Silencers in Washington. [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-09-2007, 23:27
Ok, anyone know FOR SURE what the scoop is on Silencers in Washington? I've heard you can own them, but not equip then, but then I hear you CAN equip them, but not use them, and then I hear you can use them on private property only. . . . .

Anyone know for sure?

06-10-2007, 00:34
Yes, we have the single stupidist law in the country.

You can own them. You can buy them. You can order them delivered to your dealer. You can posses them. You can mount them on your weapon.

You may never fire it. Ever... in this state. Not even to test it. You can drive to oregon or idaho and shoot them there, then bring them back.

Using any type of device to muffle the sound of a firearm is a gross misdemeanor in WA. Private property or whatever is irrelevant.


06-10-2007, 00:55
Found it. From the ass's... I mean horses mouth:


It is not unlawful under RCW 9.41.250 to merely possess a device for suppressing the noise of a fiream.

August 30, 1988

Honorable Kent Pullen
State Senator, 47th District
Institutions Building
Olympia, Washington 98504

Cite as: AGO 1988 No. 16
Dear Senator Pullen:
By letter previously acknowledged, you have asked for our opinion on a question we have paraphrased as follows:
Is it unlawful under RCW 9.41.250 to possess a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm?
We answer your question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

RCW 9.41.250, the provision about which you have inquired, provides:

Every person who shall manufacture, sell or dispose of or have in his possession any instrument or weapon of the kind usually known as slung shot, sand club, or metal knuckles, or spring blade knife, or any knife the blade of which is automatically released by a spring mechanism or other mechanical device, or any knife having a blade which opens, or falls, or is ejected into position by the force of gravity, or by an outward, downward, or centrifugal thrust or movement; who shall furtively carry with intent to conceal any dagger, dirk, pistol, or other dangerous weapon; or who shall use any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

(Emphasis added.)

[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

In essence, your question is concerned with whether the term "use" in the underscored language of RCW 9.41.250 includes mere possession of a noise suppression device. Absent a statutory definition, words in a statute are to be given their ordinary meaning. Davis v. Department of Empl. Sec., 108 Wn.2d 272, 737 P.2d 1262 (1987). The ordinary meaning of the term "use" is to put a thing into service or action. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, 2523-2524 (1981). Thus, the use of a device for suppressing the noise of a firearm contemplates employing that device or putting it into service. Although use of such a device may be incident to possession, use is quite different from simply possessing the device or exercising control over it.

In our opinion, the language of RCW 9.41.250 about which you have inquired is unambiguous. It does not prohibit mere possession of a device to suppress the noise of a firearm.

Even if the term "use" in RCW 9.41.250 were ambiguous, rules of statutory construction would dictate against interpreting the term to include mere possession. First, RCW 9.41.250 is a criminal statute. Where two reasonable constructions of a criminal statute are possible, a court is required to adopt the interpretation most favorable to a person accused of violating the statute. State v. Gore, 101 Wn.2d 481, 681 P.2d 227 (1984). Here, of course, that would be an interpretation excluding mere possession. Second, where the Legislature employs certain language in one part of a statute and different language in another part, a difference in legislative intent is indicated.United Parcel Serv., Inc. v. Department of Rev., 102 Wn.2d 355, 687 P.2d 186 (1984). The Legislature has employed the term "possession" in RCW 9.41.250 and thereby has made mere possession of certain weapons a misdemeanor. The Legislature did not employ that same term with reference to noise suppression devices. According to this rule of construction, the Legislature's failure to do so indicates that is did not intend "use" to include mere possession.

We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Attorney General

Sr. Assistant Attorney General

06-10-2007, 03:16
Ahhh man, and I was just about to start daydreaming of how cool a backyard range was gonna be. :(

Thanks for the clarification though. Now to find a job in Oregon. Lol

06-12-2007, 21:51
it is quite stupid, I do agree!!

But, who's gonna hear it????????

06-12-2007, 22:49
Anyone here ever use a silencer? I mean it can't really be SILENT, but now much noise is it? Like is a silenced .22 quite enough to shoot indoors? Theoretically of course. :D

06-28-2007, 03:57
What does it take to buy a silencer in WA? Must you be a state resident? Are there any extra federal or state requirements or taxes/fees?

06-28-2007, 11:42
I know theirs a $200 tax. I think it's federal. And a fair bit of paperwork. Wades in Bellevue carries quite a few of them. You can ring them up and they'll have all the answers if nobody here knows all the details. Since I can't shoot 'em, I have no interest in spending THAT much money on one.

06-28-2007, 15:51
Originally posted by CMEPTb
What does it take to buy a silencer in WA? Must you be a state resident? Are there any extra federal or state requirements or taxes/fees?


You live in cali but you want to buy a silencer here? Do you have a vaction home here or something?
I hope your not suggesting buying here and taking it back to cali = felony.

I'm pretty sure no LEO will sign off on your transfer.
It's just a $200 tax and some paper work.


07-05-2007, 18:02
Originally posted by Seattle_Chris
Anyone here ever use a silencer? I mean it can't really be SILENT, but now much noise is it? Like is a silenced .22 quite enough to shoot indoors? Theoretically of course. :D

I've shot next to a LEO at Wade's who was shooting a silenced mp5. It's definitely the LOUDEST quiet sound I've ever heard. I took out my earplugs, and it wasn't painful, so it must have been below 120dB, but not by much. I think the deal is that it just doesn't sound like a gun shot. More like a whip crack. Of course, he might not have been using sub-sonics since he was just practicing...