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How gun ‘suppressors’ became legal in Minnesota — with barely any debate

9mm with suppressor
9mm with suppressor

Gun silencers, which even the National Rifle Association once shunned, have become the fastest growing niche in the firearms market. And now they’re coming to Minnesota.

Which may raise a question among those who were paying attention to Minnesota politics earlier this year: Huh?

In was just two months ago, after all, when Gov. Mark Dayton promised to veto any bill that included the legalization of gun silencers. “Nowhere in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does it refer to a right to bear a silencer,” Dayton said at the time. “To allow gunshots to be silenced increases the danger to law enforcement officers, and to innocent bystanders.”

But something changed after Dayton made his threat. He looked around to discover he was pretty much by himself. Despite expressing concerns for the safety of police officers, Dayton found he had support of only one of three major law enforcement organizations, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. Both the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association were silent. And rural DFL legislators weren’t about to fight the gun lobby. 

Even some legislators who typically support gun-control issues were willing to support this measure. One was Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, who — after some study of the issue — supported its inclusion on the Senate’s public safety bill. 

“Once you learn more about the substance of this particular issue, it’s something that should not be difficult for Minnesotans to support,” Latz said. 

Three things stood out in convincing Latz that this was a measure he could support. The suppressors don’t actually silence the sound of a gunshot, they decrease the sound. Law enforcement agencies across the country — sound suppressors already are legal in 39 states — have no data showing that suppressors have been a threat to public safety. And finally, language was added giving police authorities some “flexibility” in determining if someone should not receive approval to purchase a silencer.

In Latz’s mind, this never was one of those classic, noisy showdowns between Second Amendment absolutists and those who seek tougher gun control laws. Instead, this was one of those rare issues on which both sides could find agreement. 

Even Joan Peterson, a spokeswoman for Protect Minnesota, an organization that promotes tougher gun regulations, expressed only mild disappointment in the governor over his backing down from his tough talk. 

“We’re disappointed, but we understood that the bill had to pass,” she said. “It happens all the time. You have one of these big omnibus bills, filled with important things, but something like this (silencers) is included.” 

From ‘image problem’ to ‘public health benefit’

A couple of things stand out about the passage of this measure: First, it sailed through the House on a 89-40 vote and the Senate by a 40-23 margin. 

Second, marketing matters.

Just 15 years ago, NRA executives kicked a silencer company off the floor of its annual gun show, saying that silencers gave gun sales a “bad image.” The image problem dated back to the 1934, when silencers were included as a “Class 3” instrument along with such weapons as machine guns in the federal Firearms Act. At the time, Congress was concerned about the sophisticated weaponry possessed by organized crime outfits, which had flourished during prohibition. 

Court rulings and changes in law have gutted much of the Firearms Act of 1934, but to this day silencers still are a Class 3 implement, meaning they are subject to strict federal regulation, special taxes and stiff fines and prison sentences for illegal possession. (Dumping the Class 3 designation on silencers is another item on the agenda of the gun lobby.)

But how could manufacturers attack the “image problem?” Start with some changing of terms. For example, instead of calling these devices “silencers,” call them “sound suppressors.” Then distance them as far as possible from the Hollywood image of silencers as a tool of professional assassins.

State Rep. Mark Anderson
State Rep. Mark Anderson

Rep. Mark Anderson, a Cass County Republican, exemplified the new way old silencers are presented when he brought forward the bill to legalize “sound suppressors” in Minnesota.

“We brought this up as a public health issue,” said Anderson. He went on to explain that hunters and target shooters long have had hearing issues because of the noise associated with their sports. Target shooters can — and typically do — wear ear plugs, but hunters rely on hearing. Anderson, a duck hunter, said his ears “buzz” after just one blast from his 12-gauge shotgun.

The second big thing to attack, in terms of image, was the impact silencers have. Contrary to the television shows and movies, silencers do not eliminate sound. As Latz learned, silencers merely reduce gunshot noise. “It’s just a muffler, that’s all it is,” said Anderson. “It was invented by the same guy who invented mufflers for cars.” (That’s true. Hiram Maxim invented the car muffler in 1902 and the silencer in 1910.) “You still are going to hear shots.” 

Finally, supporters of silencers said the bill will add to the quality of life for those who live in areas near gun ranges. The spread of the metro and other large communities has led to housing being built around longstanding gun ranges and that has led to complaints about noise. If target shooters purchase silencers that noise will be reduced. 

The image campaign has been extraordinarily successful in state capitols across the country — and in the marketplace. In 2008, there were only 18,000 silencers registered by the feds. By last year, that number had skyrocketed to more than 500,000. 

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association did express concern that shots fired from guns with silencers will not be heard by shot-spotter technology. But Anderson and other supporters of the legislation said they believe the technology, which maps where shots are being fired in urban areas, can be adjusted to track the shots. 

“We still have concerns,” said Andy Skoogman, the association’s director. The chiefs did get some flexibility in the final silencer law: It gives chiefs “some discretion” in whether to issue a permit to a silencer applicant. 

Little fight left among gun control activists

Like so much that happened in this session, the silencer issue came down to an alliance of Republican and rural DFLers against a handful of urban DFLers. 

Perhaps part of the reason there was so little fight left among those who support tougher gun laws is that a bill such as the silencer measure still will require purchasers to go through a time-consuming and expensive federal licensing process.

Anderson, who sometimes carries a weapon to the Capitol, says that he intends to buy silencers for some of his guns. He outlined the process he’ll have to go through: He’ll have to get approval from the Cass County sheriff; pass a state background check; apply to the federal government to possess the silencer, sending $200 along with his application (which needs to include the serial number of the silencer he intends to purchase); go through a federal background check that might take months; and finally, make the purchase of an item that is fairly pricey (upwards of $700).

“It’s ludicrous that we have to go through all of this at the federal level,” Anderson said. “This is an item you should be able to walk into a store and just purchase. We need to work on the federal law. But still, this is a pretty big step.” 

Given the successes in this session — and successes in blocking tightening gun laws past sessions — Anderson said he can’t imagine there’s much more Second Amendment supporters will be seeking in Minnesota in the near future. But, of course, if the past is any guide, there’s always one more thing.

Protect Minnesota’s Peterson admits that the disappointments for those seeking stricter controls have been steady since the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Rather than stricter controls, it seems as if there’s been an erosion of gun laws in Minnesota — and much of the rest of the country.

“I don’t think people have given up,” she said. “But it’s been a disappointing time.”

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Comments (70)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 06/22/2015 - 01:31 pm.

    They’re still silencers

    The NRA suddenly has an image problem? That’s hilarious.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/22/2015 - 12:58 pm.

      Historic Irony

      Before the “National Rifle Association” re-branded it, “NRA” stood for “National Recovery Act”; part of Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to combat the Great Depression. A big part of it was persuading businesses to keep prices low as possible while keeping wages high as possible which, miracle or miracles, they were largely able to do.

      (The business people must have been a lot smarter 80 years ago. They were able to keep pay rates up and prices down with a full-blown depression going on. The people running businesses today can’t come anywhere near doing that when, relatively speaking, the economy’s booming. That’s ironic too, but it’s a different topic.)

  2. Submitted by Rob Doar on 06/22/2015 - 12:27 pm.


    You get quotes from the anti-gun groups, but nothing from any of the orgs that worked on passing the legislation?

    • Submitted by John Harris on 06/14/2017 - 04:17 pm.

      The Pro Gun Groups Got What they Wanted. Why Gloat?

      There was no need for the NRA to gloat about it any more than there is a need to complain bitterly, when a bill is passed, that restricts gun rights.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/22/2015 - 03:08 pm.


    Several quotes from the sponsor of the legislation, Representative Anderson, provide sufficient balance. In particular, “…‘It’s ludicrous that we have to go through all of this at the federal level,’ Anderson said. “This is an item you should be able to walk into a store and just purchase…’” What’s ludicrous is claiming that hunters can’t (or shouldn’t) wear hearing protection because they need to hear. A few years of duck hunting without hearing protection will ensure that those same hunters will have significantly diminished hearing, and will have created their own problem, Representative Anderson included.

    I look forward to him providing a photo to various media outlets showing him and his 12-gauge (with “sound suppressor” installed) in action. If you’re going to promote “public health,” Representative Anderson, you ought to lead by example…

    • Submitted by Rob Doar on 06/22/2015 - 04:08 pm.

      I can read…

      Quotes from Anti-Gun Group (that didn’t actually lobby)- Check
      Quotes from Anti-Gun Legislator – Check
      Quotes from Pro-Gun Legislator – Check
      Quote from Pro-Gun groups that did all the heavy lifting – …..

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/22/2015 - 05:10 pm.

        Just do it

        If a lack of credit for, or quotes from, the Pro-Gun groups that did all the heavy lifting strikes you as a big problem, instead of accusing the author of being unbalanced (for not anticipating every possible objection anyone reading the article might come up with), you could easily straighten things out by using this comment system to give those organizations the credit you think they deserve by naming them, quoting them, and, if they have web sites, directing people to those addresses.

        For example, here’s the address of Protect Minnesota, the group mentioned above. I don’t know anything about them but it took me less than a minute to locate their web site:

        Where, by the way, I noticed they’re in favor of “Gun Safety and Gun Violence Prevention” which, I’m pretty sure, is different than being “anti-gun.” Actually, responsible gun owner you may be, I’m sure you agree that gun safety and gun violence prevention is a good thing, and something you’re doing your part to ensure every time you use a gun (if you do). And I’m just as sure you wouldn’t say that makes you “anti-gun.”

        • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/23/2015 - 09:28 am.

          Make no mistake, Protect Minnesota is an anti-gun group who has testified against any pro-gun bill – and has supported every anti-gun bill ever introduced in the Minnesota legislature.

          But they’ll tell you they are all about gun safety.

        • Submitted by Ryan Scott on 06/23/2015 - 09:41 am.

          and they don’t want gun safety taught in schools… but it’s all about safety, right?

    • Submitted by Jeffrey McIntyre on 06/23/2015 - 10:46 am.

      12 -gauge Supressor

      They only add 3 pounds and 12″ at the barrel end of the gun…which would make wing shooting a bit challenging…..let alone lugging that monster through the field all day. Ridiculous….

    • Submitted by John Harris on 06/14/2017 - 04:22 pm.

      12 Gauge Suppressor

      A company called Silencerco makes it. MSRP is slightly under $1100 without the $200 ATF tax. (I also believe this is the version that does not accept choke tubes.

  4. Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/22/2015 - 03:11 pm.

    It’s a Public Health Issue

    I testified before the House Judiciary Committee this session in support of this bill. Despite wearing hearing protection, a single errant rifle report destroyed 40% of the hearing in my left ear. I’m unable to discern conversations and have a consistent ringing sound, tinnitus, in that ear. Some at the hearing had the audacity to say, “It’s the risk you took”. That’s the same thing as saying we shouldn’t make helmets available to bicycle riders because, “It’s the risk they take”.

    As the article states, suppressors/silencers do not “silence” firearms. That’s TV/Hollywood fantasy as is much of the depictions of firearms and their accessories. They simply reduce the report to a level that doesn’t immediately degrade hearing. Even suppressed, a rifle shot is louder than a single jackhammer strike. The fact is there have been virtually no use (two anecdotal accounts I believe) of a legal suppressor being used in a crime since they fell under the NFA Act of 1934.

    Some people think “common sense” laws only mean the further erosion of people’s civil rights. It’s nice to “hear” common sense legislation succeeding.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/23/2015 - 03:01 pm.

      Public health issue? Nonsense.

      The fact is that your hearing loss IS directly related to your choice. Just like the hearing loss for some music fans that expose themselves to amplified music without protection. When I bought my first hand gun, I also purchased eye and ear protection which has served me well over the last thirty years, just like earplugs have protected my hearing at live music events for even longer.
      The bike/helmet analogy is ludicrous in that you DO have protection available to you now, as you always have, plus you defeat your own argument by stating ” Even suppressed, a rifle shot is louder than a single jackhammer strike.” So what’s the point of a suppressor if it won’t protect you from a 110 – 130db sound? Earmuff protection has long been and still is the ear protection of choice for airport, construction workers and up until now…gun owners. I guess they’re just not cool looking enough, because I can’t think of any other reason why I would need one. But hey…for some, the definition of tyranny is at an all time low.

      • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 03:36 pm.

        Public Health Issue

        I’ve worn hearing protection since learning to handle firearms safely when I was eight years old. My hearing protection failed in the instance I cited when my hearing was damaged. Those with experience with suppressors know that when used, impulse pressure from the round is reduced to a level below which immediate damage occurs. Those who shoot multiple suppressed rounds should and do wear additional hearing protection as even though suppressed, over time, the reports can cause damage, I did not “choose” to sustain hearing damage. It happened despite wearing proper hearing protection.

        Ownership of property in this country doesn’t require “need”. If you choose not to own a suppressor, that’s great.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 06/23/2015 - 03:55 pm.

          You might not have chosen to sustain hearing loss

          but you should accept the responsibility for freely engaging in an activity that could not only cause it, but exacerbate it.

          • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 06:37 pm.

            I see

            The same way I should accept being responsible for a house fire because someone decided I shouldn’t be able to have an extinguisher, just a bucket of water.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 06/25/2015 - 11:34 am.


              that’s nothing but a strawman argument, just like attempting to equate a firearm with lighters and scissors. unless you’re stating that you were forced to take up shooting against your will. Remember…firearms don’t kill people, irresponsibility does. We can add hearing loss to that list.

              • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/26/2015 - 06:27 am.

                Accepting Responsiblity

                I absolutely accept responsibility for the activity of being involved in the shooting sports. How does that restrict my ability to further protect my hearing and the hearing of others when participating in said sport?

                Fortunately the legislature and the governor, in bipartisan legislation, understand “common sense”.

  5. Submitted by joe smith on 06/22/2015 - 04:25 pm.

    I own many guns but no suppressors. I always wear ear protection now but like many have hearing loss from years of not wearing protection. I don’t understand the issue folks would have with a gun suppressor. I understand there is a % of the population that hate guns and don’t want anybody owning them but this is not an issue dealing with that. If this suppressor helps one person not suffer hearing loss, seems to be worth it.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/22/2015 - 06:31 pm.

      The Issue folks have?

      Easy Joe, we learned it from the NRA, don’t give an inch on anything ever, take it to the grave!
      Fair enough?

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 06/22/2015 - 06:51 pm.

      Does it allowing one murder escape..

      …detection cancel out the one dude with better hearing? Just want to be clear on the values you’re supporting.

    • Submitted by John Harris on 06/14/2017 - 04:41 pm.

      There’s a Threat Coming and Silencers Will Help

      I’m not talking about foreign invasion. Of course I am not talking about the UN Troops in their Black Helicopters. No. I’m NOT talking about using a firearm against a law enforcement officer.

      That to which I refer is not even human.
      Feral hogs are spreading through the country rapidly. 80% of them have to be eliminated every year in order to keep them from expanding the range over which they destroy crops by the acre every night. Unchecked, the herd size triples every year. A silencer will disorient the pigs enough that a shooter will be able to shoot more than one pig per engagement. As such, we should be able to get closer to that 80%.

  6. Submitted by Joan Peterson on 06/23/2015 - 07:06 am.


    Since I am the Protect Minnesota spokesperson who responded to Mr. Grow’s questions, I would like to make a few things straight about my comments to him. I told Mr. Grow that a big part of our testimony at the hearing was to point out that this appeared to us be a way to increase sales at gun shops. If you look at the ads by the silencer companies, there are no hunters shown. There are mostly men dressed in tactical and military type gear with silencers on their guns. When a local gun shop dealer was interviewed for a story about silencers that is exactly what he mentioned. He looked forward to increased sales. I also said we had a concern that, as with guns that start out as legal purchases, many of them make it into the illegal market and that, over time, with increased sales as the article shows has happened, this may happen with silencers and that would not be a good thing for public safety. In addition, if silencers don’t make that much difference to the sound level as was also stated in the article, why do we need them? I also told Mr. Grow that if silencers are meant for people who shoot a lot at gun ranges, what good does it do an individual to have a silencer on his/her gun if the person standing right next to you does not also have a silencer. Also, some of the hunters and gun owners with whom we work told us that they would be unlikely to use a silencer for hunting. Hunters do like to hear where the shots are coming from when hunting with a party of people.

    There was no testimony from anyone who was a health care provider or an audiologist at the hearing to back up the claims made about saving hearing. It is recognized that hunters and those who shoot a lot do experience some hearing loss. But there are ear protections now sold at places like Gander Mountain, etc. that are much improved and would be a better solution rather than to allow the sale of silencers. The corporate gun lobby has an agenda and it includes loosening gun laws all over the country. The 1934 law that heavily regulated gun silencers was there for a reason and has worked well to keep them out of the hands of too many people who may use them with bad intention. Though they will still be difficult to get, they will now be in circulation and could fall into the wrong hands.

    And last, thank you to the person who checked our website. We are not anti-gun as those in the gun lobby love to say. We are anti gun violence and pro gun safety. Some of our members are gun owners and believe, as do we, that we can prevent gun injuries and deaths with reasonable measures that won’t affect law abiding gun owners.

    • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/23/2015 - 09:23 am.

      Joan Peterson writes: “We are not anti-gun as those in the gun lobby love to say. We are anti gun violence and pro gun safety. Some of our members are gun owners and believe, as do we, that we can prevent gun injuries and deaths with reasonable measures that won’t affect law abiding gun owners.”

      Except your actions do not reflect this.

      In 2013, Protect Minnesota fully supported – and you testified personally in favor of – a whole host of legislation that would have banned entire classes of firearms and would have impacted primarily law-abiding gun owners.

      Your organization supported a ban on commonly owned hunting rifles and training rifles

      Your organization supported requiring law-abiding gun owners to let the county sheriff into their homes annually for a “safety” inspection.

      Your organization supported requiring commonly owned rifles, often owned as family heirlooms, to be destroyed or turned into law enforcement upon the death of the owner.

      Your organization supported requiring the owners of many commonly owned hunting and training rifles to have to register with the state as gun owners – and register their individual firearms.

      Your organization supported making it a felony for a gun owner to walk past a sign.

      And I could go on – but you get the idea.

      To claim that you’re pro-gun safety but not anti-gun is simply nothing more than dishonest spin.

      But we’re used to that – after all, your organization testified that the only intent of a suppressor was to commit murder – and you conveniently ignore the fact that scientific evidence was provided at the hearing – and separately to legislators (from a US government source, no less).

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/23/2015 - 11:46 am.

        Just out of curiosity

        “Your organization supported requiring the owners of many commonly owned hunting and training rifles to have to register with the state as gun owners – and register their individual firearms.”

        If I don’t need to prove my identity by presenting valid documentation (birth certificate, for example), and pass written, vision, and proficiency tests to acquire a firearm “operator’s” license, and I don’t need to register each firearm I own, and I don’t need to have firearm liability insurance, why do you, why does anyone, need a driver’s license? Why should anyone be required to register and insure any vehicle they purchase or own?

        Where in the constitution does it say American citizens shall not be required to:

        Obtain a firearm operator’s license;

        Register all firearms they purchase, are given, or in any way own;

        Acquire firearm liability insurance adequate to reimburse individuals or organizations for any bodily harm or property damage accidentally or purposely caused by the firearm owner?

        And if you feel inclined to answer the question with some version of how a big part of the intent of the second amendment is citizens protecting themselves from, or preventing, the federal government and armed forces of the United States taking (complete) control of America in order to abolish state’s and individual’s rights, beginning with the confiscation of all registered firearms and possible incarceration of registered firearm owners, I’d really like to know how you and others believe that would be done.

        By that I mean, how do you think the government would, or could, actually go about the process of physically confiscating the hundreds of millions of firearms that are owned by hundreds of millions of Americans? What would the on-the-ground, real world mechanics of that operation look like? After the president gave the order, what would the chain of events be from there?

        I’m not sure how many people are serving in the military at any one time, but think it’s around five or six million. I know less about the number of police and others working in all U.S. law enforcement agencies, but let’s say it’s somewhere near the same and rounds things off to an even 10 million on the Operation Firearms and Owners Roundup team… How do you and others that have that concern (if you do) envision those 10 million people going about confiscating those hundreds of millions of weapons from their hundreds of millions of owners?

        To me that hasn’t ever seemed like much of a realistic possibility or argument for defending “the right” to remain anonymous and free of all normal regulatory standards when it comes to being in possession of, and operating, potentially lethal equipment. Seems like it would be way harder than confiscating all the vehicles in America, along with their registered owners.

        But again… The most important question is, if I don’t need a license to own and shoot a cabinet or room full of guns, why do you need a license to drive a garage full of cars?

        • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 12:54 pm.

          Driving a Car Is a Privilege

          Bill: Driving a car is a privilege, not a right. Which other Constitutional right would you agree to buy liability insurance for, your right to free speech perhaps? You would need a license then to petition the government, practice the religion of your choice or to gather with your neighbors. You’ll need a license to be able to be tried by a jury of your peers, otherwise what?

          As for confiscation, in the 2014 session, we had to beat back a bill that would have required the destruction of of firearms at the time of the owner’s death. How’s that not de facto confiscation? New York, California and a number of other states have gun registries and use them to confiscate firearms.

          So, to answer your final question, we don’t require a license to exercise a Constitutional right.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 06/23/2015 - 02:50 pm.

            How do we know that

            the person receiving the dead owners gun is mentally stable enough to own it? That’s not confiscation…it’s common sense.

            • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 03:40 pm.

              Common Sense

              So according to your example, the heirs of your property must prove they are mentally stable or it can all be confiscated including your cars. I can’t find that test in any law books I’ve read.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 06/23/2015 - 04:01 pm.

                I couldn’t care less

                and If you’re a responsible gun owner, you shouldn’t want a mentally unstable or inexperienced person to own a weapon either. And since a license is required, the car analogy is a stretch, don’t you think? Personally, I think every one of us should have to take a proficiency test and psych evaluation every five years to continue to own a firearm.

                • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 06:48 pm.

                  So, a license to prove sanity?

                  So, you’re advocating that all U.S. citizens take a proficiency test and psych evaluation every five years to continue to own anything that could cause death or serious bodily injury, cars, knives, baseball bats, tire irons, lighters, scissors……. When’s the last time you had to take a driving proficiency test? Oh, and you can drive a car without a license, on private property.

                  You’re also going to need to get licensed, tested, evaluated and insured in order to exercise your other Constitutional rights yes? You keep wanting to ignore the constitutional aspect of the right to bear arms as confirmed as recently as 2008 by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v Heller.

                • Submitted by DENNIS SCHMINKE on 06/25/2015 - 08:37 pm.


                  Good Heavens! And who gets to decide comptency? Yes…the ‘experts, of course.

                  Joe Stalin could not have said it better.

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 06/25/2015 - 10:39 pm.

                    Now you’re against mental health professionals?

                    I’ll take their opinion on mental competence over Wayne LaPierre’s any day.

        • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/23/2015 - 01:11 pm.

          Bill Willy writes: “But again… The most important question is, if I don’t need a license to own and shoot a cabinet or room full of guns, why do you need a license to drive a garage full of cars?”

          Relatively simple. The right to keep and bear arms is a specifically enumerated constitutional right that was confirmed by the US Supreme Court in the Heller and Macdonald cases.

          Your driver’s license example doesn’t at all reference a constitutional right.

          • Submitted by Rob Doar on 06/23/2015 - 03:27 pm.

            Furthermore.. you can have a garage full of cars, and drive them whenever you want without a license…

            on private property…

            Tired, overused, and completely false analogy.

        • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/23/2015 - 05:34 pm.

          I see

          We don’t require a “license” to exercise a Constitutional right, we just require a “permit.” As far as what you’re saying goes, there isn’t a difference and, more importantly, it’s not relevant.

          What’s relevant is “laws imposing conditions.”

          If I’m driving driving down the road and get pulled over, and the officer happens to notice I’m exercising my Constitutional right to bear arms by carrying a loaded pistol that I laid on the passenger seat (where it would be handy enough for me to protect myself), will he ask to see my permit? Would I get arrested or fined for not following the laws imposing conditions on my Constitutional right by not storing it in the trunk?

          What’s up with that and whatever the other limits, or regulations, that have been placed on that right? According to what you’re saying, none of that could have happened.

          And as far as not referencing a “specifically enumerated constitutional right” goes, so what?.. Not that that’s relevant either, or that they would have been mentioned, but cars and trucks or anything else with an engine didn’t exist when the Constitution (or the Bill of Rights) was put together, so there wouldn’t be much about driver’s licenses.

          But, that minor detail aside, it goes like this: If “we the people” decided it’s okay to apply regulations, or limits (“laws imposing conditions”), to constitutional rights (not okay to “scream FIRE!!! in a crowed theater,” not okay to carry a shotgun under your raincoat without a conceal-carry permit), and we the people decide to further regulate things by creating laws that say people need to go through a process similar to that involved in obtaining a driver’s license (or permit) in order to exercise their second amendment rights, and decided each firearm a person owned needed to be registered the way vehicles are, that would be just as okay.

          And, in case you missed it, that’s what the Supreme Court said in 2007:

          “The Court stated that the right to keep and bear arms is subject to regulation, such as concealed weapons prohibitions, limits on the rights of felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of weapons in certain locations, laws imposing conditions on commercial sales, and prohibitions on the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. It stated that this was not an exhaustive list of the regulatory measures that would be presumptively permissible under the Second Amendment.”

          To just blow that off by saying the Constitution doesn’t say anything about cars, or it’s a Constitutional right, therefore anything anyone says or does about regulating or limiting it is invalid, doesn’t hold water. Sounds good, but it doesn’t line up with law.

          • Submitted by DENNIS SCHMINKE on 06/25/2015 - 10:54 pm.

            We the people…

            Just gotta say that our constitution was SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to:

            a) protect the rights of a minority from the tyranny of the majority
            b) to slow down the ‘passions of the people

        • Submitted by DENNIS SCHMINKE on 06/25/2015 - 08:31 pm.


          How? You pass a law…Australia actually did it.

          • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/26/2015 - 06:38 am.


            What other rights are you willing to let the government confiscate from you? Owning a firearm isn’t a right in Australia.

      • Submitted by DENNIS SCHMINKE on 06/25/2015 - 08:29 pm.

        Protect Minnesota

        It’s a lot like the Education Minnesota position on anything…”It’s for the children!” Of course it is.

  7. Submitted by joe smith on 06/23/2015 - 08:14 am.

    How is a gun suppressor going to allow a person to get away with murder? It has been proven over and over again laws have never stopped the lawless. If someone is set on murdering a person with a pistol he’s going to do it with or without a suppressor.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/23/2015 - 09:19 am.

      Don’t know about murder

      But I bet there is a bunch of very happy poachers today. If nothing else, one less charge if they get caught.

      • Submitted by Ryan Scott on 06/23/2015 - 09:39 am.


        Poaching is already a crime, doing so with a suppressor makes it a felony.
        Besides, most poachers are turned in by someone, not caught in the act.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/23/2015 - 12:12 pm.


          Those laws are repealed as well. Why should the charge be greater when the accessory is now legal? Seems logical to me.

          • Submitted by Ryan Scott on 06/23/2015 - 03:24 pm.

            Because there are increased penalties for using a federally restricted item in a crime.

            It’s pretty simple, really.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/23/2015 - 12:07 pm.


      laws never stop the lawless…I love that logic.So let’s just do away with them all, right? Let’s remove all the speed limits and traffic signs, let’s let restaurants serve food from unsanitary conditions, let’s let people empty their septic system directly into the rivers, let’s not bust people for robbing banks…Criminals gotta criminal…amirite?

    • Submitted by Leon Webster on 06/23/2015 - 04:46 pm.

      Obviously we ought to repeal all the laws

      “laws have never stopped the lawless” I hear this statement all the time from gun advocates. And I suppose it is true to some extent. If you take it to its conclusion, then we should just repeal all the laws since they don’t stop people from doing various things that are currently illegal. For example, laws against burglary obviously don’t stop burglars; laws against murder don’t stop murderers. I don’t hear anyone calling for the repeal of these laws on the grounds that they are ineffective.

      But burglary laws do allow the prosecution of people who break into others homes and steal from them. And laws do serve as a boundary line indicating what we, as a society, think is permissible.

  8. Submitted by Chad Quigley on 06/23/2015 - 01:22 pm.

    As usual, the liberals have got the undies in a bunch over something that has to do with a gun. Here’s a note to all the anti’s who think the murder rate will go up now that silencers are legal: the bad guys don’t now and never will follow the law so any kind of gun control legislation you try and ram down our throats will not stop the bad guys from committing crimes. Stop trying the legislate my rights.

  9. Submitted by Jeffrey Dunnan on 06/23/2015 - 01:51 pm.

    This is just another step towards anarchy, courtesy of the National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, and the Gun Owners Political Action Committee.

    Silencers will be used as a tool for murder, nothing else.

    The fact that a DFL controlled Senate and a DFL Governor signed this bill is just completely beyond my comprehension.

    • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/23/2015 - 03:46 pm.

      Silencers will be used as a tool for murder

      So, how do you explain the complete lack of homicides being committed by those with legally owned suppressors in 39 other states for years? The bill was passed by a DFL controlled Senate and a DFL Governor because it’s “common sense”.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/23/2015 - 10:21 pm.

        Here you go!

        There were a total of 14,827 reported murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in the U.S. in 2012. Although the number of cases has declined in the past twenty years, when viewed in international comparison, the U.S. murder rate is still high. In 2012, Germany’s murder rate stood at 0.8, compared to 4.7 in the United States. Approximately 6X. Plenty of statistics to support the murderous nature of American and its guns, W or W/O silencers.

        • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/24/2015 - 12:23 pm.

          Moving the Pea

          You’re moving the pea. In face of the fact that legal suppressors aren’t used in homicide, you now you want to change the subject to all homicide. Ok, I’ll bite. The U.S. is ranked 109th out of 218 countries in intentional homicides. I doubt the means of being killed changes the outcome. Additionally, 2/3rds of gun homicides in the U.S. are suicides. We are ranked 50th in suicide rates behind a number of “advanced” countries like Japan, which is ranked 17th and has a virtual ban on firearms. Again, I doubt loved ones really care about the means of the suicide.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/24/2015 - 06:35 pm.


            We are playing by NRA rules:
            Don’t give an inch, irrational or rational doesn’t make any difference, our way, or the highway, take it to the grave. Your assumption is correct, you can’t win this argument, we are playing by NRA rules “Can’t lose” make it up, twist it, turn it, dial it to suit the agenda as we go.
            Fair Enough?

            • Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/25/2015 - 08:12 am.

              NRA Rules

              I present fact based arguments. You admittedly, “twist it, turn it, dial it to suit the agenda as we go”. I’m a law abiding citizen firearm owner. I don’t speak for the NRA.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/25/2015 - 06:18 pm.

                So what!

                Been doing fact based arguments for years, makes no difference, clearly some confusion on the
                ” Position” There are only “Pro-gun” “anti-gun” no, zero,nada, middle ground, per above we are well trained. And I don’t speak for the anti-gun folks, and I don’t own a gun but am a qualified expert on a 45 and was an NRA member in 1965 when NRA meant marksmanship and learning how to use a fire arm safely. It wasn’t an anti-government, pro gun marketing lobby, pro-kill everything that crosses your path and scares you, or a way to intimidate everyone non-packing. Same point rationale, irrational makes no difference, you are either pro right to murder or anti right to murder, there are no other positions. Playing “NRA rules. They weren’t invented here. The discussion form this perspective is perfectly rationale and fact based.
                Nothing personal.

  10. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 06/24/2015 - 10:51 am.

    We should at least require research.

    ‘Three things stood out in convincing [Senator Ron] Latz that this was a measure he could support. The suppressors don’t actually silence the sound of a gunshot, they decrease the sound. Law enforcement agencies across the country — sound suppressors already are legal in 39 states — have no data showing that suppressors have been a threat to public safety. And finally, language was added giving police authorities some “flexibility” in determining if someone should not receive approval to purchase a silencer.’

    When a shot rings out, people hear it in a wide radius. When that shot is silenced – excuse me, “softened” – people hear it in a much narrower radius. Will that be wide enough for police to pinpoint the location of murderous gunman at the time of the crime?

    Only time and research will tell. It does not surprise me that law enforcement agencies have no data showing that silencers HAVE BEEN a threat to public safety. That’s because they haven’t been in public USE.

    Following common sense, I predict that the widespread accessibility and use of silencers on guns will have a negative impact on public safety. Of course, only research will tell. That’s why I’m disappointed that once again, we have weakened a common-sense gun law because we have been duped by an ad campaign of the gun manufacturing lobby, and that once again, lawmakers seem to have no interest in the reality of public safety.

    • Submitted by Bryan Strawser on 06/24/2015 - 01:14 pm.

      “Only time and research will tell. It does not surprise me that law enforcement agencies have no data showing that silencers HAVE BEEN a threat to public safety. That’s because they haven’t been in public USE.”

      Silencers, or “suppressors” have been in public use since their creation. They’re legal in 41 states now. I’m not sure what you mean by “they haven’t been in publi use”.

      The crime data is pretty clear on this issue.

      “Following common sense, I predict that the widespread accessibility and use of silencers on guns will have a negative impact on public safety.”

      Based on what facts, exactly? Because the existing 80+ years of data tells a very different story than the one you’re painting here. What facts are you referencing?

      “an ad campaign of the gun manufacturing lobby”

      What ad campaign is this?

      ” lawmakers seem to have no interest in the reality of public safety.”

      I believe lawmakers looked at a very clear set of facts and made a bipartisan decision on this issue.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/26/2015 - 06:01 pm.

      I like the common sense!

      “have no data showing that suppressors have been a threat to public safety”
      Same can be said for pot how come its not legal? And it has been researched to death.
      And it doesn’t make any noise nor does it cause death by led poisoning.
      Is there some common sense that I missed in the discussion?


  11. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 06/24/2015 - 10:14 pm.

    Let’s clarify a few things.

    You wrote:

    ‘Silencers, or “suppressors” have been in public use since their creation. They’re legal in 41 states now. I’m not sure what you mean by “they haven’t been in public use”.’

    There are different levels of legality. Narrow legality for silencers makes them seldom used, by only a few exceptionally qualified people. Wider legality for silencers makes them more often used, by less qualified people. My claim that silencers “haven’t been in public use” has one very clear piece of evidence: the law that recently passed the Minnesota Legislature. If there was a perceived need to widen the legality of silencers, then this can only mean that silencers weren’t widely used before. Now, they will be. And in the future, we will find out what impact this will have on public safety in Minnesota. We have had very little data on this, until now, if indeed we have any at all.

    Your “80-plus years” claim means nothing unless you show me some research that has been done since the 1930s on the impact of widespread use of silencers on public safety. We don’t gain knowledge merely because time passes. We gain knowledge because somebody publishes research. Moreover, as Doug Grow mentioned, not even the NRA dared to push silencers until fifteen years ago. So I’m guessing that in most or even all of the 39 states Grow mentioned, the use of silencers was restricted until very, very recently. So there can’t be any long-term studies available about the public-safety impact of loosening this restriction.

    You asked whose ad campaign influenced our Legislature. Doug Grow mentioned the substitution of the word “suppressor” for “silencer.” That’s the craft of an ad man. Presumably an NRA lobbyist had a talk with Representative Mark Anderson to advise him how to sell the loosening of restrictions on silencers to a wary public. That’s advertisement.

    You said: ‘I believe lawmakers looked at a very clear set of facts and made a bipartisan decision on this issue.’

    The facts tell us only that this decision was bipartisan. I see no evidence that lawmakers looked at anything except the sales pitch the NRA gave them. I see no evidence of any study that proves that more silencers will not contribute to harder-to-solve crimes.

    Bipartisanship offers me no consolation, either. Bank deregulation was bipartisan, too.

  12. Submitted by DENNIS SCHMINKE on 06/25/2015 - 11:04 pm.

    Laws governing firearms (and now suppressors)

    The world is not likely to come to an end.

    Carnage was predicted as a result of concealed carry. Never. happened. Same will be true of legal ownership of suppressors.

    Fact of the matter is that people who go to the time, trouble, and expense to clear the regulatory hurdles are an EXTREMELY law abiding lot. Far more so than the general public. Why curtail freedoms of law-abiding citizens to address a problem that they are not a part of??

    Your gun-violence problem is based primarily with people who do not obey the law in the first place. If they wanted suppressors, or if suppressors would help them to commit crime/evade arrest, they would already have them. They won’t, and they don’t.

  13. Submitted by Kevin Vick on 06/26/2015 - 09:08 am.

    I find it interesting that when anti-gun legislation is passed into law it’s simply “common sense”. When bi-partisan legislation, signed into law by a Democrat Governor, legalizing a device that benefits people by reducing noise in the environment, it’s unconscionable.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/27/2015 - 09:16 am.

      Noise pollution

      Yeah! Where are the environmentalists? They should be arguing that the reduction in noise pollution is critical for the health of the environment and DEMAND that all firearms come equipped with built-in noise suppressors.

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