Yes, Silencers Are Legal.®

42* States Permit Silencer Ownership

The eight states that currently do not allow individuals to own silencers are California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

*If you are an FFL dealer, manufacturer, peace officer, or member of a law enforcement agency or other government agency, there are additional states where you can own a silencer.

42 states permit silencer ownership.







How To Buy A Silencer

Silencers are legal but are regulated by federal law and on a state-by-state basis by the Nation Firearm Act (NFA) branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). Private citizens can legally purchase and possess silencers in 42 states* without a permit. 

To purchase a silencer the following qualifications apply:

  • Reside in one of the 42 states that currently allow civilian ownership
  • Be a resident of the United States
  • Be legally eligible to purchase a firearm
  • Pass a BATFE background check
  • Be at least 21 years of age to purchase from a dealer
  • Be at least 18 years of age to purchase from another citizen

How Does A Silencer Work?

Instead of exiting directly from the muzzle, propellant gases first enter the silencer’s expansion chamber, losing some of their energy.

Pressure continues to divert and slow within the baffles while heat dissipates, allowing the projectile to exit before the majority of the gas.

As a result, the report of the shot is suppressed to a hearing-safe level and the de-corking effect, or BANG!, is mitigated.

How suppressors or silencers work.


Hiram P. Maxim invented the silencer in the early 1900’s. His iconic product sold in hardware stores for $3.23, with no tax stamp. While Maxim himself called the product a silencer, it did not silence the firearm, only suppressed the sound to safer levels.

During the Great Depression, it was feared silencers would be used for poaching, and the NFA (National Firearms Act) was passed, giving silencers the well-known $200 tax stamp (at the time, equivalent to $3,000 by today’s standards).

The $200 tax stamp remains today.


Guns don’t have to be loud, and we believe the citizens of America should be entitled to the safe and enjoyable exercise of their Second Amendment Rights.

We will continue to advocate this belief and invite you to join us as we support the ASA and make the button link to ASA’s page.

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