WA state suppressor loophole?


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expvideo
December 10, 2008, 06:26 PM
9.41.250
(1) Every person who:

(c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,

is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

So does that mean that you can fire an integrally suppresed firearm, since the "noise" of that firearm is silent to begin with, and there isn't any "device" or "contrivance" attached to it?

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steelhead
December 10, 2008, 06:29 PM
Ummm no. It would fall under contrivance.

expvideo
December 10, 2008, 06:41 PM
Ummm no. It would fall under contrivance.
Grab a dictionary. Contrivance means that it was contrived, which means you made it yourself, like puting a coke bottle on the end of a .22. That would be a contrivance. A homemade silencer would be a contrivance.

There is nothing about an integrally suppressed barrel that could be described as a contrivance.

Tyris
December 10, 2008, 07:06 PM
What do you mean there is no device attached to the rifle?

There is a big ass silencer permanently attached to the barrel. Just be cause it is permanent or integral to the rifle does not mean it is "not attached".

Would you honestly argue there is no device attached here...
http://image.bayimg.com/gagcmaabm.jpg

Just goto the woods, go shoot your rifle, dont bring any fair weather friends, do not post about it or tell the police. I know, hard to imagine -- people break malum prohibitum laws. woo hoo, this officially makes you a bad man.

-T

kingpin008
December 10, 2008, 07:48 PM
Actually, the dictionary.com definition of "contrivance" is as follows:

–noun
1. something contrived; a device, esp. a mechanical one.

2. the act or manner of contriving; the faculty or power of contriving.

3. a plan or scheme; expedient.

Pay special attention to number one, which I've bolded.

A suppressor, even an integral one, is not a factory original part of a firearm. Thus, it is a "contrivance". Whether or not you personally had anything to do with constructing it or affixing it to the firearm has nothing to do with it.

Now, if you were to buy an actual, factory stock suppressed firearm, I suppose that you'd have an argument. But as I said, since pretty much every firearm that is capable of being integrally suppressed (at least that I know of) must be made such post-factory, you're out of luck.

PTK
December 10, 2008, 07:54 PM
No. Basically, you can own them but not shoot them legally in WA state; no exceptions.

MGshaggy
December 10, 2008, 07:55 PM
There is nothing about an integrally suppressed barrel that could be described as a contrivance.

Doesn't really matter - it suppresses the report of a firearm and requires registration under the NFA as a suppressor as a result. It could be considered either a device or a contrivance, but an integrally suppressed firearm would nonetheless be covered by that section.

Contrivance means that it was contrived, which means you made it yourself

There is nothing about a "contrivance" that requires it to be made only by yourself.

expvideo
December 10, 2008, 09:46 PM
There is nothing about a "contrivance" that requires it to be made only by yourself.
Yeah, but here's what it means:
con⋅trive   /kənˈtraɪv/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuhn-trahyv] Show IPA Pronunciation
verb, -trived, -triv⋅ing.
–verb (used with object) 1. to plan with ingenuity; devise; invent: The author contrived a clever plot.
2. to bring about or effect by a plan, scheme, or the like; manage: He contrived to gain their votes.
3. to plot (evil, treachery, etc.).
–verb (used without object) 4. to form designs; plan.
5. to plot.

That means that a suppressed barrel would not qualify, because that is it's design.

In layman terms, Contrived means "homemade" or "rigged". A coke bottle wasn't designed to suppress the noise of a firearm, so it is a contrivance. Basically, you can't wrap a gun in a wet towel like in Godfather 2 because that would be a "contrivance" to suppress the sound of the shot. A device would be something that suppressed the shot by initial design.

However, since there is no exception for law enforcement and several WA state law enforcement agencies use them at public ranges, it would be really hard for any court to get a conviction, which is probably why there has never been one.

waterhouse
December 11, 2008, 11:04 AM
or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm

I'm no lawyer.

Even internally suppressed guns usually have baffles.

Those baffles are devices that suppress the noise of a firearm. If you remove them, the firearm will be louder.

it would be really hard for any court to get a conviction

Cops speed past me all the time without their lights on. They shouldn't be doing this, but they do. It wouldn't be a very good defense to walk into court and say "well, I saw the cops doing it, so I thought speeding was OK, even though I am aware of the posted speed limits."

In the same way, I doubt it would be a good defense to say "I'm aware of the law against shooting guns with suppressors, but I've seen cops do it, so I figured it was OK."

expvideo
December 11, 2008, 11:27 AM
Cops speed past me all the time without their lights on. They shouldn't be doing this, but they do. It wouldn't be a very good defense to walk into court and say "well, I saw the cops doing it, so I thought speeding was OK, even though I am aware of the posted speed limits."

In the same way, I doubt it would be a good defense to say "I'm aware of the law against shooting guns with suppressors, but I've seen cops do it, so I figured it was OK."
The police have a legal exception to speed when it is necessary to do their job. The police have a legal exception in WA state to use short barrelled rifles and machineguns. The police do NOT have a legal exception to use suppressors. This should be an affirmative defense. The police using suppressors means that a legally licensed suppressor can't be classified as either a device or a contrivance, but as it's own catagory. Either that or the police would have to be charged for using them.

The police are not above the law.

MGshaggy
December 11, 2008, 11:34 AM
That means that a suppressed barrel would not qualify, because that is it's design.

No, it was "contrived" to be built into the existing barrel. And you still don't have to do it yourself - you can hire/employ/direct another party to do the contriving for you.

In layman terms, Contrived means "homemade" or "rigged".

Is the prosecutorial authority in WA a layman?

Look, if you want to play cute with the law, be my guest - I mean, heck I'm just a lawyer so what do I know about the law? Of course, before you get caught shooting it, you might want to also try to figure out how its not going to be considered a "device" even though it was required to be registered with the NFA Branch as a silencer, because its a "device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing" the report of a firearm (see 18 USC 921(a)(24)).

rbernie
December 11, 2008, 11:37 AM
Why do I get nervous anytime that somebody starts a post on a public gun forum that contains the words 'legal' and 'loophole'? ;)

expvideo
December 11, 2008, 11:41 AM
OK, glad to hear that you are a lawyer. Since that is the case, can I ask you if it would be an affermative defense that many local law enforcement agencies use suppressors, even though there is no exception for LEOs?

The LEOs use them in an official capacity at public ranges. This would give me a reasonable assumption that these are not devices or contrivances, but must fall under a third catagory of "legally licensed suppressor". Thus the law must only apply to using anything but a licensed suppressor to muffle the noise of a firearm. Am I mistaken in my assumption?

waterhouse
December 11, 2008, 11:48 AM
The police have a legal exception to speed when it is necessary to do their job.

Notice I stated that they did not have their lights on. We were taught that if we needed to get somewhere in a hurry to do our job, we needed to use lights and sirens. We weren't allowed to drive fast just because we were cops. On some occasions guys got into serious trouble because a state trooper would pull them over for going well over the speed limit in a gov't sedan (marked with a light bar but not running lights and sirens) with no good reason for doing so. If you did have a good reason for doing so, you could run your lights and sirens and the state trooper would follow you, but to act as backup, not to pull you over.

The point remains: that fact that you see the cops doing something and not getting in trouble doesn't mean you can use that as a defense. You are right, the police are not (should not be) above the law. They shouldn't break the law, and neither should you. The fact that they are breaking the law doesn't make it OK for you to do the same, and I'm guessing that is what they would tell you in court.

MGshaggy
December 11, 2008, 12:02 PM
can I ask you if it would be an affermative defense that many local law enforcement agencies use suppressors, even though there is no exception for LEOs?

No, thats not an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is a tacit admission of wrongdoing coupled with an explanation of why it was not possible for the accused to comply with the law. Insanity, duress, self-defense are all examples affirmative defenses.

I don't know much of WA law (outside of NFA), but I do susect there is either an exeption in the law for LE/Mil in the course of their duties - there always is, even in the most anti-NFA states.

expvideo
December 11, 2008, 01:47 PM
I don't know much of WA law (outside of NFA), but I do susect there is either an exeption in the law for LE/Mil in the course of their duties - there always is, even in the most anti-NFA states.

I am extremely familiar with WA state law regarding this. There is no such exeption. None what-so-ever.

expvideo
December 11, 2008, 02:39 PM
Why do I get nervous anytime that somebody starts a post on a public gun forum that contains the words 'legal' and 'loophole'?
I was using it as a generic term, and yes I also dislike this word. It is either law or it is not, there is no such thing as a loophole.

DrewH
December 11, 2008, 05:05 PM
The LEOs use them in an official capacity at public ranges. This would give me a reasonable assumption that these are not devices or contrivances, but must fall under a third catagory of "legally licensed suppressor". Thus the law must only apply to using anything but a licensed suppressor to muffle the noise of a firearm. Am I mistaken in my assumption?

In my opinion, very mistaken. You are playing word games to get around the law. At some risk to your freedom, I might add.

kingpin008
December 11, 2008, 05:17 PM
It always amuses me when people come here to ask a question regarding legality of a certain device or practice, yet when they get comments that seem to contradict their idea of what the answer should be, they do everything they can to shoot down the commenters advice and interpretations.

expvideo
December 11, 2008, 05:56 PM
It always amuses me when people come here to ask a question regarding legality of a certain device or practice, yet when they get comments that seem to contradict their idea of what the answer should be, they do everything they can to shoot down the commenters advice and interpretations.
My intention was to start a discussion on the subject, not to seek advice. I have an opinion. I would like to hear other people's opinions on the subject as well. Is it a problem for me to have an opinion on this?

Ron James
December 11, 2008, 06:34 PM
I have found that playing with loopholes is dangerous. They seem to turn Intel nooses

user3214
December 11, 2008, 06:46 PM
What about earmuffs they suppress the noise of a firearm?

kingpin008
December 11, 2008, 06:54 PM
What about earmuffs they suppress the noise of a firearm?

No, they don't. The noise is still there - the muffs merely provide a measure of insulation between that noise and your ears. Actual suppressors lessen the report itself.

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