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Suppressing Suppressor Myths

By Jeff Johnston

Suppressors, commonly but less accurately called silencers or “cans,” have been commercially available since 1908. Unfortunately for freedom-and hearing-cherishing Americans, they have been demonized by the anti-gun media largely due to their portrayal as “assassin tools” in Hollywood movies. In reality, however, suppressors are common in other countries because of the vast benefits they offer shooters and hunters. Here are few common myths about suppressors.

The Expert Deferral: (The following information courtesy Silencerco. 

1. Myth: Suppressors have no good purpose.
Suppressors offer:
 -Increased accuracy for hunters and target shooters because they minimize flinching before the shot. When shooting an unsuppressed gun the nervous system prepares for a startling bang, which often results in flinching and poor accuracy.)  For more on this see Shooting Illustrated’s article entitled “The Truth about Silencers.”

-Hearing Protection: According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, 18 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Fifty million suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears.) In fact, disability payments to combat veterans will soon reach 1.1 billion annually. If suppressors were more prevalent these figures could be reduced.

-Benefits to Hunters: Hunters often have to choose between hearing game and protecting their hearing. By using a suppressor, they can do both.

 -Personal Protection Safety: Defensive gunshots in the closed confines of a home or car can leave permanent damage to the shooter’s ears. Using a suppressed firearm in a defensive situation can mean that only the criminal is injured.

 -Better neighbor relations: Suppressors reduce noise complaints where people live in close proximity to target ranges, hunting or plinking.
2. Myth: Suppressors are illegal.

Suppressors are legal in 39 states, and NRA-ILA is aggressively promoting pro-suppressor legislation. Recent initiatives in Indiana, Arizona, Texas and Georgia have passed or are pending.

3. Myth: Suppressors are often used in crimes.
Legally obtained suppressors are rarely used in crimes.

4. Myth: Suppressors make standard loads absolutely silent.
Suppressors only work to lesson the blast of rapidly escaping gasses at the muzzle; downrange, any bullet that reaches hypersonic speeds still makes a loud “crack” as it breaks the sound barrier, but this noise is usually far enough away from the shooter to mitigate hearing damage compared to an unsuppressed bullet.

5. Myth: Suppressors are impossible to obtain.
Any law-abiding citizen, 21 years of age or over, who lives in a state where ownership is legal, meets state criteria and pays a $200 one-time tax stamp fee can obtain a suppressor. However, the process can take up to 6 months due to backlog and slow processing by the federal government. Read here for specific information on how to obtain one.

Hushed Facts:
*Hiram P. Maxim invented the first commercially available suppressor in 1908.
*Civilians purchase over 27,000 suppressors per year.
*A one-time tax stamp for suppressor purchase costs $200, the same as it did in 1934 when the law was made.
*In 2010 three large suppressor companies, including Advanced Armament Corp., GemTech and Silencerco teamed together to create the American Silencer Association (ASA) to educate the public about the benefits of suppressors.
*85 percent of Americans believe suppressors are illegal.

Go to silencersarelegal.com for more information, and excercise your rights: Buy a suppressor.

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6 Responses to Suppressing Suppressor Myths

Justjames wrote:
March 20, 2012

comments about difficulty in obtaining fingerprints and photographs are not accurate and rather misleading,lots of drugstores offer passport photos at photo counters ,and law enforcement will seldom stand in the way of any one making an active effort to obey the laws of the land. Its simply an issue of time and patience.

Gun Trust Lawyer David Goldman wrote:
February 20, 2012

Privacy issues including the CLEO signature, pictures, and photographs can be dealt with using a Gun Trust. To learn more about owning Silencers with a Gun Trust take see http://www.guntrustlawyer.com or search on google.

Tim wrote:
February 15, 2012

What would the recall from a hypersonic bullet be like? Just imagine....

Bryan S. wrote:
February 15, 2012

The 200 fee plus the time to get photographs and fingerprinted, and other "mother may I's" put it out of reach of many people. Plus, this creates an economy of scale, highly restricted items become more expensive, because the item is harder to make a product off of. We are a bit of ways from the idea that we can use a simple piece of equipment as free men and women.

Robert wrote:
February 15, 2012

I've got one that I bought with one of those Bush tax refund deals. Bought a .22 cal rated to handle full-auto through a .223. Too much suppressor. Spends most of it's time living on a 10/22. If I had it to do over again I would back it down to a cheaper and lighter version. Took about as long to get as a CHL. Six months waiting on paperwork. They ought to be available in blister packs at Walmart.

Steve wrote:
February 14, 2012

Minnesota has a state law against suppressors. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.66 makes it a felony to possess a suppressor in the State of Minnesota, with only a law enforcement/state agency/museum exceptions.