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Thread: guns with silencers

  1. #1
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    Ok this is one I have been unable to find a definative anser on. I own several silencers including one for one of my carry guns I typically conceal carry but I wonder what the reaction from LE would be if they knew I was carring a leagally concieled pistol equiped with a legally possesed silencer. The only law I have come across states that the use of any contrivance or device for reducing the sound output of a firearm is a gross misdomeanor. Now I have a letter from the BATFE stating that attaching a silencer to a gun does not constitute use. Does anyone have any information or experience or speculation about this.

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    Ok this is one I have been unable to find a definative anser on. I own several silencers including one for one of my carry guns I typically conceal carry but I wonder what the reaction from LE would be if they knew I was carring a leagally concieled pistol equiped with a legally possesed silencer. The only law I have come across states that the use of any contrivance or device for reducing the sound output of a firearm is a gross misdomeanor. Now I have a letter from the BATFE stating that attaching a silencer to a gun does not constitute use. Does anyone have any information or experience or speculation about this.
    I want a Silencer for my Kimber.

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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Hell yes. The thought of firing without ear protection in a home defense scenario worries me...

    Unfortunately there's a lot of public perception of suppressors being EEEVIL and only used by bad guy assassins and spooks, rather than being safety devices for hearing protection.

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    It is my understanding based on an Attorney General's opinion I read once, that while silencers are legal in the State of Washington, they cannot be legally attached to the weapon. :what:



    I don't have time to find the reference now, but it was on the RCW lookup page. Try "firearm silencers" and check the AG opions box.



    Steve

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    Ok this is one I have been unable to find a definative anser on. I own several silencers including one for one of my carry guns I typically conceal carry but I wonder what the reaction from LE would be if they knew I was carring a leagally concieled pistol equiped with a legally possesed silencer. The only law I have come across states that the use of any contrivance or device for reducing the sound output of a firearm is a gross misdomeanor. Now I have a letter from the BATFE stating that attaching a silencer to a gun does not constitute use. Does anyone have any information or experience or speculation about this.
    could you please post a PDF of this letter?

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    I believe you can buy a silencer, pay the 200 tax, attach it, but it is illegal to shoot it.

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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    It is my understanding based on an Attorney General's opinion I read once, that while silencers are legal in the State of Washington, they cannot be legally attached to the weapon. :what:



    I don't have time to find the reference now, but it was on the RCW lookup page. Try "firearm silencers" and check the AG opions box.



    Steve
    A friend stated the same facts about Silencers in the State of Washington. Matter of fact I spoke with him Yesterday and he was cussing due the fact that he wants to move there but would have to sell more than half of his arsenal, I told him I could "store" it for him and he gave me a strange look

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    joshmmm wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    Ok this is one I have been unable to find a definative anser on. I own several silencers including one for one of my carry guns I typically conceal carry but I wonder what the reaction from LE would be if they knew I was carring a leagally concieled pistol equiped with a legally possesed silencer. The only law I have come across states that the use of any contrivance or device for reducing the sound output of a firearm is a gross misdomeanor. Now I have a letter from the BATFE stating that attaching a silencer to a gun does not constitute use. Does anyone have any information or experience or speculation about this.
    could you please post a PDF of this letter?
    I'm not familiar with a BATF letter on this there is a Washington AG opinion though.

    http://www.atg.wa.gov/opinion.aspx?s...ic&id=8666


    It is not unlawful under RCW 9.41.250 to merely possess a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm. - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    August 30, 1988

    Honorable Kent Pullen State Senator,
    47th District Institutions Building
    Olympia, Washington 98504

    Cite as: AGO 1988 No. 16

    Dear Senator Pullen: By letter previously acknowledged, you have asked for our opinion on a question we have paraphrased as follows: Is it unlawful under RCW 9.41.250 to possess a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm? We answer your question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

    ANALYSIS

    RCW 9.41.250, the provision about which you have inquired, provides: Every person who shall manufacture, sell or dispose of or have in his possession any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement; who shall furtively carry with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or who shall use any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

    (Emphasis added.)
    [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

    In essence, your question is concerned with whether the term "use" in the underscored language of RCW 9.41.250 includes mere possession of a noise suppression device. Absent a statutory definition, words in a statute are to be given their ordinary meaning. Davis v. Department of Empl. Sec., 108 Wn.2d 272, 737 P.2d 1262 (1987). The ordinary meaning of the term "use" is to put a thing into service or action. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 2523-2524 (1981). Thus, the use of a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm contemplates employing that device or putting it into service. Although use of such a device may be incident to possession, use is quite different from simply possessing the device or exercising control over it.

    In our opinion, the language of RCW 9.41.250 about which you have inquired is unambiguous. It does not prohibit mere possession of a device to suppress the noise of a firearm.

    Even if the term "use" in RCW 9.41.250 were ambiguous, rules of statutory construction would dictate against interpreting the term to include mere possession. First, RCW 9.41.250 is a criminal statute. Where two reasonable constructions of a criminal statute are possible, a court is required to adopt the interpretation most favorable to a person accused of violating the statute. State v. Gore, 101 Wn.2d 481, 681 P.2d 227 (1984). Here, of course, that would be an interpretation excluding mere possession. Second, where the Legislature employs certain language in one part of a statute and different language in another part, a difference in legislative intent is indicated.United Parcel Serv., Inc. v. Department of Rev., 102 Wn.2d 355, 687 P.2d 186 (1984). The Legislature has employed the term "possession" in RCW 9.41.250 and thereby has made mere possession of certain weapons a misdemeanor. The Legislature did not employ that same term with reference to noise suppression devices. According to this rule of construction, the Legislature's failure to do so indicates that is did not intend "use" to include mere possession.

    We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

    Sincerely, KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY Attorney General
    MAUREEN HART Sr. Assistant Attorney General
    Sorry about the formatting, I haven't learned the ins and outs of this forums code yet.

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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Phil:

    Perfect! Thanks.

    Maybe we can get that amended to read "or who shall use any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm in the commission of a crime"...


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    That is much like the letter I read about it. I already know it is perfectly legal to own them having purchased several legally. I am trying to get a reply in black and white stating that attaching the silencer to the weapon does or does not constitute "use" and If it is not "use" to attach it is it then OK to carry it concealed andattached.

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    John Hardin wrote:
    Phil:

    Perfect! Thanks.

    Maybe we can get that amended to read "or who shall use any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm in the commission of a crime"...
    In the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions Senator Hargrove sponsored SB 5167 which would have changed RCW 9.41.250 to

    (3) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm unless the suppressor is legally registered and possessed in accordance with federal law

    of course with Adam Kline as chair of the committee the bill went no where. Kline may claim to want the great outdoors to be quiet, as evidence by his ranting against ATV/ORV/motorbike riders, but allowing shooters to shoot while reducing the noise from their firearms goes too far against his antigun ways.

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    Here's the code referenced in the letter above: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250

    As the letter says, mere possession isn't enough to be charged. The item must be used and if it's simply attached to the weapon, it's not "put into service", i.e. you're not suppressing sound with it.

    Now, do realize that if you carry your sound suppressor, I believe it's required by law to also carry that $200 tax stamp with you to certify that you own it legally.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    just_a_car wrote:
    Here's the code referenced in the letter above: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250

    As the letter says, mere possession isn't enough to be charged. The item must be used and if it's simply attached to the weapon, it's not "put into service", i.e. you're not suppressing sound with it.

    Now, do realize that if you carry your sound suppressor, I believe it's required by law to also carry that $200 tax stamp with you to certify that you own it legally.
    That's a BIG YES on the $200. You will have to register it with the Fed's.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Can you stick the tax stamp on the side of the suppressor?

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    John Hardin wrote:
    Can you stick the tax stamp on the side of the suppressor?
    LOL!
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    I have copies of my tax stamp paperwork thatI keep with me in my wallet.

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    I have copies of my tax stamp paperwork thatI keep with me in my wallet.
    I can't recall as it's been a while since I've looked into it: is a copy of the paperwork sufficiently "legal" as per federal code?
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    just_a_car wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    I have copies of my tax stamp paperwork thatI keep with me in my wallet.
    I can't recall as it's been a while since I've looked into it: is a copy of the paperwork sufficiently "legal" as per federal code?
    It sure is better than having "nothing" or having the "original" handed around until it magically gets "lost". Better on something like this to have a copy and if necessary provide the original through an attorney. In most cases it will never go that far.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    In Washington state a silencer on your gun=jail. In Oregon a silencer on your gun= totally legalif you have the ATF papers. Same goes for a machine gun.

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    I would have thought Washington's laws would have been better then Oregon's on this.

    Why did Washington ban Machine Guns? It's really lame you can own suppressor but not be able to use it.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    In Washington state a silencer on your gun=jail. In Oregon a silencer on your gun= totally legalif you have the ATF papers. Same goes for a machine gun.
    It has earlier been shown with an attorney general opinion that this is not the case.

    Today I have seen this baseless claim and another equally baseless claim in the thread on liquor stores.

    If you are going to just throw out an answer to a debated situation you must include some sort of citation/controlling authority on the subject. I'm sorry, but your opinion means nothing to me if you don't explain both how you arrived at it and provide some sort of proof with a document or link or, at the very veryleast, some personal story/observation you have witnessed.

    It is imperative that we don't spread misinformation in this or any other forum. Misinterpretation of the law is not and never has been a defense to most of the types of issues we are bringing up here (IE: there is no mens rea requirement--an evil mind-- for most of the "crimes" we discuss here--the actions are illegal--or not--in and of themselves by statute)

    Sorry for the short rant--I have just seen a lack of logic sprout up on this board lately that wasn't here two months ago... If you think something is the case but can't prove it--either don't say it or qualify it with a statement stating this so that others who are not as careful to check citations don't go around mistaking your opinion as fact.

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    John Henry wrote:
    I would have thought Washington's laws would have been better then Oregon's on this.

    Why did Washington ban Machine Guns? It's really lame you can own suppressor but not be able to use it.
    Back in the gangster days of the 20's there were major problems here with boot leggers and all the shooting and stuff (my Grandfather was a Tacoma police detective then and had some amazing stories). So the idiots in the Washington Legislature over reacted just like the morons in DC. Of course the new law never stopped any of the gangstersfrom having and using a machine gun, but it made the elected morons feel good. Oregon is a lot farther from Canada and had a lot less problems.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    joshmmm wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    In Washington state a silencer on your gun=jail. In Oregon a silencer on your gun= totally legalif you have the ATF papers. Same goes for a machine gun.
    It has earlier been shown with an attorney general opinion that this is not the case.

    Today I have seen this baseless claim and another equally baseless claim in the thread on liquor stores.

    If you are going to just throw out an answer to a debated situation you must include some sort of citation/controlling authority on the subject. I'm sorry, but your opinion means nothing to me if you don't explain both how you arrived at it and provide some sort of proof with a document or link or, at the very veryleast, some personal story/observation you have witnessed.

    It is imperative that we don't spread misinformation in this or any other forum. Misinterpretation of the law is not and never has been a defense to most of the types of issues we are bringing up here (IE: there is no mens rea requirement--an evil mind-- for most of the "crimes" we discuss here--the actions are illegal--or not--in and of themselves by statute)

    Sorry for the short rant--I have just seen a lack of logic sprout up on this board lately that wasn't here two months ago... If you think something is the case but can't prove it--either don't say it or qualify it with a statement stating this so that others who are not as careful to check citations don't go around mistaking your opinion as fact.
    Was going to say something similar to your first sentence, but you've stated my feelings about the quoted post rather eloquently in the subsequent paragraphs. +1.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    In Washington state a silencer on your gun=jail. In Oregon a silencer on your gun= totally legalif you have the ATF papers. Same goes for a machine gun.
    Boy, I hope not. Seeing as I have OC my gun with the silencer attached while at work and the most I have gotten from law enforcement was raised eyebrows and warnings of "you know your not allowed toshoot that, right?" Now I understand LE treets me differently while I am at work than they would if they saw me walking down the street like that. Wich is why I am asking if anyone has heard of a situation in wich charges aremade against someone for doing it. Or could they be, based on how you read the law.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    In Washington state a silencer on your gun=jail. In Oregon a silencer on your gun= totally legalif you have the ATF papers. Same goes for a machine gun.
    That's not true. You can own it and attach it, you just can't fire rounds through it. If I'm wrong then Wade's Guns in bellevue has been breaking the law for several years, and considering how many law enforcement agents shop there,one wouldthink they would have been notified by now.

    It is illegal to "use" a silencer, per WA state law. Attaching the silencer is not "using" the silencer, per BATFE definition.



    And John Hardin's right! We should do what we can to get a law passed to have that ammended to "...in the commission of a crime." (or "violent crime" since I don't want to go to jail for running a red light while armed with a silenced weapon)

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