Be Careful What You Watch on YouTube – You Never Know Where Your Solvent Trap Fuel Filter Originated
The internet has led to a proliferation of homemade firearms and weapons in the recent past. This has subsequently created a severe problem for law enforcement (ATF, FBI, relevant local law enforcement etc..) in the USA. These weapons have been linked to firearm-related crimes, including drug-related killings and mass shootings. Within the last five years, YouTube has tightened its restrictions on firearm content to help curb this issue. However, a deep search on the site will uncover tens of videos demonstrating the assembling of “ghost firearms” and others along this line.
Most recently, there has been a rise in YouTube ads for “fuel filters” being sold by online sellers. It is necessary to note that most of these “fuel filter” sellers are Chinese-based or import their products from Chinese manufacturers. Advertisements on car parts and accessories are legal. However, the issue is that these supposed filters are a step away from becoming functioning firearm silencing devices. Apart from these prevalent ads, you are also bound to come across a few videos demonstrating how to use a fuel filter to minimize muzzle flash.
YouTube has previously stated that they ensure that users comply with their guidelines. However, these ads and videos still seem to be finding their way onto the platform and being viewed by millions of Americans.
Is it Safe to Buy "Fuel Filters" Advertised on YouTube?
You should not purchase potentially illegal “fuel filters” you see being advertised on this platform right off the bat. If you are a firearm owner, YouTube has probably already used your algorithm to push one or two of these ads your way. To circle back, when we say ”potentially illegal fuel filters”, we obviously understand that fuel filters to be used for automobiles are not illegal, but depending on their characteristics and their combined use or intended use on a firearm may very well deem them an unregistered NFA item. Many fuel filter solvent traps do indeed have inherent characteristics that would deem them illegal without first obtaining an NFA Tax Stamp for the unit. In short, it is best to simply stand clear of such items all-together. Furthermore, the likelihood of the U.S Customs, Homeland Security, and the ATF contacting or visiting you once you place an order is almost inevitable. If this package makes it to your doorstep by chance, you will probably be investigated, arrested, or slapped with a felony charge.
"Fuel filter" Ads on YouTube and What They Are
For several months, users have been coming across YouTube ads for “fuel filters” whose configurations are identical to firearm suppressing devices. In some of these ads, the sellers assert that a solvent trap fuel filter cannot be classified as anything firearm-related unless a hole is drilled through the center of the end cap. However, most owners are familiar with the ATF laws and understand that a sale of this nature is nothing but jailbait.
According to YouTube’s reputation regarding firearm content on their website, you would expect them to take down all these adverts. However, some continue running for weeks and even for a few months. When they stay up, as an innocent buyer, you may become convinced that these sales are legal due to a lack of interest from the ATF. Before you make any purchase, you should go online and search for comments from those that have.
Read through the comments, and you will soon discover that your best bet when buying a fuel filter is to take a trip to the auto shop. Some firearm holders have had the ATF confiscate their firearms because they made “fuel filter” purchases online. Apart from confiscating these filters, there are instances of the ATF dropping felony charges on the buyers. Each “fuel filter” earns you one count of illegally possessing a firearm suppressing device.
What happens when you purchase a "fuel filter" online?
As mentioned before, most of these “fuel filters” are being shipped over to the U.S. by manufacturers in China. Therefore, Customs is aware of the shipments containing them and is intercepting most of them on arrival. Additionally, the agency identifies the purchasers and sends them letters regarding violated laws. If your package makes it past Customs and onto your doorstep, Homeland Security investigations take over. They will contact you within a few days or weeks, explaining the violated laws and demanding that you turn over the “fuel filters.”
In some instances, Homeland Security might even decide to show up at your house. If the authorities mentioned above don’t contact you, you will likely receive a call or visit from the ATF. Sometimes, your local Sheriff’s Department might be tasked with coming over to your house and confiscating your packages. If you decide to be defiant, your situation will take a dramatic turn. Instead of just confiscating your “fuel filter,” any of these agencies have the mandate to confiscate all your firearms and immediately arrest you for felony charges.
Consequently, you will need thousands of dollars in lawyer fees to keep yourself out of jail. Because such a charge can carry up to 10 years, cooperating with the authorities is in your best interest. Suppose you had no idea before reading this and have already made a purchase; do not modify anything. This could be used as proof that you purchased it with the sole intent of using it on your firearm.
Everyone that owns a car knows how car fuel filters look. If you have seen those being sold online, you will understand that they cannot work efficiently on vehicles. The so-called “solvent traps” can only be used for one purpose, as illegal substitutions for firearm suppressing devices. They are essentially metallic cylinders, which can be attached to firearms once drilled in the center and efficiently serve their real purpose. Any expert in the firearms and tactical industry already knows this. If you want to make a legal purchase, you are better off following the correct legal process.
It should not be a problem for anyone living in a state that allows private citizens to own them. Although you will need to wait for some months to be approved and pay $200 in taxes, you will not get into trouble with the law. If you are already a firearm holder, you are probably privy to firearm possession laws. There are numerous resources online to guide you if you are not familiar with the laws in your state.