When does a pile of junk become classified as a suppressor?


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A strange person
March 9, 2013, 11:34 AM
My last thread became locked before anybody could answer my question. To rephrase it better, when do miscellaneous hardware store supplies become legally identifiable as a suppressor? Obviously a piece of aluminum or PVC pipe laying on a table is not a suppressor. Putting an end cap on it does not make it a suppressor either I'd wager. How about putting an assembly of washers, steel wool, and white lithium grease inside it? Is it a suppressor then, or just an odd object? Does affixing a factory muzzle cap to one end accomplish the legal transformation? Probably, but I'm just guessing. Simple and hypothetical question here, folks. I won't learn if nobody answers me.

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earlthegoat2
March 9, 2013, 01:26 PM
Really, it should only be a suppressor when it is affixed to an item it is designed to suppress. Other than that, it is just an object. Much like many AOWs such as the wallet holster for High Standard double action derringers. It is not an AOW until it is coulpled with said gun.

However, the law says something else pertaining to suppressors.

I would wager, (as in, this is not advice based on the law) that if you were to manufacture a PVC tube with some steel wool and lithium grease inside of it I would keep it as far away from a firearm as possible and be sure to keep any sort of an attachment device to the barrel of a gun separate as well. Then you could still get off on a technicality with only about 10,000 dollars worth of legal fees.

These are felonies we are talking about here. So think hard.

cpy911
March 9, 2013, 01:32 PM
Pay the $200 tax stamp and then make or buy one.
Problem solved.

Gryffydd
March 9, 2013, 02:28 PM
Actually, that doesn't solve the problem. What the OP asked for is a discussion of a continuum fallacy. It's a interesting logical discussion.

A strange person
March 9, 2013, 02:35 PM
Actually, that doesn't solve the problem. What the OP asked for is a discussion of a continuum fallacy. It's a interesting logical discussion.

At least you understand what I'm getting at, although I am not really interested in a philosophical discussion right now; I just want to know how the inherent subjectivity of this matter is handled by law. Examples of actual court cases would help, or excerpts from written law codes. I have absolutely no knowledge as to how research the latter directly. There MUST be a specific quality had by an object that causes it to be legally defined as a suppressor instead of simply a collection of it's base components, otherwise it would be impossible to prosecute people for related offenses, unless I'm mistaken.

In other words, the law has to give a specific and arbitrary figure as to how few hairs must be on Fred's head in order for him to be considered bald.

MasterSergeantA
March 9, 2013, 03:20 PM
If the ATF technical branch folks could take it and make it suppress the sound of a shot...it is a suppressor. A pile of 'stuff' including a length of pipe, some white grease and a Chore-boy would probably not qualify until you start threading and assembling.

Legion489
March 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
After reading the pertinent laws I am just as lost now as I was before I began. The ONLY thing that seems to matter is what the BATF agent SAYS it is, not matter what is there.

Zeeemu
March 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
"In other words, the law has to give a specific and arbitrary figure as to how few hairs must be on Fred's head in order for him to be considered bald."

Maybe, maybe not. Unpredictable outcomes happen all the time in courtrooms. All it takes for Feds to become involved is for something potentially illegal to be brought to their attention. As to whether or not a collection of individual parts constitutes an infraction, that interpretation can be argued either way. Government experts will decide whether they are, could be or aren't and lawyers will present their case to a jury. Staying off their radar is the best policy. :uhoh: Question is, do you feel lucky?

joeschmoe
March 9, 2013, 04:40 PM
"Intent" is an important in proving guilt in this area. This thread, and others, can be used to show your "intent" if your are found with parts.

cpy911
March 9, 2013, 05:56 PM
Actually, that doesn't solve the problem. What the OP asked for is a discussion of a continuum fallacy. It's a interesting logical discussion.
Call the ATF and talk to different people and you will get different answers on this entire issue. If you are intent on building one, why risk it anyways for $200? Yes, I know it is ridiculous, especially with those oil filter suppressors. Who does not have oil filters in their garage? Those would be suppressors if you could readily screw them onto your gun and they had a hole in the other end.

The ATF considers even the component parts of a suppressor (Monocore, tube, baffles, wipes, end caps, etc) as suppressors. I paid the tax and am waiting on my tax stamp to arrive. Once it is in my hands, I will be legally building a Form1 .22lr suppressor out of Ti Tube and SS monocore and SS end caps. Parts costs will be around $30-$40. Btw, I have not purchased any materials until I have that tax stamp in hand. Then I will proceed to machine the parts.

telomerase
March 9, 2013, 08:02 PM
If you are intent on building one

I think his point is that this law, like many of the other million+ pages of Federal law that you haven't read either, could be used against people who are not only NOT intent on building a suppressor, but don't know what one is.

My point would be that if someone in power doesn't like you, cleaning up your workbench isn't going to save you :D

A strange person
March 9, 2013, 10:34 PM
I take it that nobody actually knows what is stated in the law as to what constitutes a suppressor or suppressor part?

Zoogster
March 9, 2013, 10:41 PM
I have asked this question myself before, especially when I have been around people building custom motorcycle exhausts.
Some of the better performing pipes have a hole straight through the center that does not restrict the air flow, baffles around, and really are essentially a suppressor already.
So in that case not only are all the parts initially present, but they are then assembled into what is essentially a suppressor, except with the intent of attaching it to exhaust pipe and not a firearm.

The ATF definition of something that reduces sound by 1 decibel or more is also meaningless and arbitrary. A few inches of firearm barrel will reduce a firearm report by more than that, and in some cartridges a single inch will.

For example 12 gauge:

12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB
26" barrel 156.10dB
18 _" barrel 161.50dB

Just the two inches between 26" and 28" length barrels are a change of almost 5 decibels!

So by that definition anything that extends the length of the barrel but is not the barrel would be a suppressor, like those fake silencers that are hollow tubes legally sold for asthetics all the time. Yet the don't declare those are suppressors. So it really is entirely arbitrary. If they want to declare it illegal just about anything will reduce the sound by 1 decibel or more.


Oh and just for correction, even though I referred to it as a suppressor and use it interchangeably with silencer as well, the legal definition is 'silencer'. Which is also what the inventer of the device (who also invented the automobile muffler and similar industrial devices) called it before legislation cemented the term in federal law.
We can refer to them as suppressors, but when discussing the specifics of the law what the law actually calls it and is defining becomes important.

JohnKSa
March 9, 2013, 11:11 PM
It becomes classified as a suppressor/silencer when it meets the legal definiton of a suppressor/silencer, or when the intent to make it into a suppressor/silencer is apparent beyond a reasonable doubt.

That's why having mufflers and muffler parts on hand when it's obvious you're making motorcycle parts isn't an issue unless someone just wants to make your life difficult. You may be arrested and taken to trial, but you can easily create reasonable doubt by pointing out that you have a very good reason to be making "suppressor-like/silencer-like" objects that obviously aren't intended to be suppressors/silencers at all.

A halfway decent prosecutor wouldn't push a case like that because it's a waste of everyone's time & money. But someone who actually wants to waste someone else's time and money? That's another story...

joeschmoe
March 10, 2013, 12:30 AM
I take it that nobody actually knows what is stated in the law as to what constitutes a suppressor or suppressor part?
The law says "suppressor or suppressor parts". Vague. Could be almost anything from pipes, tubes or pot scrub pads. To convict they just need to add intent.

http://www.examiner.com/article/atf-classifies-chore-boy-pot-scrubber-pads-nfa-firearms

"ATF classifies Chore Boy pot scrubber pads NFA firearms"


http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_full_width_scaled/hash/81/ed/81ed9ed7e5fe8119032a3bf67b772967.jpg?itok=GLgo6dAY

cpy911
March 10, 2013, 01:08 AM
The law says "suppressor or suppressor parts". Vague. Could be almost anything from pipes, tubes or pot scrub pads. To convict they just need to add intent.

http://www.examiner.com/article/atf-classifies-chore-boy-pot-scrubber-pads-nfa-firearms

"ATF classifies Chore Boy pot scrubber pads NFA firearms"


http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_full_width_scaled/hash/81/ed/81ed9ed7e5fe8119032a3bf67b772967.jpg?itok=GLgo6dAY
Yep. Having any extra parts laying around that could be considered suppressor parts (wipes, baffles, cores, tubes, end caps or any sound absorbing material) is considered an additional suppressor and requires another NFA stamp. So don't have any extra parts laying around.

ANYTHING, including worthless junk that can readily be threaded or otherwise attached to a firearm and reduces the report is a suppressor, including its components. That is the NFA law. Again, OP if you want a suppressor why not pay the tax and buy or make one, or just don't worry about your worthless junk if you have no intention on using it as a suppressor. I doubt you would have any issues if the intent is not there.

You could run over to http://www.cadizgunworks.com/zcstore/ and buy a solvent trap adapter. However, if you fire anything thru it, it becomes a suppressor and you better have the NFA stamp for it.

Bobson
March 10, 2013, 05:23 AM
To rephrase it better, when do miscellaneous hardware store supplies become legally identifiable as a suppressor?
Based largely on the letter supplied by joeschmoe in Post #15, it looks like the simple answer to your question is, "as soon as the proper authority visually identifies those supplies as a suppressor."

Frankly, now I'm a bit confused. I just spent a short while researching this in the Arizona Revised Statute, just because I know how to navigate it more easily now, and was curious what AZ had to say on the issue.

AZ law (ARS 13-3101.8.a.ii (http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/13/03101.htm&Title=13&DocType=ARS) and ARS 13-3101.8.a.ix, respectively) clearly define "suppressor," and also seem to make it clear that simply having the components to make a suppressor - even if those disassembled components are actual, "real suppressor" parts - is totally legal. I understand that federal law trumps state here, but why does the state even bother having that law on the books then?

jmorris
March 10, 2013, 11:14 AM
To prove that the extra parts are actually suppressor parts, they would first need to prove that the sum of parts were a suppressor.

That is where you get the intent part. They come after you and find you with a bunch of PVC, washers and other stuff you mention along with this post from your computer or a book you have showing you how to assemble the parts and you will have some time in a court room in your future.

On the other hand I have enough unmachined steel and aluminum, along with fixtures and machines to make a bunch of suppressors. Along with hundreds of pages of content about building them. Guess they could run anyone through the system be a lot easier defense having a bunch of approved form 1's, I would hope.

Jackal
March 10, 2013, 12:46 PM
I just want to know how the inherent subjectivity of this matter is handled by law

Remember, if you ever get busted for anything and law enforcement are looking for extra charges, your just gonna make it easy for them. Remember, if you have ever said a sideways word to anyone, you have a history of "mental instability". If you have basic household chemicals under the sink, you have "bomb making materials". If you have more than 1 gun and a few boxes of ammo, you have a "weapons cache". If you have a tube that could be used to silence a firearm....You see where Im going here.:banghead:

hentown
March 10, 2013, 02:39 PM
An off-the-shelf lawnmower engine muffler would be a suppressor, if you attached it to a firearm.

SharpsDressedMan
March 10, 2013, 02:55 PM
I've never owned one, but I have heard some people refer to Ciener suppressors as piles of junk. :rolleyes:

A strange person
March 10, 2013, 07:10 PM
The law says "suppressor or suppressor parts". Vague. Could be almost anything from pipes, tubes or pot scrub pads. To convict they just need to add intent.

http://www.examiner.com/article/atf-...s-nfa-firearms

"ATF classifies Chore Boy pot scrubber pads NFA firearms"

That was very interesting and educational, although not entirely surprising. Thanks Joe.

joeschmoe
March 10, 2013, 07:28 PM
The article has an alarmist tone (the author is famous for that). Nothing new really. Proof of intent and the governments desire to nail you are the determining factors. Same with "bomb making materials". At what point does some oil, gas, fertilizer or glass bottles become bomb "parts"? If you make some threats, if you build a test prototype, if they are trying to nail you for something else but they find these and they're desperate, etc.

If you're interested in building silencers read the threads over at silencertalk.com or other silencer forums. Don't start collecting parts for a "future project". Knowledge is free. Possession of hardware can be expensive.

1 old 0311-1
March 10, 2013, 08:03 PM
What's a hammer and screwdriver? Tools
What's a hammer and screwdriver at 3 a.m? BURGLAR TOOLS.:what:

-Xero-
March 10, 2013, 08:38 PM
-- And if you ask the BATF they "can't offer a legal opinion because we're not lawyers."

joeschmoe
March 10, 2013, 08:49 PM
-- And if you ask the BATF they "can't offer a legal opinion because we're not lawyers."
Even though the lawyers have been running the ATF for years.
But they will be happy to give an opinion that you broke the law if needed, at your trial.

paintballdude902
March 10, 2013, 09:01 PM
i heard the ATF raided lowes and charged them with constructive possession............jk



i feel like if you have a pipe with washers and steelwool stuffed inside you are up to no good in the eyes of the law. i really couldnt careless as long as u arent trying to hurt me.


i dont see you being charged unless you have said parts close together or somewhat assembled

Ohio Gun Guy
March 10, 2013, 09:38 PM
my .02....

I dont agree with the government, in the whole premise, but usually these are charges added to the stack of charges against someone. Perhaps they committed a crime with a firearm, are charged with drugs, gang related stuff etc. Then when they are searching home, shop, etc. they find the pieces the OP is asking about.

My guess is that if you had plans on your computer, or printed and on a work bench, then even just basic parts for a suppressor could be a problem. (Or the crime your being investigated for, utilized a suppressor)

Absent, a reason for a search or a crime, and no intent to build anything, there is no crime. It's very likely that the average homeowner who owns any tools and works on cars or his house might have all of those items currently in his possession.

Not a legal position, just some go ole' fashion internet lawerin'.

Shadow 7D
March 10, 2013, 09:51 PM
Based largely on the letter supplied by joeschmoe in Post #15, it looks like the simple answer to your question is, "as soon as the proper authority visually identifies those supplies as a suppressor."


The ATF definition of something that reduces sound by 1 decibel or more is also meaningless and arbitrary. A few inches of firearm barrel will reduce a firearm report by more than that, and in some cartridges a single inch will.


A milk jug and tape does and HAS met the above definition...

Frank Ettin
March 11, 2013, 02:04 AM
-- And if you ask the BATF they "can't offer a legal opinion because we're not lawyers." Actually, there are procedures whereby one can ask, in writing, for a formal opinion from ATF. The opinion will be binding on the ATF. But one must know how to go about it.

MasterSergeantA
March 11, 2013, 03:35 PM
Actually, there are procedures whereby one can ask, in writing, for a formal opinion from ATF. The opinion will be binding on the ATF. But one must know how to go about it.
And one must always keep in mind that ATF has been known to change their minds. But having the written "opinion" should forestall a trip to Club Fed.

The NFA of 1934 refers to Title 18, US Code to define silencers.

Section 921 of Title 18 United States Code states:

"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."

So it largely depends on "intent".

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/national-firearms-act-silencers.html also addresses the issue of having 'spare' parts on hand.

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