State Senate approves use of gun 'silencers'

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by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 30 at 12:50 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. --  Wayne Gaughran has an entire case full of noise suppressors at his Eastside Gun Store. For years, he has been allowed to sell the devices that sell for several hundred dollars. The catch: Owners can’t use them in our state.

“It puts me in a tough spot," said Gaughran.

On Tuesday the state senate unanimously approved Bill 1016, which the House already passed 88-4.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Bryan Blake, a Democrat from Aberdeen, says a constituent came up with the idea but it was also supported by state sheriffs and police chiefs.

“Hollywood movies have stigmatized the silencers,” said Blake “They show them as the bad guys guns.”

But Blake says they are “Legitimate tools’ and purchasers will have to pay $200 and undergo an extensive federal background check.

Republican Senator Pam Roach agrees.

"It's a lot safer for one who do practice the sport including law enforcement," she said.

“It’s a good day,” said Gaughran.

Gun owners say the big advantage of the silencers is the protection of their hearing and the hearing of those around gun ranges.

“You take the blast and flash out of a gun and it makes it a lot less intimidating,” said Gaughran.

“We are disappointed,” said Washington Ceasefire member Michael Martin. His group is working to decrease gun violence.

"The legislature focused on this issue when there are bigger issues like assault weapons, and universal background checks at gun shows," he said.

The bill is now in the hands of Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Gaughran said it took several years to pass this bill. He said it's harder to purchase a silencer than a gun. It can take four months or longer to clear the background check for a suppressor, while a gun background check may only take two weeks.
 

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