Firearm Silencers Now Legal in Tennessee

The Tennessee Hearing Protection Act of 2017 lets people use silencers on guns

A law passing the First of May 2017, taking effect July 1st , the Tennessee Hearing Protection Act of 2017 makes silencers officially legal in the state. Also referred to as “sound suppressors,” silencers are metal devices that attach to, or are a part of, the barrel of a pistol or rifle. They are used to reduce the amount of noise and muzzle flash that comes with firing a weapon. Supporters of the new law state that it will help protect the hearing quality of sportsmen’s ears.

Additionally, one state representative emphasized the point that silencers are needed to more effectively hunt for wild hogs. Using a silencer reduces the likelihood of a pack of hogs scattering after an initial shot is fired. This is of critical importance, as feral hogs are responsible for causing billions of dollars in damage to crops every year across the United States. They are also notorious for spreading diseases.

No state specific requirements were included in the law as far as what you must do to legally obtain a silencer, but federal law requirements must still be fulfilled. Silencers are classified as firearms under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. They are also governed by the National Firearms Act. Under federal law, in order to obtain a silencer, you must:

  • Go to a licensed firearm dealer;
  • Complete an application;
  • Send $200 to ATF; and
  • Wait for ATF to conduct an extensive background check.

Many people have complained of the long wait times for ATF to complete a background check. Sometimes the waiting period is upwards of one year. There is a backlog in the department and limited government resources to conduct the background checks.