You may have noticed that silencers and suppressors (they are the same thing) are becoming more and more popular. We hear from people all the time who think suppressors are illegal for you and I to own, but that is not the case. Recent changes in North Carolina law have been very friendly to the acquisition and use of suppressors. It used to be that unless you fit into one of a very limited number of exceptions, it was illegal for an ordinary North Carolina citizen to own a suppressor. The law was changed in 2011 to provide that any citizen can acquire and own a suppressor, provided it is acquired in accordance with applicable federal law. Another change, effective October 1, 2013, made it legal to hunt with a suppressor in North Carolina. These changes have resulted in a boom in suppressor sales as more and more people recognize the benefits of shooting "muffled".
This is especially true for hunters. Shooting suppressed gives the hunter a stealthy advantage, which can be very useful if the first shot missed, or when hunting game that travel in groups where you only have one chance to shoot before they all scatter. The hunter doesn’t have to wear hearing protection, which allows you to hear what is happening in your surroundings and still protect your hearing. In fact, shooting suppressed doesn't only save your hearing, but that of those around you as well. Your neighbor will certainly appreciate your quiet practice. In other countries, such as in the UK, using a suppressor is encouraged and is considered a courtesy. It only makes sense. We require mufflers on our cars and trucks for that same reason.
Consider for a moment how much we talk about firearms safety. And how much time and money we spend on hearing protection. Even with all the signs and coaching and reminders – how many of us have heard a close gunshot without our EarPro on? How long did your ears ring afterward? How many of us have permanent hearing damage from shooting? I am literally half deaf from my life of shooting. Had I known then what I know now about hearing loss – I would have done everything differently to protect my hearing more. A suppressor is a lot cheaper and easier to live with than hearing aids. And that’s a realistic possibility for me now because of the lack of suppressors in my life. I wish I had one for every gun I owned.
With this new interest in suppressors, we also get a lot of questions about what is required to buy a suppressor and whether a "gun trust" is the way to go. The acquisition and ownership of suppressors, machine guns, short barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns is governed by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which adopted a registration and tax requirement to keep Thompsons out of the hands of Al Capone and other gangsters. Generally, this federal law requires that a suppressor be purchased from an NFA or Class 3 dealer (which we are), file a Form 4 with the ATF to register your firearm in their database, and pay a $200 tax. The law also requires individuals to obtain fingerprint cards, pass a background check and get their local sheriff to sign their application. These same restrictions continue today, making the acquisition of NFA firearms expensive and inconvenient. Unfortunately, there are sheriffs in the Charlotte region who are well known for their refusal to sign Form 4s, which makes it nearly impossible for residents of their counties to acquire NFA firearms. And that is the main reason gun trusts have become so popular, because they eliminate this requirement. Gun trusts are not a gimmick or a loophole for acquiring NFA firearms, but a perfectly legal way to avoid some of the inconvenience of acquiring such firearms, as well as provide a much more flexible way to possess, share and use NFA firearms. Using a gun trust to acquire your NFA eliminates the need for fingerprint cards or a sheriff's signature. It also gives you the flexibility to share your NFA with your friends or relatives, which you can't do if the NFA is registered is in your individual name.
Depending on where you live, a gun trust may the only way you can acquire a suppressor or SBR, but it is a good idea in any case. At Point Blank Range, we believe the additional cost of a gun trust is well worth it, considering the benefits. But be careful when you do decide you need a gun trust. There are many gun trust forms circulating on the internet for free or for a low cost, some probably OK but most terrible. We encourage our customers to take the matter a little more seriously. The gun trust will continue for your lifetime, and possibly beyond. Would you use a form on the internet to prepare a Will? It is an important legal document that should be prepared by an attorney who is knowledgeable in trust and estate law as well as firearms law. The trust should be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances, which can't be done with a fill-in-the-blanks form. Yes, it does cost more to go this route, but the worst thing you can do is create a trust that has defects or doesn't have the provisions to give you the greatest flexibility to share your NFA firearms.
One thing that we’ve seen people doing with their gun trust is including firearms that are not NFA firearms - these firearms do not need to be included and shouldn't be, in our humble opinion. Do you really want to give the ATF a full detailed inventory of all your firearms? There are easier ways to leave these firearms to your heirs.
If you are considering using a gun trust, please talk to an attorney that is familiar with them. Point Blank Range’s principal owner is just such an attorney and would be very happy to help you with your gun trust. Shoot us an email at Sales@PointBlankRange.com. He would be happy to answer your questions.
Both PBR Locations have a good selection of some of the best suppressors on the market. Including SIG's new SRD762TI-QD Titanium QD model. Perfect for your AR-10, SR-25 type rifles, or your SCAR Heavy. Come in and take a look!