A silencer and a suppressor are the same thing. They are both designed to reduce the noise of the firearm when shooting. We refer to these devices as suppressors since they do not silence the noise but provide a significant reduction in the decibel level when shooting.
Suppressors are legal to own as a private citizen under federal law per the National Firearms Act of 1934 and are legal in most states. They are however regulated and taxed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Suppressors are legal for private ownership in the following states: AL, AK, AR, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI,MO, MS, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and WY. Class 3 dealers and manufactures may own suppressors in: CA, IA, and MA.
The legal requirements to purchase a suppressor are that a private individual must be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of the United States and must meet all the same requirements required to lawfully purchase a handgun.
Once you have decided on the suppressor you want to purchase go to class 3 dealer in your state to begin the tax stamp transfer process. Your Class III dealer can walk you through this process. There is a 200.00 transfer tax required by the ATFE for Class III transfers to private individuals. During the tax stamp transfer process, you’ll need to get finger printed, have passport photos taken and get the Chief Local Law Enforcement Officer’s signature on the ATFE Form 4. These items are not required if the silencer is being transferred to a corporation or a trust. This process is called a Form 4 transfer. This process generally takes 4 to 6 months. Once your suppressor is approved for transfer your dealer will receive that paperwork and inform you suppressor is ready to be transferred. When you receive your new suppressor and use it you will wonder why you ever shot without one.
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