Traveling with a Suppressor
So you just bought a silencer, or maybe you’ve had one for a while now. The important thing is you are enjoying all of the benefits of owning and using a silencer, and are having a (quiet) blast with it.
But you just got a chance for that elk hunting trip out of state you’ve been dreaming of, or want to go shoot prairie dogs with your buddy two states over or are just taking a trip and want to bring your favorite rifle with you for some plinking fun. This is where you remember all that ATF paperwork, and the fact that your hearing safety device is a heavily regulated and registered item, and start asking “how do I transport a silencer across state lines?”
You’ve probably heard that owners of other NFA regulated devices have to file an ATF form titled “Application to Transport Interstate or Temporarily Export Certain NFA Items.” Machine gun owners, folks with short barrel rifles, destructive devices, and other fun toys have to tell the ATF when they are transporting their NFA item. But do you, the quiet silencer owner?
The good news is that you don’t!
Silencers are exempted from notification when you travel or relocate. For whatever reason, be happy the ATF isn’t interested in tracking the movement of your silencer, and enjoy it. But you should still know a few things about traveling with silencers.
Simple Tips for Traveling With Your Suppressor
These tips apply in or out of state, and could perhaps prevent an awkward conversation with cops – or worse.
The ATF requires that you present proof of registration on demand to ATF agents. That means showing your paperwork and silencer tax stamp(s). You should always keep your originals safely stored and accessible. However, it is rare to have ATF agents showing up asking for papers. Local cops on the other hand…
We all like to shoot with our silencers and sometimes that includes shooting on public lands where legal. Be it hunting, casual outdoor ranges, or even just loading and unloading stuff from our vehicles, there is a chance somebody who doesn’t understand (or like) silencers will see your silencer and call the police. Or a nosy cop or game warden might wander by. See where this is going? A photocopy of your silencer paperwork somewhere hand can save you a lot of grief while somebody investigates a nonexistent crime.
In other words, to prevent confusion and protect yourself, it’s always best to carry copies of your silencer paperwork with you whenever you take your silencer out of your home or business.
Transporting Suppressors Across State Lines
At the time of this writing, 42 states allow ownership of Federally registered silencers, and 40 of them allow hunting with silencers. You can check the map below to see silencer laws by state.
The Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 is supposed to facilitate the easy transport of firearms through states where they may not be legal, but prudent gun owners often choose to avoid states altogether that ban the weapons they are transporting in case of overzealous local law enforcement.
When traveling out of state with your silencer, it should be stored in a locked container out of easy reach. Good storage spots include your trunk, toolbox, or a locked case under a backseat. While this may seem like overkill, you should treat your silencer like you would any other firearm when you are traveling out of state, particularly in areas not friendly to gun rights or gun owners.
As before, carry copies of your registration paperwork (leave the originals at home for safekeeping) and you might want to carry a copy of your trust if you use one. Remember, 99 percent of all Silencer Central customers opt to use our handy NFA gun trust. It’s a useful tool for proving the legality of your silencer if challenged.
Flying With a Suppressor
Just like any firearm, you can fly to destinations where it is legal to bring your silencer. You’ll need to put your silencer in a TSA approved locking container and follow procedures for checking a firearm aboard the plane. Again, it doesn’t hurt to have copies of your paperwork with the silencer. Flying with a silencer is a fairly easy and painless procedure since it’s treated like any other firearm when checking it aboard the plane and clearing security.
Traveling with Your Suppressor is Easy
Transporting a silencer across state lines isn’t very hard. No special paperwork is required, and you only have to secure it like you would any other firearm in your travels.
There are a few useful tips, like having copies of your paperwork, that should satisfy all but the most hard-nosed cops who find a reason to sniff around your silencer. With 42 states being silencer-friendly, it’s pretty easy to travel without having to even go into a state that outlaws silencers. Even then, there are Federal laws that protect you during travel.Shop Silencers
Unlike all other NFA items, you do not have to notify the ATF before traveling across state lines with your silencer, so the whole process is quite painless. You literally transport it as you would any other firearm.
For over a decade, Silencer Central has been making it easy for hunters and sport shooters to enjoy the proven hearing safety benefits of silenced firearms. We offer turnkey silencer trusts to make purchasing easy, and guide you through the sometimes intimidating act of buying a federally registered product.
We offer an extensive line of silencers for everything from .22’s, to today’s popular .30 caliber hunting rifles. The BANISH line of silencers is “the one that fits any gun” and can be quickly configured to fit .22 through .308 caliber centerfire rifles, allowing you to own just one silencer for many guns.
A Note From TSA
Thank you for contacting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Contact Center.
Under Federal law, “firearm” is defined as: any weapon (including a starter gun) that will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. Any item under these definitions must be declared and transported in accordance with TSA regulations.
This means that firearms, including frames, receivers, mufflers, and silencers, must be packaged in a hard-sided, locked case and declared to your airline.
Rifle barrels and stocks are not considered firearms and do not need to be declared or placed in a locked, hard-sided case; however, they must be packed in checked baggage. Rifle barrels and stocks are not allowed in your carry-on bag.
To learn more about traveling with a firearm or ammunition, please visit www.tsa.gov\travel\
TSA Contact Center