The concept of a “solvent trap” kit is about as subtle of an end run around the National Firearms Act as “bath salts” are an end run around the Controlled Substances Act.
Companies manufacture the kits ostensibly as a tool to catch solvent and other slimy materials dripping out of the barrel of your gun during the cleaning process. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that a couple minutes with a drill (or a couple rounds of AP ammunition) would put a hole through the trap and turn it into an honest to God silencer. Perhaps not a very good one, but serviceable.
For years the ATF has said that solvent traps are legal to produce and possess, but as soon as they are re-designed to allow a bullet to pass through them the traps become illegal unregistered silencers (unless a Form 1 is approved and the silencer is registered).
Sometime around the time Donald Trump was elected the ATF appears to have changed its mind. They’ve determined that the manufacture of solvent traps is now equivalent to the manufacture of an unregistered silencer.
Companies who offer solvent trap part kits for sale were on the wrong side of the law. The ATF has been cracking down on “solvent trap” kit manufacturing companies ever since, starting with SD Tactical in January.
The latest victim of this crack down: Solvent Traps Etc, a company whose Facebook page does not do a very good job at all at that whole “subtle hinting” thing about possible uses for their products.
In a post on their page (as their website is offline) the company says the ATF raided their location while the owner was on a hunting trip. Agents seized the products and his computer (with potentially all the customer records) and charged him with a Federal crime (specific crime not specified).
This seems to be happening a lot recently.
From the controversy with the “pistol brace” open letter to pot scrubbers and even silencer wipes the ATF appears to be on a roll re-classifying items and practices that have long been accepted as legal and aggressively enforcing their interpretation of the law.
Could it be that there’s a new sheriff in town who doesn’t like gun owners and just wants to cause as much havoc as possible? Or is there something else going on behind the scenes?
Hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out before the ATF reclassifies varmint grenades as actual grenades.