NRA and Gun Industry Marketing Silencers for Assault Weapons

| by Michael Allen
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The National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun makers have been busy defending assault weapons ever since the Sandy Hook massacre took the lives of 20 children.

While the debate over gun control and assault weapons continues to grow louder, the NRA and the gun industry are quietly selling silencers for assault weapons in the U.S. market.

"The silencer industry is the highest-growth niche of the firearms industry right now," Josh Waldron, founder and CEO of  Silencerco, told Mother Jones.

Waldron says American silencer companies sold about 18,000 units in 2008, but predicts the final numbers for fiscal 2012 to "do over 110,000."

Silencers are a Class III weapon regulated under the National Firearms Act, a Prohibition-era law that was designed to prohibit the transfer of weapons such as machine guns. One can almost hear Al Capone screaming for his 2nd Amendment rights as he rattled off his tommy gun.

Unlike an assault weapon, buying a silencer requires a full FBI background check, which can take up to eight months and costs a $200 one-time fee.

Silencers are banned entirely in 11 states, including California and New York, and many states limit their use for hunting and on public lands.

The silencer was invented by Hirum Percy Maxim in 1908, but the modern silencer was improved by a former CIA dark-ops contractor named Mitch WerBell.

According to, the new improved silencer was first used by CIA death squads working in Vietnam. The silencer improved kill rates and to reduce ammo waste in targeted killing operations.

At one time, the NRA actually banned silencer manufacturers from the NRA national convention out of the fear that including them would make guns look bad. Now, the silencer industry is teaming up with the NRA to make money and here's how they are doing it.

In 2011, frustrated by the silencer's image problem, several silencer manufacturers helped founded the American Silencer Association (ASA) whose goal is "to get more people and legislators to understand that silencers are actually safety devices and not what everybody thinks they are because of Hollywood."

Blaming Hollywood has been a familiar tactic used by the NRA for years.

The ASA and the NRA are pressuring state legislatures to ease up and let people own silencers for... what else? Hunting, of course.

Several states are going along with the legalization idea, including Wyoming, Montana and Georgia.

Waldron claims that very little crime is committed with silencers: "Silencer owners are the most law abiding citizens there are. They have to go through too much to lose it. There's more people that win a lottery by droves than guys who buy guns in a legal fashion and then go on a rampage."

Source: Mother Jones and