When North Carolina recently passed a gun law that expanded concealed carry rights, the law also included a provision to legalize the use of suppressors for hunting. Predictably, the ignorant and uninformed members of the general press proclaimed that the sky is falling:
For decades, the closest most people got to a gun suppressor – those metal cylinders that reduce a gun’s bang – was seeing one on a movie screen in the hands of an assassin or gangster.
But sweeping gun legislation has made suppressors, also known as silencers, legal for hunting in North Carolina. Law enforcement authorities are now trying to figure out how to shape policies to implement the new law.
Last week, the legislature passed a far-reaching bill that expands the places where permit holders can legally carry concealed weapons, including bars, restaurants and parks. The legislation also deleted a provision that prohibited hunters from using suppressors.
The very first line is itself a howler; the reporters apparently thought it illegal to own a suppressor in North Carolina prior to the bill allowing them to be used for hunting, despite the fact they have always been legal to own and shoot with, merely subject to federal laws. Suppressors are no harder to obtain now than they were before this state law about hunting was passed, because only federal laws matter when it comes to purchasing them. While many NC Sheriffs typically do not sign off on NFA firearms or suppressors, Sheriff sign-off is not legally required, and most owners of suppressors have gone the route of establishing legal gun trusts to obtain these items. Many gun stores have been carrying them for years.
Here is an example of a very legal Templar Custom “Siege” suppressor being fired in North Carolina, in a video I filmed months ago for a friend, long before this law was passed.
You’ll note that the gun is far from “silenced.” There is a distinctive crack as the gun fires, followed by an audible click as the shooter eases up with his trigger finger to allow the trigger to reset. Another group in our shooting party was a good 250 yards away and heard every shot.
Despite what you’ve “learned” from Hollywood, suppressors do not make centerfire guns silent. They reduce the noise level about 30 decibels, and that’s all. It reduces the sonic shockwave enough that it will not damage your hearing. Unless you couple that with subsonic ammunition (rarely used in hunting), there will still be the loud “crack” of the bullet exceeding the sound barrier as well, as the video above shows.
For a gun to be “silent,” you need a combination of extremely low velocity ammunition not typically used for hunting (because of the corresponding loss of power/energy) with a silencer and an action (single shot or bolt) that does not make noise as it is cycled.
There is a special kind of stupid coming from some of the critics of the new law, like this representative of the Sierra Club.
Nancy Card, who lives in Wilmington, is an outings leader for the Sierra Club. At least once a month when the weather permits, she takes a group of about 15 to 20 men, women and children on hikes through the region’s wooded areas.
Card said the sound of gunshots from a hunter’s weapon serves as a warning that makes others who may be in the woods more aware and perhaps encourages them to leave the area.
“I’m aware of hunting season because I have family members who hunt,” Card said. “But what about others who may not be aware that it’s hunting season? Gunshots are a good tipoff to let others know hunting season is going on.”
Also, the sound of metal be ripped apart and glass shattering are good signs that your car has encountered a substantial obstacle. Using the sounds of gunfire to determine that a hunter in the area after the shot has already been fired is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard; if you’re hearing the shot, then the danger has already passed.
The better option for the Sierra Club (and anyone else) is to be observant of the fact that you are on land used for hunting, during hunting season, and that there are vehicles present likely used by hunters (pickup trucks are a good clue), especially early and late in the day when most hunting with rifles tends to take place.
Lord, save us from the dumb.