We’re getting asked “who can use my suppressor?” more than ever these days. The answer is relative to how you registered your silencer, the state you live in, and the responsible persons you’d like to use your silencers.

Lending a silencer to a family member or friend may seem like a no brainer. Questions around the particulars of communal ownership are amongst the most common, especially during COVID’s social distancing requirements. Sharing an NFA item (Silencer, SBR, AOW, etc.) is a bit different from sharing a gun with someone you trust.  

When someone calls in asking “who is allowed to shoot my suppressor?”, we need to know:

  1. How did you register your silencer? 

  2. Is the borrower listed as a responsible person on your trust? 

  3. Do you want to add a responsible person to your trust?

  4. Does your borrower have any legal restrictions? 

  5. Is your borrower local or in a different state?

Also, if you’re looking for a simple guide, we’ve made a useful flowchart using yes or no questions to quickly determine if you can let someone use your silencer. 

Flowchart

Registration

We recently wrote a blog post on A Buyer’s Guide: Individual vs. Trust in which we show a graph on the similarities and differences between the five different registration types. Each option offers varying degrees of flexibility and simplicity, which in turn dictates who is allowed to use, borrow, and/or transport your suppressor with or without you there.

Individual: If you filed your suppressors as an individual, you cannot lend your suppressor to anyone without you being physically present. Period.

Single Shot Trust / Single Shot Unlimited Trusts: If you filed your suppressors using our Silencer Shop Single Shot trusts or our Single Shot Unlimited trusts, then you will need to use an addendum to add your trustees (see Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust section below for more details).

Traditional NFA Trust: If you filed your suppressors using our Silencer Shop traditional NFA trusts, your trustees listed will be allowed to borrow your silencer. If you want to add someone to your trust who wasn’t originally on there (say a friend or family member), read below for Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust.

Non-Silencer Shop Trusts: You may have a trust that was drafted long ago, before you had the option to use Silencer Shop’s streamlined paperwork. In this case, you will need to consult legal counsel on what is allowed and what is not.  

Corporation: If you filed your suppressors under a corporation, officers listed on that corporation are allowed to use those silencers. You may need to consult legal counsel depending on how the paperwork was drafted. 

Responsible Parties (Trustees and Officers) 

You may have read about the 41F implementation in 2016. 41F enacted all responsible parties submitting the same information as the owner of the trust, also called the trustor. This includes submitting to the ATF demographic information, a photo, and fingerprints of every responsible person listed on the trust along with the Form 4. The reason for this is the role responsible parties can play in terms of handling an NFA controlled item.

Not to be a huge Captain Obvious here, but being a responsible party is a huge responsibility. In most trusts, responsible parties get almost the same permissions as the owner of the serialized items listed on the trust. Meaning that trustees have full ability to use your silencer (or whatever other NFA item is listed on your trust) without you there. The main distinction between being a trustor and a trustee is that the owner of the trust is able to add or remove trustees. 

Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust

Now, you may be asking yourself what if I want to add a responsible person to my trust that already exists and the ATF already sent me my approved tax stamp? Adding a trustee or officer to your existing trust varies depending on your trust. 

With Silencer Shop’s trust for example, a simple addendum is required. If you filed your silencer under a Single Shot trust, the addendum was provided in the packet given to you, but if you filed under a traditional NFA trust, you will need an addendum to get started on the process. The same goes for removing someone from your trust.

Either way, don’t fret. We can help! The simplest way is to give us a call at 512.450.9446 or email us at trust@silencershop.com for the addendum and more information. Once the proper paperwork has been completed, your new responsible party will then be allowed to use your silencer.

Is the Party Allowed to Use Silencers? 

Before you go and add a responsible person to your trust, you need to ensure that the party is not considered a restricted person. Whether you are present or not, the use of your suppressor by someone considered a restricted person is not allowed, and cannot be added to your trust as a responsible person. 

If someone checks one of the boxes below, they are considered a restricted person and cannot use or borrow your silencer, with or without you there.  This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Convicted of domestic assault

  • Convicted of a felony

  • In the country illegally

  • Is a user or possessor of an illegal substance

Remember, if a person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under Federal or State law, they cannot be in possession of your registered NFA weapon.  For a full list of prohibited persons, read The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)

State Laws; what state do you and your borrower(s) live in?

Finally, no matter what, you must abide by the law. If your state doesn’t allow silencers, we heard PODS works great for a quick move. Don’t forget to buy yourself an exclusive States that Don’t Suck t-shirt to commemorate your decision. But we digress; if you’re in a state or the person who wants to borrow your silencer is in a state that doesn’t allow NFA items, then it simply isn’t allowed.

You may see now why we said that someone borrowing your suppressor is a little more involved than a simple yes or no answer and depends on a few factors. Sharing might be caring, but in this day and age, you need Lysol and a trust with pre-approved responsible parties. That being said, we hope this flowchart and blog post help clear the air with lending a silencer or borrowing one.


Additional Resources: 

41F and Gun Trusts

What is a Responsible Person?

How to Buy a Silencer in 9 Simple Steps