on a shotgun, with a tax of $5 on each shotgun shell or rimfire round, $10 on each CF rifle round, and $50 on each pistol round.

I've never heard of that. Do you know where I can find out more about that?

September 12, 2004, 02:55 PM
The criminal use of suppressors is well documented. Also, what many don't realize is that a Supreme Court ruling I can't remember which one, (all my books and notes are still packed up from a recent move) exposed deficiencies in the NFA, which were later corrected with the GCA. Suppressors, stolen, straw purchased, illegally manufactured, etc. have been used in many crimes. ATF has worked many cases regarding OC, or contract killers, where the fact that the criminals possessed an unregistered suppressor, or stolen suppressor, resulted in greater jail time.

September 12, 2004, 06:21 PM
Do you have the references to these documents, DMF? This is a subject of interest to me too. I've been trying to do some historical research on suppressors in the US and the NFA but there seems to be very little material even in university libraries.

I do know that handguns were originally under the purview of the draft NFA. I'm not certain about the rest of what Jim Keenan wrote. The amendment to strip pistols and revolvers from the bill passed by one vote in Ways and Means committee. Think of that: we were a single vote away from essentially losing our right to handguns in 1934. :uhoh:

September 12, 2004, 07:37 PM

Interesting reading. It seems back in 1934, they had no doubt as to the meaning of the Second Amendment and were seeking a loophole in the Constitution.

September 12, 2004, 08:00 PM
Do you have the references to these documents . . . Like I said, my books and notes are packed up. However, go read Underboss, by Peter Maas and Salvatore Gravano. Gravano admits to using suppressed guns in murders. Hell write the ATF and ask for stats on NFA violations, specifically suppressors. Since they have primary jurisdiction on NFA violations I'm sure they are quite proud of the cases they've worked.

September 12, 2004, 08:09 PM
Oh hell a google search turned up this:

ATF Agents Stop Home Invasion (
NEW YORK, Jul. 08 /PRNewswire/ --

NEW YORK, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- William G. McMahon, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New York office announces that earlier today, ATF Agents arrested a Florida man who was in New York City to conduct a home invasion in the Whitestone section of Queens.

After developing initial information and initiating surveillance this morning, ATF agents arrested STEVEN LONZISERO, DOB 10/22/64 of Cooper City Florida outside of a residence on 17th Road in Queens at approximately 1:00 P.M. Parked in front of the building was LONZISERO's vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle found a handgun and silencer along with ski masks and duct tape. Also taken from the car was a duffle bag, which yielded an additional three (3) handguns, a second silencer and a taser gun. All of the handguns will be traced to determine their origin.

It has been determined that LONZISERO drove from Florida to New York last week with the weapons and other seized items. The target of the home invasion had already been predetermined by LONZISERO.

LONZISERO will appear before a U.S. Magistrate in Brooklyn Federal Court on Thursday, July 8, 2004 for his initial appearance. It is expected that LONZISERO will be charged with violating the Hobbs Act (robbery affecting interstate commerce) in addition to numerous federal firearms charges.

The case will be prosecuted by the office of Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

I'll add that to my ATF's greatest hits, the next time I respond to someone bashing them as "JBTs that don't do any good", and say they're "not law enforcement, just lousy revenuers."

September 12, 2004, 08:25 PM
Just remembered another one, a few years back Paladin Press was successfully sued over a book they published entitled "Hitman." The book was a guide to conducting murder for hire. It included information on how to make a suppressor. The lawsuit centered around a man that had hired someone to kill his ex-wife and their son. The "hitman" used a suppressed .22 in the murders of the ex-wife, the son, and a nurse who was caring for the handicapped child.

September 12, 2004, 08:58 PM
There have been more than a few cases where someone was charged with a NFA suppressor violation for sticking a potato on the end of a gun. Here's one:
US man faces 25 years in jail for using potato as silencer

A US man who wielded a gun with a potato stuffed in the barrel has been convicted of using a silencer-equipped gun in the commission of a drug crime.

The conviction carries a mandatory 25-year federal prison sentence.

The prosecutor said the potato wasn't in the gun to make French fries, but to intimidate three women.

The defendant, Alpha McQueen, 30, was also convicted in Hartford, Connecticut of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Prosecutors said McQueen and another man, Dale Stewart, used the gun to intimidate three women they suspected of stealing about $30,000 in drug money. No shots were fired.

Under a deal that spared him from the silencer charge, Stewart pleaded guilty last month to drug and gun charges carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

McQueen was offered the same deal, but opted to go to trial.

In closing arguments, federal prosecutors said no expert testimony was necessary to establish the significance of affixing a potato to the gun's barrel.

Prosecutor David A. Ring said: "It wasn't there to make French fries. Why else would he have done that?"

Defence attorney David Wenc said he planned to appeal.

I didn't do a google search, but I believe some have been charged with NFA suppressor violations for using a pillow to quiet a weapon, also.

There really does not have to be any logical reasoning behind the invertebrate world of federal law enforcement, anything that produces greater add-on sentences is a good thing, and there are quite a few cheerleaders around to loudly proclaim what wonderful detective work produced the charges. After all, the ends justify the means, right?

September 12, 2004, 09:16 PM
. . . and in the spineless world of your rhetoric, cheerleading the exploits of drug dealing thugs is great, as long as it can be used to bash fed LE. It looks like you are the one that thinks the "ends justifies the means." He didn't slap that potato there for kicks, he was actually committing a crime.

Adding time to the sentence of criminals is a good thing in my opinion. Many, both in and out of LE, agree. So do the Congressmen that pass those laws, and people that keep electing them to the offices that allow them to pass the laws.

September 12, 2004, 09:18 PM
Interesting point, hammer4nc. When I think of a suppressor, I normally think of something patterned after Maxim's design. I suspect the ATF does not qualify their statistics as such. Anyway, I happened to find the phone number of the ATF agent in charge of the Lonzisero case that DMF posted. Perhaps I can call him and see if he is willing to comment on the construction of those 2 suppressors, and maybe his experience with other cases.

September 12, 2004, 09:47 PM
DMF, all those instances sound like contraband and not tax paid transferables.

September 12, 2004, 10:12 PM
DMF, you really need to work on your punchlines..."it wasn't there to make french fries" is a much more effective laugh-getter than "he didn't slap that potato there for kicks". I know you'll try harder next time, though.

(...still waiting for the logical reasoning behind a 25-year sentence for putting a potato on the end of a gun...)

I swear, why does it seem like federal laws (firearms in particular) came straight out of a Monty Python script? "Life of Brian" was a terrific movie... excerpt:

What will they do to me?
Oh, you'll probably get away with crucifixion.
Yeah, first offence.
Get away with crucifixion?! It's--
Best thing the Romans ever did for us.
Oh, yeah. If we didn't have crucifixion, this country would be in a right bloody mess.
Nail him up, I say!
Nail some sense into him!
[cough cough] What do you want?
I want you to move me to another cell.
Ha! [ptoo]
Oh, look at that! Bloody favouritism!
Shut up, you!
Huhh. [cough cough]
Now, take my case. They hung me up here five years ago. Every night, they take me down for twenty minutes, then they hang me up again, which I regard as very fair, in view of what I done, and, if nothing else, it's taught me to respect the Romans, and it's taught me... that you'll never get anywhere in this life, unless you're prepared to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay!
Oh, shut up!
Pilate wants to see you!
Come on!
Pilate? What does he want to see me for?
I think he wants to know which way up you want to be crucified.
Oh, ha ha ha haa! Ha haa! Nice one, Centurion. Like it. Like it.
Shut up!
Right. Right. Terrific race, the Romans. Terrific.
:what: :D

September 12, 2004, 10:53 PM
Once you can go pick up a suppressor at a corner store, don't you think they'd be used more in crime just because of easier availability?

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