Cautionary Note: All silencers require a $200 tax stamp from the BATFE in the USA. We caution U.S. readers not to begin building a silencer unless you first pay the tax and acquire the proper paperwork (form 1) in advance, before purchasing parts or building a silencer.
U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- News broke recently concerning the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) raid at the Diversified Machine facility.
Diversified Machine is one of a handful of companies that make solvent traps. Gun owners file form ones with the ATF and then convert solvent traps to homemade suppressors. The ATF has long taken the stand that solvent traps and converting a device to a silencer are legal.
The ATF’s new, and yet to be announced, departmental-slogan for 2021 is “ATF Reimagined.”
It looks like they are reimaging our gun laws!?
Many gun owners think the ATF’s new offensive against the Second Amendment started with the raid on the Polymer80 facility, then moved to pistol braces, and finally focusing on solvent traps. Information that was obtained by AmmoLand News and confirmed with the company’s owners shows that the ATF has been moving against solvent trap manufacturers since early this year.
AmmoLand has confirmed at least five ATF raids in the past few months for one of two reasons. The ATF’s motivations for intimidating solvent trap manufacturers seem to be related to the crackdown on pistol braces and 80% frames. The ATF believes people are using these devices as loopholes to current gun laws, and/or want to discourage retailers from selling legal parts.
The first raid took place at Aegis Products in March of this year. Customs noticed a package shipped from China to the company looked suspicious and notified the ATF. The federal law enforcement agency made a controlled delivery before raiding the small manufacture. Federal Agents seized the company’s inventory. The ATF did not make any arrest but claims that the company illegally imported suppressor parts even though the parts could not be used in a suppressor unless modified by the end-user.
The ATF also executed a search warrant at another company. A man was arrested for selling machine guns and drugs. When law enforcement arrested him, they found that he owned that companies products that he illegally converted into a working suppressor. The ATF used this bust to look into the company. The company had no connection to the man that authorities arrested. Again, in this case, the ATF did not arrest anyone at the company because no one at that company broke any laws. That company requires a completed and approved form one to purchase their product. The company engraves the device before shipping.
The ATF contacted the third company because their center caps had dimples, that indicate where to drill? The ATF took screenshots of their website that showed the dimples in the end caps. Dimple marks on the end caps seem to be a common theme for the cause of a lot of the ATF raids.
The ATF says that these dimples show “intent.”
The ATF also raided another solvent trap company for selling products with parts from China. Once again, they were tipped off by Customs. The ATF is claiming that the companies are violating import rules on importation suppressor parts. The parts the company imported could not be used in a suppressor without modification.
Solvent trap companies that sell products with parts from China are clearly on the ATF’s radar. It appears that the ATF is working hand-in-hand with Customs to track parts from China. The tracking of the importation of parts would explain the visit by the ATF to the owner of the“Truck Master” YouTube channel. The host of the channel works on trucks and ordered fuel filters from China. ATF agents showed up at his residents and demanded he turn over his “suppressors.” He was confused at first until agents showed him his order. He had to take them into his massive garage to show him he was working on many diesel trucks, and sometimes fuel filters are just fuel filters.
That brings us to the latest raid on Diversified Machine. Agents once again seized everything, but this time the ATF also took customer records a tactic we saw ATF use against Polymer80. This move seems to be the federal agency escalating enforcement of confusing and contradictory regulations. They are creating a minefield for small business owners. When the ATF are asked about solvent traps, all they say is that “solvent traps” are legal but do not give any further guidance to the industry? Then we find ATF posting the opposite on their own field-division website (www.atf.gov/denver-field-division/seized-website).
The ATF seems to be liberally using “intent” to initiate these raids.
Suppose a company adds terms like “suppressor” or “silencer” to their website's search engine optimization (SEO). In that case, the ATF will use that as proof that the company is knowingly selling suppressor parts. All solvent trap companies should assume that the ATF is monitoring their sites.
While pistol braces and 80% frame are getting all the press, the solvent trap industry is also under constant ATF attack. The industry is a small niche market but does have the potential to be a massive multi-million dollar industry. Because of the small size of the market, the ATF has been able to attack these companies without considerable pushback.
Most of the companies are small mom-and-pop shops with only a few employees. They don’t have the money for the necessary massive legal defense. AmmoLand spoke to an owner of one solvent trap company who fixes metal working equipment as his day job. He went into the business of making legal solvent traps to keep his door open and keep his machines running. These machining companies have been hit hard since the COVID-19 outbreak, and the ATF is just making it worse.
Many believe the goal of the ATF is to destroy a legal industry through intimidation. With the spotlight on braces and 80% frame, they just might be able to do it. As of this writing, the ATF has yet to charge any company or person in the industry with a crime.
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About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.