Saturday, March 15, 2014

How To Buy a Silencer

They're from the government and they're here to help.

If you're a veteran to the NFA world, this is basic info for you. But many people have never purchased a suppressor - aka silencer - and may be intimidated by the process. I realize that it's hard to imagine that there are still gun guys out there who have never bought a suppressor, but it's true... yes, there are still a few hold-outs. So, the purpose of this post is to clarify what you need to do in order to buy a suppressor if you are a resident of NC and are new to the whole process.

There is so much information online from conflicting sources that it might seem overwhelming at first. But the reality is that buying a suppressor is very simple... especially when you choose to work with a company that is experienced with all the ins and outs of the whole process (that would be NC SILENCER, of course). As the late, great philosopher Aristotle said, "It is easier to buy a suppressor from NC SILENCER than to buy a dishwasher." That is such a true statement... mainly because NC SILENCER doesn't sell dishwashers.

The first thing you need to do is determine if suppressor ownership is legal where you live.
Currently, the following states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, and WY. We at NC SILENCER are experts at helping residents of North Carolina legally obtain suppressors, but if you live somewhere other than NC, don't despair just yet. Contact us and we'll discuss your options.

Many people are under the false impression that they need a “Class 3” license in order to own a suppressor. There is no requirement for you to obtain any kind of special license to buy and own suppressors. The Class 3 designation is simply a title that ATF gives to certain FFL dealers who have become licensed to deal in NFA (National Firearm Act) items. So, the dealer you buy your suppressor from needs to be licensed, but you do not. All you basically do when you buy a suppressor is apply for a tax-paid transfer of the item from the dealer to you. This flat-fee tax ($200) registers the suppressor in your name or your Trust's name. Think of it like a $200 cover fee imposed by the ATF to gain entrance to the party.

There are three possible ways that we can help you register a suppressor to you. Any of these methods causes the suppressor to be legally transferred into your possession. So, what are the pros and cons of each of these methods? How should you register your new silencer?

1. Register the suppressor in your own name

Frankly, under current federal and North Carolina law, we see no advantages to registering a suppressor in your name. It's very unlikely you'd be able to register the suppressor in your name anyway in NC because over 90% of sheriffs in NC - at the time of me writing this post - do NOT like to sign off on your paperwork. They have no legal obligation to sign for you, so if they don't want to or they don't like the way you look, they simply will refuse to sign. So basically, this method is a dead-end road anyway.

  • Requires signature from chief law-enforcement officer where you live (typically your sheriff).
  • Requires fingerprint cards.
  • Your forms cannot be filed electronically, which means they will generally take quite a bit longer to be approved.

2. Register the suppressor to a trust

  • Anyone listed as a trustee in the trust can be in possession of the suppressor.
  • A revocable trust can be changed at any time without notifying the ATF. Your paperwork can be filed electronically – which is faster than a paper-based submission.
  • No signature is required from chief law-enforcement officer.
  • No fingerprint cards are required You only need to create the trust once. The same trust can be used for all future suppressors or other NFA items (such as short barreled rifles).
In our opinion, none. So, going the Trust route is super easy on your part.

3. Register the suppressor to a corporation or LLC

  • Any officer of the corporation can be in possession of the suppressor.
  • Your paperwork can be filed electronically – which is much faster than a paper-based submission.
  • No signature is required from chief law-enforcement officer.
  • No fingerprint cards are required.
  • You need to keep your corporation in good standing with the state of NC, which can be more work than a trust (which is basically a “create it and forget about it” process).
  • You have to pay the Secretary of State of NC a filing fee every year for your annual return to keep your corporation or LLC "alive".
  • If you ever sell or dissolve your corporation, you will have to re-register your suppressor to another entity (like a trust), and pay a $200 transfer tax AGAIN.

If you haven't been keeping score, I'll help you out: the clear winner out of these three methods is going the Trust route. Plain and simple.

Now, you’re ready to buy your new toy!

The process of actually buying the suppressor is similar to buying a gun, or any other item with one big difference: You won’t be able to take possession of the suppressor until the transfer process has been completed by the ATF. This process takes several months – but it's a safe bet to say that 99.9% of suppressor owners will agree that it’s well worth the wait!

After you go through the process the first time, you’ll realize that there really isn’t much to it. Typically, the most difficult part of the process for most guys is the wait you have to endure for the ATF to do their part.

This scratches the surface on how to buy a silencer in North Carolina. Instead of boring you with all the nitty gritty of how the paperwork process works, and what the ATF forms are like, etc. just go to our website, and browse through the info we have there. There is lots of useful info, FAQs, videos, suppressor specs, and other stuff on our site. And if you have more questions,  just complete the contact form on the site, and we'll be happy to help you out!


Eric Morton, Owner/President

1 comment:

  1. I would like to purchase suppressors for several handguns that I own, for instance a Beretta 92FS, all calibers of the Beretta Cougar, a Sig 220, Sig P239, Glock 19, 17,21, a Colt bull barrel 22 and several 1911 models. They are all over ten years old. Do I need to purchase new barrels or have these guns modified by a gunsmith before they will accept a suppressor? Do you have an article that covers all these bases? Thank you.