Because silencers (or suppressors) have been regulated and priced out of the average Americans’ means since 1934 (the required federal $200 tax stamp on a 3.50 Maxim silencer equated to $3,500 in 1934 dollars), many folks misunderstand both the laws associated with owning one. Here are seven myths—and the seven corresponding truths—about silencer ownership.
Myth 1: Silencers are illegal to own. False. Right now, 39 states allow ownership of silencers and 34 states allow hunting with them. See the map here.
Myth 2: It takes a year or more to get a silencer. “Right now (May, 2015) the BATF’s wait time is around 3 months,” said Jeremy Mallette of Silencer Shop. Then it’s up to the dealer to get your silencer to you.
Myth 3: The ATF can enter your house at any time. Patently false. “In fact," Mallette says, "You have the same rights as before you purchased a silencer.”
Myth 4: You have to pay an annual fee to own a silencer. Nope. It’s a one-time $200 tax stamp per silencer.
Myth 5: You can only use your silencer on one gun. Incorrect. You can use it on any gun.
Myth 6: You must have a class III license to own a silencer. “Reality is, only your FFL needs a Class III license to buy and sell without paying a tax. You can own a silencer with a $200 tax stamp,” said Mallette.
Myth 7: You must get fingerprinted to get a silencer. This one's true—if you register as an individual. But you can also form a legal trust, which can allow you to acquire a silencer without having to submit fingerprints.