Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>

Texas HB 957: Can You Buy A Suppressor Without the Stamp?

Texas HB 957 is a new state law that skirts federal gun laws and the NFA when buying a suppressor within the state...but is it legal? We discuss...

Texas took on federal law earlier this year deciding to say no thanks to federal registration and guidelines for silencers.

In June 2021, the state passed a bill called HB 957.

On paper, it would allow Texas suppressor manufacturers to sell their products to Texans without going through the federal registration process.

Suppressor ATF Stamp
NFA Tax Stamp

But silencer makers say this isn’t as clear-cut as it appears on the surface. And, in short, they say skirting the NFA can still land you jail time.

So, to help clear up the confusion, let’s dive into HB 957. We’ll talk about the law itself and what it aimed to do.

Table of Contents

Loading...

What is HB 957?

Gov. Greg Abbot (R) signed HB 957 into law on June 15, 2021.

The bill targeted suppressors in an effort to make selling and owning a bit easier.

Drilled down, the law skirts federal firearms laws. It disallows the enforcement of the National Firearms Act as it pertains to suppressors.

.30 Cal and 5.56 Suppressors
.30 Cal and 5.56 Suppressors

In essence, it allows suppressors made in Texas to be sold without registration with the ATF.

That is, as long as the suppressor’s parts are made in Texas and the suppressors stay within the state’s borders.

Abbott signed HB 957, along with several other gun-related bills, emphasizing the state’s commitment to upholding the Second Amendment.

Silencer Central Banish 30 with Suppressor Cover

“Politicians from the federal level to the local level have threatened to take guns from law-abiding citizens — but we will not let that happen in Texas,” Abbott said at the signing.

“Texas will always be the leader in defending the Second Amendment, which is why we built a barrier around gun rights this session. These seven laws will protect the rights of law-abiding citizens and ensure that Texas remains a bastion of freedom.”

Beretta Bobcat with SilencerCo Sparrow 22
Beretta Bobcat with SilencerCo Sparrow 22

Texas is not the first state to attempt a loophole around federal firearms legislation similar to this. Kansas and Montana have similar laws on the books.

On the surface, this seems like a win for gun owners and suppressor fans. But suppressor makers and others warn that it’s not as easy as it looks…

Pitfalls of the Legislation

Brandon Maddox, CEO of Silencer Central, warned that federal law still trumps state law. Though Texas was well-meaning in its efforts to help gun owners, the ATF still has jurisdiction.

“The reality is no matter what the state says, you still have to follow [the feds] law, and they still have jurisdiction,” Maddox explained.

G19 with Banish 45
G19 with Banish 45

He pointed out that the vagueness of the current law means the ATF could intercede and deem the transaction illegal.

Further complicating the issue is that HB 957 states that parts must be manufactured in Texas. But it doesn’t define which parts or how far down the supply chain that goes.

Banish 45 disassembled

“The ATF could call me up [as a suppressor manufacturer] and say they’re prosecuting someone, and they want proof of where our titanium was made. And they could build a case around that. They could say, ‘He didn’t make the steel in Texas.’”

Maddox said law enforcement can interpret the rules as they fit. At that point, the only recourse would be federal or Supreme Court intervention.

But even that could prove tricky.

“Every time something like this has gone to the Supreme Court, they’ve said that the feds have control over things that could cross state lines,” Maddox said.

Even the American Suppressor Association weighed in. The group deterred those that might seek to grab a suppressor without going through the NFA process.

“The American Suppressor Association is deeply grateful to the Texas Legislature and Gov. Abbott for their support of suppressor rights,” ASA said in a press statement.

Silencer Center Banish 45 PCC
Silencer Center Banish 45

“However, we feel that it is important to note that, even after this law goes into effect on September 1, 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will continue to enforce federal laws with respect to these silencers and suppressors, which ATF insists still require registration under the National Firearms Act. This means that possession of an unregistered suppressor or silencer, even one manufactured in Texas, could lead to federal criminal prosecution.”

Possession of an unregistered silencer is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 10 years in prison.

Jail

ATF’s Stance

Not to be outdone, the ATF itself weighed in on HB 957. In a memo, the Bureau was very clear that suppressors still fall under the NFA banner under the Gun Control Act.

ATF has entered the chat.

“HB957 claims to exempt silencers (also known as suppressors) that are manufactured in Texas, and which remain in Texas, from Federal firearms laws and regulations, including the federal registration requirements. However, because HB957 directly conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulations, federal law supersedes HB957,” the agency said.

“In summary, all provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA), including their corresponding regulations, continue to apply to FFLs and other persons in Texas.”

Conclusion

Texas’ HB 957 may seem to give residents the upper hand when it comes to suppressor ownership.

In reality, though, sticking with the current federal system is your best bet to avoid jail time or a hefty fine.

Ruger Buckmark with Banish 22
Ruger Buckmark with Banish 22

What do you think of HB 957? Let us know in the comments below. Interested in suppressors? Check out our write-ups on the Best 9mm and .45 ACP suppressors and 5.56/.30 Cal Cans. Or you can see how to buy in our guide on Buying Suppressors Online.

The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    John

    If I have a post office box in Texas can I own a silencer I like to keep my address my own business

    July 14, 2022 4:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings

      We suggest talking to a local attorney about this. We're not legal experts and don't want to steer you in the wrong direction.

      July 15, 2022 4:51 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Henry

    This is how the law works. The 2nd Amendment " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Clearly states the "right to bear arms shall not be infringed". Clearly states a "well regulated militia". At the time of the composing of the Amendment a militia was regulated by the people of the state which composed the members of that militia. The people elected the representatives of that state's government which was given some powers to enact regulations of that militia. So the Second Amendment is guaranteeing the rights of a state to maintain the regulation of it's militia ie citizens' bearing and keeping arms. The government unlawfully assumed a power with the passing of Acts restricting and regulating guns. The federal government has no authority granted by the constitution to take powers from the citizens of states. This is why Marijuana is and remains legal in some states. Federal law enforcement is out of jurisdiction in any state without permission from local authorities to pursue any of it's laws at a federal law system. With the exception of federally owned and maintained lands ie National Parks. Federal buildings (Post Office), Federal courts etc.

    In short and summary, ant state's adherence and cooperation to federal regulations on guns is voluntary and subject to the voters of each state's citizens (militia).

    June 30, 2022 7:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    ToolsforLiberty

    So long at State and local gov’t refuse to cooperate with the Fed. Gov’t they can’t enforce. This Anti-commandeering has been upheld by SCOTUS stating states cannot be forced to cooperate. This Is how/why other states have moved forward in ignoring Federal drug laws with respect to marijuana.

    May 5, 2022 7:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Henry

      I agree but would add that the Marijuana issue is not as specific a grant. It is covered by the 10th and 14th Amendments and not specific as I the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.", specifically guarantees the state's right to regulate it's own gun laws. It specifically states it cannot be infringed period. It doesn't say except for things the federal government determines unacceptable. It simply says the federal government has no authority over guns the states do.

      June 30, 2022 7:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    BobF

    The ATF tags for suppressors is utterly banal - turns out if you want to purchase 3 suppressors you must go through the approval process three times (I mean, fine, the $200 tax stamp, but really?)

    Meanwhile, I wonder how this "state vs feds" kerfuffle differs from that of marijuana - various states have legalized it for recreational use but at the federal level is is (or at least was) still illegal. Or is this because "guns are evil and scary"?

    December 10, 2021 12:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Henry

      There is one main difference and a few smaller ones. The main: The 2nd Amendment guarantees a state's right to not be infringed upon by the federal government for regulating it's gun laws. The smaller ones are jurisdictional matters federal property (National Parks, Federal Courts, US Post Offices, and buildings).

      With the 21st Amendment (ending prohibition ie the 18th Amendment granted by the Volstead Act of 1919) the first section rpeals the 18th Amendment and section 2 provides a right for states to regulate its own laws concerning production, consumption and possession of alcohol.

      As of yet there is no Amendment about using marijuana or any drugs. There are laws concerning drugs, the Controlled Substances Act. It places all drugs into 5 schedules (categories). Interestingly, Ethylalcohol (booze), caffeine and nicotine is not listed in the schedules of drugs. Tetrahydrocanibinols ( all chemicals in Marijuana) is however!

      Also interesting is some states have made all schedule 3 drugs legal for possession and consumption. Schedule 3 drugs are drugs which have no provided medicinal or therapeutic value proven to the DEA, HHS or FDA.

      June 30, 2022 8:21 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Frank Dutill

    I am a resident of Texas and have been waiting since early April to get my suppressor stamp. I have a CWL which requires a background check, I served in the Military and Law Enforcement also have purchased many guns, all requiring a background check. I don't understand why the feds have to be involved at all in State business, which makes everything harder.

    December 10, 2021 7:50 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert Baublitz

    N.F.A. should have been repealed at the same time as Prohibition. Organized crime that arose because of Prohibition, which begat the N.F.A.
    Repeal N.F.A. now! Should've been done almost 90 years ago.
    Hey Congress, are you listening!

    December 10, 2021 5:09 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    jay house

    Seems to me a war was fought between the Feds and the states and the states lost, and we have been suffering ever since.

    December 9, 2021 12:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Terry L Meek

    Yeah, there were a couple of our Kansas Boys tried the firearms thing here, while the Governor and AG were swearing it was a done deal, those guys went to prison , and the state never said a word.

    December 8, 2021 8:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Lew

      Governor Abbott could have gone from the signing ceremony straight to a dealer and bought a silencer and defied the Feds to prosecute him. But that would mean that he wanted real change, and all he wants is meaningless signifying.

      December 9, 2021 5:26 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian Edgett

    You forgot the part, that states. The AG of Texas has to bring a challenge to the courts. And the area that is based in the 13th Ammendment, to give a state it's own power's.

    December 8, 2021 6:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kenneth Stephens

    Exactly. Most of those prohibited by federal law but somehow the states get away with it. Same with being a sanctuary immigration state. It’s bs.

    December 8, 2021 5:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    He Who Must Not Be Named

    Bingo

    December 8, 2021 4:58 pm
Join the community! Log in
Please provide a valid email address.
Password is required.
or
Register
Please provide a valid email address.
The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number and one capital letter.
or
Trouble logging in?
Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
Please provide a valid email.
Password
Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

Account in Pew Pew meter means more

Check what do you get by creating an account
Check and save your reviews!
Bookmark and compare your favorite firearms
Manage your newsletter subscription
pew pew tactical logo

new here?

Personalize your experience.
Select what level shooter you are!

pew pew tactical logo

level up your gun knowledge

Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

pew pew tactical logo

welcome!

You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

$47 value

yours free!

targets targets
free

practice targets

printer icon printable

our 9 favorite targets and drills

free

practice targets

printer icon printable

enter your email to download

We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

success icon

Ready to Download

Click below to begin your download

download pdf