How to Sell Your Suppressor
So you’ve decided to sell your suppressor, or you’re at least considering it. Whether by choice or out of necessity, the decision isn’t always an easy one to make, so we’ll try to make understanding the process as easy as possible. (Nothing’s ever as easy as it could or should be when the ATF is involved.)
Just as there was paperwork and hoops to jump through when you bought your suppressor, those same ones apply to selling a suppressor – with a few differences. Some will be obvious; others, you might not have expected. Regardless, we’ll cover all of that in this post. Below is a breakdown of what we’ll cover, in case you want to skip around or have specific questions. That said, we recommend reading the whole thing so as not to miss anything.
Legal Requirements for Selling a Suppressor
Unlike other household items, you cannot simply put set your suppressor out in the next garage sale you have or list it up on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The sale of a used suppressor is similar to the sale of a new one. Since you’ve already been through the process once, much of this will be familiar to you, but it’s good to have a refresher before you put your silencer up for sale. No one likes surprises, especially when the ATF is involved!
Legality of Sale
Suppressors are legal to own in 42 of the 50 states. Sales between residents of the same state are easy in that sense. It was legal for you to buy the silencer in your state in the first place, so it’s legal for you to sell it to someone else in your state.
It’s also perfectly legal to sell your suppressor to someone who lives in another state, just as long as they don’t live in one of the eight silent-freedom-hating states. A quick online search will tell you what states are a no-go. Thankfully, there’s an 82% chance you’ll be good to go with the potential buyer’s out-of-state place of residence.
It’s also a good idea to check local laws and regulations on suppressor ownership. While rare, there are some instances where local laws are more restrictive or prohibitive than those on the state level. Again, it’s a good idea to check first and avoid any surprises down the line.
New Legal Owner Requirements
The same requirements that applied to you when you bought your silencer apply to the person who wants to buy it from you. If the purchaser has any convictions, whether it be violent crimes or felonies, their application will not be approved. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the potential purchaser first to save you some time and them some money just in case.
If they lie about their legal status when it comes to suppressor ownership, it will be found out, the ATF application will be denied, and the sale will be canceled. Making sure of their legal status and information beforehand will alleviate any headaches down the road.
Buyer Age Requirements
You probably remember that one of the requirements for purchasing your silencer from a dealer was that you had to be at least 21 years old. While you might expect the same to be true for the person you sell it to, you’d be wrong. Buying a silencer from a person only requires that the buyer be 18 years old. The difference is because … well, we don’t really know. You could call and ask the ATF, but they probably don’t know either.
At any rate, just remember that the person who wants to buy your silencer has to be at least 18 years old. They can’t buy beer or cigarettes, but they can buy something that will protect their hearing.
It might seem silly, but be sure to ask for ID. Just because you’re not selling alcohol or cigarettes doesn’t mean you can’t ask for their license in order to be sure of their age. Besides, you’re going to want to verify the information on their license anyway to make sure that all of the paperwork is filled out properly.
Completing the Necessary Paperwork and Application Process
Selling your suppressor to a resident of your state is pretty straightforward. It’s essentially the same process you went through to buy it new, except that you hold onto the suppressor while the ATF processes the new buyer’s paperwork and takes their $200 for the required tax stamp. There is no dealer involvement in this process. Once everything is approved, the new Form 4 will be sent to you, the seller, and not the buyer. Once you have a Form 4 in hand, you can arrange with the new buyer to come and take possession of their new-to-them suppressor.
We mentioned above that you can sell your suppressor to someone who lives in another state, but the process is more involved. Unlike a same-state sale, you do not keep the suppressor in your possession while the paperwork is processed. Instead, you will need to transfer the silencer to your local (in state) FFL/SOT with a Form 4 and pay for the $200 tax stamp. (Yep, you get to pay for the privilege of selling something you already paid to own in the first place.) The FFL/SOT would then transfer the silencer to an FFL/SOT in the buyer’s state using a Form 3 (no fee here, because … reasons or something). Then, the buyer’s FFL/SOT transfers the silencer to them on a Form 4 with a $200 tax stamp.
Remember when you bought your silencer and you had to choose whether you’d apply as an individual, trust, or corporation? Well, the new buyer has those same options. Regardless of what they choose, the application must include the $200 tax stamp and two copies of the Form 4 paperwork, printed double-sided (it must be double-sided, again, because of reasons) with original signatures.
- Individual Applications: Two FD-258 fingerprint cards need to be included with this application.
- Trust Applications: If the buyer is filing with their trust, each individual listed on the trust as a responsible party needs to submit their proper information as well, including two of their own FD-258 fingerprint cards.
- Corporation Applications: Along with the paperwork, proof of good standing (check with specific state requirements on this) for the corporation should be included.
When you bought your suppressor brand new, you had the ability to call the ATF’s NFA Branch and get status updates on the needlessly long application approval process. There is a section on the form that allows you to give consent for the buyer to have the ability to contact the NFA Branch to get status updates. To allow the new buyer to experience the runaround that is the ATF’s NFA Branch, you have to say/mark ‘I Do’ in Section 9 when this part comes up. You wouldn’t want to deny them this integral part of the suppressor purchase process!
Other Considerations when Selling a Used Suppressor
Suppressors are not like guns, and guns are more like houses. You may be thinking, “Huh?” but hear us out. This isn’t a reference to the paperwork and purchase process. Instead, it’s a reference to price. Firearms, like houses, tend to hold their value or, in some cases, actually appreciate in value. It’s always a nice perk when you can enjoy your purchase and then sell it for close to or more than what you paid for it.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with suppressors. Instead of being like guns or houses, they’re more like cars. Once you take your silencer for a trip to the range, it’s like driving the car off of the dealer’s lot. Never again will it be worth what you paid for it originally. Why this is the case is anyone’s guess, but it probably has to do with all of the extra time and money that go into buying a suppressor. The person who’s looking to buy on the secondary market isn’t wanting to pay MSRP for something that’s used and requires a lot of extra hoops to jump through. That’s just the way it is.
Thinking About Selling Your Suppressor?
If you’re still set on selling your suppressor after reading this, that’s great. The goal was not to dissuade you from doing so, but instead to be as informed as possible beforehand so as to not be disappointed or blindsided in the process.
You might still have some questions, and that’s totally normal. Silencer Central can help answer them for you. We’re the nation’s largest suppressor dealer and we’ve done nothing but sell suppressors day in and day out for more than 15 years. Don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email, or use our website’s chat feature to get ahold of us. We’d be happy to help you navigate the sale process.Give us a call!