Silencers muffle gun noise but not the debate over guns

Silencers muffle gun noise but not the debate over guns

Gun Rights

A long-range competition rifle made by SAWS Manufacturing in Whitefield is fitted with a silencer, left. The silencer by itself is at right. COURTESY More than 32,000 gun silencers were registered to New Hampshire residents as of last year — more than a tenfold increase from seven years earlier. “I’m surprised” there’s so many, said Bill Lauze, who sells a dozen or fewer silencers a year from his Whitefield gun business, SAWS Manufacturing. “They’ve definitely gained in popularity over the last 10 years.” Silencers hit the news after it was disclosed that a gunman blamed for killing a dozen people in Virginia Beach, Va., about a week ago used one to help muffle shots from a .45-caliber handgun. “They have a sinister reputation because mobsters used them,” said Fish and Game Col. Kevin Jordan. Silencers — which muffle but don’t silence the sound of a fired weapon — are legal in 42 states, including New Hampshire. Three years ago, the Granite State legalized them for use in hunting, repealing a 1947 law. Land owners at the time said they were worried about being out on their property and not hearing hunters firing their weapons. Jordan’s department also was concerned about animal poaching at night, he said. “Some of our initial concerns haven’t borne out,” Jordan said. “We haven’t seen a giant increase in the use of them because they’re pretty restricted by the federal government.” To buy a silencer legally, a person must provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, […]

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