Silencers are golden

More gun owners acquire suppressors
Melissa Topey
May 4, 2014


Silencers are no longer suppressed in desired sales, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The civilian market for silencers has skyrocketed over the past couple of years, when almost 209,000 new silencers were registered in the United States from 2011 to 2012. From 2012 to 2013, about 77,000 new silencers were registered. The bureau has a running total of 571,000 silencers registered in the United States in 2013, compared to slightly more than 494,000 in 2012 and about 285,000 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms registry. That is close to double the number of silencers registered in the United States from 2011 to 2013.

Michael Lamphier, owner of Bullet Stop in Graytown on W. Walbridge East Road, has been a gun dealer for 30 years. He has been licensed to sell silencers for the past 10 years.

He has seen a dramatic increase during the past couple of years in the number of people wanting to purchase a silencer, also known as a suppressor. Lamphier is one of a few gun dealers in the area licensed to sell silencers.

Lamphier has sold four so far this year. It used to be he would sell one a year.

The nationwide increase has led to a backlog of about 80,000 applications that is delaying Lamphier’s clients’ wait.

It takes six to nine months from when you file an application to be approved to buy one, Lamphier said. The highest-ranking law enforcement officer for your jurisdiction has to sign paperwork that is sent along with the application. There are background checks by the FBI, fingerprints, photos and a $200 fee, called a tax stamp fee, that accompanies the application.

“It is a serious process. You have to really want one” Lamphier said.

To keep up with the dramatic increase in applications, the bureau is planning to increase staff to process the applications.

Silencers, as well as a number of other firearm type devices, were classified as a firearm by the National Firearms Act of 1934 to help combat violence, even though they do not themselves fire ammunition. As a firearm, they must be registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record.

Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said his department has seen an increase in silencer use.

He has already signed a couple of applications this year for people wanting to purchase silencers. “Five to 10 years ago it was very rare to get an application,” Sigsworth said. “We might have had several years pass without seeing a silencer permit” The form he signs is not an approval — that comes from the federal government — but is a statement declaring the sheriff knows of no reason this person could not have a silencer where he resides. He is not worried about the increase they are seeing. “I am not concerned about the individual going through the proper process” Sigsworth said. His concern would be criminals. So far they have not seen any developments where investigations have found silencers were used in a crime. One factor leading to the increase in sales may be courtesy. Those purchasing silencers want to limit the noise of gunfire during practice so as not to bother people nearby, Sigsworth said. About 90 percent of the sales of his silencers are to people for that reason, Lamphier said.

“People can get nervous when they hear gunshots” Lamphier said.

Unlike what is seen in some movies, a silencer does not altogether eliminate the sound of a gunshot, but only helps to dampen the sound, he said.

The other 10 percent: preventing hearing damage. Silencers are helpful in saving the hearing of someone who is a frequent shooter, whether target shooting or hunting, he said.

Ohio has a bill pending that would allow hunters to use silencers. On Tuesday it passed a House committee, a hurdle on its way to a full vote in the general assembly.

In states where silencers are allowed in hunting, sales of silencers are stronger, Lamphier said.

Lamphier, however, is not optimistic it will pass into legislation, saying he does not believe the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and law enforcement will allow it to become law.



Slow news day?

The Big Dog's back

A silencer has nothing to do with self defense.


You're right, if you read the article it says people who buy them do so for protecting their hearing and try not to bother neighbors. I don't understand why this is NEWS?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

How do you figure? Don't forget too that guns are used as a hobby to collect/accessorize and as the article states tends to be employed in hunting.


Re: "The highest-ranking law enforcement officer for your jurisdiction has to sign paperwork that is sent along with the application."

If you are planning to get more NFA rated firearms than just a suppressor you can look into setting up a trust or corporation. If you do you don't need to get any law enforcement officer to sign off. In some ways it makes some sense to go this way as it usually takes less time for the paperwork. Here is a link to the NFA wiki that explains more than what you need to know, unless you are into it. You WILL need a lawyer who knows his way around the gun laws. I recommend Terry Rudes in Port Clinton.

Most who get suppressors get them to save their hearing. They are no "silencers" In larger caliber guns they cut down about 1/4 of the sound, enough to save your hearing. Piutting one on a .22 shooting .22 shorts, cuts maybe 50%-60% of the sound. It is hardly silent. The better/quieter the suppressor the heavier, bigger in diameterm and longer the can is. To put it on a gun you are going to use in a crime and have it really quiet would be too large to hide and makes the gun, outside a range or rest, ungainly as heck. If you go with an internally suppressed gun it is not only cost prohibitive, it will be easy to track.No NFA firearm is easy to get, let alone illegally. Unless you want to cut off a shotgun or rifle barrel. A suppressor or automatic gun is much less easy to get illegally. There are relativly few who can buy, much less sell them.

Peninsula Pundit

Good advice.
But I still can't figure out how you have a constitutional right to have a gun, but have to get piggy-approval to put something on it that makes it quieter. It doesn't make any sense.
I propose that it is unconstitutional.




Those who have stamps for a suppressor are small in number. Far less than 1% of all gun owners have one. Realize that as bad as some folks think the IRS is... The BATFE is several orders of magnitude more intrusive. Even worse if you have an FFL.

2cents's picture

"The BATFE is several orders of magnitude more intrusive"

Yep, tax stamps can take some time. I have one for this little guy to target shoot quietly.



Licorice Schtick

At least, the idiots.

Dr. Information

u 2 would be the first. lol.