Every time I go to the range with a suppressor, someone asks me if they’re legal. Overlooking the obvious fact that if they were illegal, I wouldn’t have several or be flaunting them in public, I always answer that, yes, suppressors are legal to own. As previously mentioned in another post, suppressors are considered firearms under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (as well as subsequent legislation) and require registration with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Additionally, one must complete an application to transfer possession of a suppressor and pay a $200 transfer fee. The application, ATF 5320.4, commonly referred to as a “Form 4” is similar to the Form 4473 that’s required for purchases of firearms from a licensed dealer. In addition to the identifying information required on the 4473 (like name, address, etc.) the Form 4 has additional requirements, such as:
- filling the forms out in triplicate (one for ATF, one returned to the transferee and one submitted to your Chief Law Enforcement Officer – your chief of police or sheriff),
- the need for two sets of fingerprints (which must be submitted on FD-258 fingerprint cards, and
- passport size and quality photos
26 U.S.C. Sec. 5845(a) Defines what firearms are included in the National Firearms Act:
- Shotgun with barrel(s) less than 18 inches;
- Weapon made from a shotgun with a barrel less than 28 inches or an overall length of less than 26 inches;
- Rifle with barrel(s) less than 16 inches;
- A weapon made from a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches or overall length of less than 26 inches;
- Any Other Weapon (AOW) that is capable of being concealed on the person as defined in 26 U.S.C 5854(a);
- A machine gun;
- A silencer (Suppressor); or a
- Destructive device.
All of these items are legal in South Carolina, assuming they are approved and properly transferred. So, yes, suppressors are legal in South Carolina and, yes, you can most likely own one simply by submitting the proper documents.
When it comes to owning a suppressor or other NFA firearm, a trust is ideal. An NFA or Gun Trust allows for maximum flexibility and privacy for NFA ownership.