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Old February 2, 2005, 11:24 PM   #1
RFly2Dive
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Silencers for Air Guns-Are they Legal??

Although a little off the intended topic for this forum I own a Drozd CO2 powered machine gun that shoots up to a 6 round burst of BB's and is totally legal to own without any paperwork. My question is this. Can the Silencers listed in the following website be brought into this country if they only are for BB guns (.177 cal.)??? Although part of me says absolutely not there is another part saying if these are legal to purchase in England without any paperwork why wouldn't they be allowed here legally??? After all England has some of the strictest gun laws in the world...I may have to end up calling or writing to the BATF on this one. The site is:

www.chambersgunmakers.co.uk/Silencers.htm

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions in advance.
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Old February 2, 2005, 11:34 PM   #2
3 weelin geezer
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I'm afraid it is not illegal to have as long as you pay the $200 tax. How you import it is another matter. I think you have to have a permit or something. Thats where you may run into a snag. Whats allowed to be brought in. If it is not, then how can you have one? I have heard somewhere that supressors for paintball markers that quiet the report of said guns are also classified as supressors. Since there is no license to make these, they are considered home made and non taxed thereby rendering them illegal for that reason. Their laws are just different as to where you may shoot and how you are permitted to have a firearm. Kinda like a policeman that has an m 16 but it doesnt really belong to him but he gets to carry it out for 'official' duties and to be used only to carry out those dutes.
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Old February 2, 2005, 11:58 PM   #3
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If it can suppress a fiream at all, the ATF consideres it to be a suppressor and it must be registered.
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Old February 4, 2005, 09:07 PM   #4
RFly2Dive
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I ended up doing a google search and found a terrific article written by Beeman confirming what you have said...The interesting thing is that the site in England wrote me back and said 'no problem at all shipping them to you...they would be labled as a cocking device.' Oh and then 'your local laws would apply.' So thank you again I won't be ordering one of those...regardless of their less than accurate answer.
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Old February 4, 2005, 09:40 PM   #5
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There is some gray area as regards silencers and airguns. If you can prove that it can't be used on any firearm (that really means ANY firearm--not just the ones you own or ones that are common) then you might be ok. Don't ask me how you would go about proving that. The only way I know that is nearly foolproof is if the silencer is integral to the airgun and can not be removed without destroying it. Importing one is a very bad idea, and buying one through the mail is an almost equally bad idea.
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Old February 5, 2005, 04:51 PM   #6
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Silencers/suppressors are themselves considered firearms. So they have all the controls of a normal firearm AND all the controls of an NFA device.

Now that being said suppressors are also considered impliments of war. Their importation is HIGHLY restricted. So no some guy in the UK can't just mail you one and call it a "cocking device".

That being said the BATFE knows that lots of people are doing this and I've only heard of two people actually ever getting in trouble.

As to making one that would only fit on an airgun or building it to an airgun and getting a "pass"...nope there is NO SUCH thing. A suppressor is a suppressor as it's made and as it's assembled. The parts, although not serialized, except for the tube, are still controled as well. For example we build suppressors, we have tons of baffles that we use, we can have as many baffles as we need/want but you as an individual can not ONE spare baffle.

How to you find out if an airgun suppressor would be a legitimate firearms suppressor, you register to make a suppressor (form 1), pay the tax, wait for approval, build it, then submit it to the tech branch for evaluation. If it's found that it's not one...you get your money back. If it is, your covered.

FYI: there hasn't been one yet that hasn't been considered a firearms suppressor. I've seen tubes of toilet paper get the silencer treatment, I've seen pieces of string considered a machine gun.
It's all about the item and the intended purpose and if that goes over the threshold.

http://www.corin.com/bill/paintball/silencer.html
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Old February 6, 2005, 05:36 PM   #7
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I made a fake supressor for my Drozd. Looks cool, makes hip-shooting easy and cost under $4.

Hint: The short, threaded extentions used in lawn sprinkler systems are a nice slip-fit over the barrel.
Use two, one screwed into the other, a 4" piece of threaded plastic pipe and a 6" copper tube glued over the 4" pipe.
Turn the threads off the extention that slips onto the barrel and cut it down so it slides on as far as possible.
I finished mine with Brownell's spray-on Parkerizing.

John
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Old February 20, 2005, 01:45 PM   #8
RFly2Dive
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thanks for the info John, and for what it's worth unlike what the person aluded to in the reply prior to yours it was not "some guy" saying this could be done legally but rather a company in England that I put a link to in my initial post/question....
It is scary to think that a company would not only pose as Pro importation...but that it was not even raised as a concern as to how to do it and what I could 'expect to happen' if I did place the order.
thanks again
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Old February 20, 2005, 10:26 PM   #9
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Yeah, last I heard when I was into paintball, like John said, as long as the suppressor cannot possibly be used on a real gun, they don't care. It's only when it can be used for something other then the air gun that they notice.
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Old February 20, 2005, 11:59 PM   #10
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It's not illegal for a company in England to sell to you. The BATF can't enforce any U.S. laws against them.

The importer will be the one who is prosecuted. You can buy airguns with integral silencers (they can't be removed without destroying them) and I've seen at least one place in the states actually selling airgun silencers as separate items. I've never heard of a prosecution in the case of the integral models nor even in the case of someone buying one that has been imported by a dealer although the latter seems to be a really bad idea to me. The best way to get nailed is to try to import one yourself...
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Old February 21, 2005, 08:55 AM   #11
fal308
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Another issue no one has brought up yet is that there are .17 caliber firearms available. So the issue of adapting a suppressor to an appropriate firearm would not be that difficult, thus most likely highly illegal.
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Old February 21, 2005, 11:19 AM   #12
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Being a suppressor doesn't automatically make the device an NFA item (Yes, ATF claims they do, but as usual, they have several dozen exceptions to their own rulings). Being a suppressor that is detachable and thus capable of fitting an actual firearm is the killer. Power fasteners like Hilti use blank cartridges to shoot fasteners into steel and concrete and they have "silencers" built into them. If you go to their website, you can buy "silencer" kits to fit on their guns.

So if you made a paintball gun with the suppressor a physical, permanent part of the gun, there would be no way for it to function on a real firearm because there is no way to get it on a real firearm.
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Old February 21, 2005, 11:26 AM   #13
Blind Tree Frog
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For a paintball gun, I think if you can get a silencer to fit to a barrell, the fact that the hole is over .6" in diameter might be a good starting point to argue it won't work for a real gun.

But this is a bb gun so, back to figuring out how to do it
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Old February 23, 2005, 09:44 PM   #14
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I'm from the UK and I was amazed at the surpressor laws here. There should be several suppliers in the UK, but I think the BATF would be interested in your purchase. I guess you could take your chances having it mailed to you, but I have plenty of stuff I decided to sell off there rather than risk it.
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Old February 24, 2005, 01:01 AM   #15
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The ATF's say, looks like a no-no: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#a9
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Old February 28, 2005, 07:41 PM   #16
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The BATmen don't regulate air rifles or their accessories. Some high-end air rifles have integral suppressors built in - that's fine, no regulatory problems. Even some low-end air guns have "suppressors" or "noise limiters" built in.

The key is, "built it." They're not something you can just remove with an allen wrench or screwdriver.

As far as aftermarket air-rifle suppressors, the problem is, can the air-rifle suppressor be MADE to fit a real firearm? It doesn't even have to work well, or at all . . . if some BATman can use play-dough and duct tape to attach it to a firearm, you may very well have a serious legal problem. Ditto if it can be readily modified.

As far as some things being in a "gray" area . . . do YOU want to be a test case?
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Old March 11, 2005, 04:24 AM   #17
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you will have pay the $200 dollar tax. however you can send the suppressor to the technology department, if they consider the suppressor is unable to used on a firearm they will refund your money. i would advise you to weld the suppressor on to the barrel.
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Old March 6, 2007, 11:58 PM   #18
tatera
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Plausibly Legal Design

I'm considering a design, where by the exterior of the barrel of a .177 cal BB gun is threaded and ported (both legal). Then construct the exterior component (tube) so that it screws over the outside of teh ported section of barrel. This is a compound design - one half integral to the gun and the other half completing the function of a silencer.

Separating the tube from the barrel renders the tube inoperable as a silencer. Further, because the threaded portion of the tube is on its interior, it cannot be readily adapter to a firearm. It would require the firearm itself to be threaded on the exterior of it's muzzle and be ported.

The act of attempting to complete the silencer's function to a firearm would obviously be considering "making" a firearm per ATF Form 1. But it certainly is not "readily" adapted to a firearm, nor is the tube component a functional silencer, in and of itself. It requires the interior to work and that is built into the airgun.

I believe this renders the design outside of the firearm category - any thoughts?

-T8R
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Old March 7, 2007, 03:25 AM   #19
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What would keep it from working on a 17M2 with a similarly threaded and ported barrel?

My take is that if you want a silencer buy a silencer. They are legal to own as long as you follow the law. They're not cheap, but they're cheaper than a lawyer.
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Old March 7, 2007, 06:41 AM   #20
tatera
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re:plausible design

This would violate the law. Considerations then would have to be made on the mechanism used to fasten the tube to the barrel to prevent its application to any known firearm.

Many of the .17 Mach 2 firearms fire a .177 caliber round and have fluted and ported barrels but the desgn mentioned above is secured using threads on the outside of ther barrel. If there is one with external threading (which is illegal as far as i know) then incapatible threading would be required, perhaps something exotic like reverse threading. Anything that prevents it from being "readily" adapted should suffice.

To buy a funtioning silencer, by default means you're purchasing a firearm. This catagory of firearm requires a permit an all that that implies. If the community can come up with a bullet proof approach (no pun intended) then the we can perminently carve the federal government out of our sport.

Last edited by tatera; March 7, 2007 at 06:54 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old March 7, 2007, 05:59 PM   #21
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If we are still speaking of airguns, I think it was Gamo that has just come out with a 1200fps rifle with some big thing on the end of the barrel that is advertised as a supressor of some sort.

Why they would put the thing on a supersonic airgun is beyond me unless the rifle was so damn loud that it really needed it.

You could probably use heavier pellets and get the velocity trans-sonic for some serious quiet fun with small game.
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Old March 7, 2007, 08:53 PM   #22
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You're going to love this ...
Quote:
... Things took a turn, however, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided Crooker's home in June 2004 as part of an investigation into the sale of an air rifle equipped with a silencer and seized his computer. Unable to crack the PC's security features, the agents sent it to the FBI's Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis unit, court records say. ...
http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=197700861

So if you plan on putting a silencer on your air gun remember to wipe the **** from your PC
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Old March 7, 2007, 08:57 PM   #23
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Wow, I can't believe it took me this long to take notice of this thread. Actually, the BATFE has ruled on this very subject. It is NOT legal to make a silencer for an airgun because it is POSSIBLE for that silencer to be used on a traditional firearm. I believe, IIRC, the case in question was about silencers for paintball guns. Someone asked BATFE about their legality and they got the answer that they had to be registered as NFA because they acted like a traditional silencer and it was possible to affix them to a traditional firearm. Remember, if it quiets the noise down even 1db, it must be registered with NFA. I'll dig around and see if I can find that ruling...

OK, so I found it. The ruling is that if the silencer is an integrally, permanently attached part of the air gun (or paintball gun in this case) then it is not a "silencer" as defined as part of the NFA. If all or part of the silencer is detachable, then it falls under the NFA and must be registered accordingly.
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Old March 7, 2007, 11:46 PM   #24
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That must be how Gamo is getting around the regulations with this new beast of an air-rifle. It does not look like the supressor is detachable.

The ad is in the new American Rifleman, I think. It looked pretty nifty, but with the BATFE constantly reversing itself it seems like Gamo may be taking a risky gamble with this one.
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Old March 7, 2007, 11:52 PM   #25
tatera
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Ok so...

So because my idea has a portion that's removable, even though not readily adaptable to a firearm, still qualifies as a silencer?

The good news is, if I had a silencer welded to my pellet gun then it's legal! There are legal catch-22s for the federal government and gun owners here though.

The first problem for gun owners being - how do you get to the point where you weld a DIY silencer on to your gun? You have to build it first. This puts you legally in a "make firearm" activity requiring an ATF FORM 1 to be filed and approved plus a $200.00 "Make" tax. Even if you ignore this, then once it's built you are in possession of a firearm requiring a permit with all of the federal and state regulations that apply - basically everything you need to get a handgun. All of this falls under the Brady Gun Control Law meaning that even though this effort is being spent on a pellet gun which has no juristiction under the law - you are completely bound by it. So you can have a silencer on your pellet gun, you just have no easy way to get it on the gun.

We also find the government in the other catch-22, legally speaking. A "prohibited person" (18 usc, sec 922) ends up being denied the ability to do something that is perfectly legal (that is... have a perminently afixed suppressor on an airgun). This is because they cannot engage the "make" or permit process under current gun control laws. They end up as an entire class of people being denied due process; a very serious violation of the constitution.

The community could push for reform but many fear the resulting spotlight would be a call to arms (ironic pun) for gun control advocates to push for tighter regulations of airguns. I buy this as a plausible fear. But to some extent, this means a certain measure of control is forced upon our community that extends far beyond the legal reach of firearms law. This kind of reminds me of a Ben Framklin quote - "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"

Last edited by tatera; March 7, 2007 at 11:59 PM. Reason: grammar
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