While the United States leads the world in most ways, it has lagged in the adoption of suppressors for guns. In most of gun-averse Europe, mufflers aren’t controversial. In Finland, ownership, manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of gun mufflers is a constitutional right. On most of the continent, suppressors are easier to acquire than firearms; their use is considered good manners . . .
Not so in the United States. Due to a weird quirk in firearms law passed during the Roosevelt administration, gun mufflers require a $200 dollar tax to be paid to the federal government. Processing of the tax form takes several months. When the law was passed, the tax was equivalent to $4,000 in today’s dollars. This tax was on a device that normally cost $10 at the time. Today such devices can be had for $50 in Finland. No reason was given for the virtual ban on the mufflers.
Now that inflation has reduced the value of the tax to “only” one half to four times the cost of the device, there has been a resurgence in the use of suppressors. States are seeing the advantages of reducing ear damage and the irritation of neighbors. Most states now allow the mufflers to be used for hunting.
Florida already allows gun mufflers to be used on private property with rifles and pistols, and for hunting with shotguns. From jacksonville.com:
Hunting game in Florida could become less noisy by the end of the year.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advanced a proposal Wednesday to remove a prohibition on the use of noise-suppressors, or silencers, with rifles and pistols when hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows.
The proposal will now be advertised in the Florida Administrative Register, and the commission is expected to vote on the new rule in November.
Florida is likely to join the other states in allowing the devices to be used for most hunting. It’s hard to argue against it when bows and crossbows are legal.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.