Suppressors: Misperceptions Still a Barrier to Use

Misperceptions Still a Barrier to Suppressor Use
SilencerCo recently began its “Fight the Noise” campaign to convince state legislators to approve silencers in the 10 states that still ban them.

Starting in July, Minnesota residents will be able to buy, own, and use suppressors on their firearms. This makes Minnesota the 40th state to legalize suppressors. However, the change was opposed by those who claimed suppressors were the tools of criminals.

Opposition from state law enforcement evaporated, the St. Could Times reported: “The executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association [MSA] said after police and his group reviewed data surrounding the use of suppressors during crimes, they were ‘rather surprised’ to find little to no criminal activity associated with the devices.”

"I think many of us had watched too many movies from Hollywood," executive director Jim Franklin told the newspaper.

That reference to Hollywood didn’t surprise Darren Jones, marketing manager for SilencerCo, of West Valley City, Utah, one of the nation’s largest suppressor manufacturers. “Anytime suppressors comes up, critics start talking about how they are ‘whispering death,’ by completely silencing a firearm so it can’t be heard,” said Jones. “Pfft, dead! Pure Hollywood—and completely wrong!”

Suppressors do reduce muzzle blast. A quality suppressor properly matched to the right ammunition can reduce noise below the level that can damage hearing. While that reduction is a big plus for shooters and their hearing, suppressed firearms make more than enough noise to be heard.

The laws surrounding suppressors are another barrier. They were first subjected to added taxes, paperwork, and processing time back in 1934 with the introduction of the National Firearms Act. That law still holds true today. To purchase a suppressor, one must fill out a federal Form 4, pass a background check, and pay a $200 transfer tax. See more about how suppressors work, and how to obtain one, here.

“Essentially, a $200 tax, on top of the suppressor’s cost, to buy something that is no more than safety equipment to protect your hearing,” said Jones. “Could you imagine a $200 tax on safety glasses?”

To educate the public—and politicians—SilencerCo recently began its "Fight the Noise" campaign, offering a kit that includes tape meant to be placed over the mouth to signal suppression.

“Guns don’t have to be loud,” said Jones.