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non-resident visiting Virginia with (legally owned) suppressor

Discussion in 'Legal' started by 30 cal slob, Sep 5, 2008.

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  1. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Member

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    i'm assuming this is not an issue with Virginia law?

    just want to double check ... since i don't need to fill out an ATF form 5320.20.

    thanks!

    -slob
     
  2. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    IF suppressors are legal in Virgina in general, then transporting it there should not be an issue. Just be sure to have a copy of your tax stamp with you.

    Form 5320.20 is only for SBRs, SBSs, or MGs


    -T.
     
  3. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    and feel free to stop by my house to shoot it! my kid would be impressed her dad too
     
  4. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    Suppressors are 100% legal in Virginia (I have one, and the gun store where I work sells them).
    Just make sure that you have a NOTARIZED copy of your form 4 in your possession, and you're good to go.
     
  5. JimmyN

    JimmyN Member

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    Do note that in VA it is illegal to carry a loaded handgun that has a threaded barrel for a suppressor. Unless you have a CHP from VA, or one of the state's VA honors.

    So if you don't have a valid CHP, and choose to open carry, or keep it on your car seat, no threaded barrels or magazines over 20 round capacity. You can have it unloaded/locked in the trunk, and you can shoot it on private property or the range, but you can't carry it around loaded without that CHP.
     
  6. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    JIMMY N: The prohibition you referred to only applies to the cities of Alexandria, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Falls Church, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Virginia Beach. Also the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, and Prince William. The vast majority of the state is not covered by that law (Va. Code 18.2 - 287.4).
     
  7. wdlsguy

    wdlsguy Member

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    What's wrong with a plain old photocopy?

     
  8. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    The information was given to me by an assistant to the Virginia Attorney General. It's very easy to make a "plain old photocopy" look genuine, when in actuality it is totally fraudulent. When you have a notary public compare the original with the copy, and notarize it as being a true copy, it gives the copy a lot more legitimacy. Take it to your local branch bank, and they'll notarize it for free. It ain't that difficult, and may save you some heartache down the road.
     
  9. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    No, it isn't required, but NFA will accept and approve a 5320.20 for a suppressor. In addition to a copy of your F4, I would still recommend getting an approved 5320.20 to CYA. The F4 only proves your ownership/possession is legitimate in your home state; the 5320.20 shows BATFE has approved the interstate move and destination.
     
  10. oda226

    oda226 Member

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    Quote:
    ...since i don't need to fill out an ATF form 5320.20

    No, it isn't required, but NFA will accept and approve a 5320.20 for a suppressor. In addition to a copy of your F4, I would still recommend getting an approved 5320.20 to CYA. The F4 only proves your ownership/possession is legitimate in your home state; the 5320.20 shows BATFE has approved the interstate move and destination.

    This is exactly what I told him on OCDO!
     
  11. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Member

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    thanks for all the replies here (and there). :)

    i love VA. want to move there. i'm getting freedom envy.
     
  12. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    While VA law requires that the silencer be registered IAW the NFA, there is nothing in the law that says the owner has to prove it. (Please let me know if I missed something) It is up to the police/DA to prove that the silencer in question is not registered. Of course the owner may want to provide a copy to examine to avoid legal hassles by those who do not know the law and are in a position to cause trouble. Never let anyone but the ATF actually have a copy of your ATF forms though.

    Texas is one of those states that require registration by the feds and the only way to get out of an indictment for owning a silencer is to show the tax form.

    The last time I took suppressed weapons to VA, one of the rifle ranges I went to wanted to get a look at my form 1’s before letting me use them. I was free to say no and the range officer was free to deny me use of the range. :) I let him take a quick look and he was satisfied.

    Ranb
     
  13. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    You missed something.

    Under federal law, as well as that of most, if not all NFA states, it is illegal to possess an NFA weapon unless the owner/possessor can make out an affirmative defense that it was registered on the NFRTR. The burden of proof thus falls upon the owner/possessor to show it is registered.
     
  14. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    Kinda. It's sort of (loosely) like not having your insurance card with you if you get pulled over. No insurance card, get a ticket. Prove later that you had insurance at the time of the incident, get it dismissed. Can't prove it? You now own that ticket.

    If you're caught in possession of an NFA item without your tax stamp (or a copy) on you, they confiscate the item. You gotta find your stamp (or copy) and take it where-the-hell-ever to get your item back. Can't prove it? You now do not own an NFA item. ;)


    -T.
     
  15. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    As far as I know, only Florida and Texas require that a person be able to show their ATF forms to prove that their silencers are registered. My home state of WA bans use, but is otherwise silent on the issue. Most other states either ban them outright, or say nothing about them in their laws.

    If there is a state law that specifically requires that silencers be registered with the state or the federal government, then it is up to the state to prove whether or not the silencer is legal.

    So if someone in VA demands that I prove my silencers are registered, I can tell them to go pack sand. If I am stupid enough to give a police officer a reason to believe that they are not registered (serial number or maker name not engraved), then I am likely to find myself under arrest and in trouble when they demonstrate that the silencer is not registered. The state still has the burden of proof when accussing someone of not registering their silencer.

    Ranb
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  16. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    Once again Ranb, most states that allow NFA weapons only do so IF they are registered under the NFA. Under the laws of most states, it is generally illegal to possess such weapons, with an affirmative defense to a charge of possession of an "offensive weapon" or unlawful possession of the specific type of NFA weapon carved out for those that can prove their possession is in compliance with the NFA. It is not the duty of the police or prosecuting entity to disprove all your possible defenses, nor is it to infer or assume your possession is legal just because you say so (without offering any proof such as a F4 or 5320.20). Now before you go assuming you know a state law and telling someone to pack sand, you need to look up the state law in question so you aren't the one getting packed ...into the back of their patrol car, handcuffed.


    My state law (PA) defines NFA weapons as "offensive weapons". See PA Cons. Stat. § 908.

    Prohibited offensive weapons.
    (a) Offense defined.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the
    first degree if, except as authorized by law, he makes repairs,
    sells, or otherwise deals in, uses, or possesses any offensive
    weapon.
    (b) Exceptions.--
    (1) It is a defense under this section for the defendant
    to prove by a preponderance of evidence that
    he possessed or
    dealt with the weapon solely as a curio or in a dramatic
    performance, or that, with the exception of a bomb, grenade
    or incendiary device, he complied with the National Firearms
    Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.),
    or that he possessed it
    briefly in consequence of having found it or taken it from an
    aggressor, or under circumstances similarly negativing any
    intent or likelihood that the weapon would be used
    unlawfully.​

    Now, since you specifically mention Virginia, lets look at VA Code Ann.§ 18.2-308.6.

    Possession of unregistered firearm mufflers or silencers prohibited; penalty.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any firearm muffler or firearm silencer which is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony. ​
     
  17. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    While VA requires that the silencer be registered, it does not require that the person prove it is. Nowhere in the VA law text you posted does it even come close to saying anything about an affirmative defense like it says in other state laws. VA does not require that the person show any ATF form.

    Since everyone is innocent until proven guilty, then it is up to the state to prove the silencer is not registered. Until the police have evidence to support any allegation of possession of an unregistered silencer, then the owner should not expect any trouble. Mere possession of a silencer is not evidence of possession of an unregistered silencer.

    Ranb
     
  18. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    "Innocent until proven guilty" regards the presumption in a court of law after formal charges are brought. In a criminal prosecution you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To overcome this, once you get to trial, a report from the NFA branch is occasionally presented by the prosecution to show the NFA item has not been registered to the defendant.

    On the side of the road no such presumption exists, and unless you have a lot of time and money you want to waste, the standard you need to be concerned with is probable cause. If Officer Friendly has pulled you over on a minor traffic violation (for example) and finds your can and you have no paperwork (or you won't show it to him) the presumption of innocent until proven guilty is inapposite. He doesn't have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, Officer Friendly only needs probable cause to believe its not registered (which he would have at that point) to be able to confiscate the can and take you into custody.
     
  19. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    You have made several good points, so I will concede. Since every registered silencer is engraved with a name and serial number, would a police officer confiscate a silencer even if it is engraved?

    Ranb
     
  20. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    The manufacturer of the can is only required to engrave the unit with their name (or business name), location (city & state), model, and serial number. There's not usually anything engraved on the can or NFA weapon that links that particular unit to a particular person, other than the serial number which would only link a specific person to the can if they had their paperwork.

    Now if its a homemade unit and you are the manufacturer, you might have an easier time of it without showing paperwork since your name would appear on the can as the manufacturer. You could also add a unique model & serial number that would help link it to you. For example, if I built a can I designated with a model number like the "MGshaggy-Noisy Cricket", having serial number "Shaggy1". That might be enough to convince Officer Friendly everything is OK, but that also depends more on the disposition of Officer Friendly and how much he knows about NFA weapons.

    But make no mistake, if the can is legal and registered and you don't show paperwork, in all likelihood you'll eventually get it all sorted out and get your can back, and go on your merry way. The question (at least for me) is not so much whether its legal to not show your paperwork, but rather is it worth the hassle of not doing so (ie. a day or two in the local pokey, a few hours of lawyer time, and the chance Officer Friendly might inadvertantly scratch or ding your expensive can). Personally, I've got nothing against LEOs (in general) but while their wearing their uniform and acting in their official capacity, I'd rather have as little contact as possible with them.
     
  21. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    All of my silencers are form 1 cans I made myself. I always have copies of my ATF form 1's with my silencers when I am using or travel with them. I have interacted with several people who have accused me of breaking the law, but none of them were police and showing the ATF form was enough to convince them I was not a criminal, or an idiot. :)

    Ranb
     
  22. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Member

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    most folks who travel with NFA goodies usually have at the very least a photocopy of, if not the original relevent ATFE form (Form 4, etc).
     
  23. crotalus01

    crotalus01 Member

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    I carry a double sided full color copy of my F4 for all my NFA items with me whenever I have them out. I was told that NFA stuff is like IRS - the burden of proof is on YOU, not the accuser. So, no paperwork with an NFA item means you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
    Perhaps its state by state, but was told that by a TN lawyer specializing in gun law...
     
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