United States gun laws vary from state to state, and federal firearms laws are supplemented, broadened or limited by state laws. Ownership of gun silencers is permitted by state law in a majority states, although some states' laws place restrictions on silencer ownership. A silencer, which is also commonly known as a suppressor, sound suppressor or sound moderator, is a device which reduces the amount of noise and flash occurring when a gun is fired.
States Where Silencers Are Legal
It is legal for private individuals to own silencers in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Owning a silencer is legal in Missouri, with the condition that the owner must hold a C&R (curio and relic) license. This is a federal license which allows people to collect antique firearms. The C&R licensing process takes several months to complete.
Dealers and Manufacturers
Class 3 dealers and Class 2 manufacturers may legally own a silencer in the following states: California, Iowa, Massachusetts and Michigan. Private individuals, however, are not allowed to own a silencer in these four states.
For further information regarding the legality of silencer ownership in a specific state, check with either your state's attorney general, or the local office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The law is changeable and it is best to fully check into silencer laws several months before considering purchasing one.
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.