Silencers are devices that are attached to the barrel of a firearm to reduce the amount of noise generated by the firing of the weapon. By providing a larger contained space for the gases generated by the discharge of the gun’s ammunition round to dissipate and cool before escaping, silencers reduce the sound generated by the weapon’s firing.
A relatively new priority for the gun lobby and firearms industry has been to expand the market for the legal use of silencers. In 42 states silencers are now legal. But the ultimate goal is to weaken federal law regulating the transfer and use of silencers.
A ban on silencers for civilian use would enhance public safety. The explosion in the popularity of silencers has significantly increased the likelihood they will be used in crime. The advantages of using silencers, including reduced noise and increased accuracy, make them attractive to mass shooters, terrorists, and common criminals. In addition, the administrative burden placed on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives diverts resources from the agency’s more important regulatory and law enforcement responsibilities. Conversely, silencers serve no sporting purpose.
Number of silencers registered by state (April 2020) from Firearms Commerce in the United States (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)