SCOTUS Turns Down Suppressor Challenge

Yesterday the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS) rejected a challenge from Jeremy Kettler and Shane Cox that could have removed suppressors/silencers from the National Firearms Act.

A little background. In 2013 Kansas passed a law that exempted any item built in the state and that remained in the state from Federal firearms laws… allegedly. So in theory, under that law, a Kansas resident could build otherwise NFA controlled items in compliance with state law as long as the items were only transferred within the state.

So Cox made silencers.

After Kettler purchased a silencer from Cox and put it on Facebook the ATF got involved. Both Kettler and Cox were arrested, charged and convicted of violating the NFA, despite the Kansas law. Cox thought he could make them under the Kansas law and Kettler thought he could purchase them. The ATF disagreed.

Kettler and Cox appealed but…

But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Second Amendment does not protect silencers, as they are not “bearable arms.” A gun suppressor, the Denver-based appeals court said, is a “firearm accessory; it’s not a weapon in itself.”

Umm.. that’s bullshit there 10th Circuit.

Silencers are Title II weapons under the National Firearms Act.

They are serialized and tracked in the NFA registry. They go on a 4473 form like any other firearm transfer. Legally, in all facets, they are weapons. They are more restricted than the average firearm. “Accessories” aren’t subject to any of those transfer requirements. Grips, stocks, magazines, triggers, and just about anything else you can accessorize a firearm with are not legally firearms and do not go through that process. But silencers do. So silencers are “accessories” when it is legally convenient for them to be and NFA firearms when it is legally convenient for them to be.. got it.

I’m not arguing what Kettler and Cox did didn’t violate the NFA. It did. I do agree the NFA is an egregious breach of the 2nd Amendment.

And the logic applied by the 10th Circuit is a steaming pile. No other “accessory” is handled like a silencer, not one.

There has been speculation that the President’s recent comments on a possible silencer ban influenced this ruling. While possible I don’t know if that was it. Combined with Virginia Beach shooting the optics would certainly look horrific, deregulating an item used in an attack like that would earn the full measure of undeserved ire. Announcing the NFA was open to new machine guns would have been just as impossible right after Las Vegas…

This sucks. That’s all there is to it. I think Kettler and Cox got hosed. I think the 10th Circuit used bullshit reasoning. And because of Virginia Beach and the President’s comments I think Kettler and Cox are staying hosed…

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.