Yesterday morning, the American Suppressor Association was made aware of Docket No. ATF 29P, an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) which seeks to gather public comments in reference to the marking requirements of suppressors. The comment period for ATF 29P, which was published in the Federal Register this morning, will run for 90 days, ending at midnight on August 2, 2016.
The summary of the ANPRM is as follows:
“The Department of Justice is considering amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to require licensed manufacturers, licensed importers, and nonlicensed makers to place identification markings on the outer tube of firearm silencers and firearm mufflers. The Department wishes to gather information and comments from the public and industry concerning whether or not the regulations should be amended.”
In short, ATF 29P is a solution to a non-existent problem. On April 17, 2008, the ATF issued a guidance stating that suppressors must be marked with a serial number “on any external part.” According to the ATF, the ANPRM was brought on by a petition filed by the National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association (NFATCA) on April 27, 2008. In the petition, the NFATCA sought to narrow the ATF’s guidance, asking that the ATF require manufacturers to serialize the outer tube of the suppressor. At the time, virtually all suppressors had outer tubes. Today, after eight years of exponential innovation, there are numerous suppressor models which do not. To our knowledge, there have not been any recorded problems regarding the markings on legally manufactured suppressors, tubeless or not.
Given that the ATF classifies any suppressor part as a suppressor, the ASA does not believe that the ATF should restrict where the manufacturer chooses to mark their specific models. ATF 29P has nothing to do with enhancing public safety. It is yet another clear and measured attempt by this administration to harass the suppressor industry. If public safety was their primary concern, they would have moved forward with this initiative when they received the petition in 2008.
The American Suppressor Association is working with industry to put together a comprehensive set of comments to oppose ATF 29P. If you are interested in filing a comment, please contact us at Info@AmericanSuppressorAssociation.com.
We will keep you posted as more details arise.