SilencerCo Sparrow 22
Courtesy SilencerCo
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By Larry Keane

Prospects for any sort of pro-gun bill moving in Congress are dim, but that doesn’t mean Congress shouldn’t try, especially when it’s a bill to make recreational shooting and hunting safer and make gun ranges better neighbors. That’s why NSSF is urging Congress to consider the Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 95.

It’s an uphill struggle for the HPA as Hollywood and detractors propel a misunderstanding of suppressors. An examination of the facts is helpful as suppressors are already used and increase safety when using a firearm.

Senate Disinformation

U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have already erected roadblocks on streamlining suppressor regulations. Both severely miss the mark when discussing the hardware though. Sen. Gillibrand, staunchly antigun, tweeted in opposition to the 2017 version of the HPA, saying gunfire with suppressors “is quiet,” making it hard for the witnesses of crimes to hear criminal activity.

dead air silencer suppressor
Courtesy Dead Air Silencers

Sen. Menendez went further, introducing legislation in 2019 to ban the sale, import, manufacture or transfer of suppressors. Sen. Menedez said of his bill, “The sound of gunshots is what tells you that your life is danger, and that it’s time to run, hide, take cover, call the police and help others save themselves.”

Both couldn’t be more mistaken.

Suppressor Facts

Detractors vilify “silencers” for fear of what they’ve seen in fiction movies. They believe they’re completely quiet, magically making gunfire a quiet “pffft.” These are Hollywood myths.

Suppressors are attached to the end of a firearm barrel and use a series of baffles to redirect the expanding gases from the barrel, reducing noise. Think of a car’s muffler. Hardly silent, suppressors reduce the noise from a firearm report down to about 130 decibels – around the same noise level as a motorcycle, chain saw or jack hammer. That decrease in noise dramatically makes it safer while hunting and during recreational shooting, protecting the shooter’s hearing as well as any surrounding or nearby participants too.

Suppressors are already common – and growing. In fact by current estimates there are over 1.5 million already registered in the United States and they’re legal to own and use in 42 states, including 40 states that allow them for hunting.

It’s just the process to purchase the accessory is cumbersome and lengthy. Suppressors are still listed on the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) along with machine guns, requiring an extra $200 tax stamp and extensive registration paperwork, submission of photos and fingerprints, chief law enforcement officer notification and duplicative background checks. When things are moving smoothly, it’s about a nine-month process to finally take possession of a suppressor.

pistol suppressor silencer
Jeremy S. for TTAG

Congressman Duncan’s Hearing Protection Act would delist suppressors from the NFA and allow them to be purchased and transferred the same way a firearm is purchased at retail. They would be regulated with the same markings (including serial number), record keeping and FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check that is required for a retail firearm purchase.

Congressional Prospects

Admittedly, prospects for any pro-gun legislation moving in this Congress or being signed by President-elect Joe Biden is dim at best. However, this is common-sense gun safety. This is a measure that will make for better neighbors for those living near gun ranges. European countries with very strict gun control laws actually require suppressors to be used for these very reasons. In some of those countries, they’re available for open purchase at hardware stores.

It’s time to hear the facts. Suppressors reduce noise, reduce recoil and make recreational shooting and hunting safer.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.



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  1. Why is opposition to silencers so hard to understand?

    If none needs a gun, no one needs hearing protection to fend off damage due to the sound of a gun being fired.

    Can’t we all just get along?

    • It all depends on what the definition of Is(common sense) Is.
      Revolutions are rarely the fault of the rebels. In every revolution if the ruling elite had not been so greedy, decadent, corrupt and vile, if they had not suppressed the people for so long, the revolutions would never have been necessary.


    • Yeah, that’s right! I am absolutely certain that Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and all the Democrats are just looking to heal this country and they just want unity!

    • Hollywood movies and TV shows making suppressors out to be magical whisper machines for assassins is a pretty big reason we cannot all just get along on this thing. Not unlike all the idiots who fervently believe the Big Lie that Trump won by a landslide, the Big Lie about suppressors has been around so long that convincing its believers of the truth is all but impossible.

  2. With kamala eventually becoming the president in the very near future, America will start to have california laws put in place or maybe worse.
    Supressors are illegal to possess in California.

  3. In attempting to market the concept that silencers, er, suppressors, er… hearing protection devices, I mean gun mufflers… Anyway, in attempting to show the truth that they aren’t scary assassin devices, don’t show them on a scary weird Calico, or an AR, or a semi auto pistol in “assassin configuration.” Show them on a wooden bolt action hunting rifle, a wood lever action, drag out a skeet shooting shotgunner. A kid with a 10/22. Put one on an old fashion looking revolver.

    Granted they are awesome on PCCs, subguns, ARs, semi auto pistols, fun .22s, but when emphasizing the hearing protection nature, showing the universal appeal helps. In other words, go full fudd with it!

    • Won’t matter. These people don’t want you hunting either as evidenced by the constant Karening a la “I was out hiking with labradoodle and heard gunshots!” and NIMBYs complaining about range noises while both examples work to spread the “silent assassin” myths.

      If it make a it harder for you to own a gun they’ll latch onto whatever cognitive dissonance required to rationalize however the need to.

    • The first non-registered suppressor firearm I actually would want would be a bolt action rifle chambered in .45acp, only thing more fudd would be it chambered in .45 LC with a NRA medallion in the wood stock. I’d be ok with that too. I’m not ok with paying an extra $200 for it though.

      It would be great for teaching new shooters without ear pro and the steel targets would be super audible.

  4. Hey TTAG, enough with this nonsense about positive firearms legislation. It didn’t happen when the Republicans had the House, Senate and the Presidency in 2017-18, it definitely won’t happen now.

    • “Another article on something that has zero chance!?! What gives?”

      Not all information is immediately actionable. Knowing what is going on around you is called “situational awareness”, which is always good.

  5. Bipartisan support for a Pro-Silencer bill, HAHAHAHA!

    Oh wait, you were serious??

    Even if you were, Biden would totally not sign it, c’mon man!

    Was this article recycled from 2017?

  6. Pompous Gun Control Perverts do not care about The Second Amendment. Pompous Perverts interpret the 2A to suit themselves. On the other hand, Pompous goes out the window when you grab Gun Control by its roots and define it for what it is. If you cannot do that then pompous perverts will continue to pee all over the 2A and you.

    One thing about election fraud…It brought out the closet RINOs so they can be moved to camp romney where they belonged all along. I let my senator know it would be a cold day in hell before I ever vote again for mitt romney or anyone I catch calling a stinking slanderous, libelous, election fraud democRat their “colleague.” That word and “honorable so in so” make me want to puke.

  7. A large enough segment of the ‘gun community’ threw its lot in wholeheartedly with a cult of personality disguised as a political movement. That movement got wrecked in an election (which the cult in question will never believe, no matter what) because it deserved to. It’s nice to talk about wanting unity and reaching across the aisle when you’ve just lost. It’s also not going to happen after the past year, except between the moderate left and moderate right, such as they exist. While I’d like to see reasonable and practical bills like this be passed, I know it’s not going to happen. Utter insanity in a political party has its opportunity costs.

    Instead of the ‘build a wall’ nonsense, imagine if the GOP Congress and the President (technically running as GOP) had pushed for this bill and reciprocity when they had the majority? They didn’t because they don’t give a crap.

    If we had a better political system we could build a more dedicated non-partisan pro-2nd voting bloc that could swing elections instead of mindlessly voting for one side and expecting different results every time. But we don’t. And since the vast majority of the country doesn’t vote single-issue in terms of being pro-gun, throwing support behind batshit crazy candidates or cynical con-men has negatives, electorally. More US citizens have died due to the utter incompetence of the trump regime due to a virus than were killed due to any war. You can’t win elections that way.

    • “Instead of the ‘build a wall’ nonsense, imagine if the GOP Congress and the President (technically running as GOP) had pushed for this bill and reciprocity when they had the majority? They didn’t because they don’t give a crap.”

      They had the majority in 2016, but not enough to overcome the filibuster. And after the bruising election, there was no way in hell that we were gonna get ‘bipartisan’ jack shit passed and signed.

      What we really won in 2016 was us being able to seat judges, since Harry Reid gambled they would be the ones winning 2016, so they cheesed the filibuster for confirming Obama federal circuit judges.

      They rolled the dice and lost.

      What we won was Hillary not being the one seating valuable SCOTUS justices. Do you seriously believe she would have seated justices at least amicable for respecting 2A rights? You know the answer to that one, fat fucking chance.

      Especially when she made it quite clear she considered Heller et. all decisions to be wrongly decided?

      We didn’t get an ideal president. The one we got was good enough considering the hand we were dealt. NY pistol was at least granted cert. Hilary’s SCOTUS picks damn sure would not have…

    • Ok, enough of this crap. I don’t like Trump as a person. But as a president? Off the top of my head.

      Lowest unemployment for minorities in 50 years.
      Laws passed to encourage businesses to open in minority neighborhoods.
      Laws passed to change previous laws that unfairly targeted minorities with drug related crimes.
      Laws passed to encourage business expansion while bringing their workforce’s back to. US.
      Best stock market performance.
      Got us out of the unfair Paris accords.
      Renegotiated unfair trade alliances and deals.
      Pushed for and appointed numerous conservative judges.
      Pushed for better border security, walls work for Israel, they would work for us.

      His “mishandling” of COVID was to let the states decide how they would run things. Then when they screwed it up, they blamed him. Guess what, I live in a republican conservative state (Utah) and we didn’t screw it up, while preserving individual rights. Here’s the thing, if the central federal government had tried to micromanage everything (as they did with shutdowns) they would have screwed it up and he would have gotten blamed for that too by an obvious one-sided media. He was damned either way, but he managed to not increase federal power during this crisis. Name one president during a crisis that did not increase centralized federal power… go on, I’ll wait.

      During COVID passed multiple peace deals in the Middle East that didn’t happen in the last 50 years of presidents.

      I think trump is a narcissistic megalomaniac… he was also a damn fine president and I happily voted for him again, so did the largest number of people ever to vote for a republican president in history. We got beat, by hook or by crook, emphasis on the crook part. But quite rewriting history like the mainstream media is doing, we get enough of that from them.

  8. Start calling them “Mufflers.” Everyone knows what a muffler on a car does….these pieces of equipment are the same thing but for guns….Muffler is a word that doesn’t have the connotation that “Silencer,” now has…..

    • That’s a damn good idea. Change the language to something ‘kinder and gentler’. Use their own tactics against them…

        • Possum’s fertile imagination comes through again.

          I can’t in good faith demand a new keyboard, because this one can be wiped off.

  9. This is just political posturing. When this actually had a chance of passing, all we got was weak sauce excuses. Now they want us to think the are doing something. I’m not falling for it.

    • “When this actually had a chance of passing, all we got was weak sauce excuses.”

      Please explain to me how we were gonna get 60 votes after the 2016 campaign that put them into a frothing mouth rage?

      That’s no weak sauce. That’s cold reality…

      • McConnell could of eliminated the filibuster and stuffed the court with conservatives. But he has an idea of what that causes and Chuck might be surprised at what happens after he does away with the filibuster. Like a defection that gives Rs the reins.

        Imagine simple majority for other priorities.

  10. The days of reaching across the aisle died long ago. Once the left started using the courts to get what they wanted Congress became nothing more than a ATM for our money. Now it’s become a battering ram for the left since they lost the SC. And the court now fears Congress instead of being an equal force.

    The only real hope is the razor thin margins that might bring about defections. The Senate is my choice because it unseats Chuck. The house is close too and watching Pelosis head spin all around would be sweet. So they are going to move fast and furious the next few months and we’ll see if Biden survives it.

    I can’t think of any period in the last 40 years topping this. Not even 2008 and they had a super majority. This time they are out to eliminate not just marginalize.

  11. This is the very worst possible time to try to push a good and necessary bill. Why would anyone try to sabotage the bill’s chance of success by bringing it right now?

    They cannot possibly be this stupid. The only explanation for a blunder of this magnitude would be that they want it to fail.


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