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

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by A strange person, Mar 9, 2013.

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  1. A strange person

    A strange person Member

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    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.
     
  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    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.
     
  3. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    Pay the $200 tax stamp and then make or buy one.
    Problem solved.
     
  4. Gryffydd

    Gryffydd Member

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    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.
     
  5. A strange person

    A strange person Member

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    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.
     
  6. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Member

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    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.
     
  7. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    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.
     
  8. Zeeemu

    Zeeemu Member

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    "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?
     
  9. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    "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.
     
  10. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    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.
     
  11. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    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
     
  12. A strange person

    A strange person Member

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    I take it that nobody actually knows what is stated in the law as to what constitutes a suppressor or suppressor part?
     
  13. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  14. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    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...
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  15. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Member

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    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"


    [​IMG]
     
  16. cpy911

    cpy911 Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  17. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    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 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?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    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.
     
  19. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    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:
     
  20. hentown

    hentown Member

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    An off-the-shelf lawnmower engine muffler would be a suppressor, if you attached it to a firearm.
     
  21. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    I've never owned one, but I have heard some people refer to Ciener suppressors as piles of junk. :rolleyes:
     
  22. A strange person

    A strange person Member

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

    joeschmoe Member

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    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.
     
  24. 1 old 0311-1

    1 old 0311-1 member

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    What's a hammer and screwdriver? Tools
    What's a hammer and screwdriver at 3 a.m? BURGLAR TOOLS.:what:
     
  25. -Xero-

    -Xero- member

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    -- And if you ask the BATF they "can't offer a legal opinion because we're not lawyers."
     
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