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Thread: Machine guns and silencers and DDs in WA

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    Regular Member Dave_pro2a's Avatar
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    Just curious:

    If the WA Constitution is regarded as having stronger gun rights language than the Federal Constitution... how on earth did WA do away with machine gun and silencers?

    Any hope of ever getting MG ownership back in WA?

    Any hope of being able to actually use silencers in WA?

    It's my understanding that Destructive Devices are also illegal: i.e. a short barrel shotgun.

    How did this happen when we have a 'strong' Constitutional right to firearms in WA.

    It's depressing
    "I'm just a no-account screed-peddler" Dave Workman http://goo.gl/CNf6pB

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    Dave_pro2a wrote:
    Just curious:

    If the WA Constitution is regarded as having stronger gun rights language than the Federal Constitution... how on earth did WA do away with machine gun and silencers?

    Any hope of ever getting MG ownership back in WA?

    Any hope of being able to actually use silencers in WA?

    It's my understanding that Destructive Devices are also illegal: i.e. a short barrel shotgun.

    How did this happen when we have a 'strong' Constitutional right to firearms in WA.

    It's depressing
    Silencers are fine in this state as are DD's and AOW's I have had all three no problems in this state. Short barreled shotguns are not destructive devices they are SBS's. SBS's are illegal in this state but AOW's (which include short barreled shotguns with a pistol grip but nota stock) are perfectly OK. DD's are such things as M203 gernade launchers (Like the one I owned ). As for silencers, the law only restricts the useof homemade or implemented contrivances or devices for muffling the sound of a firearm, IMO this does not include properly registered and legally owned silencers. If it did there would need to be an exception for LEO's to allow them to use their silencers. As there is no such exception it would suggest that no such exception was necessary in the first place as LEO's don't use Contrivances or implemented devices to silence a firearm they use legal silencers. So as long as you aren't threading a pop bottle onto the end of your gun or shooting through a pillow you should be fine. IANAL

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    Regular Member Dave_pro2a's Avatar
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    Agent 47 wrote:
    Dave_pro2a wrote:
    Just curious:

    If the WA Constitution is regarded as having stronger gun rights language than the Federal Constitution... how on earth did WA do away with machine gun and silencers?

    Any hope of ever getting MG ownership back in WA?

    Any hope of being able to actually use silencers in WA?

    It's my understanding that Destructive Devices are also illegal: i.e. a short barrel shotgun.

    How did this happen when we have a 'strong' Constitutional right to firearms in WA.

    It's depressing
    Silencers are fine in this state as are DD's and AOW's I have had all three no problems in this state. The law only restricts the useof homemade or implemented contrivances or devices for muffling the sound of a firearm, IMO this does not include properly registered and legally owned silencers. If it did there would need to be an exception for LEO's to allow them to use their silencers. As there is no such exception it would suggest that no such exception was necessary in the first place as LEO's don't use Contrivances or implemented devices to silence a firearm they use legal silencers. So as long as you aren't threading a pop bottle onto the end of your gun or shooting through a pillow you should be fine. IANAL

    From my cursory investigation:

    Silencers are legal to own but illegal to use in WA (of course with the proper tax and license).

    I can see your point about silencers, but like post office carry it's a situation just begging for a test case -- and I would not want to be the test case.

    A short barrel Saiga 12 is also illegal afaik. I might have the DD and SBS mixed up, but still fact remains I can't own one. A shotgun pistol has no appeal to me, but a cut down Saiga with a folding stock sure does.

    MGs are also illegal.

    This all does not make sense to me. I'd think if our WA Constitution really has stronger language than the Fed, then all title 3 items would be legal with proper taxes and licenses.

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    The assessment above is based upon exhaustive research on my part. As I said I own several silencers and an AOW. The above interpretation of the "using contrivances law" is based on several conversations with different class three dealers. It is a direct paraphrase of how the law was explained to me by a King county deputy who was using a silencer on his AR-15, of course if the law was as you have interpreted it would have landed him in jail for up to a year.

    :what:

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    The assessment above is based upon exhaustive research on my part. As I said I own several silencers and an AOW. The above interpretation of the "using contrivances law" is based on several conversations with different class three dealers. It is a direct paraphrase of how the law was explained to me by a King county deputy who was using a silencer on his AR-15, of course if the law was as you have interpreted it would have landed him in jail for up to a year.

    :what:
    Great, I'll grant that for the sake of not arguing

    Silencers are a-ok in WA. AOW area-ok in WA.

    That still leaves the following as illegal: MGs, SBS, SBR, DD.

    Which still leaves my original question on how that could have happened... if our state Consitution is generally considered as being stronger/more explicit than the Federal Constitution on RKBA.

    And, any chances of the status quo changing for 4 fun-gun catagories?
    "I'm just a no-account screed-peddler" Dave Workman http://goo.gl/CNf6pB

    "We ought to extend the [1994] assault weapons ban" George W Bush

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    "I support the Brady bill and I urge the Congress to enact it without delay." Ronald Regan.

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    Dave_pro2a wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    The assessment above is based upon exhaustive research on my part. As I said I own several silencers and an AOW. The above interpretation of the "using contrivances law" is based on several conversations with different class three dealers. It is a direct paraphrase of how the law was explained to me by a King county deputy who was using a silencer on his AR-15, of course if the law was as you have interpreted it would have landed him in jail for up to a year.

    :what:
    Great, I'll grant that for the sake of not arguing

    Silencers are a-ok in WA. AOW area-ok in WA.

    That still leaves the following as illegal: MGs, SBS, SBR, DD.

    Which still leaves my original question on how that could have happened... if our state Consitution is generally considered as being stronger/more explicit than the Federal Constitution on RKBA.

    And, any chances of the status quo changing for 4 fun-gun catagories?
    The laws were copied off the NFA during prohibition because of all the boot legging going on from Canada thruPuget Sound.

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    Silencers are fine in this state as are DD's and AOW's I have had all three no problems in this state. Short barreled shotguns are not destructive devices they are SBS's. SBS's are illegal in this state but AOW's (which include short barreled shotguns with a pistol grip but nota stock) are perfectly OK. DD's are such things as M203 gernade launchers (Like the one I owned ). As for silencers, the law only restricts the useof homemade or implemented contrivances or devices for muffling the sound of a firearm, IMO this does not include properly registered and legally owned silencers. If it did there would need to be an exception for LEO's to allow them to use their silencers. As there is no such exception it would suggest that no such exception was necessary in the first place as LEO's don't use Contrivances or implemented devices to silence a firearm they use legal silencers. So as long as you aren't threading a pop bottle onto the end of your gun or shooting through a pillow you should be fine. IANAL
    You are correct Agent 47,

    The reason that LE can use mg's and silencers is because they are owned by the Dept, and issued to the Officer. It is true that you may own a silencer in Wa. (with proper paper/tax stamp) but these are issued items, so for LE there is no need to own a silencer for duty use.

    Anymore about the only use LE has for silenced weapons is for meth lab entries. They are not used for their ability to reduce noise, but rather to contain any muzzle flame that could ignite flammable chemicals that are used in an active lab.

    These entries are dangerous enough without risking a fireball ripping through an enclosed area.
    If you have to fight, do not fear death. We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely! And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly. Meet him as the proud warrior that you are, and not as a sniveling coward. Nobody lives forever.

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    Johnny Law wrote:

    Anymore about the only use LE has for silenced weapons is for meth lab entries. They are not used for their ability to reduce noise, but rather to contain any muzzle flame that could ignite flammable chemicals that are used in an active lab.

    These entries are dangerous enough without risking a fireball ripping through an enclosed area.
    Interesting. Thanks JL. I have often wondered why LEs needed silencers any more than I needed a silencer. This makes a lot of sense.

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    Doesn't this RCW restrict the use of silencers and give an exception for LEO to use them if on official duty?

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250

    I ask because it seems like this thread says you can use them but in other parts says you cannot use them.
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    joeroket wrote:
    Doesn't this RCW restrict the use of silencers and give an exception for LEO to use them if on official duty?

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250

    I ask because it seems like this thread says you can use them but in other parts says you cannot use them.
    The law is: you can possess, you are punished for use.

    9.41.250 does not actually appear to have an exception for LEO use of suppressors as subsection (2) only applies to subsection (1)(a) - bladed weapons, brass knucks, etc. - and suppressors are subsection (1)(c).

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    John Hardin wrote:
    joeroket wrote:
    Doesn't this RCW restrict the use of silencers and give an exception for LEO to use them if on official duty?

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250

    I ask because it seems like this thread says you can use them but in other parts says you cannot use them.
    The law is: you can possess, you are punished for use.

    9.41.250 does not actually appear to have an exception for LEO use of suppressors as subsection (2) only applies to subsection (1)(a) - bladed weapons, brass knucks, etc. - and suppressors are subsection (1)(c).
    Because no exception is needed, LEO's do not use contrivances they use silencers. The attorney general made the exception for officers to use and carry switch-blades but saw no need to give an exemption for using silencers ( A law only a couple lines away from the one he modified) because none was ever needed. If it was indeed illegal to use a real silencer in this state the SWAT and SRT teams would have to arrest each other every time they come to practice at the range. As for a officer in possession of a silencer he does not need to go through the paperwork of a form four transfer because it does not belong to theofficer it belongs to the department and is issued to the officer. Everywhere in the law when it mentions legally owned properly registered and commercially manufactured silencers they are called silencers, contrivances and devices as mentioned in subsection C are entirely different they are contrived or implemented devices. buildingA homemade silencer is a violation of federal lawbut it is Washington law it is subsection C that makes it illegal to implement a everyday or modified everyday item to act to reduce the output of a firearm. Federal law will punish you for manufacturing a silencer without a form one but the use of contrivances or implemented everyday objects was a grey area in this state until subsection C was written, but it was never intended to effect actual silencers.

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    Agent 47 wrote:
    Because no exception is needed, LEO's do not use contrivances they use silencers.
    Quoth 9.41.250:

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,
    I agree a potato or pop bottle could be characterized as a "contrivance," but in what way is a silencer (a.k.a. suppressor) not a "device for suppressing the noise of (a) firearm"?

    Edited: Can you provide a cite (AG opinion, case law, etc.) for your interpretation? I'd love for that to be the case, but a straight reading of the plain text of the law doesn't really suggest that to me.

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    John Hardin wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    Because no exception is needed, LEO's do not use contrivances they use silencers.
    Quoth 9.41.250:

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,
    I agree a potato or pop bottle could be characterized as a "contrivance," but in what way is a silencer (a.k.a. suppressor) not a "device for suppressing the noise of (a) firearm"?

    Edited: Can you provide a cite (AG opinion, case law, etc.) for your interpretation? I'd love for that to be the case, but a straight reading of the plain text of the law doesn't really suggest that to me.
    I have been unable to find any case law, it seems nobody has ever in the history of this law been charged withthis lawfor using a legal silencer. The above interpretation of the law is based on countless conversations with officers ranking up to and including a Capitan with Everett PD. as well as from conversations with three different class three dealers / class two manufacturers. After hearing it interpreted this way and reading the law it makes sense. As for "Devices" not being silencers I only have the fact that everywhere else in the law they use the word "silencer". Leads me to believe a device and a silencer are two different things.

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    Here is a 1988 AG opinion on the use of a silencer.

    http://www.atg.wa.gov/opinion.aspx?s...ic&id=8666
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    Regular Member John Hardin's Avatar
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    Actually that's an opinion on possession of a silencer, and it confirms what we already knew - possession is legal. It doesn't address whether use of a silencer with a tax stamp is considered "use of a device..."

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    Well using one is using one regardless if you have the stamp. The RCW does is explicit in not allowing the use of it. No exemptions are listed so it would indicate that any use of a silencer is illegal. I misread it the first time dealing with the LEO exemption and while I understand Johnny Laws reasoning for LEO to use them I would have to say it is still illegal for a LEO to use one as well because there is a lack of an exemption for them and it does not say anything about being the owner of one.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

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    If you can legally buy it, you'd think that you could legally use it. After talking with Agent 47 about Silencers/AOW's etc I believe it to be legal to use silencers. Otherwise like he said you could arrest LEO's when shooting at the range, and the lack of a case in which someone was arrested for using a legally bought silencer makes it even more legit in my head.



    Marcus

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    joeroket wrote:
    Well using one is using one regardless if you have the stamp. The RCW does is explicit in not allowing the use of it. No exemptions are listed so it would indicate that any use of a silencer is illegal. I misread it the first time dealing with the LEO exemption and while I understand Johnny Laws reasoning for LEO to use them I would have to say it is still illegal for a LEO to use one as well because there is a lack of an exemption for them and it does not say anything about being the owner of one.
    Johnny laws reasoning is correct but it only explains how individual LEO's can have them in their possession when they have not completed the form4 application and received a tax stamp for their individual ownership of the silencer they have. He is correct in saying that because the silencer belongs to the department and not to the individual officer the individual officer does not have to be licenced to have it. It would be as if I let someone else hold one of my silencers, I am the one licenced to possess it but someone else can hold it and not be in violation of the law. Now it would be crazy to think that A law that everyone is so aware of would be routinely broken by cops. Can you imagine the stink it would raise with the public to find out that almost every major department's officers are guilty of multiple counts of gross misdemeanors, each carrying up to a one year sentence, Half of the police officers out there would be sitting behind bars. Now if the law is how it has been explained to me it is a much more palatable scenario, A scenario where cops don't break the laws and people who go through all the legal hassle and background checks to obtain a silencer can enjoy using them in this state. And people who illegally manufacture or contrive devices to circumvent the legal method of obtaining a silencer are punished. I two of the officers who I spoke to had personal experience with enforcing subsection C. One of the related a story of catching some juveniles who were trying the pop bottle trick and the other encountered an individual with a makeshift silencer made from plumbing parts. In both cases they were charged with subsection C, and rightly so. But nobody in any of the departments I spoke with were able to recall if anyone caught using a legally owned and properly registered silencer has ever been charged with a criminal act. on top of that I have heard several accounts from other silencer owners and class three manufacturers that have been caught using them that after showing there paperwork and explaining the legality of ownership the most common response from LEO's is " Can I shoot it " The only person who can say for sure if using silencers in this state is legal or not is the AG and he is not talking on the subject, but If the law were ever clarified and it was indeed illegal to use them they would have to retroactively charge every LEO in the state within the statute of limitations for gross misdemeanors.

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    That explains it pretty well. Thanks Agent47. I see now what Johhny meant. The only problem I have is that the AG is not the only person in the state who can say for sure if it is legal. I have been talking to some of the assistant AG's about open carry, an informal opinion is coming soon, and thier comments are some that I really didn't like. In a nutshell I was told that the AG opinion is only how he interprets the law andlocal prosecutors can and have gone against his opinion and charged people with various crimes, no specifics given unfortunately. He also told me that the only people who have the ability to say something is legal and have it stick are judges and lawmakers.

    I really have learned quite a bit on how the AG opinions work lately and it is a little different than I had thought. Also McKenna may not touch the silencer issue because Eikenberry put his opinion out on it in 88' and the law has not changed since then.
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    John Hardin wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    Because no exception is needed, LEO's do not use contrivances they use silencers.
    Quoth 9.41.250:

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,
    I agree a potato or pop bottle could be characterized as a "contrivance," but in what way is a silencer (a.k.a. suppressor) not a "device for suppressing the noise of (a) firearm"?

    Edited: Can you provide a cite (AG opinion, case law, etc.) for your interpretation? I'd love for that to be the case, but a straight reading of the plain text of the law doesn't really suggest that to me.
    So I believe that what Agent47 is saying is that not only is a silencer not a contrivance, which none of us will argue against, but it is not a "device" either, it is a registered silencer. This is a very loose interpretation, but because there is no exemption for law enforcement, but they use them on a regular basis, due to the satute of limitations, the law would have to be interpretted that way.

    So because of the way that the law is practiced in reality gives us a definition of device as anything other than a registered silencer.



    Am I correct Agent47?

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    expvideo wrote:
    John Hardin wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:
    Because no exception is needed, LEO's do not use contrivances they use silencers.
    Quoth 9.41.250:

    (c) Uses any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm,
    I agree a potato or pop bottle could be characterized as a "contrivance," but in what way is a silencer (a.k.a. suppressor) not a "device for suppressing the noise of (a) firearm"?

    Edited: Can you provide a cite (AG opinion, case law, etc.) for your interpretation? I'd love for that to be the case, but a straight reading of the plain text of the law doesn't really suggest that to me.
    So I believe that what Agent47 is saying is that not only is a silencer not a contrivance, which none of us will argue against, but it is not a "device" either, it is a registered silencer. This is a very loose interpretation, but because there is no exemption for law enforcement, but they use them on a regular basis, due to the satute of limitations, the law would have to be interpretted that way.

    So because of the way that the law is practiced in reality gives us a definition of device as anything other than a registered silencer.



    Am I correct Agent47?
    Just get caught using a silencer and see what the court case cost you regardless of anybody here's interpretation because what they think here does count.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    expvideo wrote:
    So I believe that what Agent47 is saying is that not only is a silencer not a contrivance, which none of us will argue against, but it is not a "device" either, it is a registered silencer. This is a very loose interpretation, but because there is no exemption for law enforcement, but they use them on a regular basis, due to the satute of limitations, the law would have to be interpretted that way.

    So because of the way that the law is practiced in reality gives us a definition of device as anything other than a registered silencer.



    Am I correct Agent47?
    Just get caught using a silencer and see what the court case cost you regardless of anybody here's interpretation because what they think here does count.
    I have talked to several people who have been "caught" using them and as I said the most common outcome is the officer asking to shoot it, if not simply bidding good day and leaving the shooter to shoot in peace. Of course as we all know from our experience open carrying that an individual officers mood or opinion can do more to effect a confrontation than any laws on the books or definitions therein. That is why I would love to see an AG opinion or solid case law to back up the above interpretation of subsection C. If it ever came to a court case the court would have only two options, Interpret the law as I have, or rule using silencers is indeed illegal and arrest severalthousand officers throughout the state. even if they made an exception for law enforcement that would simply reinforce the notion that it was illegal and within the statute of limitations they would still have to retroactively charge every police officer with a gross misdemeanor.

    expvideo, That's about the whole of it.

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    Agent 47 wrote:

    I have talked to several people who have been "caught" using them and as I said the most common outcome is the officer asking to shoot it, if not simply bidding good day and leaving the shooter to shoot in peace. Of course as we all know from our experience open carrying that an individual officers mood or opinion can do more to effect a confrontation than any laws on the books or definitions therein. That is why I would love to see an AG opinion or solid case law to back up the above interpretation of subsection C. If it ever came to a court case the court would have only two options, Interpret the law as I have, or rule using silencers is indeed illegal and arrest severalthousand officers throughout the state. even if they made an exception for law enforcement that would simply reinforce the notion that it was illegal and within the statute of limitations they would still have to retroactively charge every police officer with a gross misdemeanor.

    expvideo, That's about the whole of it.
    So several thousand officers own or use These devices? Cause I know quite a few and I know of none that USE them, of course mabey again I am missinformd? But then folks like 47 spend countless hours researching the law.

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    heywoodjablowme wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:

    I have talked to several people who have been "caught" using them and as I said the most common outcome is the officer asking to shoot it, if not simply bidding good day and leaving the shooter to shoot in peace. Of course as we all know from our experience open carrying that an individual officers mood or opinion can do more to effect a confrontation than any laws on the books or definitions therein. That is why I would love to see an AG opinion or solid case law to back up the above interpretation of subsection C. If it ever came to a court case the court would have only two options, Interpret the law as I have, or rule using silencers is indeed illegal and arrest severalthousand officers throughout the state. even if they made an exception for law enforcement that would simply reinforce the notion that it was illegal and within the statute of limitations they would still have to retroactively charge every police officer with a gross misdemeanor.

    expvideo, That's about the whole of it.
    So several thousand officers own or use These devices? Cause I know quite a few and I know of none that USE them, of course mabey again I am missinformd? But then folks like 47 spend countless hours researching the law.
    The crucialword is "use"and yes several thousand officers around the state have at one time or another used a silencer. So you know "quite a few officers" do you? have you asked each and every one of them if they have ever used a silencer? I also happen to know quite a fewofficers and a large number of themeven thosenot on SRT or SWAT teams have used them by their own admission. not to mention everyone in the military who has used them in this state, Just a couple weeks ago I was watching the NAVY police department in my range shooting with silencers. Almost every time the topic comes up and an officer is standing nearby he will comment on it "from personal experience" So when you realize that almost every member of special response teams with almost every department has at least received training on silencers and thus used them, as well as a large portion of the rank and file police force who try them out for any reason as well as militaryyou come up with a figure of several thousand officers who have at one time or another used a silencer in this state.

  25. #25
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    Agent 47 wrote:
    heywoodjablowme wrote:
    Agent 47 wrote:

    I have talked to several people who have been "caught" using them and as I said the most common outcome is the officer asking to shoot it, if not simply bidding good day and leaving the shooter to shoot in peace. Of course as we all know from our experience open carrying that an individual officers mood or opinion can do more to effect a confrontation than any laws on the books or definitions therein. That is why I would love to see an AG opinion or solid case law to back up the above interpretation of subsection C. If it ever came to a court case the court would have only two options, Interpret the law as I have, or rule using silencers is indeed illegal and arrest severalthousand officers throughout the state. even if they made an exception for law enforcement that would simply reinforce the notion that it was illegal and within the statute of limitations they would still have to retroactively charge every police officer with a gross misdemeanor.

    expvideo, That's about the whole of it.
    So several thousand officers own or use These devices? Cause I know quite a few and I know of none that USE them, of course mabey again I am missinformd? But then folks like 47 spend countless hours researching the law.
    The crucialword is "use"and yes several thousand officers around the state have at one time or another used a silencer. So you know "quite a few officers" do you? have you asked each and every one of them if they have ever used a silencer? I also happen to know quite a fewofficers and a large number of themeven thosenot on SRT or SWAT teams have used them by their own admission. not to mention everyone in the military who has used them in this state, Just a couple weeks ago I was watching the NAVY police department in my range shooting with silencers. Almost every time the topic comes up and an officer is standing nearby he will comment on it "from personal experience" So when you realize that almost every member of special response teams with almost every department has at least received training on silencers and thus used them, as well as a large portion of the rank and file police force who try them out for any reason as well as militaryyou come up with a figure of several thousand officers who have at one time or another used a silencer in this state.
    Sorry, but the US Military is not required to follow state laws or even federal law, never has been. So your example is lacking.




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