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Are silencers and suppressors legal in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

Yes, people may purchase and possess silencers in Nevada if the following five conditions are true:

  1. You are a resident of Nevada or of another state where silencers are legal;
  2. You are at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
  3. You are legally allowed to purchase and possess a firearm;
  4. You pass a background check by the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives); and
  5. You pay a onetime fee of $200

Each of these conditions is discussed in more detail below.

Like it sounds, silencers help suppress the noise of a bullet discharging from a gun. Silencers slow the transition of the hot and pressurized gasses that guns produce when they fire. Silencers have expansion chambers and "baffles" to help cool and disperse the gases. This in turn reduces the noise created once the gases exit the firearm.

Although Nevada allows silencers, they are still highly regulated by the federal government under the National Firearms Act. And anyone who buys a silencer must retain proof of registration and provide it to the ATF if they request it. At this time, there are more than 900,000 privately-owned silencers registered in the U.S.

1. Residency in Nevada or another state where silencers are legal

A person may purchase a suppressor if he/she is a resident of a state where suppressors are legal, which includes Nevada. Currently, silencers are lawful in the following 42 states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arkansas
  4. Arizona
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Florida
  8. Georgia
  9. Idaho
  10. Indiana
  11. Iowa
  12. Kansas
  13. Kentucky
  14. Louisiana
  15. Maine
  16. Maryland
  17. Michigan
  18. Minnesota
  19. Mississippi
  20. Missouri
  21. Montana
  22. Nebraska
  23. Nevada
  24. New Hampshire
  25. New Mexico
  26. North Carolina
  27. North Dakota
  28. Ohio
  29. Oklahoma
  30. Oregon
  31. Pennsylvania
  32. South Carolina
  33. South Dakota
  34. Tennessee
  35. Texas
  36. Utah
  37. Vermont
  38. Virginia
  39. Washington
  40. West Virginia
  41. Wisconsin
  42. Wyoming

2. Being 21-years-old or older

Suppressors may not be sold to people who are under 21 years old. It makes no difference if the person lives in a state that permits people under 21 to possess guns (such as Nevada).

3. You are allowed to possess a firearm

Anyone who is prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm may not have a silencer. People who meet any of the following descriptions may not purchase firearms or silencers in Nevada:

  • Having been convicted of a felony;
  • Having been convicted of domestic violence;
  • Having been convicted of stalking;
  • Being the subject of a domestic violence restraining order;
  • Being a fugitive;
  • Being a drug addict;
  • Having been adjudicated mentally ill or committed; and/or
  • Being an undocumented alien

Learn more about background checks for buying a firearm in Nevada.

4. Having passed an ATF background check

People may buy and possess silencers in Nevada if they pass an ATF background check. However, this check takes approximately six to ten (6 - 10) months to process and finish.

The purpose of the ATF background check is to make sure the buyer does not meet any of the disqualifying conditions listed in the previous section. Purchasers may wish to consult with an attorney prior to buying a silencer to vet whether they would pass the ATF background check.

5. Paying a $200 fee to the ATF

Silencer purchasers must pay a $200 transfer fee -- also called a "tax stamp" -- to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives. Chances are, the silencer dealer will charge the buyer additional money to complete and mail the paperwork. On average, dealers charge extra fees of $70 to $100.

Learn more about Nevada gun laws.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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