Contrary to popular belief, silencers are legal and they are very easy to get. In fact, more than 80,000 silencers per year are purchased by civilians. You do not need any licenses in order to buy a silencer, but you do have to pay $200 as a one time tax for each silencer you buy, regardless of whether you purchase from an individual or a dealer. If you are 21 or older, able to purchase a firearm from a gun store, and you live in a state where silencer are legal, then you are eligible to own one.
Silencers are legal according to federal law, but they are also regulated at the state level. The image below, courtesy of SilencerCo, shows which states allow suppressors, and which don’t. As you can see, silencers are legal in most states.
Silencers are regulated by the Federal Government under the National Firearms Act of 1934…
In the early 1900’s, shortly after the invention of the first Silencer by Hiram Maxim, the government was afraid of silencers, among other things like machine guns and explosives, ending up in the hands of the organized crime syndicates which were thriving at that time. Understanding by the government that these firearms could not simply be banned, an expensive tax of $200 (a prohibitive amount of money for most, at the time) was proposed as a way of restricting the common ownership of these new silencers. This gave way to the passing by Congress of the National Firearms Act which requires a $200 tax be paid on any legal purchase of any item included in the bill.
The National Firearms Act Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) now regulates the ownership, transfer and registration of silencers and other items listed in the National Firearms Act.
In recent years, the private purchase and ownership of suppressors has grown exponentially. And there are now many quality silencer manufacturers competing for share in this ever growing segment of the firearms industry. Buying a silencer has never been easier than it is right now.