ATF: 21st Century Suppressor Regulations are ‘Archaic’


In a recently published ATF “white paper,” Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk sets forth “points for discussion” that include his opinion that the continued inclusion of suppressors under National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations is “archaic” and “should be reevaluated.”

The Washington Post published the paper, wherein Turk wrote:

In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized. At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months.

He went on to explain that the ATF has added “additional full-time and contract positions” and “[spent] over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses” in hopes of reducing the wait time, yet demand is so great that the wait time has continued to grow.

In the end, Turk believes the only way to reduce the wait time is to remove suppressors from NFA regulation. He observed, “While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.”

Turk’s position, as stated in the letter, very closely aligns with the position Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3) and John Carter (R-TX-31) put forth in the Hearing Protection Act. The Act removes suppressors from NFA oversight, thereby significantly reducing associated paper work and eliminating the federal tax and months-long waiting period currently tied to a suppressor purchase.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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