FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - It’s a tool you may have only seen used by bad guys in big screen blockbusters. An effort is underway though to allow Texas hunters to use firearm silencers as they hunt for game.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is proposing a rule change that would allow silencers, or supressors, for alligators, game animals and game birds. The tools are banned right now over concern their use might lead to poaching, or an increase in harvest numbers.
“We don’t have any evidence to support either of those arguments,” said Scott Vaca, the assistant chief of wildlife enforcement with the TPWD.
At Military Gun Supply in Fort Worth Wednesday, Steve Hunt carefully threaded a suppressor on to a 22-caliber rifle. The shots he fired from it were not silent. The loud crack, and report though from a typical shot was gone.
“It doesn’t make your gun super deadly or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just like a muffler, a muffler on a car.”
Hunt is encouraged by the possibility of an increase in business with a rule change. Supressors though are still notoriously hard to buy.
Costs range from several hundred to sever thousand dollars. After paying for the item, buyers must fill out several pages of paperwork that is sent to the ATF. It includes their picture, fingerprint, a $200 tax and a signature from the local police chief or sheriff.
Some shop owners told CBS11 law enforcement in some counties refuse to sign the paperwork. If you do get everything you need it can still be six to nine months before you are approved to pick up the suppressor. The process has to be repeated for each additional tool. Hunt said the process deters 80-percent of interested buyers.
It doesn’t deter gun owners like John Vincent from wanting one.
“The whole original purpose was before we had earplugs and ear muffs was to keep the noise down so people could shoot a lot,” he said, while shooting at Target Master in Garland.
Supressors can be legally used in Texas right now to hunt nuisance animals.
The TWPC is taking public comment on the proposed change through March 28