What is the legality of a silencer on an airgun in the US?
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August 29, 2006, 02:14 PM
A sound suppressor for an airgun or a paintball gun is legally the same as on for a sound suppressor for any other firearm. It must be on the appropriate federal form, and be tax paid.
There have been several attempts by various manufacturers to design sound suppressing devices for air and paintball guns that are exempted from the National Firearms Act, yet this has none have been approved to date. Another individual decided to build an airgun supressor that he believed would not be an NFA item since it would be destroyed and be rendered inoperable if used on a conventional firearm, but his device too got him into serious legal trouble, and he has since met the heavy hand of the BATFE and Federal Courts.
August 29, 2006, 02:24 PM
Thats just crazy... the BATFE doesn't regulate "airguns" so why should they regulate accessories for airguns (not saying I don't think its true, but its just crazy)?
Hell, why can't they ban mufflers on cars then?
August 29, 2006, 02:28 PM
Airguns are not firearms for purposes of Federal law so I do not see how airgun silencers could be either.
But okay thanks for the info MP510
August 29, 2006, 02:33 PM
Because there is no difference between the design of a silencer for an airgun and a silencer for a firearm. What is legislated (which is of course and entirely different debate) is the sale of suppresors "designed or redesigned to function as a firearms muffler" or something like that. The design is the same, even though the end use is not.
The problem is some of the suppressor regs/laws are so poorly written that if they wanted to the B of A,T,F and E could come knocking on your door if you owned a plastic coke bottle and duct tape.
Anything designed or redesigned to function as a firearms muffler.
Doesn't say it has to function very well, or even survive functioning. Another case where "we're just sportsmen and don't need that evil NFA stuff" has led to some really stupid situations.
August 29, 2006, 02:56 PM
Two most critical parts of hso's link:
The terms “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” mean any device for silencing,
muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination
of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating
a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such
assembly or fabrication.
Any combination of parts. Coke bottle. Duct tape. I hate stuff like that.
Held, a device for an unregulated paintball gun, having a permanently
affixed, integral ported barrel and other components, that functions to reduce the
report of the paintball gun is not a “firearm silencer” or “firearm muffler” as defined,
as the device is not one for diminishing the report of a portable firearm.
Held further, removal of the permanently affixed ported barrel and other
components from a paintball gun is a “making” of a silencer under the GCA and
NFA that requires advance approval from ATF.
Yep, ok, so there's a little common sense there....but then under the above quotation, does having one of these paintball guns and a hacksaw give you a "combination of parts"?
August 29, 2006, 02:56 PM
The key-word is "ready convertability" for the ATF, that any design could be mounted onto a real firearm.
It's not so much that the ATF actualy is worried about people doing that, but that they don't want the headache of having to determine who has a "non NFA suppressor" and an "NFA suppressor. And in this instance, I see their point of trying to keep it simple.
I blame the unconstitutional NFA '34 for it instead.
There are a few airguns that have barrel designs that have some sound moderating ability, while not crossing the ATF line of "ready convertability".
The Talon SS from AirForce fits the bill. It has an expansion chamber on the end of the barrel shroud. While it has no baffles or wipes, it does have a single expansion chamber between the barrel and it's false muzzle. Turned down to sub-sonic, it's very quiet.
August 29, 2006, 02:57 PM
Small Arms Review had an article on whether a paintball silencer would constitute a NFA device. The author actually went and got a BATF opinion on whether it was or not.
The ATF concluded since the device was designed for a paintball gun that was not a firearm and it could not be easily modified for use on a real firearm that it did not constitute a NFA device.
Some of those airsoft silencers I'd be very wary of buying. Some have the proper threads and fit on real firearms and if you take the insides out a bullet could pass through them.
August 29, 2006, 03:09 PM
does having one of these paintball guns and a hacksaw give you a "combination of parts"?
they pretty clearly said that as long as it was integral to the non-firearm it wasn't a violation, but the moment you cut it off you were in trouble
I don't think I'd be very interested anyway considering they only supposedly get a 7-8 dB reduction from these things when they do get chopped off and applied
August 29, 2006, 03:22 PM
Some airguns have integral mufflers - for example, the BSA 240 air pistol has a barrel that stops short of the end of the pistol, and discharges through what amounts to an expansion chamber that serves to muffle the report a bit. Since there's no way this could be adapted to a firearm, it's OK . . . the BATmen don't regulate non-firearms or accessories which are unique to non-firearms.
If you have an air rifle and machine the muzzle in such a way as to make an integral, completely non-removable muffler, that would be OK too; I understand some high-end airguns from the U.K. have this feature.
Now, if you have a muffler on a BB gun which can be removed and attached to a firearm, even if it takes four C-clamps, half a roll of duct tape, two rivets and a tube of epoxy, the BATmen will get you.
August 29, 2006, 06:05 PM
How come then some air pistols being sold are coming with 'silencers'?