Judge favors ATF in Sig lawsuit: It’s a silencer

Sig Sauer MPX carbine

The Sig Sauer MPX carbine on display at the 2013 SHOT Show. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/Guns.com)

A federal judge denied gun maker Sig Sauer’s claim that the government “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner” when it labeled its product a silencer.

New Hampshire District Judge Paul Barbadoro issued an opinion Thursday on the company’s administrative case against Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and granted the agency’s motion for summary judgement.

“[T]he ATF acted rationally in concluding that Sig Sauer intended the baffle core to be used only as a silencer part because the agency pointed to substantial evidence in the record to support its determination,” Barbadoro said.

The judge agreed with the ATF that the device — the core component to a silencer welded onto the barrel of a carbine — was only intended to be a component in a silencer and that Sig did not intend it to serve as a muzzle brake.

He pointed to the ATF’s evidence showing similarities between a silencer and the device, and differences between common muzzle brake designs and the device.

“[T]he ATF was presented with conflicting evidence as to whether Sig Sauer intended the baffle core to be used only as a silencer,” he said. “It considered the relevant evidence using the correct legal standard and came to a rational conclusion based upon its expertise. No more is required to sustain its decision.”

The judge based his opinion on a hearing in July in which both parties presented arguments. The lawsuit was filed in April 2014.

Barbadoro was nominated to his position by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Before he became a judge he served as the deputy chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee in 1987 over the Iran-Contra affair, and was the assistant attorney general for the state of New Hampshire.