Want a Suppressor? How to Buy a Suppressor Legally

Want a Suppressor? How to Buy a Suppressor Legally

Posted by STNGR USA on Mar 13th 2023

Want a Suppressor? How to Buy a Suppressor Legally

So you wanna buy a suppressor? Okay.

Hello and welcome to the STNGR Workshop. My name is Rick Barrett and in this video, we're gonna be talking about the steps you need to go through in order to acquire a suppressor.

Before we get started, I want to thank SureFire.com - that is the website where we got this information from. SureFire is a company that makes suppressors so they're going to have access to the most accurate information.

What Does a Suppressor Do?

Let's get one thing straight right off the top. A suppressor is not a silencer. It does not make your gun silent.

I know we've seen spy movies where the guy screws on the suppressor and then all of a sudden the gun goes "pink pink pink." Yeah, that doesn't happen in real life.

It is a suppressor because it suppresses noise.

In fact, the entire job of the suppressors is to combat what they call noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL. One could actually argue that a suppressor is nothing more than a safety tool. Unfortunately, movies and TV have given this impression that the silencer is the ultimate weapon of the assassin when in reality all it's there for is to make sure you don't lose your hearing.

Where in the United States Are Suppressors Legal?

Let's take a look at the legal situation that surrounds suppressors in the 50 United States. Only 8 out of the 50 states forbid private citizens from possessing a suppressor. These are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, plus the District of Columbia. I'm pretty sure you're not shocked with that list. I wasn't.

Keep in mind that while it may be legal to own a suppressor in non-prohibited states, certain states have restrictions on the allowed uses of suppressors. One of the top uses of suppressors is hunting, but not all states permit the use of suppressors for hunting. It's a good idea to confirm with the Department of Natural Resources for the state you intend to hunt in and confirm whether using a suppressor for hunting is legal.

Let's say you're lucky enough to live in one of the other 42 states that does not prohibit your possession of a suppressor. What are the steps you have to go through in order to acquire one?

What Are the Steps to Legally Purchase a Suppressor?

Now while the process of buying and registering a suppressor is not particularly difficult, it is very time-consuming. It can take up to anywhere between 5 to 14 months. Let's take a look at the process you would have to go through in order to possess a suppressor.

Basic Qualifications

To begin with, you'll need to be within the scope of your local law regarding firearm possession in order to legally own a suppressor.

In addition, you'll need to be at least 21 years old (to purchase from a dealer) and a legal resident of a state that permits the use of suppressors.

To purchase a suppressor, you must first pass an ATF background check (BATFE background check) and pay $200 for a federal tax stamp that must remain with the suppressor at all times. You remember we talked about federal tax stamps when we covered short barreled rifles.

Working with a Dealer and Submitting Forms

In order to do all that, you have to find a dealer who is authorized to sell Class 3 firearms.

The dealer will help you fill out an ATF Form 4, which you must submit in duplicate for processing, and provide instructions on how to submit an FBI fingerprint hard card (this is Form No. FD-258) and two passport-size photos.

Notifying Your CLEO

Last but not least, you're gonna have to send a copy of your Form 4 to your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO). This is to let them know that you plan to purchase a suppressor.

In fact, the American Suppressor Association suggests making your state's Attorney General the recipient of your CLEO notification. There are only 50 Attorney Generals in the country so it's simple to find out who to address your Form 4 to. However, this warning should not be sent in advance; It should be sent to ATF alongside the Form 4.

Registering Your Suppressor

Legally there are 3 ways you can register your suppressor.

  1. You can register it to yourself as an individual.

  2. You can form a legal trust and register it to the trust.

  3. Form a corporation and then register the suppressor to the corporation.

While the 3rd option is great for people who are already part of corporations, if you're an individual, the entire process of trying to set up a corporation just to register a suppressor may be a little bit out of scale for what your needs are. A lot of people tend to go with the 2nd option, which is forming a trust, and there are plenty of attorneys out there that can help you through the process.

Dealer Transfers Suppressor to You

Finally, your dealer will be able to transfer the suppressor to you once ATF receives your form, processes that $200 fee, and approves your Form 4.

In order to keep yourself out of legal trouble, it is imperative that you keep that paperwork that ATF sent you with the device at all times. The last thing you want is local law enforcement to take it away from you after you put in all that effort.

Final Thoughts

And that's it for this video, coming to you from the STNGR Workshop. My name is Rick Barrett. Hope you enjoyed this video and I'll talk to you again soon.

Disclaimer: The information presented here and in the video is for general educational and informational purposes only. This information is not intended as legal or expert advice. Consult your local, state, and federal laws and published ordinances and www.atf.gov to ensure you are in compliance with the current local, state, and federal regulations.