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Suppressors and WA law?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Madwulf, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Madwulf

    Madwulf Wenatchee Member

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    I didn't find this immediately on this board, so I am starting this thread.
    Sorry if it's been discussed before.

    I moved here a long time ago, but only recently have looked into suppressors. I've used them at ranges in the military, and in several other states. Thay are quite nice to use and make shooting ranges far better on the ears.
    OK, So it's legal to buy, own, and walk around with a suppressor in WA.... Just pay the FED $200 tax stamp and do the paperwork. Order what you want and wait for the suppressor tax stamp to arrive.

    But it's NOT legal to put a round through one anywhere in state?

    Can we do something about this?
     
  2. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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  3. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Check out the NFA forum here. I have devoted most of my activity on this forum to posting in the NFA section towards changing the RCW (9.41.250c) banning their use.

    Bill 1604 died in committee for the last time during the last session. It will be re-introduced next session in January 2011 with a new number. I think it will have the same (completely ineffective and unsupporting) sponsors. Here is a link to the old bill. HB 1604 - 2009-10 . It merely makes an exception for those silencers that are registered. Even if it passes into law, WA shooters will still be prohibited from using any unregistered means of reducing rifle range noise such as shooting boxes, insulated shooting rooms, down range baffles and berms to reduce noise. I got a letter from the Kitsap prosecuting Attorney telling me the broad nature of RCW 9.41.250(c) prohibited any firearm noise suppression device even if it was not attached to the gun.

    The key to changing the law is to convince your Representative that he or she should tell the House Judiciary chairman the bill is a priority and should get a hearing in committee. Until it gets a hearing, it will keep dying. So far I have not been able to find a single Rep that will tell me they are willing to tell Chairman Pedersen that the bill is a priority.

    Here is some info that myself and some other guys put together for those who need information when discussing it with the Senators and Representatives. House Bill 1604 (r4)

    Cease Fire WA and the WASPC have told me they will take a neutral stance on registered silencer use. The WACOPS says they want the bill passed. I wrote to every sheriff's office in the state requesting silencer associated crime data and found out that most counties reported no silencer crime at all and five counties reported a total of ten crimes. As far as I know, none of those crimes was with a registered silencer.

    If the bill passes the House, then the next obstacle is Adam Kline, the Senate Judiciary Chairman. He is rabidly antigun. He admits that gun control does not reduce crime, but thinks we need more gun control because that is the way they do it in CA. I have heard him actually say this. I tried to get Senator Pam Roach on our side, but she says she will not support the bill even if it passes the House.

    I kept on hearing from other gun owners that we need to wait until the political structure of Olympia changes. Well guess what? These idiots failed to realize that Pedersen and Kline are very popular, were elected by landslides and will never give up the power they have. No one in Olympia admits to giving a damn about silencers because not enough of us will tell them to care.

    If anyone here is a WAC member, ask them to support the bill. I have not been able to get any support from them at all. Ditto for the NRA. The usual answer I get from Representatives and Senators when I get the rare reply is that they are hearing little or nothing about silencer use in WA. Since we get the laws we deserve by the legislators we elect, we are asking to get screwed.

    Ranb
     
  4. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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  5. Madwulf

    Madwulf Wenatchee Member

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    Great information. THANK YOU.
    Now I have to sit down and do some reading.
     
  6. whitney

    whitney Poulsbo, Kitsap County Member

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    I found reference to your work from the opencarry.org website. I too would like to get this bill moving. Can you provide any other reference material other than what you already have on the web? I have been successful in getting firearms restrictions changed on the county level and am very interested in the same at the state level. I would like to be able to quote or reference the work you have done and be able to provide copies. Specifically the work you cite with non opposition or neutral stance.

    The lawful use of suppressors seems like a natural progression for shooters who have recently been cast in a bad light in rural Kitsap county.

    This does not seem at first glance to be a big deal for Adam Kline who I view as the biggest opponent of such a bill.

    ~Whitney
     
  7. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Everything I have is posted in the NFA section. Just do a search on my nick in the NFA forum and you will see what I posted. I am waiting for an informal opinion from the AG on exactly what devices are prohibited by RCW 9.41.250(c). This does not directly involve passage of bill 1016, but if the AG decides that all devices are banned, then bill 1016 will allow silencer use which would be the only devices allows to be used to reduce firearm noise in the state.

    I was introduced (via e-mail) to one of Senator Kline's aides, I hope to talk to him and find out what they need to go ahead with giving the bill a hearing in the Senate Judiciary in the event that it passes the House. I am hearing that the bill is likely to pass the House this next session. I also hear that Kline does not have any serious objections to the bill as it is written now.

    I wrote to Governor Gregoire a few days ago. Hopefully she has no intentions of vetoing bill 1016 if it is sent to her for a signature. When I wrote to her years ago trying to get an opinion on RCE 9.41.250(c), one of her staff members tried to blow me off with a claim that silencers were illegal in the USA. I hope she does not feel the same way about them now.

    I you need me to post all of my material in one thread, let me know.

    Ranb
     
  8. whitney

    whitney Poulsbo, Kitsap County Member

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    Ranb, I have read through your work and the links provided in separate posts; you have done a huge amount of work here. I have been taking a parallel but opposite path. I believe this legislation will only come to fruition if it benefits the State. By that I mean $$$$$$$$$ fiscally.

    I have been working on a dissertation for the State with regard to how much money shooters and shooting sports put into our economy.
    My argument is based on the unique Federal excise tax placed on ammunition, archery products, and firearms taking significant revenue from our state in the form of a Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET).

    One bill in particular introduced to the legislature by State Representative Matt Shea (R-4). Known as the Firearms Freedom Act, (HB 2709) is modeled after similar legislation which has been successful in other states, including Montana -- the first state to pass such a law. It states that if a gun was made in Montana, and then stays in Montana, then the federal government may not regulate it under the Interstate Commerce Cause.
    This is important because the Commerce Clause is the "hook" that Congress has used to justify almost every single federal gun control law.

    Currently the Federal taxes imposed pistols and revolvers are at 10% of sales price while ammunition and other firearms are taxed at 11% of sale price.

    This could potentially be a huge shot in the arm for our State budget.

    I polled 34 shooting clubs (not including Kitsap County) and received 9 replies. I have omitted the names of the clubs as I promised to keep this information confidential.

    1. 675 members.
    2. 700 members and that is our cap.
    3. We have approximately 25 customers per week (averaged out). Each
    customer shoots 100 rounds for the typical "round" of sporting clays.
    4. 350 members.
    5. I have 1679 customers in my data base, that is not everyone I would
    guess another 30% that are not in the system
    6. 145 members.
    7. Our club is averaging about 540 members month to month and growing.
    8. Our membership (including Life and annual members) is around 444. We
    also have daily walk in shooters which adds over 2000 shooters/ year.
    9.195 members - almost 1000 hunter ed students a year, and about 45 4-H Jr. members and about 1500 Boy Scouts a year, along with 35 police officers use the range. I hope that helps.

    I got a total of 4,753 members from these 9 organizations. I do not know how to estimate what the number of "shooters at large" could be. These would include people who pay as they go as opposed to paying for a membership. While this number is really insignificant and does not quantify dollars spent I believe it is a testament to how many shooters are paying members of shooting ranges.

    If you made it this far the whole point of this long boring tirade is money, or the lack there of in our State economy. If you can make a case for a new revenue stream you will likely get more attention. Perhaps a meeting or teleconference with Matt Shea? I would be game if it were not spontaneous.

    I would welcome all perspectives with regard to this endeavor.

    ~Whitney
     
  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I hate to be a buzz kill, but who cares?

    I have never found any use for a silencer.
    I have a friend with a stamp,and it's kinda cool for people to shoot his gun with it on.(not in this state by any means)

    But it seems like a worthless fight,use of energy

    Don't really see a need for them.
    How will this help our gun rights cause anyway?
    If not,why bother the gov officials about it,instead of real gun issues?

    Buy some ear muffs.
     
  10. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Noise reduction equals less hearing issues. Reducing the cost to health care
    They are cool to play with. and the most important part of all

    FREEDOM.
     
  11. Dell_dude

    Dell_dude Vancouver, WA Member

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    Those of us who own them, or those who would like to purchase one (or more) and actually use without having to drive to another state.

    It's attitudes like that which allowed the assault weapons ban to pass.

    If EVERYONE who owned firearms got involved, we would never lose another fight. Ever.

    The biggest problem is that so many people are fine with it if it doesn't directly affect them.
     
  12. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    whitney,

    Are you proposing a new state tax on firearms or silencers? I tried to discuss the benefit to small business owners (certain gun stores) if silencers were allowed to be used. but since I get very litle feedback from my letters in general, I do not know how it was received.

    Ranb
     
  13. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    I care, and it seems so do some others. If you have read some of my others posts on this board, then you certainly are aware of the fact that WA State does not allow any form of noise suppression to be applied to the use of firearms. It does not matter if the device is attached to the firearm or not, its use to suppress the noise of a firearm is prohibited.

    WA law exempts rifle ranges from certain noise statutes. But this does not stop people from suing rifle ranges over the noise they make. The state allows these lawsuits to progress, costing the clubs thousands of dollars they could use instead to install noise barriers, but of course it is illegal to install noise barriers. I know most rifle ranges use berms and a few have downrange baffles to stop bullets, but they are only one complaint away from legal problems if a gun control zealot complains that they are breaking the law with their use for noise control. WA is the only state that makes it a crime to reduce the noise coming from a rifle range.

    Silencers can greatly help this problem. The real solution is to do away with RCW 9.41.250(c) completely, but no legislator is willing to try that. I tried to get words added to allow the use of devices that are not attached to the gun, but the bill 1016 sponsors would not add them. I will keep on trying after bill 1016 passes or dies.

    WA is also the only state that allows ownership of a certain type of gun, but forbids its use by anyone, the police and military included. Silencers are guns; look up the federal law describing them as such if you do not believe me. Backing a bill that allows the use of legally owned guns does in fact help our gun rights cause. How it is that you do not see this as a real gun issue?

    Ear plugs and muffs only protect the hearing of those wearing them. Silencers protect the hearing of everyone. I'm sure you would not tell people to forgo mufflers on their cars and use ear plugs instead, why tell that crap to gun owners?

    WA is not one of the gun friendly states. In addition to silencer use, they ban the use and possession of three other types of guns. What steps have you personally taken to address these real gun issues with Olympia?


    Ranb
     
  14. whitney

    whitney Poulsbo, Kitsap County Member

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    If a Washington firearms manufacturer paid their federal excise tax instead to the state it might be insignificant in the overall scheme. If all of the federal tax collected on the sale of ammunition was instead paid to the state I believe it would make a significant impact. The difficulty with this is most of the ammunition and firearms used by Washington sportsmen is not manufactured in Washington thus repeal of federal excise tax would be irrelevant . If however ammunition manufactures set up shop in…..Eastern Washington the impact could be more jobs, more revenue, more shooting sportsmen. Keeping the tax revenue within Washington State is the real meat of the legislation and I believe the only way to really “sell” it to the legislature. I think a good argument lies in funding educational programs perhaps include shooting sports or similar education.

    I believe it is possible to quantify numbers of sportsmen and relate it to fiscal impact with regard to the federal excise tax. If I could make a relationship and back it up with real data I think there is a case to be made. For example; What was the value of all retail sale ammunition sold in Washington last year? I acknowledge there are some flaws and drawbacks with the connection I am trying to make but you have to start somewhere.

    I suspect the State would want to claim a new tax revenue channeled to the general fund. This could be a double edged sword if it came to fruition. The State could potentially tax manufactures out of business unless the sportsmen are willing to pay hard earned money for items manufactured in Washington.

    It seems the Mr Shea has already proposed a Bill that would effectively accomplish all of this, however, the idea of moving money from the federal tax stream to a local tax revenue would no doubt get up the dander of a few politicians. If this were to take hold I do not believe it would be on the same scale as Montana.

    ~Whitney
     
  15. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Mr Rand,I stopped reading then thread.I seemed to be interrupting others discussion about something that was of no issue to me.
    Since you too the time to PM me asking me to answer,I will.

    I don't see them as anything but a James Bond type add on to a gun.You go to a range to see how accurate you and your gun are.These have to change ballistics or accuracy some.
    Maybe not much ,but some.
    It does irritate me to know end how people can move next to a gun range and then complain about the noise.
    I just don't see gun mounted silencers as the answer.
    I haven't read any of your other posts,so I was certainly not aware of the rest of the silencer/attached to gun or not laws

    So try to change the silencing law to not include baffles or shooting rooms.Get a lawyer to look for loop holes to make some other noise reduction.
    I suggested on here before to make a connex into a "quiet room" .These things would be easier to pass without the gun mounted silencers on the law verbage.

    Unfortunately,this is marked as "progress" to some. More people in the area,more chances to have antis around.

    Let me ask you a question.Have you bought or sold property to anyone in the state?
    Did you ask them their political views? Gunners,or not?
    Or did you just take the money and buy another house?
    Have you any children?

    These are the things that cause the problems we have.
    More people and people having children.
    They all take up room.
    Ya know I was raised with guns,but my sisters don't like then at all.Just the way it goes,Some don't like guns

    Then we sell houses to them.Then they vote.
    Anybody take some big cash and make a big profit from a California buyer? How do you think they vote?

    Just sayin.

    That's my view.Sorry the Feds have marked them as guns.
    Again work on changing the writing of the law to separate the two.

    Not sure how this is related at all,but I do wear ear plugs while I'm on my Harley.
    And I wear ear muff at the range

    Well I tell ya,I have friends and family in California.I have talked to many people from the east coast.
    We aint doin' real bad on gun issues.
    No I can't have a silencer.
    No I can't have a fully automatic weapon,or whatever the other three types of guns we ban are.

    But I CAN open carry and I can conceal carry a handgun.
    I can buy ammo anytime and as much as I want
    I can have "black guns" with larger than 10 round magazines an carry then in my car,stop at a store,and then lawfully continue home (In NJ you can not leave any gun unattended in a vehicle,for any reason,so I was told buy a gun range owners kid)
    I can have most any weapon I (as in me,not you or anyone else) I want in this state.I can't afford the ammo for a full auto,so I don't want one. But I don't see any reason that they shouldn't be legal.

    Now as far as the steps I have personally taken? Well I try to support laws and talk to folks about gun laws or rights,as best as I can.
    Do I go to Olympia and argue with those knuckleheads?
    I don't do good in frustrating situations. I would be lead out of the building.Better if I don't go down there.

    Could it be better? Hard to say.What would make it better? Maybe full autos?

    Not saying we should relax and not continue to KEEP THE FREEDOMS we have.But fighting for things like silencers and full autos aren't a big priority to me.
    Kinda like some hunters telling me to support hound hunting when I don't agree with it.
    I can separate things like this.

    Rand please feel free to ask any other questions you want me to answer

    Mike the BuzzKill
     
  16. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    James Bond is a fantasy character created by the media with little or no relation to the real world. Silencers are mufflers for guns and a very viable method of reducing noise pollution. That people tend to associate them with each other is a problem.

    Silencers usually do not change ballistics or accuracy as long as they are equipped with baffles and are mounted properly. Since the bullet does not touch the baffle, the trajectory does not change. Point of impact can change whenever anything is attached to the barrel, but this is not the same as accuracy or trajectory as a simple sight adjustment is all that is needed to compensate.

    Yes I have purchased property and have kids and no I did not care to ask the seller anything about politics.

    Right now silencers are the only answer as the legislature has refused to consider easing restrictions on other devices that can reduce noise from a rifle range. I tried to get words added to bill 1016 to exempt devices not attached to the firearm, but it did not happen.

    There are no loopholes in RCW 9.41.250(c) That statute prohibits all devices used to suppress firearm noise and does not exempt anyone from the ban, police and military included.

    Shooting boxes and shooting rooms are also prohibited as the statute is very broad. I got this opinion from the local prosecutor in Kitsap County. The AG has refused to issue a formal opinion on what the law means, but has claimed he will issued an informal opinion. I have no idea when it will be issued or what it will say. For all I know he will uphold the broad nature of the statute as it is rather plain in what it prohibits.

    Ranb
     
  17. spengo

    spengo GLORIOUS CASCADIA Active Member

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    Hollywood and videogames give a gross misrepresentation of what suppressors/silencers are for and how they actually work. You owe it to yourself to find out the truth about them. That "pew" sound you hear in James Bond flicks is complete bs, no suppressor sounds like that. In fact, unless you use special subsonic ammunition (which often comes at the cost of decreased power or range) you will still here a very loud sonic crack that follows the bullet downrange.

    If you go actually shoot with a suppressor you will probably be surprised at how loud it is. Depending on the gun you are using (10.5" SBR AR-15 is about as loud as a .22lr pistol when suppressed) you may even still want to wear hearing protection!

    There are many legitimate uses for suppressors. The first and most obvious is reducing noise at the shooting range. Noise pollution is never a good thing and some people do love their SBRed .308s with huge muzzle brakes. :laugh: Another big one is for law enforcement. Using a suppressor allows you to avoid hearing damage without limiting your situational awareness or ability to communicate with your teammates like wearing muffs or plugs would. Suppressors are also useful for hunters. Why scare off all the animals in the woods every time you take a shot? Finally there are the home defense applications. Guns are very loud outdoors and even louder indoors. Do you want to risk you or your loved ones' hearing? You may need to communicate with them as well if you are clearing your house trying to protect them. Muffs or the sound of gunfire may drastically affect your ability to do this.

    I hope this helps to dispel the myth that suppressors are for assassins and secret agents. The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. In many countries around the world with much stricter gun laws than the US, suppressors are an over-the-counter item.
     
  18. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes we need to think like other people so we know how they react to what we are saying.Ask any marketing manager/sales types.
    Think as your customer thinks and how they react.
    We are selling something.

    Spengo,as I stated earlier,my friend has a silencer,and I have seen the vids people have posted on her to show the difference in the noise levels.

    I do understand the advantage at the range.For cops? I guess on their long arms,it would never happen on pistols.Where would they carry the guns?

    My part on the real estate sales and children was partly about growth and partly about how some of these places may be forced to move.If the "we have been here for 100 years" isn't working,I don't see what else will

    As I related the silencers to Bond and movies,so do most people.Only spooks would have them.
    What do normal people need them for?
    Someone could be shooting my neighbor and I would never know it!!!
    The general public will see them as just what they are used for in the movies.Nothing more.

    You have to educate the general public.The neighbors around the facilities.

    This is what the lawmakers are going to hear if they pass this type law. You don't have to agree with it,but they want to get re-elected.

    Rand I may have talked to you about the sound rooms in person at Wholesale Sports?
    Me with a big goatee and 2 black dogs? Good lookin guy:cool:
    :D
     
  19. spengo

    spengo GLORIOUS CASCADIA Active Member

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    Alright well if none of those arguments about the legitimate uses of suppressors worked how about this: Suppressors are incredibly easy to make. All you really need is a pipe, some washers, and a welding torch. It won't be pretty and it won't work quite as well as a professionally made can, but it will get the job done.
    YouTube - Garage-gunsmith supressor for S.B.R.'ed 9mm Vector UZI (yeah... he has terrible trigger control but whatever)

    If anyone was going to use one in a crime, do you really think they'd mail in their $200 application and wait 3 months for background checks and the like? In Washington, normal people can own suppressors, they just aren't allowed to shoot them in the state so they have to visit Oregon or Idaho. Assuming the bad guy did get his suppressor through the usual legal venue, do you think he's going to abide by the rules and not use it? As it stands, the current suppressor law only hurts law-abiding citizens. There is also virtually 0 suppressor crime in the entire country, even in places with lots of gun violence. It simply isn't an issue and there is no reason to prevent normal citizens from owning or using them.
     
  20. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    What we need is zoning and law reform to allow ranges to install noise abatement devices. Use of these devices is illegal and has been since 1934.

    It is much easier to educate the public if all gun owners get on board and support the use of anything that reduces noise and makes a gun safer to shoot. Hearing loss is probably the most prevalent injury associated with the use of firearms. But so far Olympia seems unwilling to do anything about it. Even if bill 1016 passes, I am no where near done trying to get the law changed. Next I need to work on allowing the use of suppression devices that are not attached to the gun.

    I do not recall ever being near Sequim or discussing shooting rooms at Wholesale Sports. :) I am the retired Sailor that walks with a limp.

    Ranb