Those who know me know that I am into hunting and shooting sports. I have been an avid handgun shooter since 1997. I have been into shotgun sports and shotgun hunting since approximately 2005-2006. Within the last couple of years, I have become an avid rifle shooter and have gone on two big game hunts, with a third scheduled.
Some time ago, while shooting at the Bullet Trap in Plano, Texas, I noticed a sign on the wall that said “Silencers Are Not Illegal.” I did not think much of it at the time, since most people do not have silencers on their handguns.
However, over the last two years, I have spent a lot of time at the Elm Fork 100 yard rifle range in Dallas, and I noticed that many people have silencers or suppressors on their rifles. David Crooks and I often will discuss gun and shooting topics during breaks from legal work, and recently, we looked up the necessary steps for obtaining a firearm suppressor in Texas. This prompted me to look up the actual statute, and this blog post is the result.
Firearm suppressors commonly are called “silencers;” indeed, even the Texas legislature calls these devices silencers. However, this moniker is somewhat inaccurate. It is a topic for another post, but suppressors do not “silence” firearms; rather, depending on the caliber of the gun (larger calibers are harder to keep quiet) and ammunition (regular vs. subsonic), suppressors have varying levels of effectiveness in quieting the perceived sound after firing a round.
But in 2015, during the 84th Texas Legislature, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law SB 473, which amended Section 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code to make firearm silencers legal in Texas. Prior to this bill, silencers had been illegal in Texas.
Under current Texas law, as long as one meets the requirements to be able to own a firearm (i.e., not a convicted felon, not under investigation for family violence, not diagnosed with a mental illness, etc.), he or she also can own a firearm suppressor. The silencer must be registered in the National Firearms Registration, and a transfer (purchase) record must be maintained with the ATF.
If you meet these requirements, are willing to plop down the $400-$1,500 necessary to purchase a silencer, and pay a gunsmith to thread your firearm barrel to attach the silencer, you too can take advantage of another perk of living in Texas. Happy (quieter) shooting.