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Sues over ATF Claims it Made Silencer
By Harold Hutchison

Sig Sauer has filed suit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, claiming that that agency’s “determination” that a muzzle brake the company designed should be regulated as a silencer. The gunmaker’s suit, filed 7 April, seeks to have the determination of the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) of BATFE set aside.

According to a report by SeacoastOnline.com, the civil suit was filed, naming BATFE Director B. Todd Jones and the agency as defendants. The suit states that the “letters of August 26, 2013, and February 21, 2014, demonstrate that FTB failed to articulate a satisfactory explanation for its classification and failed to examine the relevant data. FTB discussed features of some parts that could be used in silencers and, without showing a nexus, jumped to the conclusion that the device here is a silencer. FTB acknowledged the use of the device as a muzzle brake and yet concluded that it is a "part intended only for use" in assembling or fabricating a silencer. FTB also failed to address similar devices in the marketplace that are being transferred without being treated as firearms. Accordingly, FTB's decision was arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with law.”

Silencers are regulated under the 1934 National Firearms Act. To legally own a silencer, one must undergo extensive background checks, register the silencer, and pay a $200 transfer tax. Violation of the law is a felony, and can land a person in prison, plus result in the imposition of a fine of up to $10,000.

Sig Sauer’s suit also seeks that the new muzzle brake be declared not to be a silencer, and that ATF be forced to pay costs and attorney’s fees. ATF has until 28 April to respond to the suit.