The Keefe Report: Brilliant Idea … Houston, We Have a Problem

posted on September 21, 2017

Brilliant idea … Houston, we have a problem.

Actually, there probably won't be a problem in Houston. But maybe in San Diego.

When we received the embargoed release from SilencerCo about the Maxim 50, I sat at my desk, shook my head and was not necessarily gobsmacked, but impressed by the idea of a suppressed muzzleloader. Let's face it, the muzzleloading rifle business used to be a marketing war akin to Coke versus Pepsi, with Thompson-Center and Knight Rifles going at each other with hammer and tongs.

As new primitive-cartridge rifle seasons have entered many states, the demand for the in-line muzzleloader isn't what it once was. Frankly, CVA came in and took it over while no one else was looking. 

Airgun makers have made sound moderators integral with their air rifles, which are not firearms, so we have seen something like the Maxim 50 before. They just didn't use gunpowder. And by that I mean black powder or a substitute.

With the Maxim 50, SilencerCo did the right thing by going to BATFE and asking for definitive ruling before moving forward. And, under federal law, the Maxim 50 is not a firearm, therefore putting a suppressor on it does not require filling out a BATFE Form 4. What SilencerCo. didn't bank on when releasing the Maxim 50 yesterday was language of individual state laws. Every state in the union has gun laws of their own, and some differ from federal law.

In most states you can buy a muzzleloader out of a catalog or off a website, as they are not considered firearms. But some states, including those listed below in a revised release from SilencerCo, have laws that differ from federal law.

The company touted the Maxim 50 as being legal in all 50 states, but that is not necessarily the case. State lawmakers and regulators will be looking at this, no doubt.

As we have reported recently, interest in suppressors is at an all-time high. Who would not want to be polite to those around them? And NRA backed legislation has been introduced as the Hearing Protection Act.

But the paperwork for legally obtaining a suppressor for a firearm remains, and a long wait, sometimes up to a year, and a $200 federal tax stamp are still required. For those without the patience to wait that year, they can get a taste of what it's like with the Maxim 50.

Below is the statement released yesterday by SilencerCo.:

"Upon launching the Maxim 50, SilencerCo received several immediate legal challenges from authorities and lawyers in the states of New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts. Since we have no desire to place any consumer in a situation where they may get arrested and charged with a felony because their state defines a firearm differently than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), we have placed orders from those states on hold and are refunding customers pending conversations amongst lawyers. These three states have rules that are not entirely clear with respect to firearms and silencers and antique firearms, and it is relevant to point out that no states contemplated a product of this sort in their laws.

SilencerCo asked for and received a determination from the BATFE on behalf of the federal government prior to launch but could not do so officially from each state government or risk specific state-level legislation being passed prohibiting the product before it was even launched. We will refund orders to customers from these states and update consumers as soon as feasible as to the ultimate determination in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

We believe that law abiding citizens should have the ability to purchase and own silencers, regardless of what state they live in. We will continue our efforts in advocacy and encourage all who share our desire to take action and contact their elected representatives by visiting"


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