Legal Issues

Petition Seeks to Remove Suppressors from NFA

S&W M&P 22 threaded barrel model with a suppressor

Cheaper Than Dirt! Chronicle readers should know about a petition on whitehouse.gov seeking to get suppressors removed from National Firearms Act regulation.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 22 with a Cascade Ti suppressor.
Removal of suppressors from NFA regulation might eliminate the $200 tax stamp requirement.
Ownership of suppressors is skyrocketing, despite a major regulatory hurdle — the National Firearms Act of 1934. This legislation regulates the ownership of the suppressors, with perhaps the most noxious aspect being that NFA-regulated accessories must have a $200 tax stamp per device.

The petition reads: Removal of suppressors as an NFA regulated item would eliminate the $200 tax stamp, eliminate legality and travel issues between states, reduce hearing safety concerns related to discharging firearms, and would help people be courteous neighbors when discharging firearms.

American Suppressor Association
The American Suppressor Association is a trade group seeking to educate and inform the public about legal use of the devices.
The petitioners are aiming for 100,000 signatures by Aug. 5, 2014. At last view, there are 11,371 people who have signed the petition.

However, Cheaper Than Dirt! wants to advise our readers that if you sign this petition, your initials, city, and state may be publicly displayed on the petition page. Also, once you sign a petition, you cannot remove your signature.

Then there’s the whole OPSEC thing. Caveat subscriptor.

To learn more about suppressor use and ownership, contact the American Suppressor Association.

If suppressors were removed from National Firearms Act regulation, would you consider buying one? Let us hear your thoughts in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (60)

  1. I would certainly purchase several for most of my guns. My hearing is already compromised, so I do not wish it to get worse.

  2. Myself and so many of my older pals are about deaf. Probably from years and years of shooting. I dont even hunt but love target shooting. I cant imagine how many fewer people would be killed or injured is silencers were legalized. Probably between none and a half dozen maybe. Here is another problem: The shysters in the the hearing aid business should be shot. Average cost is around $8000.00. They are sold by non professionals. I looked up the source of these hearing aids in Asia. COST IS ABOUT SIX DOLLARS!! Tell me those ‘hearing aid crooks’ shouldnt be shot! So many people who need hearing aids and old people who spend their savings to be able to hear. My advice is go to a Sportsman’s type store. Buy a “Hunter’s ear” or something similar for $30.00. Its at least worth a try.

  3. Dave
    That surprises no one. The original NFA list included such weapons as sawed down shot guns to allow them to be hidden inside trench coats machine guns like the Thomson used at the time strictly by law enforcement military and the law UNabiding citizen etc. The silencer was added since many criminals would use one to create a stealthy “hit” on someone then hightail it off before anyone realized the shot was fired. The $200 at the time was a BIG deal it prevented the average hoodlum citizen from buying one coupled with the paperwork that requires a signature of a local law enforcement officer to get approval it worked quite fine for some time. Then the criminals realized that they didn’t want a stealthy kill they wanted the exact opposite they wanted a super loud shot to prevent anyone standing around from getting involved (as was illustrated in the restaurant scene in the original Godfather) so the silencer’s taxation is nothing more today then a way to fund the BATFE operations. Today you can completely avoid the sign off and the background check and shorten the wait time by atleast 50% if you so choose but you still need to fork over the $200. The BATFE can easily be comingled into the FBI as long as the funds that the BATFE gets goes along to the FBI to offset the added work load. I have a LOT of ATF buddies who are field types who like the FBI the DEA and the various state and local law enforcement agencies put their life on the line each and every day for our ability to walk around safer and more secure then without them. Sure the Admin part that crunches paperwork and applications can and should be automated but the underlying reason that so few silencers are sold is that MOST people don’t want the hassle so it is doing exactly what it was intended to do in 1934 unfortunately this is not 19 anything it is 2014 and we need “an adjustment” Silencers in todays day and age will save a LOT of hearing issues that the whole society is paying for with higher Medical expenses and higher premiums for that care insurance. I can tell you my ears are permanently screwed up as a result of shooting thousands of rounds with only muffs or plugs. (of course the Pink Floyd concerts in the 70’s and 80’s contributed) 🙂 Dr Dave

  4. It’s not about the $200. It’s about the 1 solid year you have to wait, as of 2014, to get someone to rubber stamp an application form that sits there waiting for no good reason at all.

    And it’s about the fact that, according to the ATF web page itself, this is all about catching Al Capone. That’s right, Al Capone is still at large, apparently, and the ATF is bound and determined to get him. Look at the home page and read the sarcastic statement there about the real purpose, and tell me who in Congress is going to have the guts to shut this entire agency down.

    Go ahead, read the 2nd paragraph:

    http://www.atf.gov/content/firearms/firearms-industry/national-firearms-act

    Specifically, this gem:
    “its underlying purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms”

    That’s right, the reason they drag their feet for ONE SOLID YEAR and force you to pay $200 for no good reason at all, is that they hope it will CURTAIL IF NOT PROHIBIT you from buying one.

    How’s that for underhanded, cynical big brother behavior?

  5. The $200 isn’t the issue it is the fact that from then on you are on “the magic list” Supposedly that list can’t exist but lets face it we all know the moment you apply (pass of fail) you are on the list of weapon owners and will be the first to be contacted when the Gov wants to eliminate such weapons in the future. With any other similar weapons you simply can’t sell them or claim them “lost” I use a gun trust but that isn’t full proof either.

  6. I wouldn’t bother to buy one. I have sensitive hearing, but none of them I’ve seen reduce the noise below 100db and they do interfere with ballistic performance.

    However, I do support removal of anything from the NFA regulations.

    1. John (Holliday),,,
      Speaking from quite a bit of experience:

      Think of a P22 sounding like a staple gun…. certainly WELL below “100dB”. Or a 556 sounding more like a 22. This with standard velocity ammunition. Using sub sonic ammo, the sound level is quite a bit lower. .

      Also, they do NOT “interfere with ballistic performance”. I have conducted extensive tests in this regard (22, 556/223 and 9mm). All are appreciably the same with or without suppression.

  7. Your right about the 13 month wait, but you might get lucky….

    And the $200 fee is nothing big, but your $30k estimate is off…

    I went to my favorite ammo store a few weeks ago and they said to me; “We got our full auto sears in (Ak47 & AR platform) and they are going for $100 right now did you want to get one because they sale out fast!!!

  8. I already am awaiting a AR-57 short barrel rifle with Gemtech suppressor I bought in January 2013, and am still waiting for BATFE transfer approval since my gun shop got the item from Gemtech in November 2013. I would think that getting the suppressors off the NFA list is a mixed blessing for the manufacturers. First it would eliminate the need for a class III manufacturer’s licence to produce them thus opening up the market for more competition. It would also increase demand as people afriad to be put on a BATFE “list” would be more likely to obtain one. I don’t really complain about the tax stamp price as much as dread the inevitable delay between purchase and possession of the item. A year and a half to obtain an item you can legally own is a bit too much. It is all about creating a hurdle to exercise your Constitutionally protected rights, and it is a bit ridiculous how long this process takes.

  9. I hope they pull suppressors out of NFA. As things stand its just nonsense. I understand destructive devices, grenades, bazookas, explosive rounds and I suppose full auto being in NFA, but a suppressor? its designed to save your hearing. The thing that worries me about buying one is that when I die my heirs (none of who are into shooting) will have to figure out how to dispose of it, which is as costly as buying it in the first place. It would be nice if that worry went away.

  10. I too would consider purchasing a suppressor if it was not for the $200
    Tax stamp… But I really don’t think they’re going to give up that $200 fee

  11. Sure would be a nice less loud/ educating, practice and safe handling experience of a useful tool. The sales tax raised by the increased sales would be great. I would buy multiple. The Lord willing.

  12. Yes. If they were removed from the NFA I would purchase several. I am considering purchase of one for a rifle and one for a handgun anyway. This would expedite my decision.

  13. They can’t make all suppressors illegal. why? because suppressor is a general term. Even if you worded it as sound suppressors it would be too general to be legal. Why? because every car, truck, tractor in the country would be carrying an illegal sound suppressor – called mufflers.
    The next argument against all suppressors being illegal would not only impact guns. It would bring into question all laws governing any issue of noise abatement – which is at its basic core the suppression of sound and its impact on the public at large.
    An example: By law you can’t drive a car very long without a muffler because by law you are to have a muffler on your car. Therefore, because you have to have a muffler on your car to suppress the sound for the health and welfare of the general public. Then why shouldn’t you have a suppressor on you gun for the health and welfare of the general public when firing you gun?
    The only reason suppressor were banned back in the 1920-30s was because criminals & the mob was using silenced guns.

  14. Ga. has passed a state bill (HB 60) which allows suppressed weapon to be used for hunting. The impediment for many hunters is the cost and paperwork to obtain a suppressor. I believe if the ATF requirements were removed, the cost of suppressors would go down dramatically and more hunters and shooters would acquire suppressors. This would be a boon to gunsmiths who would be modifying barrels.

  15. the discussion is about suppressors and as usual some idiot has to throw in the democrat card. both parties f/u just as much but somehow some idiot always wants to show their true intelligence by trying to interject the democrat card. why can’t the comments be strictly about the issue. i’m sure there’s politicians on both sides that vote and pass good laws as well as bad laws. it’s amazing how the parties are always to blame, yet we the people vote them in, enjoy the good and bitch, moan and point fingers at the bad. grow up, it’s not the republican or the democratic parties, it’s the people that we vote into theses offices. that being said, can we keep it to the subject at hand.

    1. No we can’t keep it to the subject at hand because it IS MOST DEFINITELY THE DEMOCRATS who are fueling this war against out right to bear arms. If you are embarrassed because you voted for them that’s one thing but to call someone an idiot for speaking the truth is absolutely ridiculous. If jt wasn’t for the democrats we wouldn’t be where we are at today, fighting to keep our right to protect ourselves. NO supressors should not be regulated as they are today the regulation is just another way to keep tabs on your every move by our government. Communism is seeming more likely everyday as they are trying their best to regulate everything that A FREE MAN has the God given right to do!

    2. SO true. Dems are not the only ones to imfringe upon the second amendment. Reagan is the MFer who gave us the post 86 ban on machineguns. Now where are we. We need machine guns for our state malitias to protect our borders from the mexican army who keeps making incursions into the US. Bring back the 2nd ammendment.

  16. Shall not be infringed! Hmmm! $200 for usage is fraud. Paying for any right is fraud. Conceal fees = fraud, NFA regs = fraud, Denial of the right of the people to keep and bears = fraud. Why do free people have to ask for permission?

  17. I would like to see suppressors removed from the NFA. One problem I can see is this: There are many states that ban suppressors under state law. Most of them have an exemption if the proper federal form and tax stamp accompanies the suppressor. If there were no longer a form and tax stamp, how would one legally possess a suppressor in these states?

  18. Why are silencers regulated at all?
    I someone going to enter a bank or store with a silenced pistol, fire unheard shots into the ceiling and declare, “This is a hold-up!”?
    If no one heard the shots what would the gunman do other than shoot someone to prove his pistol was real. The law does nothing but endanger citizens.
    Any crook that wants one can make one easily with todays modern machining equipment. The only reason democrats want silencers regulated or illegal is so gun noise bothers non-gun owners so they might vote anti-gun or try to shut down gun ranges due to noise. That’s how sick democrat politicians are.

    1. “Unheard shots” is a movie thing, not reality. Suppressors only drop the Db level to the point that the sound does not cause pain or injury, around 120Db. They do not completely eliminate the noise of the shot. Plus if you are using high-velocity rounds the supersonic ‘crack’ is not affected by the suppressor at all.

    2. Are you serious??? Did I just read “Unheard shots” from a fired pistol?? The ignorance buzzers are screaming right now. First, they are suppressors that do just that, they suppress the sound, not eliminate it in all it’s entirety.

      Any gunshot is still going to be audible….think muffler on your car (assuming that it’s not a hybrid Prius with a patchouli air freshener) vs a straight-piped race car. The exhaust noise the follows internal combustion (much like what occurs in an ammo cartridge) is suppressed but still audible enough to be recognized.

      Think of suppressors like a gun-muffler, I think Cherry-Bomb Exhaust, Borla, Flowmaster and Magnaflow should all start marketing gun-mufflers under the premise of advocating/promoting our personal auditory preservation and protecting the children’s fragile little minds from by reducing the sounds of evil gunfire. I bet anti-gunners would begin procreating legislation that everyone should have a “gun muffler” and then try to charge $100 per can…..hell we’d be ahead by $100 without having to have the NFA paperwork.

      Then in order to appease nimrods like you, the criminals won’t follow those rules either (imagine that) and then you can be assured that when you’re standing in line at the bank, during an active robbery, you’ll hear your gunshots loud and clear. I mean WTF? when have you ever heard a robbery victim’s chief complaint being “the gunfire was too loud, I would’ve preferred to have heard a much quieter gunshot.”

    3. UPDATE:
      After further review of the original comment that I replied to, I will remove the original poster [Guano Genesis] from any reference to “Nimrod” as I now understand the hyperbolic satire that they originally intended. I do stand by my position and logic though but I’m adult enough to admit a minor misunderstanding and take the necessary action to correct things.

  19. This ranks up there with making smart bullets available to the general public. All protective services security offices (Boyguards and alike) obsolete and irrellivant.

  20. I currently own 2 supressors. Both f them I use at the range when sighting in my rifles, and at my friends dairy farm in Texas to remove the unwanted hole diggers. Using these supressors has eliminated the need for extreme hearing protection when both hunting and sighting in at the range. Removing them from the NFA list not only will bring them to main stream but can also save a lot of peoples hearing. More and more people use the range for sport and sighting in their rifles. Being able to get a suppressor for a rifle easier can create a new job market.

  21. What if removing suppressors from the NFA regulations has the OPPOSITE effect? At least now, if you pass the scrutiny, pay the $200 tax, you can own a suppressor. What makes you think the anti-gunners in Congress won’t just jump right on this situation and make a law or pass a bill making ALL suppressors ILLEGAL for ANYONE to possess! They are already pissed off because some States have given hunters the right to use suppressors for hunting! Just saying, be careful what you wish for …….what you finally get, may NOT be what you wish for. That’s how Congress STOPPED all manufacturing of machine guns for the civilian market. And look at what THAT has done! No full-auto guns for anyone except the richest few who can afford their $30,000 plus prices!!! Just my 2 cents…….

    1. You make a very vaild point; the door swings both ways, and I agree this is true. As for supressor purchase, what angers me is the fact they have removed the TRUST option and we cannot use that anymore. Some LE agencies wont accommodate such purchases (mostly due to politics). If the requirement to get a local LEO or other “official” signature was removed I would have no problem paying the extra tax but as it stands now it doesn’t appear that will change. I reinterate that about 90$ or more of the archaic NFA needs to be repealed.

    2. I was told the other day it has been removed. I dont want to dispute anyone’s word either way. Now I’m confused. Could you elaborate please?

    3. Late in 2013, the ATF published a notice that they intended to seek to revise the regulations regarding the documentation that is required for a Gun Trust and for a business.

      After the ATF received more than 9500 comments on the proposed changes, the ATF had originally announced that a decision was set to be published in June of this year.

      As the June date approached, it was unlikely that the ATF would actually be able to review and respond to the comments by the June date and that the ATF was not likely to be able to respond until 2015.

      In the latest publication of the Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda, ATF updated the date of the projected date to show that ATF does not expect to publish a final rule until 2015.

    4. @ Rocky: To use your own logic, what makes you think the anti-gunners in Congress won’t just make a law or pass a bill making ALL suppressors ILLEGAL for ANYONE to possess now or whimsically at any time in the future?

      So do you advocate we become gripped in fear and never try anything new, ever, for fear of what the government of the people may do? That’s just life dude… all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year including Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

    5. I don’t know about the term Machine Gun, but I live in Arizona and Full Auto conversions are not illegal, you can buy the parts already machined at most local gun stores and if you aren’t savvy enough to install, there are literally 2 guns smiths on every corner…

      You can also bump fire your rifle in states that do have the machine gun ban, and for more control you can get a slide fire stock

    6. You sir are correct I can buy a legal full auto conversion in your state of Arizona for roughly $30,000 for a m16 rifle it’s called a pre ban lower receiver, lightning link, or auto sear. In fact most states I can do that or buy a cheaper Uzi full auto for around $5000 the problem is if they were not manufactured before 1986 and registered under the NFA it would be a fellony to posses one. I would also have to pay $200 for a tax stamp and wait around 13 months (ya it really takes that long) for the BATFE NFA branch to approve my FBI background and process the forms to legally transfer said machine gun into my name. Slide fire and bump fire do not meet the criteria of full auto because they require more than one manual auctioning of the trigger to fire more than one shot. Full auto or burst requires one trigger manipulation for multiple rounds fired.

      But your correct full auto is legal to own* in Arizona. *You must jump through multiple legal hoops have way more money to spend on firearms than even the richest of US citizens and be willing to notify the BATFE of everything you do with the item to include crossing state lines, moving two houses down, plus a almost unlimited amount of legal pitfalls waiting to catch you and allow the BATFE to make a public example out of what a terribly criminal fellon you are…..

      Seems all constitutional sound and not infringful at all right?

  22. SMITTy? Are you whistling the teapot or singing the teapot song with friends in between chorus’s of free market nursery rhymes
    The only enterprises in US ran on free market principles are, prostitution, drugs and gold/silver bullion trades and Latino sidewalk and rolling cafes.
    Glad you fully understand the Bill and procedures that such changes will entail, I mean this article and the trade industry so fully explain any and all consequences.
    WOULD I. purchase an item that vodt hundreds without tax or lets ask why pay hundreds for an item that at most cost $50 bucks to produce as batch item and not enough market to run mass production.
    Batch is a term used in techiques of manufacturing, you can look it up on internet.

    1. Hide, your reply is so ludicrous and disjointed that it isn’t even worth my time to reply to it. Maybe someone else can understand what your point is, but frankly, I don’t. You obviously have some sort of anti-capitalist agenda, and your lack of education and lack of understanding of economics shows in the comments you make. Sad to see it on this site.

    1. Hey dumb@SS, you don’t fire a warning shot. In many localities it’s illegal to fire a warning shot.

    2. @ 12EO333: I cannot believe you just made such a statement in a gun forum! Anyone that understands proper and safe handling of firearms or has had even an infinitesimal amount of weapons training knows there is no such thing as a “warning shot” unless it’s the Navy at sea.

      Echoing Sherman’s sentiment in hopes that 12EO333 may actually learn something that better’s him/herself: Not only is it illegal to fire a warning shot, but there have been innocent children killed in neighborhoods miles away from warning shots and random gunfire into the air. What goes up-must come down; and it does so at such a great velocity that it kills miles away.

      There are slight variances to the standard rules of weapons safety, but amongst them is – “never aim at anything you are not intending to kill or destroy”. Based on that rule, a warning shot, regardless of direction, is a violation.

      Your statement exposes a simple fact… you should not continue to handle any type of firearm until properly trained. Please do so for the sake of us all. Thank you.

  23. Signed this morning. Now all we need to do is follow-up with a repeal of the whole damned NFA. It’s outdated/antiquated and 90% of it as it applies to firearms is no longer necessary or Constitutional, IMHO.

  24. Thanks G man. I signed on and passed it to my like minded friends. I’m not a twit so I don’t tweet and I try to keep my face out of other people’s books but when I see something like this I send it on to my friends in hope they’ll help.
    Thanks again.

    1. So did I, but the petition terminates on August 5, so there is not much time to tell your friends to consider signing it.

      Thanks for the tip, G-man. Without your post, I would not have known about it.

  25. Lower the tax with no restrictions other than present background weapons check in order to purchase.
    Take a portion of that remaining tax and have it a designated fund for Civilian Marksmanship and Olympic Firearms amature participants in those programs.
    NEVER WILL COME TO PASS and you can bet bottom dollar The manufacturers and sales outlets would soon take a bite of saved tax moneys with even worse price gouging for their goods than they already charge.
    There are no complications to manufacturing silencers or noise suppressors; other than in bs from guys behind bean counters.

    1. Hide, your comment was nothing short of amazing. Just what “price gouging” are you talking about? You sound like a flaming liberal dreamer who expects anyone in business to provide anything you want for free or for such a reduced price to you that they can’t stay in business.

      If you don’t like the price, don’t BUY the GD suppressor. No one is forcing you to pay for something for a price you think is too high—at least for now.

      It’s called the “free-market system.” You can read about it on the internet. It’s very simple: People vote with their dollars and will spend those dollars where they are treated the best. Competition forces prices down, all for the benefit of the consumer. The true free-market system is all about a consumer-driven market place. Got that?

  26. NWCP took the words right out of my mouth. I hunt in open areas, but I do know that the sound must drive ranchers nuts, especially when there are hundreds of shooters going after ground squirrels. Suppressors would be a benefit to the ranchers and definitely to the shooters who might well be more welcome, especially without the promise of all the noise that is generated.

    The anti-suppressor laws might have had some sort of reasoning in the twenties and thirties when gangsters were knocking themselves off and didn’t want to attract attention with so much loud gun fire, but those cowboy days are mostly gone…..Chicago being the exception.

  27. My hearing has also been affected by years of shooting and working around loud noises without hearing protection. When I was a young Marine there was no such thing. I can see this as a health issue, especially with the young ones coming into the sport. Where can I sign?

  28. Firearms sound suppressors should be legal to own without the current NFA requirements. My hearing has been affected by years of firearms usage with ear protection. Suppressors would be of great value to gun owners for range days as well as hunting. The whole $200 dollar stamp and 6 month, or longer waiting period to get approval is pure bunk. JMHO

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