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The Number One Question about Silencers in Idaho

The most common question I get about suppressors is regarding the tax stamp. The short answer is yes, even if you live in Idaho, you have to have a tax stamp. Here’s why.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) is a federal law enacted in 1934 regulating the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain firearms and accessories, such as machine guns, suppressors (silencers), short-barreled shotguns and rifles, and "destructive devices" (bombs and grenades). The law imposes a tax on the making and transfer of these items, as well as a requirement to register them with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The law was enacted in response to the gangster violence of the Prohibition era, and its goal was to curb the use of firearms in crimes. The strict regulations and taxes of the NFA have made firearms difficult and expensive to acquire.

The “tax stamp” fee required for a suppressor by law was $200. That’s a steep tax but imagine paying $200 in 1934! The law made them unaffordable for all but a select few. Inflation has made the tax stamp more affordable, even though it is still a stiff tax to pay.

Idaho did pass a law stating that Idaho residents do not have to purchase the tax stamp (Title 18, Chapter 33). However, federal law requires that everyone purchase the stamp. Because manufacturers must be approved and licensed by the AFT, we must follow federal guidelines. That means that, regardless of Idaho laws, everyone must pay the tax stamp.

One more important point to note is that this is a government process with paperwork, and that means it takes a while. Applications require a background check and processing can take several months. If you are interested in owning a suppressor, it’s a good idea to get the process started as soon as you can.

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