The right to harvest game or control invasive species through hunt while the use of a suppressed firearm is recognized in as many as 41 states – and for good reason.
With the first commercially successful firearm suppressor – Hiram Percy Maxim’s “Silencer” – coming to market around 1902, the devices won praise from outdoor enthusiasts. That old “Bull Moose” Teddy Roosevelt loved them and even corresponded directly with Maxim on the subject.
Then these simple gun silencers were unfairly criticized and then outrageously regulated by Congress in 1934 under the National Gun Act. Around the same time the NFA was enacted, many states imposed local bans on the legal possession and use of the devices, a punitive response based largely on misinformation. In short, people had an irrational fear of something that was both inherently useful and misunderstood and reacted by involving the government.
However, over the past two decades, better education and advocacy have led state after state to repeal misguided restrictions. Today, the devices are legal for consumers in at least 43 states and can be used by on-court athletes in most. As of 2011 alone, the American Suppressor Association points out that four states have legalized possession of suppressors and 18 have legalized hunting with the devices.
The organization, the US suppressor industry trade group, points out that there are many benefits to using a suppressor in the field, including hearing protection and safer hunting, as up to 70% of sportsmen avoid the use of hearing protection. in the field, a reduction in noise complaints from those who live near hunting grounds and an increase in accuracy which results in more humane hunts.
Check out these infographics from the ASA, breaking down how loud unsuppressed firearms can be and how suppressors can help bring them down to safe levels:
Statistics released by federal regulators put the number of NFA-registered suppressors nationwide in May 2021 at no less than 2,664,774. That figure is up from just over 900,000 in 2016 and only 285,000 in 2010.
Banner Image: A Marlin M1895 in .45-70 fitted with a SilencerCo Hybrid 46M silencer.