Hunting with silencers to begin

Posted July 31, 2013
Updated August 1, 2013

— This fall's hunting season in North Carolina could be quieter than usual. A bill signed into law this week allows hunters to use silencers, beginning Oct. 1.

The provision originally passed the Senate as its own bill in April. After it failed to gain traction in the House, it was rolled into the gun rights omnibus House Bill 937, signed Monday by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Its chief proponent, Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, said the change will help protect hunters' hearing and make it easier for hunters to shoot animals in herds without alerting surrounding animals. 

Many people voiced concern about the measure, including the North Carolina Sheriffs Association. Even some of Randleman's fellow Republicans said they worried about the safety of hikers, farmers and other people who might not realize hunters are shooting nearby.

However, Randleman said, suppressors don't completely silence a rifle shot; they just muffle it. She also pointed out that the devices are expensive and carefully controlled at the federal level, involving the payment of a special tax and fingerprinting.  

It will be up to local sheriffs to issue the permits for the silencers. 

Sheriffs Association counsel Eddie Caldwell said Wednesday that his group didn't actively lobby against the silencer provision in the final version of the gun bill. They were fighting another provision that would have repealed the state's requirement for a pistol purchase permit.

“We decided to focus our efforts on retaining the pistol purchase permit law,” Caldwell said. The repeal was not included in the final version of the gun bill. 

Caldwell said he's concerned that more suppressors or silencers could lead to more thefts of the devices by criminals.

"The issue, of course, is if a gun is discharged, if the sound is completely suppressed, it make it difficult for witness to tell from which way the sound came or for people to hear it and run away,” he said.

“There’s already a law that makes it very difficult to purchase a suppressor,” Caldwell said. “On balance, there’s some concerns with them but not to the degree with the pistol purchase permits.”


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • oldrebel Aug 3, 2013

    Why is the picture of shotguns when the story is about rifles?

  • jpd9930 Aug 3, 2013

    current WRAL picture... cant wait to get a suppressor for shotgun! maybe I can find one at the gun show this weekend! LOL

  • jpd9930 Aug 3, 2013

    cant say it enough... AWESOME! Thank you the State of NC!

  • jpd9930 Aug 3, 2013

    Great, now the poachers on my land will be hunting on Sundays now. They have little regard for laws, ignoring the purple paint, and dumping the unwanted parts of deer carcasses in the pond. It will not be safe for me to walk my property now.


    Sounds to me, pun intended, your problem isn't suppressors but poachers Monday-Saturday.. you really think poachers are so god fearing they wont hunt on Sunday as it is?

  • jpd9930 Aug 3, 2013

    last i heard a silencer is made for one thing MURDER.


    LOL and car mufflers are for moonshiners to avoid revenuers!

    BTW they are SUPPRESSORS not silencers....

  • jpd9930 Aug 3, 2013

    LOL, this law only allows the use of SUPPRESSORS for hunting. It does nothing to change the laws about owning one...

    for the anti-gun crowd... do a little research of about costs and laws on obtaining a SUPPRESSOR legally.

    and BTW, stop getting your information about SUPPRESSORS from movies and TV shows... LOL at the bunch of you....

  • jpd9930 Aug 2, 2013

    AWESOME! I was away from technology this week. Thanks Gov. Pat! I look forward to increased righs to defend myself.

  • 47D Aug 2, 2013

    The average rifle gunshot is in the neighborhood 160 decibels (dB). A suppressor might reduce that by 30dB, leaving a sound that still is louder than a loud rock concert or a pneumatic riveter at 4'. It also still above the threshold for pain. The absolute quietest suppressors available are still louder than a jackhammer at 50'. You'll still be plenty capable of hearing someone shooting a hunting rifle with a suppressor. So rid yourself of these Hollywood notions of what a suppressor can do and learn some real facts about the issue before you become apoplectic about this law.

    And does anyone really think that a poacher who cannot be bothered to obtain a proper hunting license or permission to hunt somewhere is really going to drop $800-$2000 for a centerfire suppressor and $200 for a tax stamp, get fingerprinted, mail a bunch of paperwork to the BATFE, wait 9 months to a year for the paperwork to clear before they can take possession of said suppressor, just to break the law with it?

  • cruzinlong Aug 2, 2013

    what worries me is I live very near a big piece of property leased out for hunting .
    Will I still be able to "hear" the gunfire at all so I'll at least know which direction I should not wander near enough to in order to keep from getting accidently shot ?

  • theblazer Aug 2, 2013

    "last i heard a silencer is made for one thing MURDER."

    - Ignorant.