Silencers Are Legal

Understanding the laws regarding silencer ownership in the United States is not always cut and dry. Due to strict regulations in many states, it can be easy for gun owners to misinterpret the legality of owning a suppressor.

It may come as a surprise that 42 out of 50 states in the country provide legal ownership of silencers.

To legally own a silencer, you will have to pass a series of requirements. Below, let’s run through the list of everything you need to know to own a legal silencer. 

What States Allow Silencers?

The 42 states which permit the legal ownership of a gun suppressors are:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

The eight states where you are NOT allowed to own a silencer are the following includes the District of Columbia.

  • Massachusetts
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • California         
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island

Certain individuals may be able to legally possess a silencer. If you are a member of a law enforcement agency, gun manufacturer, or a FFL dealer.

How to Buy a Silencer

The following step by step process of purchasing a suppressor is for private citizens wishing to own one.

  • Must be a legal resident of the United States
  • Hold all legal requirements to purchase a firearm in the state which you reside
  • Complete a BATFE background check
  • Must be the legal age to purchase a firearm and silencer
  • You must be at least 18 years old to purchase from another citizen
  • You must be at least 21 years old to purchase from a firearms dealer

The next thing you will want to do is register your suppressor with the BATF. There are multiple ways you can register your newly acquired silencer.

An NFA Gun Trust is the simplest manner to obtain your registration. It is a flexible option to registering your silencer and takes the stress away from handling the registration alone.

Will you need the option to let someone else use your suppressor? Then adding trustees to your registration can be a beneficial step you should consider.

You could face serious legal ramifications if someone else were to use your suppressor and it only be registered to you. Save hundreds of dollars worth of legal fees by adding trustees to your suppressor upon registering it.

Another beneficial reason for registering your silencer with a trust is an accelerated registration process. When you register your silencer alone, it can take weeks or even months later for every step to be complete. Should you need your suppressor registered in a quicker manner, individual registration can be a hassle.

The only drawback of a trust registration is that it will cost you extra money when compared to completing the process alone. You must decide if the higher amount is worth it or if you are better off registering your suppressor alone. 

Completing Your Paperwork

Unsurprisingly, you will have to go through plenty of red tape when legally buying a silencer. You must complete form 4 and form 5330.20 upon registration. This certifies that you are the legal owner of your new silencer.

All of the information matching the silencer will be documented on your forms.

If you are completing a trust for your silencer, it is important to remember that you will need to provide a passport photo and fingerprint cards. This will be added to your completed forms to be reviewed for approval. 

You must mail your completed forms to the BATF and there will be a $200 fee due with your paperwork. There are a variety of payment methods that you can utilize when purchasing your new silencer. Keep in mind that your dealer will likely charge you a processing fee to send the forms. 

Once you have sent the appropriate forms and payment in the mail, the last thing to do is play the waiting game. You will have to wait months for your approved registration but it will be worth it when you receive the silencer. 

When you finally obtain the legally purchased silencer, it can now be used on any of your registered firearms. Unfortunately, there is a possibility of your proposed registration being denied. If that situation were to occur, the BATF will provide an explanation for you.

Enjoy the Benefits of Your Silencer

Now that you have obtained your legally purchased silencer, it is time to reap the benefits. Whether you wish to use the silencer on a pistol or rifle, it will certainly help when you put it to use.

The reduction in muzzle blast will create a more accurate shot when you aim for the target. The decreased blast will be healthier for your ears as there will be less noise putting stress on you.

Being a Responsible Silencer Owner

A new silencer to attach to your firearms must be held with great responsibility. It is important to keep your silencer locked away when not in use. Just like the rest of your firearms, a silencer must be cared for in an efficient manner to ensure proper function.

If your suppressor is only registered to you, then it is imperative to keep it out of reach from others.

Knowing the correct way to handle a silencer will make you a responsible gun owner!