Silencer Purchasing

How to buy a silencer

Many people have never purchased a sound suppressor or silencer or any other NFA (National Firearms Act) controlled item for that matter.  Concerns always arise from the process. The process can be quite simple with the proper knowledge and help.  The reality is that buying any NFA controlled item is simple and painless with the right support.

Is it legal for you to own a silencer?

The first thing you need to do is determine if suppressor ownership is legal where you live.   In Washington, State civilians can own suppressors (RCW 9.41.250).  If you are not in Washington State, see the map of states that are legal.

You do not need any special licensing to own a suppressor beyond popular belief you only have to be able to own a pistol in Washington to own a suppressor or Short Barreled Rifle (SBR).

How should you register your new silencer?

Here is how you purchase your suppressor or SBR:

Process:

No matter how you plan to purchase them the process is the same.  You will need to purchase your item from a licensed dealer.  Be prepared to pay in full up front since the process is hard to stop once you start.  You will then need to choose one of the methods below to complete the paperwork.

No matter what method you chose you will still need to have the following in order:

  1. Two passport sized color photographs (for every responsible person on the form)
  2. Two sets of fingerprints (for every responsible person on the form)
  3. A signed copy of your trust (this will be sent the ATF)
  4. A $200 check (the will accept multiple methods of payment. I recommend a personal check, so you can track when it is cashed)

Once all that has been completed I will submit the paperwork then the waiting begins!

  1. Register the suppressor as an individual:

Advantages:

You can avoid the initial requirement of setting up a trust or corporation

Disadvantages:

  • You are the only one allowed to be possession of the suppressor
  • Requires signature from chief law-enforcement officer where you live

Process:

Best for:

  • People who don’t plan to buy a lot of NFA items
  • People who just want to get the buying process started
  • People who always plan to be present when the suppressor is in use
  1. Register the suppressor to a revocable trust

Advantages:

  • Anyone listed as a trustee on the trust can be in possession of the suppressor
  • A revocable trust can be changed at any time without notifying the ATF
  • You can use the same trust to purchase other NFA items
  • Your paperwork can be filed electronically– which is much faster than a paper-based submission
  • No signature is required from the chief law-enforcement officer
  • 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)

Disadvantages:

  • Some initial work and cost are required to set up the trust. Many people create their trust using do-it-yourself software – or you can also talk to a gun trust lawyer who will set it up for you.
  • In some states, a trust needs to be registered with the State

Best for:

  • People with family members who want to share possession of the suppressor
  • People who want to go together with friends on the purchase of a suppressor
  • People who want more flexibility in the long run
  • Anyone planning on making multiple NFA purchases who want to avoid the hassle of getting the CLEO signature each time
  • People who want to get their approval faster using the new electronic submissions
  1. Register the suppressor to a corporation/business

Advantages:

  • Any officer of the corporation can be in possession of the suppressor
  • If you already have a corporation, this can be easier than a trust since you will avoid the initial trust set up
  • Your paperwork can be filed electronically
  • No signature is required from the chief law-enforcement officer

Disadvantages:

  • You need to keep your corporation in good standing

Best for:

  • Anyone who already owns a corporation, and wants that corporation to act as the owner of the suppressor
  • Anyone planning on making multiple NFA purchases who want to avoid the overhead of getting the CLEO signature and fingerprints each time
  • People who want to get their approval faster using the new electronic submissions

Other notes:

  • The process of actually buying the suppressor online is similar to buying any other firearm, except for the wait times.
  • You won’t be able to take possession of the suppressor until the transfer process has been completed by the ATF. This process can take several months – but most 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.  The hardest part is that is waiting on the ATF.