Trial has been set in the New Hampshire federal court starting August 4th, where Sig Sauer is contesting the ATF's determination that a muzzle device it introduced at the 2013 SHOT Show is a silencer.
The ATF Firearms Technology Branch ruled the muzzle break was an internal component of a silencer, and thus a silencer and not a muzzle break as claimed. While the agency acknowledges that the device is not explicitly a silencer, it is a silencer part and it’s ruling still fits within the context of the law because the law includes “combination of parts” and “any part” language.
Sig Sauer says the company aims to simply challenge a regulator that "overreaches" how it interprets legal definitions. “ATF describes the Sig item as a ‘monolithic baffle core’ with ‘expansion chambers, baffles, angled baffles, holes or slots,'” Sig adds. “Because the device has no outer tube, it cannot be said to have “expansion chambers.” Sig also argues "[a] ruling upholding ATF’s classification will also create uncertainty within the firearms industry and among law-abiding gun owners, as all muzzle brakes could potentially be regulated as silencers under the rationale articulated by ATF.”
The ATF counters “[Sig’s] argument would lead to an absurd result — the removal of silencer parts from the [National Firearms Act] based solely on the maker’s stated intent. This result was not intended by Congress."
How exactly the ATF can know what Congress intended in regulating suppressors through the NFA is a great mystery to us, given that the legislative history of the act is completely devoid of debate or discussion of why silencers needed to be regulated in the first place.