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Just asked the ATF about paintball Silencers


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#1 Jaldrich

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:26 AM

Ok so I did a little calling around to clear up this very very questionable topic.

I called the Atlanta field office for the ATF and asked them point blank.

"Are home made silencers for use on a paintball marker illegal?"

Her answer was straight up........ to the point...... and kind of disappointing.

Regardless of what you are putting a silencer on, a silencer in itself (by itself) is considered a firearm. As such, anyone manufacturer or using one needs to be 21 years of age or older, and have the proper forms filled out and registered through the local ATF office.

Now......... as to the nature of what a silencer is. My understanding after talking to them is that a silencer can easily be classified as anything that augments the db output of a firearm. So.......while I would bet that you could get away with a fake silencer that still augments the sound (aka a shroud, augments the sound but not very well at all), If an ATF agent came across a shroud packed with socks rags cotton etc....... I bet your ass would be grass.

Hope this clears up this questionable topic. Its unfortunate, but it looks like all you cats with functional silencers might want to get rid of them and just go with a shroud. And all you cats that want to really reduce your sound signature should probably go with a portless barrel.

Edited by Jaldrich, 27 July 2009 - 08:27 AM.


#2 Deadpool

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:40 AM

Good to know... thanks..



#3 cockerpunk

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:43 AM

good work man.
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#4 brycelarson

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:00 AM

Hope this clears up this questionable topic. Its unfortunate, but it looks like all you cats with functional silencers might want to get rid of them and just go with a shroud. And all you cats that want to really reduce your sound signature should probably go with a long, heavily ported barrel.


there fixed for you.

#5 Lord Odin

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:02 AM

EDIT: I found some much better information about silencers.

Yes Silencers, Suppressors, Mufflers, "Barrel Extensions", "Accuracy Improver" are considered
Silencers by the BATF, and Silencers are not illegal IF you register it with the BATF.
You can call Silencers what ever you want, i.e. Suppressors, Mufflers, "Barrel Extensions",
"Accuracy Improver" or what ever you want, BUT if it "Silences", (reduces the noise signature of
a fired projectile weapon even a little, (that amount is decided by the BATF usually more that 5
db). See copy of FAQ questions and Answers from the BATFs website, (a copy of this along with
the website is at the end of this document for your convenience).
Porting on a barrel is not considered a "Silencer" since it is integral with the structure of
the barrel and the "Porting" obviously can't be modified for a Firearm and is not portable, Yes, I
know there are quite ported barrels out there, but porting in the barrels cannot be transported to
or adapted from the paint barrel to a true firearm. It sounds like silly splitting of hairs and very
obvious to you and I, but, the Distinction is VERY important to Governmental types, and is the
difference between a $50,000 fine and/or 5yrs in a Federal prison.
We have all seen the "Barrel Extensions" from certain paintball sites, that claim to improve
accuracy, and they say "Don't ask us how much it silences the gun". (A Duck by any other name
is still a Duck, even if you say don't ask it to quack). These devices are built on the same
principles and construction techniques as in some of the "How to build a Disposable silencer" type
books like the one by Hayduke, published by Palidin press, (yes a friend of mine has one of the
Barrel Extensions which we took apart, there is not any difference in its, design and operating
principles as several of the "Disposable silencers", in Hayduke's books).

To me a $200.00 Tax and filling out some paper work is A lot cheaper than a $50,000/5yr
prison fine + court/Lawyer cost, if you get caught with a unregistered Silencer. Note Uncle has all
the time and money to prosecute you, while you sit in jail with your new friend "Bubba" waiting
on trial.

Well enough of my ranting, here is how to get it registered:
• Fill out a Form 1, (to make a firearm, yes, you use this form for suppressors too
instructions on back gives the "How to"). You can down load the form, or what I did is
get the BATF to mail a "To Make" packet, includes all the things you need.
• Go to your local FBI, BATF, or Jail and have them "Finger Print" you on the supplied FBI
finger print cards, (two of them), I went to the local county jail, they have a Finger print
scanner machine, that scans your finger prints and puts good quality prints onto the cards,
because if you mess one up with regular inking you have to do it over, the BATF will halt
your application until you send in a good set, the finger print cards have to be done in
front of a Law enforcement official that verifies that the prints are indeed yours.
• Go to the post office, Air Port or some other place that you can get "Pass Port" type
photos, a 2"x2", you need 2 (Two) of them.
• You will fill out 2 (TWO) of the above Form 1s with pictures on back, one the BATF keeps
on file, the other they send back to you, and is your proof of your registered Silencer.
• The hardest part is getting the signature of your regional law enforcement official.
If you live in the county/rural this person will be the local Sheriff for your county.
If you live in the city this person will be the Chief of Police.
If you can't get this person to sign the form you can go "above their heads" by getting the
Judge for your district/county to sign it.
The best way to get one of these people is to get an appointment to see them, MAKE
SURE you look respectable/conservative, Dress VERY professional for this important
interview, DO NOT CALL THESE PEOPLE AND ASK OVER THE PHONE, the
answer will be NO if you do. Speak like a mature adult, don't cuss, use street slang, or try
to talk like a wanna be rapper. Tell them first that you need there help, you are a avid
paintball player and really enjoy scenario games where you "PLAY" the role of a paintball
sniper, and in the sport of paintball since the balls don't go very far, to get an elimination,
stealth is of the essence since the rangers are often less than 70 ft. The noise of the marker
often gives you away and you are shortly eliminated your self by other opposing players
zeroing in on your position due to the sound and taking you out.
That's the reason you would like to make a Suppressor, (call it a suppressor, bad guys use
silencers), Note the fact that the caliber of a paint marker is .68, much larger than any gun,
and if someone wanted to adapt it to a real firearm, it would be easier and cheaper for
them to make there own for their weapon. You whole goal is to make a suppressor for
you paint marker only so you can get undetected eliminations with out the pain of being
overshot by the opposing team if they did hear you. STRESS that this is for paintball only,
and you think it is a little silly having to get a registration for suppressor for a paintball
marker which is really a piece of athletic equipment, but, you don't want to get in trouble
with the law, so you're here trying to do the right thing. Be Very friendly, ask if he and his
officers would like to come out to your field sometime and play, maybe get some training
in close combat situations, try to make a friend but don't make it to obvious.
If you fail with the local Law then you last option is to go before the county/regional
Judge and do a replay of the above or something like it.
Understand that if you have a local or state ordnance against Suppressors then you are out
of luck unless you know some local politicians who can change the rule.
• You must be at least 21y/o, and you cannot have ANY crimes of Violent nature on your
record, i.e. domestic violence, (or have orders of restraint against you), no Federal
convictions, and no prison time, are some of the main ones. When you go to get the above
local Law enforcement officials signature they will run a "Check" on you drivers license,
(it would be wise not to have any outstanding warrants or unpaid tickets either). If you
pass the Locals inspection and get the signature then You are as good as golden.
• Pack up your competed Form 1, (picture on back), finger print cards, a Drawing of your
proposed silencer, (this can be a 2D cut away engineering drawing, or Orthogonal views),
also describe its construction, NOTE: the outer shell has to be of a metallic material like
Aluminum, steel, etc., the Serial number has to be indelibly punched/engraved in the side
of the shell, requirements are: Manufacturer name and physical address (put your name
and address here if you made it), Model #, and Serial Number. Enclose a short note "to
whom it may concern" this is a short letter describing why you want to make a suppressor,
write down your "Sales pitch" like you did for the Local Law above, don't make it to
hokey.
• Make sure you enclose the $200.00 TAX with all your paper work, I would recommend, a
Cashiers check or Money Order. Make Scans or copies of everything, and send it in by
Federal Express, (receipt requested), mail is to slow. Give it 30-90 days to process, they
have to run your prints by the FBI to for a back ground check. If there is nothing against
you, you will be approved.
For those of you who are afraid that Uncle will know to much about you, don't kid your self, if
you have a SSN and/or a credit card or drivers license they already know about you, and no
"They" aren't out to get you, They actually could care less about you as long as the check you
send them is good, It really is nothing more than government bureaucracy. As long as you fill out
the proper forms and pay the proper fees, you can have your very own Tank in your front yard.

Once you get your approval, you have really great bragging rights at the mil sim game when some
wanna be punk says hey those are illegal, and you say your right but mine is legal, and whip our
your approved form 1, as punk boy slinks away.
NOTE: if you wanna go to a 24hr game or any game outside your state, then you must fill out a
transfer form, (this doesn't cost anything), but takes about 30 days to get back, if you plan on
going to multiple games/scenarios through out the year, you can least the game, address, and
dates on the form and its good for all the states/games you list for the whole year. There are
several websites that list "Game Calendars" with the when and where on the site, you can get the
physical address of the place by going to the fields web site or calling them.
Will the BATF lock you up for having a unregistered silencer on your paint gun? Who knows
It depends on how much some Law Enforcement person wants to make an example out of you, or not.
But if it does go to court, you are in violation of federal law, as in all things its your choice to take the risk or not.


Edited by Lord Odin, 27 July 2009 - 09:26 AM.


#6 D.K.

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:02 AM

Hope this clears up this questionable topic. Its unfortunate, but it looks like all you cats with functional silencers might want to get rid of them and just go with a shroud. And all you cats that want to really reduce your sound signature should probably go with a long, heavily ported barrel.


there fixed for you.

I was going to say.... You might want to have a LOT of ports...

#7 Jaldrich

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:15 AM

Thanks Lord Ordin and Bryce....

I thought that porting allows the sound signature of the projectile to be sent in all directions making you "visible" in all directions where as no porting at all makes the sound more .....eh whats the word......unidirectional...... aka the only people that will get the full force of the sound are directly in front of you.



But whatever, I will listen to the sound expert (aka Bryce) before I listen to that idiot on my shoulder.


Couldn't a manafacture out there just make threaded barrel tips WITH a silencer built into the material? Say you make a CP and Freak threaded barrel tip that is 1 piece that looks like a silencer and operates like a silencer. Since its still technically part of the barrel it wouldnt fall into the "its a silencer" part would it?

#8 Psychocide

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:23 AM

I would not think so. I mean RAP4 got away with thier recon barrel with a rain cover

#9 Freakshow

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:40 AM

Isn't a silencer something that muffles the sound, or stops it? Regardless of wether or not it screws onto the marker itself?
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#10 U83R 1337

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:56 AM

Do muzzle breaks count?

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#11 Jaldrich

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:04 PM

I would not think so. I mean RAP4 got away with thier recon barrel with a rain cover


Thats the point, after talking to the ATF again, it appears that anyone that buys those barrels is breaking the law. Because Im sure they augment the sound of the barrel by X db and if it does.....bam! it is a silencer and its illegal to own one under the age of 21.


Basically, its a lose lose situation. If you ever do something to warrent the ATF to be searching your house.....and you own any kind of shroud, silencer, rain cover...... etc. Your screwed.

So the listen here is, don't go anything to piss off the ATF. And if you do, make sure you got all your form 1's for all your gear, paintball or otherwise.

#12 iD.

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 12:07 PM

I didn't read the big long post but I know the BATFE classifies a silencer as any device that can be used to reduce the noise of a firearm for 1 db for one shot. Of course any number of objects can be used to accomplish that, however I'm sure they use their reason sorting those types of issues out. In other words, the feds aren't going to tear your house apart, take all the pillows, sheets, clothes, bottles, tubes, paper, etc and charge you with conspiracy to produce firearm silencers.

However, I recall reading that as long as it's permanently attatched to the barrel of the gun, a paintball silencer can be legal.
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#13 Jaldrich

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:08 PM

So basically the only thing that is in the clear is a one piece paintball marker with attached silencer.
damn

#14 Christopher

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:10 PM

However, I recall reading that as long as it's permanently attatched to the barrel of the gun, a paintball silencer can be legal.


You still have the problem of defining "permanent". Guess who gets to define it? The ATF. And by their definition, being able to remove something via a hacksaw is not permanent.

#15 urban ninja

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:11 PM

However, I recall reading that as long as it's permanently attatched to the barrel of the gun, a paintball silencer can be legal.


You still have the problem of defining "permanent". Guess who gets to define it? The ATF. And by their definition, being able to remove something via a hacksaw is not permanent.



Well, shoot. Nothing in this world is permenant then... I mean, at that point, I guess my foot is only tempotatily attached to me... ha ha, what about that new trinity barrel, with the "rain cover" that screws on. Does that count?

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#16 Christopher

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:26 PM

Well, shoot. Nothing in this world is permenant then... I mean, at that point, I guess my foot is only tempotatily attached to me...


Exactly.

The only "loophole" that I know of would be in the world of airguns. I know of at least one airgun that has an integrated suppressor that isn't legally considered a firearm suppressor. It's because there is no way to use the airgun suppressor on a firearm, due to the device's small size compared to that of a firearm barrel.

#17 Deadpool

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:36 PM

EDIT: I found some much better information about silencers.

Yes Silencers, Suppressors, Mufflers, "Barrel Extensions", "Accuracy Will the BATF lock you up for having a unregistered silencer on your paint gun? Who knows
It depends on how much some Law Enforcement person wants to make an example out of you, or not.
But if it does go to court, you are in violation of federal law, as in all things its your choice to take the risk or not.


Thanks for the extra color on this LO. So I take it that the Apex would be considered a "suppresor" then???



#18 iD.

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:48 PM

However, I recall reading that as long as it's permanently attatched to the barrel of the gun, a paintball silencer can be legal.


You still have the problem of defining "permanent". Guess who gets to define it? The ATF. And by their definition, being able to remove something via a hacksaw is not permanent.


No, that's entirely not true. I'm not sure what their definition of permanent is, but it's certainly not that. For example, in MA, where there is still an assault rifle ban, you can only have a certain amount of "evil" features on your gun. One of those evil features is a flash suppressor, and you can only have certain ones that have to be threaded, soldered and pinned to the gun.

Once again, I'm sure the BATFE uses their sense when conduction

Exactly.

The only "loophole" that I know of would be in the world of airguns. I know of at least one airgun that has an integrated suppressor that isn't legally considered a firearm suppressor. It's because there is no way to use the airgun suppressor on a firearm, due to the device's small size compared to that of a firearm barrel.


There are a lot of rifle calibers chambered in .22 and .17, so no, that's not why it's legal.
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#19 Nezzanator836

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:34 PM

But they aren't going to come to the local paintball field and start arresting everyone are they?
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#20 slgmunkey

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:40 PM

But they aren't going to come to the local paintball field and start arresting everyone are they?


I think that they probably have better things to do with their time.

Oh well, either way your ATF can't arrest me..... :D
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#21 pinkyy

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:43 PM

thats kinda bs because you can buy a silencer at paintball stores its made by lapco it covers over the front of the barrel.. oh wait is it not aloud in the US cuz if so then its different in canada
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#22 xMTx

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:47 PM

What about that one Trinity barrel?

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#23 Christopher

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:58 PM

However, I recall reading that as long as it's permanently attatched to the barrel of the gun, a paintball silencer can be legal.


You still have the problem of defining "permanent". Guess who gets to define it? The ATF. And by their definition, being able to remove something via a hacksaw is not permanent.


No, that's entirely not true. I'm not sure what their definition of permanent is, but it's certainly not that. For example, in MA, where there is still an assault rifle ban, you can only have a certain amount of "evil" features on your gun. One of those evil features is a flash suppressor, and you can only have certain ones that have to be threaded, soldered and pinned to the gun.

Once again, I'm sure the BATFE uses their sense when conduction


I don't think you understand. There is no concrete definition. The definition is whatever they say it is at the time. They have the power to do that. At one point they declared that possession of a paperclip attached to a rubber band was equivalent to owning a machine gun. What you're talking about is more along the lines of the assualt weapon ban. This is a piece of legislation that is for all intents and purposes set in stone.

You have to understand how the ATF does their tests. Again, one of the problems is that they do NOT have a standardized testing procedure. A "proper" test is basically whatever they felt like doing at the time. At one point, paintball silencers easily passed "inspection" and were not considered suppressors. However, they eventually changed their standards and began failing virtually everything that could fit over the barrel of a gun. No laws were passed, no official changes were made, one day they just decided to just crack down on everything, because there was no law saying they couldn't. Common sense would tell you that a paper towel roll is not a firearm suppressor. However, if they can hold it over the barrel of a gun and show a measurable amount of sound suppression, it's a suppressor. That's why paintball silencers, shrouds, and even barrels can be considered suppressors. All they do is hold it over the barrel of a firearm, and show that there is a detectable difference in sound signature when firing a shot. It doesn't matter if you can't physically hear the difference; if they can pick up a sound change using a machine, you're screwed.

There are a lot of rifle calibers chambered in .22 and .17, so no, that's not why it's legal.


There have been multiple cases dealing with aftermarket airgun silencers, and the simple truth is that if they can fit it over a firearm barrel, it's a suppressor, regardless of how effective it is on a real firearm. Most airgun silencers are made to fit snugly around the outside of the barrel as airgun barrels are not usually threaded. This makes it possible for it to be "mounted" to a firearm. The integrated suppressor on the other hand, cannot be slid over any barrel in the same way. That's just one possible explanation for why these rifles can be sold. It's even possible that technically they aren't legal. They are made by a large company, so if there was a legal problem I figured that it would have been brought up by now. Again, we're dealing with the ATF; Their word is law, which is pretty much whatever they feel like at the time. It's possible that they simple don't care enough to do anything at the moment.

Edited by Christopher, 27 July 2009 - 05:59 PM.


#24 U83R 1337

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:06 PM

thats kinda bs because you can buy a silencer at paintball stores its made by lapco it covers over the front of the barrel.. oh wait is it not aloud in the US cuz if so then its different in canada

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#25 Epshot

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:19 PM

http://www.beemans.n..._on_airguns.htm

SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2006
He's going to jail!
by Tom *banmeplzktx* (I can say *banmeplzktx*, because me and my life partner go to Disney every single year)lord
Michael A. Crooker was found guilty on Wednesday, July 15, 2006 of illegally manufacturing a silencer. He faces a mandatory sentence of 15 years. (Latest flash, July 2007, review of the case, instead of throwing it out, may increase penalties up to 22 years!!).

Crooker made a silencer for a Korean Big Bore 909, a .45 caliber air rifle. In 2004 he sold the rifle and silencer to another party and he shipped it through the U.S. Postal Service, where it was intercepted.
When ATF tested the silencer on a firearm, it silenced the report. That is the legal definition of a silencer. Slam dunk.
Making a silencer is a violation of several counts of the same law. Because a silencer is considered to be a firearm by federal law, the maker has just made a firearm without a license to manufacture - count one. Firearms that are sold are required to have serial numbers, and this one didn't - count two. And possession of an unregistered silencer is also a crime - count three.
The jury did ask for additional clarification on what constitutes a silencer, but the judge was unable to give them anything beyond the law. I have written an article about silencers for Pyramyd Air. It should be up on their web site soon. I included the definition of a silencer in that article, so you can read it for yourself. When it goes up, this is where it will be:
For 12 years I have maintained that silencers and airguns do not mix. People who play with the law open themselves to prosecution. Even if you win your case, the experience will not be pleasant. Now that BATF has a win under their belts, I expect them to prosecute other silencer violations more vigorously.
This was a jury trial.



an airgun silencer that could be used on a firearm, even if it was necessary to destroy an integrated airgun to get it, is, by federal definition, A FIREARM



#26 jmac

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:57 PM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?

#27 Deadpool

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:23 PM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?


Seems illegal to me given this thread.... but I am liking the pump t-shirt though :-)



#28 sawcast

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:28 PM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?


Seems illegal to me given this thread.... but I am liking the pump t-shirt though :-)

That isn't a silencer, it's a rainshroud.
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#29 Deadpool

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:52 PM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?


Seems illegal to me given this thread.... but I am liking the pump t-shirt though :-)

That isn't a silencer, it's a rainshroud.


Whats the difference? I thought shrouds of any kind are also illegal???



#30 Lord Odin

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:11 PM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?


Seems illegal to me given this thread.... but I am liking the pump t-shirt though :-)

That isn't a silencer, it's a rainshroud.


Whats the difference? I thought shrouds of any kind are also illegal???

Nope, mock suppressors and shrouds are perfectly fine as long as they don't reduce the sound signature significantly.

More than likely, that "whoosh barrel" is a mock suppressor. Most usually are.

#31 Evil Fingers

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:33 AM

If that Whoosh Barrel is a working Silencer, then the Manufacturer better make the Barrel and that Can as one unit, cause I can clearly see a Set Screw.

#32 sawcast

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:37 AM

Interesting read....check out the links below:

A-5 Woosh Barrel - look at first item under the A-5 Accessories by Carter Machine heading

Pics of A-5 Woosh Barrel

Seems to be removable...so, is it legal or illegal. I believe from readings above that item is illegal. What do you all think?


Seems illegal to me given this thread.... but I am liking the pump t-shirt though :-)

That isn't a silencer, it's a rainshroud.


Whats the difference? I thought shrouds of any kind are also illegal???

It's just something that keeps rain out of the porting.
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#33 Kodiak

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:59 AM

Straight from the horses mouth.

(M30) Are Paintball and/or Airgun Sound Suppressers NFA firearms?
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.
Numerous paintball and airgun silencers tested by ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch have been determined to be, by nature of their design and function, firearm silencers. Because silencers are NFA weapons, an individual wishing to manufacture or transfer such a silencer must receive prior approval from ATF and pay the required tax. See Questions M15 and 16 for application details.


If I have any further questions as to the classification of a paintball or airgun silencer, who should I contact?

Please send a written request to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch.
[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a), 27 CFR 479.11]






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