Shooter loses registered silencer to police.

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms & Related Items' started by Lark07, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Lark07

    Lark07 Former Guest

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    Some guys had registered silencers at a rifle range and were confronted by other shooters who thought they were illegal. After showing the registration forms, the others left and possibly ratted their fellow shooters out to the police who then confiscated the silencers after seeing the registration forms.

    http://www.northwestfirearms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23533

    A question for any police officers who post here. Think the shooters will be charged with violation of RCW 9.41.250 that makes silencer use a gross misdemeanor? I have heard claims that the WA police will arrest someone who possesses a silencer with gunpowder residue in it as it is evidence that it was possibly used on a firearm in WA.

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

    Do you think these guys will get their property back? Do you think the police will receive some additional training on firearm legalities?

    Federal law always requires ATF approval for transferring possession of a silencer. Since these police officers allegedly were informed of the law before confiscating the silencers, would they be in violation of the National Firearms Act of 1934? They had no reason to believe a crime was being committed, so how would the WA police in this case stay out of trouble if the ATF wanted to make an example of them? Thanks.
  2. cakes

    cakes New Member

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    There was so much bad information on that thread from your link, I could only read a couple of pages before it got overwhelming. I hope someone came along with real facts to straighten them out.
  3. Lark07

    Lark07 Former Guest

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    I know what you mean. I read the first few pages then just looked for the posts by the original poster to see what was happening.

    I have a few silencers that I bring to the local range in WA at times. I do not use them on firearms there, but use them as conversation pieces. I have only had one person tell me they were not legal, but he reversed his position when I explained how it was registered.

    There are a few law enforcement that go there to practice with their issued machine guns and they have asked try out my silencers a few times. While the AG says the law applies to everyone in WA, the police say they are exempt from prosecution, so I am a bit torn on whether or not to let them try them out. I do not want to go to the trouble of flying with them out of state to use only to find I am getting baffles strikes. :)
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  4. coreyacp

    coreyacp New Member

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    I dont understand if they were registered why would they be confiscated?
  5. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    It's been a long time since I lived in Washington state, so I don't know the current laws. But just because it is legal with the feds doesn't mean it is legal within the state you live in. There are a few states that NFA items all illegal, doesn't matter if you have the federal paperwork and tax stamp or not. Almost every post answering questions about NFA items starts off with " make sure it is legal in your state "
  6. Lark07

    Lark07 Former Guest

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    Washington State has no laws concerning silencers other than;

    In WA a silencer is not even defined as a firearm. It is not illegal to use one on an air rifle, although I think they are only effective on those air rifles using a high pressure pre-charged reservoir. So in other words, unless a WA State police officer has reason to believe that a shooter was using the silencer on a firearm, then there is no reason to confiscate it. This is especially true if they are shown the registration paperwork, be it an ATF form 1, 2, 4, or 5.

    If what the poster in the link above said it true, then the police officer that took the silencer had no reason to do so and may be in violation of federal law.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  7. cakes

    cakes New Member

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    It's going to be a simple case. The prosecution will try to prove that they were using the suppressors. The defense will try to prove that they were not using them. The judge/jury will decide.

    The idea of a law enforcement officer being in violation of the NFA for seizing a suppressor is ridiculous. If the OP has the facts right, there was plenty of probable cause to seize the suppressors.
  8. Lark07

    Lark07 Former Guest

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    It will be simple all right. If a prosecutor even hears about it, the Snohomish County Sheriff is sure to get a lecture on how the police are wasting his time with phony charges brought against persons in his jurisdiction.

    What was the probable cause for seizing the silencers? Silencers are legal to own, sell, buy and make in Washington State. There are several class 3 dealers in the state and from what I hear most county sheriffs are willing to sign the ATF forms to make or buy silencers. Unless the people complaining about the silencers told the police they saw them being used, then the police had no reason to believe any laws were being broken.

    I think the Sheriff will probably be apologizing to the owners of the silencers to head off a civil suit against the county sheriff's office. If the OP is correct, then the police officer was making up charges (class 3 felony) in order to unlawfully seize a title 2 weapon without AFT authorization. If the police officer actually thought he was dealing with a felon, then he would have put the cuffs on.

    Something stinks about this story; it might be the person who had the silencer confiscated, it might be the police.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2010
  9. Lark07

    Lark07 Former Guest

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    Here is why the police did not arrest the silencer owner (if the OP is correct). http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=10.31.100

    There are exceptions, but none of them are applicable here.

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