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Gun silencer industry lobbies to legalize devices for hunting

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There’s a push to make hunting in Michigan quieter.

Michigan is one of four states where it’s legal for a gun owner to own a silencer, but illegal to hunt with one. 

Knox Williams is with the American Suppressor Association, an industry trade group. Williams is one of several industry reps who spoke to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission last week. He says Michigan hunters would suffer less hearing loss if they were allowed to use silencers.

“Even with a suppressor, guns are still very loud,” says Williams. “But what it does is reduce the signature by 25 to 30 decibels.”

The industry hopes the Michigan NRC will OK the use of silencers early next year.  

Suppressors are expensive. The ASA’s Williams says a suppressor can cost between $600 and $1,200.

Buyers will also have to pay another $200 to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which keeps track of suppressor owners.

Williams says the suppressor industry is the fastest-growing sector in the firearms industry, with annual revenues between $60 and $100 million.   

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.