Anyone ever had "problems" using a suppressor at a public range?


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1858
February 14, 2014, 06:30 PM
I'm curious if anyone has ever had any problems using a suppressor at a public range ... in a state where they're legal of course. Have you ever been questioned by LE, range officers, other shooters, etc? Suppressors aren't that common so I could see a trip to a public range turning into a circus. I'm not sure if the majority of LE officers know the law (federal and state) regarding suppressors so I wouldn't expect them to immediately demand to see a tax stamp. I would imagine that they'd have some questions though, assuming they're at the range.

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martymcfly
February 14, 2014, 07:05 PM
I'll find out soon enough as I just got my first stamp back. One of the ranges I go to has a sign posted that says suppressors are fine to use as long as you have your stamp (or copy) with you.

Not sure if that means they will ask for it when I pull the suppressor out to use or not.

Gik-tal
February 14, 2014, 07:37 PM
At our range if you show up with NFA items we need to see a copy of your form 4 or form 1 to verify you are legal to own it. Other than that you are clear to fire away. In case your wondering, the reason is to verify that everything at the range is legal, never know when someone is going to check and we don't want and illegal activity on the range.

TIMC
February 14, 2014, 08:20 PM
All they have ever told me at my range is make sure you have your paperwork if the feds show up.

SharpsDressedMan
February 15, 2014, 07:13 AM
Can anyone explain the logic in having to carry papers and PROVE that the weapon or suppressor are yours when the government already has had you apply, approved, filed, and all the information at their disposal to KNOW that you are the owner of the device? And, all of that in a land where you are "presumed innocent until proven guilty" of something?

Aaron Baker
February 15, 2014, 08:35 AM
The logic is that the range isn't the government and doesn't know you've been approved for anything. For all they know, you've got an illegal NFA firearm, and they don't want the bad press for their range if you get caught there with it.

That said, my range doesn't ask and I don't carry a copy of my stamps. NFA firearms are not regulated under state law, so I don't think it's any of the local law enforcement officer's business. But I'm a lawyer and so have slightly less fear (whether wisely or not) than most people do in this situation.

Aaron

kelbro
February 15, 2014, 09:14 AM
That's my premise. It's really none of their business. No more than a thief coming out there and shooting a stolen gun. The range is under no obligation nor do they have any real reason to check. There is no law requiring them to do any such thing.

But, private property is private property and I suppose they can do as they please as long as it's not discriminatory towards any of the protected classes.

1KPerDay
February 15, 2014, 10:58 AM
I just keep a copy of the paperwork in the case whenever I take my NFA items anywhere. Only real problem I've had is people wanting to shoot all my ammo for me. :)

Ironman
February 15, 2014, 11:19 AM
You are required to keep a copy of the approved Form4 anytime you have possession of the item in public. The only person you MUST show the form to is a ATF Agent as it is a private TAX FORM and a nosey RO at the range has no business looking at it. I show them anyway as it makes them happy and I haven't met one yet that even knows what they are looking at or how to read the form.

GarySTL
February 15, 2014, 11:23 AM
You are required to keep a copy of the approved Form4 anytime you have possession of the item in public. The only person you MUST show the form to is a ATF Agent as it is a private TAX FORM and a nosey RO at the range has no business looking at it. I show them anyway as it makes them happy and I haven't met one yet that even knows what they are looking at or how to read the form.

This! It's a tax form and only ATF's business.

W.E.G.
February 15, 2014, 11:34 AM
From http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/national-firearms-act-firearms.html#owner-evidence


Q: Does the owner of a registered NFA firearm have to have any evidence to show it is registered lawfully to him or her?

Yes. The approved application received from ATF serves as evidence of registration of the NFA firearm in the owner’s name. This document must be kept available for inspection by ATF officers. It is suggested that a photocopy of the approved application be carried by the owner when the weapon is being transported.

W.E.G.
February 15, 2014, 11:38 AM
Realistically, I find it hard to believe that ATF can't just run the serial number on any item they have a question about, and instantly determine whether the item is registered or not.

Why would they rely on Gomer's photocopied paperwork anyway?

1858
February 15, 2014, 01:27 PM
So if local law enforcement asks me to provide proof that I'm the legal owner of a suppressor I can tell them that they have no jurisdiction since they're not an ATF agent. So it would be no different than if they asked me to prove that I'm the legal owner of the firearm attached to the suppressor while at a public range. If I'm not breaking the law they wouldn't have just cause or whatever the term is.

GarySTL
February 15, 2014, 01:38 PM
Papers bitte! :-)

wrc
February 15, 2014, 05:53 PM
Realistically, I find it hard to believe that ATF can't just run the serial number on any item they have a question about, and instantly determine whether the item is registered or not.

Sad, but true. The ATF does not claim to have a definitive database of who has which tax stamps. It's on *you* to prove it is legal. The ATF may or may not have the records of your manufacture or transfer.

This is an oldie but goodie from 2007: http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/ATF/e0706/final.pdf

NFA Branch staff do not process applications or enter data into the
NFRTR in a consistent manner, leading to errors in records and inconsistent
decisions on NFA weapons applications. The NFA Branch also has a
backlog of discrepancies in its records that it is not able to resolve in a
timely manner due to a shortage in staff resources. Further, the NFRTR
database has software programming flaws that cause errors in records and
reports.

The upshot of this, which has been discussed much, is that you cannot depend on the ATF to verify that your possession and use is legal. They may or may not have those records. If you forget or lose your documentation, there might be no backstop with the issuer of those documents.

Whether this is due to incompetence, or a calculated choice not to be competent is a matter for debate.

SharpsDressedMan
February 15, 2014, 07:15 PM
If you really want to know the ugly truth, BATF has had internal problems over the years "losing" paperwork. The NFA register is incomplete because of this. It has often been brought up that another amnesty may be necessary to allow the BATF to update and complete their files on EXISTING weapons. People die and do not see that their NFA weapon probate properly, etc. There are probably TONS of otherwise LEGIT NFA weapons out there. It is prudent to keep your papers secure, and a photocopy on you just to keep local cops from overzealously confiscating your gun until later proven to be legal.

Mike OTDP
February 15, 2014, 08:46 PM
Sooner or later, someone will challenge the NFRTR in court (probably an heir trying to keep a high-dollar item). If that happens, the whole house of cards will collapse.

medalguy
February 16, 2014, 01:03 AM
Many years ago I was pretty friendly with a couple of BATF enforcement agents, back when I was a SOT. They told me that the NFA files were all on paper in file cabinets and they estimated that maybe 30% of the files might be in error-- either misfiled or just plain lost. They always urged me to keep a copy of my registration/transfer paperwork with the weapons at all times. I still follow that sage advice.

rjrivero
February 17, 2014, 10:36 AM
I shoot 3 gun matches with suppressed sbr's all the time. The FBI agents and LEO's I was squadded with didn't care at all. They did want to shoot them though.

I have never been asked to see copies of my form 4's. I just keep a digital copy of them on my phone, if anyone cares to see them. I don't even carry paper copies anymore.

LawBot5000
February 17, 2014, 01:12 PM
Past year or so, people have asked to see copies of my form 4s.

Since I always bring them along anyway (in case of nosy LEOs), it's never been a problem.

JustinJ
February 17, 2014, 01:45 PM
I've never been to a range which demanded to see what I was shooting before hand. I've also never been asked for paperwork. I usually get quite a few looks, several compliments and a few questions. No biggie.

If a LE asked to see my paperwork if I was at the range minding my own business i'd be tempted to ask to see his warrant. To my knowledge there is no law mandating we prove legal ownership in the absence of reasonable suspicion of a crime.

KingTiger
February 17, 2014, 02:03 PM
An indoor range where I used to be a member asked several of us particpating in a local Arfcom shoot for our papers. Several of us are no longer members there.

Torian
February 17, 2014, 02:15 PM
I'm curious if anyone has ever had any problems using a suppressor at a public range ... in a state where they're legal of course. Have you ever been questioned by LE, range officers, other shooters, etc? Suppressors aren't that common so I could see a trip to a public range turning into a circus. I'm not sure if the majority of LE officers know the law (federal and state) regarding suppressors so I wouldn't expect them to immediately demand to see a tax stamp. I would imagine that they'd have some questions though, assuming they're at the range.
Never been asked...nor would I produce such paperwork for ANYONE other than law enforcement personnel whose job it is to inquire about such things.

Range Masters / RSOs are there to control the range and keep shooters safe...such an action like asking for "papers" is way outside of their lane IMO. If this was a private range with that type of policy, I would immediately discontinue my business and ensure all my buddies were aware of their discriminatory practices.

As far as the comment from Gik-tal about proving lawful ownership...how do you know the revolver I'm shooting isn't stolen or purchased illegally on the streets? Querying shooters just because they show up with NFA items like supressors is a head-scratching policy. So long as someone brings their own targets and knows how to control an automatic weapon, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Speaking of a show: had a guy bring a Supercriss and M60 to our range last week. The Supercriss was unbelieveable...and apparently the guy that showed up was a manufacturer...so he brought all his toys. We were right next to him with about 6 SBRs and almost a dozen different types of suppressors...and I was still plenty envious.

weblance
February 17, 2014, 04:00 PM
The range I shoot at, usually has someone else there, besides me, with a suppressor. Its not uncommon to compare suppressors with another shooter. They arent as uncommon as people think. At least not where I shoot. I also would have no problem showing my paperwork with anyone in authority. Why would I?

Captains1911
February 17, 2014, 05:06 PM
I rarely visit public ranges, but if I did and some dopey employee demanded to see a copy of my Form 4 I would just leave and never return.

crazy-mp
February 17, 2014, 11:11 PM
My suppressors have never had a problem, full auto on the other hand...

Bubbles
February 18, 2014, 01:08 PM
You are required to keep a copy of the approved Form4 anytime you have possession of the item in public.
I'll leave my Form 2's home then. :neener:

boricua9mm
February 18, 2014, 07:14 PM
Here in FL, the law says that NFA items are illegal unless registered with the ATF. The Form is your proof to the local LEO or rare-as-hens-teeth ATF Agent that you're good to go. You can play the tough guy and get handcuffed, go downtown and wait while it gets sorted out if you want to. I carry full-scale color copies around as proof.

The ranges around here are privately owned. Their range, their rules. You can stomp your feet, yell that "It's a private tax document" and go on a 2nd Amendment rant, but you'll just wind up going home and not shooting that day. Only one range around here doesn't care to see Forms.

I've had one moron R.O. at my gun club tell me "You're not shooting that thing here!" I found another R.O., showed him the Form and went about shooting. Lots of people are clueless to the laws, and some of these R.O.s are clueless to the rules of the very range they oversee. When I pay for my club membership, that type of thing ticks me off. Showing someone that I have a Form doesn't bother me at all.

Double_J
February 18, 2014, 08:41 PM
The range I was formerly a member of had a "no suppressor" rule, and all full auto had to have a "club officer" present during firing. SBR/SBS could be shot at any time. I only saw two short barreled firearms in 2.5 years of going out there. One of them was a VERY OLD double barrel shotgun that someone just bought and wanted to play with, and the other was a sheriff's deputies personal SBR ar-15. I got a turn on the ar, and what a blast it is (LOUD AS CAN BE), and fun to shoot.

I would only show a tax stamp to a LEO or other official if asked, R.O. at that range get NOTHING from me as they tend to be arrogant butt-holes about everything.

1858
February 18, 2014, 08:59 PM
Why would a range have a "no suppressor" policy? Makes no sense to me.

Double_J
February 18, 2014, 09:31 PM
I asked and was told "that is the way it is", and "it's for safety." Like I said I am no longer a member of that range. I left and the dues more than doubled, in addition to lots of extra paperwork and rules.

weblance
February 19, 2014, 02:41 AM
The range I was formerly a member of had a "no suppressor" rule,

Thats the dumbest thing I have heard in a long time. What could possibly be the reasoning behind a stupid rule like that?

Anmut
February 19, 2014, 08:58 AM
Because lots of gun owners are clueless ***** not worth the cheap tactical shoes they wear.

taliv
February 19, 2014, 12:12 PM
Why would a range have a "no suppressor" policy? Makes no sense to me.

my experience was with 'fuds' on club board that didn't think people should have machine guns and silencers. pretty sad.

i've got about 20 stamps, including machine guns (mac10, m16, m60), and have been shooting them at public ranges for a decade or so. I've carried them around most of the country between OH, FL, NM. I've never had anyone ask to see a stamp.

Glocktogo
February 19, 2014, 02:47 PM
Never been asked to see a stamp for any of mine, including MG, SBS and SBR. It would really depend on who's asking as to whether I'd show them a copy. If its a range official, I'd have a brief discussion as to why they're asking. So long as they're not a jerk, I'd mention that it's a private tax record but show them anyway. If its a local, state or federal LEO, no problem. So long as they don't give me a problem, I'm not going to give them one either.

Torian
February 19, 2014, 07:29 PM
Why would a range have a "no suppressor" policy? Makes no sense to me.
For the same reason at my previous range that there was a 3 round limit in any magazine fed weapon.

When you have ignorant people on these boards that make ridiculous rules...the only recourse you have left is to leave.

The unfortunate result is that these ranges usually don't survive because of this stuff. The membership base continues to taper off with all the old-timers sticking around while the newer generation of members looks elsewhere. There were gentlemen at this range I used to frequent that would sneer at any "black" weapon, and tell you that you had to hand-load each round into your AR-15, otherwise the weapon might malfunction and transition to full-auto.

You just can't make up this level of stupid.

Double_J
February 19, 2014, 08:07 PM
I remember a friend of mine who was still a member of the same range I left had a time when he went to pattern his turkey gun. They gave him a fit because it was not "proper" to pattern a shotgun on the short pistol/.22/shotgun range. Of course they have weekly "shotgun matches" where everyone shows up with a $2000 over/under. I still beat almost all of them with an 18 inch mossberg 500, 19/25. They did not care for me after that, and I did not care.

I also remember them getting on to a couple of guys for "shooting too fast" one day. They had an ak of some sort, and apparently were trying to do a torture test. It was funny watching them dump mag after mag of ammo and the range officer get angry that they would not listen. The good guys one by one have left and all that is left are the "Fudds" and other busy-bodies. Now it is a "sponsored membership" only, you have to have a member sponsor you and get approved by the board, what a joke.

Girodin
February 22, 2014, 12:40 PM
I am not sure on what basis a law enforcement official could simply demand to see a tax stamp, assuming that the item can be legally owned (with appropriate paperwork) in that area. They can come up and ask, but a LEO cannot simply stop me from engaging in a legal activity, demand documents, and take some kind of action if I don't provide them. I know the political elites have done their best to destroy it but the 4th amendment still carries at least a little water most places.

For a government agent to seize me and make me produce paperwork it would seem that the agent would need at least reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime is being committed or about to be committed. If one can with proper paperwork own a supressor, then having a supressor is not sufficient RAS of a crime. Rather it is a mere hunch or sheer speculation that the person may not have a stamp. Thus going an detaining the person would seem to be a pretty big 4th amendment violation.

I am aware of a case that addressed a similar issue in MA. It was about carrying a gun. There is was legal to carry with a permit and illegal to carry without one. An officer saw indicia of a person carrying a gun, stopped them and demanded a permit be shown. The courts in essence said there was no RAS, because a having a gun is not indicia of illegal activity since one can be carried legally under some circumstances.

An analogy would be driving a car. I can drive if I have a license. However, if I do not have a license it is illegal. A cop cannot just pull over any driver to check and see whether or not that driver has a license. Rather the cop would need reasonable, articulable facts that lead him to suspect the person does not have a license.

Now a government agent could walk up and ask you to voluntarily show your stamp. They very likely will not phrase it that clearly, and although not technically a demand it will sound much more like one than a request to the average Joe. You can waive your rights, and that's on you.

Never been asked...nor would I produce such paperwork for ANYONE other than law enforcement personnel whose job it is to inquire about such things.

Assuming it is a private range, the owners or workers can make whatever rules (within some constraints) that they want. If you don't like it go somewhere else. They can do a lot of things that would be wholly improper for any LEO to do. For example one range I have gone to wants you to put your name, provide photo ID, fill out a form, and leave your DL#. If a cop walked up to me out of the blue and asked for all that it would be a very different situation.

Arizona_Mike
February 22, 2014, 04:49 PM
At the Rio Salado Sportman's Club main range today there were lots of supressors. No one batted an eye. I think I had the only SBR and not zero attention as well.

Mike

Double Naught Spy
February 23, 2014, 10:01 AM
This! It's a tax form and only ATF's business.

To allow you to shoot, the range can ask for just about anything they want from you as a condition of admission. You don't have to shoot there, but they don't have to let you shoot without the paperwork either.

The same goes for ID.

At the Rio Salado Sportman's Club main range today there were lots of supressors. No one batted an eye.

Since we can now use them for hunting in Texas, I suspect this will become very commonplace as well, though they are still somewhat of a novelty right now, albeit a more popular novelty at the range.

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