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Old June 10, 2009, 04:09 PM   #26
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Join Date: December 15, 2001
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Posts: 4,303
The individuality is defined by the suppressor having a serial number. If that individual item is destroyed, you can't re-create it (and avoid the tax) simply by putting its number on some other item.
but allows them to be replaced at will as long as that part is not the outer tube. For some reason they say the outer tube can't be replaced.
Most of the time...but never say NEVER.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

19 APR 1999


Dear Mr. Bardwell:

This is to clarify the advice contained in our response of January 27, 1999, to your letter of December 26, 1998, regarding the replacement of a broken or defective silencer that had been returned for repair.

You asked if a licensed manufacturer of firearms may lawfully replace a broken or defective silencer, returned to him for repair, with a new silencer with the same serial number as the broken or defective one. You added that the original silencer would be destroyed in the process of replacement.

A complete firearm silencer or muffler is a "firearm" subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). In addition, certain silencer parts and components also qualify as a "firearm" and are subject to NFA controls. Repair or replacement of silencer components can result in the creation of a new firearm which would be subject to additional registration and transfer tax requirements.

A person who possesses a registered silencer may transfer the silencer for repair on ATF Form 5, tax exempt, to any licensed manufacturer of firearms who has currently paid special (occupational) tax (SOT) as a manufacturer of NFA firearms.

Any such manufacturer may repair or replace unmarked silencer components such as baffles, wipes, end caps, or specially made packing material. If such components are replaced on an exchange basis and the original components are destroyed, there is no registration of a new firearm required and the silencer may be returned on Form 5, tax exempt.

If the manufacturer did not originally make the silencer and must replace components bearing required markings, such as the outer tube, the new replacement components would then require registration as a new firearm and would be subject to marking requirements under 27 CFR section 179.102. Return of the new components would incur applicable transfer tax.

If the original defective components were not destroyed and were returned to the customer in addition to replacement components, the replacement components would also require registration as a new firearm and could be subject to transfer tax.

A silencer which is unusable due to a manufacturer's defect, may be replaced without incurring transfer tax, only if the silencer is returned to the original manufacturer for repair and the original manufacturer is licensed as a manufacturer of firearms and has currently paid SOT as a manufacturer of firearms. The original manufacturer may them mark the replacement with the same serial number used on the defective silencer and then return the replacement silencer on ATF Form 5 without incurring transfer tax. The original defective silencer components must be destroyed.

We apologize for the inconvenience and trust that this clarifies the matter. Should any additional information be needed, please contact Gary Schiable at (202) 927-8330.

Sincerely yours,
Kent M. Cousins
Chief, National Firearms Act Branch
NRA Certified Instructor: Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Home Safety, Personal Protection, Range Safety Officer

NRA Life Member
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