Breaking News: ATF 29P: Proposal to Change Silencer Marking Locations

29P

Fresh off the heels of ATF 41P/41F (Trust “loophole”), a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) proposal is set to hit the Federal Register tomorrow. In what is surely to be dubbed ‘ATF 29P’, the agency is proposing a change to current rules to clarify suppressor markings. Currently, as the rules stand, suppressors must be marked with certain identifying manufacturer information, but there aren’t any specifics on the locations on of those markings on the silencer itself.

SUMMARY: The Department of Justice is considering amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to require licensed manufacturers, licensed importers, and nonlicensed makers to place identification markings on the outer tube of firearm silencers and firearm mufflers. The Department wishes to gather information and comments from the public and industry concerning whether or not the regulations should be amended.

Apparently in April of 2008, the National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association (NFATCA) petitioned the ATF to clarify that only the outer tube should be marked:

There has been an overwhelmingly negative response from the members of our trade to this particular guidance. . . . there is strong policy agreement between ATF and our trade that only the silencer [outer] tube should be marked in accordance with the marking requirements of Parts 478 and 479 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations. . . . Allowing end caps to be the possible marking 6 location for silencers does constitute a serious public safety issue in the areas of diversion, tracing, and evasion of other NFA rules.

This petition came after the ATF stated that markings could be made on silencer tubes OR endcaps:

Although in its April 2008 guidance ATF recommended that manufacturers place all required markings on the outer tube of the silencer, it stated that the required markings could also be placed on any external part of the silencer, including the end cap, provided the required markings are conspicuous and legible.

The ATF agreed with the NFATCA’s stance that the marking locations needed clarification or otherwise could ‘constitute a serious public safety issue’ and continued:

Accordingly, the petitioner requested that the relevant regulations be amended to require that a silencer be marked on the outer tube (as opposed to other locations), unless a variance is granted by the Director on a case-by-case basis for good cause. ATF finds that the petitioner has raised valid concerns and it believes that an amendment of the regulations is warranted. Therefore, based upon the statutory language and the facts as outlined below, ATF seeks to address the marking requirements of silencers to ensure that the serial numbers are placed on the part of the silencer that is least likely to be destroyed or removed, and therefore most likely to ensure that law enforcement are able to identify and trace a particular firearm silencer or firearm muffler.

It is unclear why the NFATCA petioned the ATF for a rule change in 2008 and why the ATF is just now following up eight years later.

As with any other proposed rule-making, the ATF is soliciting comments from both industry and consumers:

Although ATF is soliciting comments on the following specific questions, it is also requesting any relevant information on the subject.

1. What percentage of manufacturers mark the end cap? If an outer tube is present, why do manufacturers mark the end cap instead of the outer tube of the silencer?

2. If there is an additional cost (fixed or variable) between marking the end cap instead of the outer tube, how would ATF estimate such costs across the entire industry?

3. Are there other parts or locations where the markings may be placed and still meet the requirements? If so, where?

4. Are there silencer designs for a completed device for which marking the outer tube would be impossible? If so, what are those designs?

5. When there are multiple outer tubes that make up one complete device, how should they be marked?

Although comments can be submitted by mail or fax, electronic submissions can be made by accessing the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

If you decide to comment on 29P, be professional in your wording; Comments that include foul language will be dismissed from consideration.

The full document, set to be filed on May 4th, can be found here.



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Devil_Doc

    And… So?

    • Pete M

      Modular suppressors are becoming more popular. How are manufacturers going to mark tubes that can be broken down into two or three pieces? How about “tubeless” designs like Sig?

      The potential is there to derail the boom in suppressor technology and designs over the last five or so years.

      • thedonn007

        I had not thought about the welded baffle stack designs.

      • Jay

        This won’t hurt modular suppressor designs as the ATF has clarified the designs with the industry. Basically the tube is the “serialized part” helps the industry allowing baffles to sent off to be serviced, end caps and thread adapters to be changed.

        What this seems to target is the “oil filter” & “Solvent Trap” DYI cans where you are told that you only have to register the thread adapter. The ATF is being asked to be consistent in there rulings on this, as they have told makers like Thompson Machine & AAC that the Threaded Adaptor is part of the can and can not be replace or modified from original form, however gave approval to have only the thread adapter be registered in the DYI cans. If I am not mistaken, this was changed, but it seems like their is a bit of conflicting info now from the ATF.

        • JSmath

          But there’s a disconnect between the intent of asking the ATF to back off of calling thread adapters suppressor parts, and demanding that the ATF force a definition that suppressors must have tubes, the tubes must be serialized, etc.

          The ATF is the kind of organization/shit-spewers that “the tube must be serialized” would get “interpreted” as “there can and must be ONLY one tube, and the suppressor cannot extend more than [some arbitrary but specifically short length]” to make firearm ownership that much more difficult. Exactly what happened with the design/use interpretation of arm braces.

  • allannon

    How ’bout we get rid of the markings requirement? It’s not like anyone’ll read it in passing anyway, and anyone with a dollop of DIY tendencies couldn’t whip one up in their garage from lumberyard parts.

    • jcitizen

      Shoot! When I was a kid, I simply put plastic bottles on the muzzles of 22 rifles, and all you could hear was the sonic pop of the rounds breaking the sound barrier. Suppression is so brain dead easy to do, that it is simply ridiculous to regulate it at all. but we all know it is just to harass the law abiding, and nothing more. So we can give up the idea that law makers listen to reason at all.

  • thedonn007

    So, no more oil filter suppressors?

    • nadnerbus

      you mean solvent traps, of course.

      • jeff

        no he means oil filter suppressors, google it, a company sells a cap with 1/2×28 threads and you register it as the suppressor and then screw an oil filter on it and boom, suppressor

        • ATF changed their minds about that several years ago; now the oil filter itself counts as part of the silencer, and has to be returned to the factory to be changed the same way a damaged baffle stack would be.

          • J.T.

            That is why you buy a “solvent trap adapter” and use it to make a suppressor on a form 1, so you are the manufacturer and can change the filter yourself. Apart from the $200 tax, it only costs about $30.

          • HSR47

            No, then you’d be the maker, not the manufacturer. Those are two distinct things, and they have different legal definitions.

            In this case, it seems that BATFE’s intent is to require that repairs be effected only by a licensed manufacturer, and not necessarily the original maker of the registered device.

            TLDR: It doesn’t work the way you think it does, and more’s the pity.

        • Theo Braunohler

          Apparently, the joke went over your head.

        • tabmpierce

          You could always put a tube over the oil filter and tag it that way if you wanted a cheap work around. It is still stupid that ear protection cost 200.00.

    • iksnilol

      Well, you could make an outer tube that fits an oil filter. Couldn’t you?

  • JSmath

    The NFATCA is withdrawing their proposal, supposedly. On the NFATCA’s Facebook:

    “The petition sent by the NFATCA to ATF Director Sullivan in 2008 represented the direction and guidance of the firearm suppressor community in 2008. The request was, in fact, driven by multiple requests by the manufacturers. 2008 was a different time, with different products in the marketplace, different manufacturing techniques and different best practices. Waiting 8 years to address those concerns is problematic. The current market, products, techniques and best practices bear no resemblance to the past. The concerns expressed in 2008 are not applicable to today.

    As such, the NFATCA will withdraw its petition and urges ATF to recognize that exclusive tube marking does not address the varied innovation of legal firearms in the marketplace. Marking placement should encourage accurate identification for tracing and documentation purposes and should maximize consumer value. In light of the fact that any part of a suppressor is deemed to be a suppressor, this can be accomplished by allowing marking to be placed wherever and however the manufacturer chooses, as long as the minimum height and depth requirements are met.”

    • Pete M

      Good stuff. Thank you.

    • De Facto

      A request driven by silencer manufacturers, directly targeting oil filter suppressors. I’m shocked the firearms industry would toss consumers under the bus for their own gain. I’m just surprised that the ATF took this long to act on it.

      • Cynic

        It’s not manufacturers it’s a small cabal of people who are being ‘helpful’ I know the manufacturers hate it.

    • deserada

      Now we wait eight more years to see if the ATF notices or not.

    • Cynic

      NFATCA seem almost like an Anti gun group with all their ‘helpful’ suggestions or 8f not anti then detirmed to make sure their ‘investments’ in nfa gear stay valuable.

      They seem to suggest things that tuck people over I know the diyers are marking the end cap more and more because it’s easier to do.

  • Badwolf

    Just micro-stamp everything. It’s easy and effective, California said so.

    • JSmath

      This is the Internet 2.0, sir, where are your sarcastises?

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I’ll never understand why suppressors are regulated by the government. Even if you hate guns, suppressors themselves aren’t weapons; they don’t actually hurt anyone. On the contrary, they prevent harm by protecting our hearing. If you had to shoot a home invader, you shouldn’t have to suffer from permanent hearing loss and constant ringing in your ears because of that. You’ll also greatly reduce noise pollution in forests and around shooting ranges. The Hollywood image of the suppressor-wielding assassin is preventing us from making firearms more safe in America. They’re also harming the U.S. economy since suppressors would sell like hotcakes if they were deregulated.

    • Nunn Yabizz

      More tax the government can take from us, calling it revenue.

      • Chrome Dragon

        Then why not just sell them with a $200 sales tax? It’d be less of a pain in the ass than the status quo.

        • Jwedel1231

          “Never attribute malice to that which can be adequately explained by ignorance.” Or incompetence, as the case may be. If the government was out there trying to make money, they would have started the tax well below $200 in 1932. They would have also adjusted it to inflation. The tax is not meant to be a source of income, but to be a thorn in our sides.

          • Cynic

            The tax was effectively a ban wasn’t it with 200$ being something like double what a car cost

        • CountryBoy

          Sales tax is only part of it; the ATF wants to track them, something not as reliably done through a sales tax.

        • F-111 John

          Because in 1934, the federal legislature knew that they didn’t have the authority to ban items, but they did have the authority to tax them. So the instituted a then outrageous $200 tax on a $14 item in the hopes of killing the market for them. Ditto for fully automatic firearms.

          The amount of the tax has never been increased, so that now 80 years later, a $200 tax in a $500 item is palatable. The federal registration and onerous background check requirements, including passport photo and fingerprinting, may or may not ultimately be constitutional, but so far the Supreme Court hasn’t struck it down. And it is those ‘pain in the ass’ hoops that the federal government hopes will at least limit the market for NFA items.

          • Cynic

            The Hughes ammendment was passed illegitimately with a no vote recorded as a yes BUT the cots have ruled they can’t intervene because congress sets their own house rules.

            The Miller decision is a travesty as Miller had died and thus wasn’t represented if he had been SBS’S for sure wouldn’t be NFA and arguably we could show that MG’S certain DD’S and cans shouldn’t be as ONLY militarily useful guns should be protected based on miller

    • They’re regulated for the same basic reason most things associated with firearms are regulated– because they scare nervous people who don’t understand how they work or what they’re used for. People who only know guns from Hollywood action movies think suppressors make sneezing cat noises and are only useful for crime, even though there are essentially zero crimes committed with suppressors aside from non-violent statutory violations, because if a criminal wants to shoot someone quietly, a folded-up pillow over the muzzle is significantly more effective than an actual suppressor anyway.

      • Evan

        “sneezing cat noises”. Awesome.

      • 427cobraman

        It’s the same reason that switchblade knives are banned in many places. You are more dead if killed via switchblade than with a kitchen knife. It is the same reason that if you are killed with a gun, your death is more deader than if you died by being hit in the head with a baseball bat. See? Makes sense right?

        • Hurri Cane

          this sounds like the “.45 acp doesn’t just kill your body, it kills your soul” argument! lol

          • Keeping my M&P45 and Glock 36 fed is certainly killing my wallet.

          • Hurri Cane

            i’ve been buying Perfecta .45 at wal mart for $15.44/50. TulAmmo is $15.89/50 and it’s steel, but Perfecta is brass!

        • That must be it, because if “number of annual deaths” were the scary part, the nervous people would be trying to impose prescription drug waiting periods and pill bottle capacity limits at pharmacies to combat the 150,000+ Americans killed every year by pharmaceutical overdose and medical malpractice.

          • 427cobraman

            ‘Zackly, and don’t you just love the “gun violence” concept? I know the left cares nothing for murder victims killed via just regular, old fashioned plain violence because they never wring their bleeding hearts for those people. Ever. I have never heard anyone on the left suggest they they spend the millions, if not Billions of anti gun dollars on finding methods to combat violence of all kinds. Ever. This tells me a lot. For you liberal trolls; what it tells us is you don’t care about loss of life or any of the aftermath of violent crime, you only care about eradicating guns.

      • carlcasino

        There you go again using common sense! which is related to deodorant- The people who need it the most never use it.

        • Regardless of how often anti-Bill Of Rights activists invoke it, common sense in general is anathema to gun control rhetoric, because there is no common sense to be found in the idea that making something illegal is the same as making it stop existing; if that were all it took, nobody would be smoking crystal meth or driving over the speed limit or punching their spouse. If gun control worked, there wouldn’t have been over 400 murders and 8,000 injuries inflicted with firearms in Chicago the year before SCOTUS ruled in favor of McDonald, and there wouldn’t have been two or three hundred murders with (100% illegal) handguns every year in Washington, DC before the Heller Decision. “Common Sense Gun Control” is a contradiction in terms.

    • kzrkp

      because in 1934 America there was a media scare over gangsters, and more importantly to landed lawmakers, depression era poaching. the $200 stamp is $3,554 dollars by inflation, it was a de facto ban against the poor.

    • Cynic

      They should be like in the UK 40$ gets you something for a .22 and it’s effective stupid laws make us cans expensive because hey have to be uber well built because of how much if a Ballache they are to replace. The nfa act stifles innovation

  • marathag

    ‘public safety issue’
    ???
    eh?
    Is somebody being hurt with parts of the can that aren’t marked?

    • Hensley Beuron Garlington

      That is exactly what I took issue with as well.

  • when can we be rid of tyranny?

    • MrEllis

      Wait, what?

    • Bookoodinkydow

      Hopefully this November.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Why haven’t you sent your representative and senators physical mail telling them to support the Hearing Protection Act?

    Better yet, why haven’t you sent your canidates for congress and senate physical mail asking if they’ll introduce legislation to repeal the NFA entirely?

    • Pete M

      I know have. Multiple times. Everyone should keep the pressure on.

      • Audie Bakerson

        Did you do it with a postal tube they have to sign for and figure out how to store yet?

  • Martin Grønsdal

    I’m sure it will be enough to call the ATF and talk to a nice person there that will sort things out for you.

    No?

  • jerry young

    so explain how markings on a silencer no matter where they are could cause serious public safety issues? what does it matter where the markings are as long as they’re legible, on the outside, can be easily read and meet the required guidelines? it seems they are just coming up with more excuses to keep fighting about silencer legality, just a little sarcasm here wow my poor neighbor came to serious harm because the markings on his silencer weren’t on the barrel but only on the end cap, poor guy couldn’t read the markings without unloading his firearm so a would be robber caused him harm while he was reading all the warnings on the silencer, sounds dumb right?

  • William Elliott

    “It is unclear why the NFATCA petioned the ATF for a rule change…”

    My guess is, it was the industry trying to kill the “Econo Can” and other, similar “turn something else into a suppressor with a registered adapter” type suppressors. If my hunch is correct, it is a black mark on the suppressor manufacturers that sent in the petition. As to why the ATF would wait so long…could be they just want to screw with us, could be they are trying to distract us with something. Who knows anymore.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are good people at the ATF trying to do a good job, but the DOJ rules people and nanny state twits annoy me no end.
    I wonder how this will effect suppressors like the Optimus that has a main body and a “rifle adapter” section…

    • Alex Jay

      It doesn’t matter with regards to the Optimus, not one to be found anywhere. Is there such a thing? I wanted to order one before 41P goes into effect but no dice.

  • Geoffry K

    This looks like a solution in search of a problem.
    The only logical place to mark it is on the outside of the tube.
    It is the only place with sufficient space to engrave, etch or impress the information.
    End caps and thread adapters are not the registered part. The tube and baffles are.
    (Well, except for the oil filter thingy)

    • It really depends on the diameter of your suppressor. Not everyone minds a fat suppressor, and I can easily see choosing to go with and endcap marking location if there is room, particularly if you plan on having the main body be shrouded somehow – that way the requires Marin’s would be readily visible without disassembly. (Maybe not so important to John Q. Quietplinker, but more valuable to someone who has to track a quantity of suppressors, like an agency armorer.)

      Now, if it wasn’t for the rule that each and every part of a suppressor is regulated, and if they only regulated the body (analogous to a firearms receiver), it would make sense to require the markings be on the body (with the occasional deviation required for things like oilcan suppressors). But, when thy decided that the rules meant *everything* was regulated (to the point that possessing spare baffles is a crime), the justification for mandating a universal location just got weak.

  • Arch

    Can anyone explain why we need another billion dollar agency to manage four legal products – alcohol, firearms, tobacco and explosives – one of which is protected by the US Constitution?

  • supergun

    Amazing that the EPA has not struck down the regulations on these. Hearing loss is great. Pick and choose I suppose.

  • Rodney Steward

    Just a constant push for control on anything guns!! But this is the wishes of the UN, and all the European countries have fallen for it and are now infested with WELL ARMED muslims!

    • There are over 5,000 Muslims in America right now who are also heavily armed… because they’re serving in all five branches of the United States Armed Forces.

      Try not to do the terrorists’ work for them by turning on your fellow Americans, okay? Especially not the ones who’ve sworn their lives to protect you in uniformed service.

      • Rodney Steward

        You trust them more than I do, and how many have to turn on our own before you lose trust! I to have served and the Oath I took was for life, but that Oath doesn’t mean SH to them because they don’t worship our God that we took an Oath with! Remember, it’s OK to lie in the muslim cult! They’re coming into this country in GROVES, and it’s not to convert to Christianity! We can think Obama and his muslim staff for setting us up for over 7 years!

        • I still remember that the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history prior to 9/11 was committed by a couple of White “Christian” former soldiers who “turned on our own”, and there have been more mass-murdering psycho killers who identified as “Christians” since then than those who identified as jihadis.

          FYI, the Capital-G-God of Islam is the same Abrahamic God of Christianity and Judaism.

          • Rodney Steward

            NO SIR, they worship a prophet that they made up! The 2 men you are talking about were NOT Christians, they too belong to a cult, the skin heads, and they were dealt with properly, just like these other cults will be!!

  • Bill

    Pick, pick, pick. Color will be next…

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    Do these “geniuses” at ATF, and throughout government, realize that when they word their requests for information they give the impression that they really have no ideas about the the areas of the economy they have been charged by Congress to regulate.
    Plus, to take 8-years to respond to a request from the public!
    It’s like they just threw it in a bin labeled “To Be Ignored” and finally got a “newbie” to dig through it to see if there was anything they might want to deal with before the coming change of administrations.

  • John Dorr

    Thank you, Done

  • Ben Pottinger

    Do you actually know any of these “elitists” who want to keep “others” shut out of the class 3 hobby? I know plenty of people with very expensive machine guns and none of them are rich elitists. Usually their people 40+ who managed to get a number of MGs before the Internet arrived and everyone learned you actually *could* own a MG legally. Some of them are younger and only own one or two MGs because they were willing to sacrifice in other areas to afford them, or they stumbled onto a couple stellar deals (one guy I know is amazing at finding class3 deals somehow).

    Everyone of these owners I know strongly support any reduction in regulation. Everyone of them wants to see the 86 ban go away. They don’t own those MGs as some strange “investment”, the value of the guns is mostly immaterial because not one of them would ever consider selling them (unless it’s to buy another MG, and then it’s essentially just a trade). If the ban was to go away they could buy new manufactured MGs that they can’t buy now. That’s what most of them want more than anything.

    • jcitizen

      That is the same crowd I know – but I have no illusions that the entire act of gun owning will someday be the playground of the rich, as regulation will eventually make it so burdensome that only the rich will have anything, just like Europe and the UK eventually became. So then only the criminals and elitists will have arms. As this rare generation passes away, and their heirs look at the huge money they can get to sell out to rich people. This rare generation of serious shooters and practitioners of 2nd Amendment rights will go away. Sad, but probably true. Let’
      s pray I’m wrong.

    • Cynic

      The NFAATC certainly seem to be of the type mentioned they really don’t represent the majority of NFA owners from what I can see

  • carlcasino

    I suggest marking the box the suppressor came in. Everyone knows that old stuff that has the original box sells for more. “Shall NOT” is the two most abused words in the Bill of Rights.

  • Cynic

    They take allot of things that to my mind are sins as casual and righteous acts however.