Attachable firearm silencers that we see in the movies can be purchased by private citizens in 42 states, but not without great hassle and an unusual government tax. Silencers (aka suppressors) make shooting sports safer and more enjoyable, and they make defensive shooting much safer too.
Since 1934, the federal government has treated firearms suppressors, as Title II devices that required registration under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and mandated that transfers include a $200 tax stamp which makes them somewhat cost-prohibitive for hunters, target shooters, or everyday homeowners who may want to improve the odds of safely protecting their home and families..
Even with the $200 tax, hassle, and waiting period (months, not days), there are still nearly 800,000 federally registered silencers indicating they are accessible to less than 1% of gun owners.
Contrary to what we see in the movies, firearm silencers don’t eliminate the loud sound, they only muffle it, making the activity less damaging to the shooter’s ears and those who may be nearby. Without silencers, hearing protection is required which compromises the safety of the shooter and others around them in numerous ways.
For example, target shooters who must wear ear protection are unable to give or hear audible instructions, making the whole experience of target shooting less enjoyable and far more dangerous.
Hearing protection reduces hunters’ abilities to hear dangerous animals or their target and inhibits their ability to maneuver around safely, so they usually don’t wear it. However, after firing just one shot from a high power rifle, hunters can suffer temporary and sometimes even permanent hearing damage.
First responders and their families in a home defense situation can be severely disoriented and even physically injured by the sound of a firearm discharge without ear protection. As a result, the subsequent critical moments after a firearm discharge can render someone unable to fully protect themselves or their family.
In the 42 states where silencers are legal, individuals citizens who can afford the hassle and $200 tax are able to use firearm suppressors to increase their enjoyment, effectiveness, and safety when discharging a firearm.
A new bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., aims to change that and do away with the $200 tax stamp and waiting period. The bill simplifies the purchase of a silencer by treating it as part of a gun, which only requires an FBI instant background check.
Under the new Second Amendment-friendly Trump administration, it’s hoped that a new bill called the “Hearing Protection Act” can finally go through and end the hassle, waiting period, and the insane $200 firearm suppressor tax in America. While this will still only apply to the 42 states that are not currently violating its citizen’s Constitutional Rights to bear arms, there is finally a very good chance that organized opposition in states such as California can finally take matters to the Supreme Court for a favorable ruling. Thank you Trump.