To purchase a silencer, or “suppressor” as they are referred to in the gun industry, one must undergo a screening process that lasts for four to nine months. They’re significantly more difficult to purchase than a gun itself, and the use of a silencer during a violent crime carries a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Interestingly, a 2007 study published in the Western Criminology Review revealed that silencers are rarely found to have been used in murder cases. Over 10 years, researchers found only two murder cases in which the devices were used. Many in the gun industry believe that this is because weapons equipped with the device are more difficult to conceal.
“If we have something that mitigates that kind of hearing loss, we ought to be encouraging it,” Salmon told the Guardian. He argues that access to silencers would allow soldiers and hunters to avoid hearing damage like what he has suffered after 50 years of shooting guns.
Contrary to popular belief, however, silencers only quiet the sound of a gunshot to the level of a jackhammer, the Guardian noted.