The Lone Ranger

PA Dealers and NICS Checks (silencers)


2 posts in this topic

A public service announcement for those of you that received a letter recently regarding use of NICS for background checks on silencers:

The reason for this is with 41F came a new interpretation/application of 18 USC 922(t)(3)(B) - see above mentioned form instructions - now if a transferee had no check as part of the application process (by ATF) the dealer does one at time of delivery.  Since PA law prohibits use of PICS for anything other than a firearm transfer and does not include a silencer in their definition of a firearm, NICS is the only route (unless/until PA changes the definition).

1. Nothing about the scope of your license changed - what you could buy/sell before, you can buy/sell now.

2. This does not mean you can engage in the business of selling silencers and be exempt from paying SOT.

3. Read the form 4473 item 20 and instructions.  If you are still perplexed, call ATF in Pennsylvania - do not call the FBI - it's not their form.  The phone number in the letter is for registering to use NICS which is run by the FBI - ATF publishes the forms and Gun Control Act regulations.

4. E-Check is good if you have internet.  You can print or save your work for self-audits and it can be quicker at peak times.


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PA does not require a background check for suppressors, but now ATF wants them for trusts and LLCs.

I have used PICS for silencer background checks in the past when a trust was involved. (?) 

I hope that the ATF updates the 4473 eform soon. It makes ATF audits flow much better. 

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