Texas’ New Suppressor Law

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

Every time Democrats in Congress and the White House start making noise about restricting our Second Amendment rights, their rhetoric ends up facing a huge backlash at the state level. Before former President Obama’s two terms in office, there was only one state in the Union which allowed Constitutional Carry; New Hampshire. But thanks to Obama’s constant anti-gun rhetoric, there are now 20 states that have some form of Constitutional Carry on the books.

The most recent of those states is Texas, where House Bill 1927 authorizes Constitutional Carry in the Lone Star state as of September 1st. But that’s not all that the Texas Legislature passed. The same day that Governor Abbott signed that bill into law, he signed six other bills into law, including one (House Bill 957) that allows for the manufacture, transport and repair of a firearm silencer, as long as it stays within Texas borders.

This is an important distinction, as the right of the federal government to regulate firearms sales is based upon the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. As long as the item stays within the state it is manufactured in, the federal government has no right to regulate it.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t tax it; and tax it they do. The National Firearms Act of 1935 not only regulated the sale of a number of different types of firearms, such as fully-automatic rifles and short-barreled rifles, it also attached a tax to ownership of those firearms. Since suppressors were included in the list of firearms and firearms related items covered under that law, the federal government, through the ATF, is able to tax us $200 for the privilege of registering those items covered under the National Firearms Act.

What this means is that this new law, signed into effect in Texas, is a legal mess. The Tenth Amendment states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This is a rather confusing amendment and one that has received multiple legal challenges. Over the years, the federal government has been grabbing more and more power, under the pretext that they can. As long as the states don’t stop them, they manage to get away with it. But it’s not all that easy for the states to stop them. That takes legal action in federal court; and if the action goes to the wrong federal court, with judges who lean towards giving the federal government more power, the courts don’t end up helping the states.

That’s what has happened on this same issue twice before. The states of Kansas and Montana have passed similar bills, only to have them overturned by the courts. In the case of Montana, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. In the case of Kansas, the 10th Circuit Court ruled that Kansas’ law did not protect their citizens from the federal government’s taxing authority.

So what this new law is, is nothing more than another attempt at challenging the federal government’s overreach. That’s worth doing, as the states will continue losing power, and thereby their sovereignty, to the federal government if they don’t make these sorts of challenges. Ultimately, that affects our rights, as the feds continue to take more and more rights away from us.

If you happen to live in Texas and you want to take part in challenging the federal government in this, there will probably be a window of opportunity to do so, starting September 1st. It will take some time for the case to make its way through the court system and be overturned by the federal courts. In the mean time, it will be legal to buy suppressors in Texas, as long as they are manufactured in Texas.

The big question is who will be selling those suppressors. Any gun store that sells them would be risking the possibility of losing their federal firearms license; so I doubt there will be many willing to take that chance. Likewise, any firearms manufacturer who makes those suppressors and sells them directly to the public stands the risk of losing their firearms manufacturing license. Once again, it’s unlikely that any will want to take that risk. So unless someone opens up a manufacturing operation just to take advantage of that window of opportunity, I’m not sure where those suppressors would come from.

On the flip side of that coin, it would seem to me that once the new law is in effect on September 1st it would be legal to manufacture your own suppressor in Texas, just as long as it stays in Texas. So if you’ve got a machine shop available to you, that might be something you want to consider. But if not, I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how the legal challenge works out.

Sure would be nice to have one though; seems to go well with keeping our powder dry and our survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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