View Full Version : Suppressor problems...

January 13, 2013, 07:21 PM
Today I was out in the cold playing with one of my 22 suppressors. I had it attached to a Walther P22.

Any way I was out on public land just shooting a few targets and chronographing a few different kinds of ammo though it. After about an hour 2 guys walk by dressed in winter cammo and packing ARs. I ask them what they are doing and they are hunting Coyotes. They look at my Walther and give me a strange look and then keep on walking. About an hour after that a guy from fish and game pulls up and asks me if I am hunting. I say no. He looks at my Walther and then asks to see my paper work. I informed him that I did not have it on me but that I was not required to show it to any body but the ATF. He proceeds to tell me I have to show it. I inform him again that I am only required to show it to an ATF agent. He informs me that he had a call that I was shooting an illegal fire arm. I ask him if I am under arrest and he says no. I gather up my stuff and try to drive off to go home. He then turns on his lights and so I stop and he then comes up to my door and asks again for my paper work.

At this point you may think I was being a jerk but in all honesty I was told by My FFL that I did not have to bring the paper work with me unless going out of state.

Long story made short the Fish and Game guy gave me a lot of crap. I finally suggested that I could have my wife fax a copy of it to the local fish and game if he gave me a fax number. At this point he refused. I called my wife and explained the situation and she started to drive out to my location (about a 2 hour drive). He (the fish and game officer) said that I was breaking federal law by not having the paper work present.

After a long 2 hour argument and yet another officer showing up my wife arrives and shows them the paper work. At this point the officer is very mad and makes some calls on the radio. I was able to hear the conversation and he was asking for "some thing to charge this jackass with"

In the end he let me go with a warning to bring my paper work with me.

I dont know why I am posting this other than to vent and to remind others that even though you are not required to show the stamp to any body other than the ATF that it is still smart to keep a copy in case you run across some body like the guy I ran across.

January 13, 2013, 07:46 PM
You going to let it slide or bump it up the chain of command?

January 13, 2013, 08:58 PM
Every single time (a lot of times) that I've taken NFA stuff to the range, someone has asked to see my paperwork. Once it was a local sheriff, the rest of the times it was a range officer.

While I accept that it's not *required* that I show it to any of them since they aren't ATF, why not just humor them so they'll go away? For the RO's they could say, "that's fine, you don't have to show me your paperwork- but you also don't have to shoot here. Have a nice drive home."

Do you usually not carry your paperwork? What if, however unlikely, it was an ATF agent that showed up asking?

With that being said- "something to charge this jackass with" is totally unsat on his part. I'm interested like BillM if you're going to up-channel that one. Hopefully you can get him educated on the rules, or at the very least have someone teach the guy some manners.

Deja vu
January 13, 2013, 09:06 PM
I am very new to suppressors. I have taken my suppressor out on public land (we have lots in Idaho) a few time with out paper work. Thanks for educating me!

P.S. Does a wallet sized version work? Does it need to be in Color?

January 13, 2013, 09:17 PM
I keep full sized versions, maybe someone can chime in if wallet size is ok.

For the other part of your question, black and white copies have never caught me any flak.

One idea I've been entertaining is scanning them into PDF's and keeping them in a photo album on my iPhone. Sometime, somewhere I read that may be a bad idea though.

January 13, 2013, 10:24 PM
I keep full sized copies with mine always, but never had anybody ask to see them.

January 14, 2013, 12:34 AM
If this had happened to me I would be contacting his superiors to find out what they have against gun owners in the woods. Someone had to train or tell him to ask for ATF forms. It sounds like this guy is a loose cannon especially when he is looking for something to charge you with when he can't get you for shooting in the woods. He has "corrupt cop" written all over him.

Federal law does not say that you have to keep the forms with you, it does say that the forms have to be shown to the BATFE when they demand to see them.


January 14, 2013, 10:30 AM
I dont know. Yesterday I wanted to bring it up the chain of command but today I want to just move on. I am going to go to Kinko's copies to get a few copies made. I like the idea of a wallet sized one as well as a full sized for my range bag.

Not looking forward to the price of making a full sized and wallet sized laminated copies of all 4 of my form 4s.

January 14, 2013, 11:04 AM
I guess I am a little OCD but I keep a full size copy in my truck, a scanned full size copy as an email attachment on my smartphone and plan to shrink down a wallet sized copy as well. I figure that 99% of the time I am in my truck at the range, if not chances are good that I'll have my phone with me or at least my wallet.

I agree with the previous comments that while we may not have to show our paperwork to anyone but an ATF agent - it's much simpler to just show whoever ask to avoid a situation similar to the OP.

January 14, 2013, 01:24 PM
I keep full size copies in my bag and copies on my phone as well. I have yet to have anyone ask me for my paperwork.

January 14, 2013, 03:08 PM
We can't have them In Iowa at all. I would however call and tell you're state representatives and up his chain of command. To ask for something to "charge this jackass with" is absurd. I would also send them a bill for having your wife drive out there with the paperwork for whatever your state pays for miles. If you let them get away with it they will continue to do it. Save someone else the trouble that you went through. Just my opinion. Hope it works out for ya.

Strafer Gott
January 14, 2013, 03:32 PM
Making a little trouble for the officer now, might save a whole lot of trouble later. False arrest is no freaking joke. The fact that he would say something like that in front of you is a clear indicator that he's in the wrong line of work. The fact that the first officer double clutched was a massive show of unprofessionalism. The fact that the state armed and empowered these two *******s is deeply troubling in itself. If I was their shift seargent, they'd probably be talking to the union now.

January 15, 2013, 03:04 PM
Federal NFA Law may require that you show the forms to BATFE on request but State laws may have additional demands/restrictions as stated earlier, some states have prohibited what the Feds allow.

It's not enough to assume that the Federal NFA laws are you're only requirement.

I have been doing more reading and although it's not a blanket statement to say that local LE can enforce/arrest for Federal crimes, depending on the crime, they may.

Given the common view that suppressors are illegal, that paperwork is the only thing you have, at that moment, that can show your are NOT committing a criminal act.

January 15, 2013, 04:43 PM
That's a lousy situation to be in. Glad your wife came through with the paperwork for you. Lucky you were in an area with cell phone coverage.

I keep .pdf files of my forms on my phone, and as a retrievable email attachment. Hard copies go in all my range bags. For suppressors, that's about it. For SBRs I like to keep a copy rolled up in the hollow of the grip, that way I'm never without it. In AZ the law enforcement is more likely to be reasonably relaxed around suppressors, since we just had a well-publicized law making it legal to hunt with suppressors.

James K
January 17, 2013, 09:17 PM
Talk to an attorney. See if you can file a $100 million civil rights lawsuit for harassment, attempted false arrest, unlawful detention and maybe a few other things. You may not win, but you would sure get their attention and maybe a nice settlement to please go away.


January 17, 2013, 10:42 PM
I was always under the impression that I have to have the suppressor paperwork with the suppressor. I will have to read up on the law. I will continue to carry the tax stamp paperwork with me just to avoid being hassled if for no other reason.

January 18, 2013, 09:48 AM
I keep a copy of my tax stamp with me, but I haven't been asked by anyone to show it yet.

Willie Lowman
January 18, 2013, 08:03 PM
Silencers are illegal in every state I know of unless they have been registered and the tax paid. The form 4 is an affirmative defense against prosecution (and unnecessary hassles by the cops). There is no law saying you must keep the form with you. There are however people whose job it is to arrest people who are breaking the law, this brings us back to having an affirmative defense.