Solvent traps are used by game hunters to conveniently clean firearms after use. However, legal concerns have arisen over solvent trap use due to the fact that solvent traps can potentially be altered to function as silencers or suppressors. The use or possession of this type of firearm accessory is heavily regulated in some states.

Legal concerns regarding the use of solvent traps aren't just about avoiding hefty fines. They're also about steering clear of criminal charges. The following are four tips for avoiding legal troubles while still taking advantage of the cleaning benefits that solvent traps bring to firearms owners:

Don't modify the solvent trap

Usually, a bullet cannot travel through a solvent trap unless it is modified. Any modifications to a solvent trap that look like they could be intended to allow for the passage of a bullet could cause suspicion.

Be careful when you're using a solvent trap to avoid any modifications to the containment tube, end cap, or threaded adapter that look like they might accommodate a bullet through the barrel of the firearm. 

Keep your solvent trap at home when using your firearm

You can avoid suspicion entirely if you're never bringing your solvent trap with you in situations when your gun is being fired. A solvent trap can't be used as a silencer or a suppressor if it's not with you when you're firing your gun. 

Know your state laws

Laws regarding suppressor use vary by state. For example, suppressor use for the hunting of games animals is legal in Virginia and Washington while it's considered a felony in California and prohibited in Hawaii. 

If you want to use a solvent trap for cleaning and you'll be hunting or transporting your firearm in various states, do your research. Before you use your firearms in any state, you should make sure you're aware of any state laws that apply in that state. 

Be careful when buying from manufacturers based in other states

Manufacturers of gun cleaning tools like solvent traps will be creating products to comply with the demands of their own unique state laws. If you buy a product in one state and bring it across state lines, you need to be careful to avoid breaking any laws regarding suppressor or silencer use or possession.

To be on the safe side, you might want to put the effort into discussing the issue with an out-of-state manufacturer of any solvent trap you're planning on using. Solvent trap and kit manufacturers should be happy to provide you with information pertinent to legal restrictions in their state and in neighboring states.