“Solvent Trap” seller shut down by ATF
Prescott, Arizona business SD Tactical reported last night that ATF has shut down their operations, which focused on selling “solvent traps.”
Products marketed under the “solvent trap” moniker vary greatly. Some are merely thread adapters designed to allow the mounting of an oil filter to a firearm’s muzzle. Others are more complete assemblies with thread adapter, outer tube, freeze plugs, and an end cap. The purported use for these products, as the name suggests, is to capture cleaning solvent during the messy process of cleaning a firearm’s bore.
However, the obvious intended use of these products is to manufacturer a silencer. And indeed, many people acquire these items in due course after filing and receiving approval of an ATF Form 1 to make a silencer. Others use these products to build silencers without doing NFA paperwork or paying the making tax.
What some people may not realize, though, is that acquiring a product like these may violate the law even if the buyer has not yet made modifications to it to make it function as a silencer. Virginia lawyer John Pierce has posted information from an ATF guidance letter related to solvent traps, which includes the following statement of ATF’s interpretation of federal law on silencer parts:
It is unfortunate that ATF has shut down a business selling these solvent trap products to willing customers, but it is not altogether unexpected. Pennsylvania lawyer Joshua Prince warned of the ATF’s position on a related issue in September 2016.
Florida lawyer David Goldman said in April 2015 that, “It would not surprise me, if ATF shut down the ability of companies to sell parts as cleaning kits or solvent traps.” Goldman further warned of the prospect of ATF then potentially targeting solvent trap buyers. That possibility is no doubt on the mind of SD Tactical customers today.