Why More Gun Owners Use Silencers

DALLAS—Larry Herwig, a 60-year-old dentist, surveyed the display of gun silencers on the exhibition floor of the National Rifle Association annual convention here with an expert’s eye. “I actually have some, but I’m always looking to purchase,” said Dr. Herwig, an avid hunter who lives in the Dallas area and owns eight of the devices. “I like the noise reduction because I have hearing issues. If you like shooting…it’s been a blessing.” Long considered a tool for assassins and criminals, gun silencers are becoming a common accessory for gun owners. Related The firearms industry is marketing silencers, also known as suppressors, as hearing protection for shooters and a way to soften the recoil on guns. In recent years, the industry has pushed to loosen state and federal restrictions on the product. “We’ve been trying to take the image of suppressors and bring it closer to reality,” said Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, an industry group that was formed in 2011. Companies have ramped up production of silencers in recent years. More than 450,000 were produced from February 2016 to April 2017, according to the association’s analysis data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That compares with an average of 123,500 a year from 2011 to 2015. Some companies are starting to worry about oversupply, and just 18,000 were made in the last eight months of 2017, according to the group. More than a dozen silencer makers had booths to sell their product at […]

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