ATF Classifies Pot Scrubbers as Silencers, Makes Possession Illegal

David Codrea published an article today about an interesting letter one law abiding silencer owner received from the ATF. The silencer owner in question owns an AWC .22lr silencer that uses a material made of tangled copper ropes to slow down the expanding gasses, a material not unlike the common Brillo pad or Chore Boy Pot Scrubber. He wanted to know whether it would be legal to replace the worn out material in his legally owned silencer with some pot scrubber material, an act which seems pretty innocuous to the impartial observer. The ATF, on the other hand…

From the ATF’s reply:

“[S]ound/gas absorbing materials manufactured from Chore Boy copper cleaning pads, along with fiberglass insulation, constitute a silencer.

Therefore, it is illegal for an individual to replace deteriorated material within an already- registered suppressor without an approved ATF Form 1, ‘Application to Make and Register a Firearm,’” along with a “$200.00 making tax” and “a ‘no-marking’ variance…since there is no viable area in which to apply a serial number to the sound-absorbing material.”

So if someone wanted to replace the padding in their silencer they’d need to submit two new sets of fingerprint cards, two new photographs, a signature from their local chief law enforcement officer, $200 and a set of newly filled out Form 1 applications and then wait 4 months for a reply. All for an item they already own legally, and at the end of the day they will still have only one NFA item.

But that’s not all. The original letter included a question about the owner of a legally owned silencer having a reserve of such pads. In case, you know, they needed to clean something. According to the ATF that would be considered a “stockpile” and considered an illegal act.

David has the full letter on his site which can be seen here.