Part 1 of our ‘Build Your Own Silencer’ series is my most-read article that I’ve had the pleasure of posting here at TFB. And I think that’s great – the more people we have interested in purchasing, owning, transferring and making suppressors legally the better. So as I work on Part 2 of the BIY series, be prepared to see yet another set of warnings and disclaimers. After that we are going to walk you through the ATF “Form 1” application, and then talk about parts suppliers. One of which is eBay.
As we’ve previously discussed, the rules, regulations and laws surrounding silencers is tricky at best and downright scary at their worst. The fact that a single baffle is considered a silencer within itself is still, well, baffling. However, these are the laws here in the US, and until we get them changed or repealed, we all have to follow them or face the repercussions. Apparently, one Ohio man decided to push the boundaries of the law and caught the attention of the ATF when he was selling muzzle brake variations on eBay.
Disclaimer: I’m not positive this eBay item is the one in question, but there are some parallels that can be drawn with the defendant’s situation.
EAST PALESTINE, Ohio –
An East Palestine man may find out this week if he’ll be going to prison after federal agents say they caught him with unregistered firearm silencers for a second time in two years.
According to court documents, Brent See was arrested on August 12 after a search of his Bacon Avenue office and machine shop turned up 196 silencers.Three more of the devices were confiscated during an earlier visit by See’s probation officer, according to investigators.
An affidavit filed by an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says that See told investigators that he has been making the devices for more than a year, then selling them on eBay for $50 to $80 apiece.
Although See calls the devices “muzzle breaks”, the ATF classifies them as unregistered silencers, bearing no serial numbers.
According to the ATF, a silencer is any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a firearm.
See does not have a license to manufacture silencers according to the government.
See is still on probation from a 2014 conviction for possessing unregistered firearms after he sold an ATF undercover agent three kits that could be assembled to make a device used to diminish the report of a firearm.
During that investigation, agents from the U.S. Postal Service and ATF searched See’s Signal Road home in Fairfield Township.
In December 2014, See was sentenced to six months electronically monitored house arrest and placed on probation for five years.
A probation revocation hearing stemming from the current investigation was held last week in U.S. District Court in Akron.
A detention hearing for See is set for Wednesday.
A couple of observations:
1) The material used to make this part is 6061 aluminum with a .250 bore- meaning it must have been made to only withstand the pressures of rimfire ammunition. By the time the rimfire round passes through the third of forth section, most of the gasses have already exited the brake. This is one technique authorities could have used to surmise that the item for sale on eBay was intended to be used in a silencer part and not a muzzle device.
2) The seller could have privately advertised that this part would work as a monocore baffle stack, complete with barrel threads and bore. Remember, manufacturing any silencer parts requires a federal firearms manufacturing license.
3) Stating that a muzzle brake has a “nice low tone” isn’t exactly evidence, but it also isn’t helpful to the defendant’s case. I don’t recall ever reading about muzzle brakes changing to tone of a discharged firearm.
4) The defendant has a prior conviction for manufacturing “silencer kits” for which he was currently on probation. Which means if he didn’t understand that the NFA and silencer laws and regulations were complicated before, he should have definitely made time to understand the laws after he plead guilty.
The only thing I can say is that, if you decide to to make a suppressor, follow all of the proper procedures. Complete, send and receive an approved ‘Form 1’ application. Understand that even parts of a silencer, like baffles or monocores are silencers within themselves. And when in doubt, ask someone knowledgeable for help.
See you for Part 2 of ‘Build Your Own Silencer”.
Note: Remember, everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.