Washington Post Mag article: guy that was busted for shooting a silenced weapon?

I remember reading an article way back (10 years+) about a guy who was busted by an FBI sting for shooting a silenced weapon once. Does anyone remember the name of the guy or the case?



There have probably been quite a few, do you have any more specifics? I should also add that shooting a silenced (suppressed) firearm is not illegal. They are even legal to buy, but you have to pay a $200 tax stamp to buy one.

Depends on the state. Here in Washington we have a peculiar circumstance in which it’s completely legal to purchase and own a suppressor (and most gun stores will happily sell you one), but under state law it’s actually a gross misdemeanor to discharge a round through one.

RCW 9.41.250:

I can understand that. The silencer is even quieter if no round is fired. Plus there’s less crime and less environmental pollution. Truly progressive win-win thinking at work.

Hrmm… IIRC, the FBI used an informant, he shot it only once and he did not even own the gun, and the fine was huge, not merely $200. It was something like $20k and some serious jail time. I do remember the NRA backing him. Possibly late 80’s early 90’s is when the offense actually occurred. Article was written in the early 90’s I believe.


Shooting a weapon in certain areas–for instance, within the city or too close to a dwelling–is illegal regardless of type. Was the actual issue that he fired through a suppressor or was it that he shot a weapon in his backyard?

It was the fact that he shot it. It was at an actual firing range IIRC. Any ways, it was an FBI thing and he got caught up in it.

The $200 thing isn’t a fine – that’s the price of the tax stamp you have to purchase in order to possess a suppressor legally. (Along with federal registration of same.)

You said he didn’t even own the gun, but he owned the suppressor, right? He would have had to in order to be busted, since there’s no problem if somebody just lets you shoot through their own (properly registered) suppressor.

He did not own either the gun or the suppressor. I believe the suppressor may have been illegal in that it was not registered. Which, was part of his argument, that he did not own either and all he did was fire one shot. But, the FBI got him on firing a firearm with an unlicensed suppressor.

Any ways, I take it no one remembers the case.

Anything similar to this?

Kinda, except guy was not a mobster or gang related. Just some dude that shot the weapon.

I can’t find the story, but wasn’t there recently a story of someone whose gun malfunctioned for one or two rounds, fired them consecutively, and now he is in peril/in jail for owning a machine gun?