Firearms Mufflers – Politics Trumps Safety

SilencerCo Releases Quietest .22 Suppressor to Hit the Market
SilencerCo Releases Quietest .22 Suppressor to Hit the Market

U.S.A. –-( This will be our epitaph if the US fails as a country;

“We wanted to stop doing stupid things…but we were addicted to money and power.”

The list of our stupid government actions is endless, but the regulation of firearms mufflers has to be near the top of the list. I didn’t believe it until I heard it with my own ears. We should be shouting for muffler deregulation.

I’ve worked around equipment that was so loud it would quickly damage your hearing. You’re required to wear hearing protection when you’re near it, and you’ll be removed from the job site if you don’t. If you fly, then you’ve seen the ramp crews wearing hearing protection as they service the planes. Many guns are louder than those jet engines. Gun owners have to take hearing protection seriously.

We did the opposite in the case of firearms. We imposed high taxes and long delays on the very equipment that makes firearms safer to be around. That would be considered criminal negligence if anyone other than the government were regulating firearms mufflers. It doesn’t make sense, but that is the way government works.. so far.

I’ve heard and read several objections to quieter firearms. I think we’re arguing with fantasy rather than fact. The fantasy came from Hollywood crime dramas rather than from the shooting range. Firearms mufflers don’t make a gun silent any more than a muffler makes your car silent. What mufflers do is make a very loud shot about a thousand times less loud. Good mufflers go a little further and make some guns marginally safe for a single exposure. Since these muffled guns are still as loud as a jackhammer, they are not safe for us to be around an hour after hour. Instructors and students still want to wear hearing protection.

We don’t see firearms mufflers used in crime because the muffler makes the firearm too large to conceal. That is the same reason that criminals choose handguns over rifles. Muffled guns are about as loud as a jackhammer and I haven’t read about secret construction sites that are so quiet we can’t find them. Have you?

Mufflers are not high technology. Like the muffler on your car engine, the muffler on a firearm is basically a bunch of baffles in a can, a bunch of washers in a tube. The firearm muffler was patented 110 years ago. Unfortunately, our politics hasn’t matured a lot since then.

Gun owners can purchase firearms mufflers over the counter in several European countries and in New Zealand. There, they cost about 50 dollars(US). Here in the USA, we require a federal tax stamp before we can buy a firearms muffler. The tax stamp alone costs 200 dollars and the muffler costs an additional 300 to 400 dollars.

To add insult to damaged hearing, the federal approval to buy a firearms muffler can take several months. That is hard to understand since the FBI instant background checks to buy a firearm takes only minutes. Someone must be benefitting from the existing scheme for this poor system of regulation to continue. I can’t decide if it is stupidity, bureaucratic incompetence, or political corruption. There are reasons to suspect each of them.

Mufflers make firearms more pleasant to use. That is particularly important for new shooters. Can you imagine if we made people learn to drive in a car that didn’t have a muffler? Driving wouldn’t be very popular if the student and instructor had to shout at each other all the time. A muffler makes firearms instruction both safer and more fun. Maybe that is why some politicians make it so hard to get a firearms muffler. You have to really hate armed America to want the legal use of firearms to be more dangerous and unpleasant than it has to be.

There are other reasons it is so hard to get a muffler for our guns. As I said before, if the muffler were regulated like a firearm, then it would only take a few minutes and a few dollars to run a background check. The six-month bureaucratic delay is political. I looked up the numbers for muffler sales in the US. We bought close to a half million firearms mufflers in 2016. At 200 dollars per tax stamp, we paid close to a hundred million dollars in federal taxes to save our hearing.

That isn’t a lot of money compared to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ budget of 1.2 billion dollars, but 100 million is enough that the bureaucrats want the registration scheme to continue. They are addicted to money.

Politicians who don’t like firearms want guns to be as unpleasant as possible. Both bureaucrats and politicians want to keep the taxes flowing into Washington. Those reasons might explain the problems we observe today, but those are not good reasons to damage our hearing. If you don’t believe me, then please go shoot a muffled firearm yourself.

I’d love to hear what you think.. and we don’t have to shout.

About Rob MorseSlow Facts

The original article is here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.



  • 14 thoughts on “Firearms Mufflers – Politics Trumps Safety

    1. Gun rights are not going to improve unless we as a group hold the feet of our government to the fire. Asking them politely will not get their attention.

      Our Founding Fathers would have been shooting by now.

    2. We had hopes that with the 2016 elections the Republicans who campaigned on being pro 2nd Amendment, held the House, Senate, and the White House. Yet in the 2 years they were the majority, not one major pro gun bill was passed. The HPA and National Reciprocity bills should have made it through like s**t through a goose, but they died on the vine. Fast forward to today. The 2018 mid terms gave the Democrats a majority in the House and with only two months into their reign, major gun control bills have been introduced and some making it to the floor for a vote as we speak. If this keeps up and if 2020 flips the senate and God forbid the White House, gun ownership is doomed. But even that is less troubling than what is happening state by state at this time. It is touch and go for the 2nd Amendment and it don’t look good at all.

    3. I purchased a suppressor in Indiana and the entire process from purchase to tax stamp took a full year. The cost for the suppressor was $728 plus the $200 dollars for the stamp. The timeline is totally unreasonable. I believe our government makes the process this way is because they can. They like the steady influx of cash and apparently enjoy not being in any hurry to wake up and bring the whole process into the 21st century. J. Edgar Hoover would be proud.

    4. The real reason the process to obtain supressors has not been changed is simple to understand. We (largely conservative gun owners) want supressors to be available, cheap and easy to buy. They (largely liberal anti-gun globalists) oppose it simply because we want it. Other than that, they really don’t care. They don’t care about crime, they don’t care about child safety, none of that. They just want to make everything about guns to be expensive, difficult and frustrating – simply to screw us. If we want it, they oppose it. Simple, end of story.

      1. You are so right, on all counts. It’s not even about power and money as implied in this article. It is because they can. And our spineless republican politicians allow it to happen over and over again, just to save their own hides.

    5. I’m at 14 months right now. Calling every other week
      Still at background check
      The second group ordered last July had not even been
      Submitted for background check as of Feb. 15
      It’s political crap and beyond ridiculous
      I got a permit to carry in a week
      Deadly gun mufflers? Over a year and still waiting

    6. Hey fellas, whining on here is all well and good but if don’t write your elected officials with a reasonable, polite, informative, & articulate letter than we aren’t going to get anyway.

    Leave a Comment 14 Comments