Open gun range day provides education on fully automatic, suppressed weapons
Today’s news from the Associated Press was selected by Media Writing student Hannah Leslie.
CRANE — Crane-based firearms distributor S&K Arms Company LLC invited West Texans to the gun range on Father’s Day for an opportunity to learn about and fire fully automatic, semi-automatic and suppressedfirearms.
Scott Lucas said he and his business partner, Kane Colisek, set up the event as a way to familiarize the general public with a variety of firearms.
Lucas said the event offered a friendly, safe environment for patrons to ask questions about firearm handling, safety and ownership.
Patrons had the opportunity to fire suppressed fully automatic and semi-automatic AR-15 rifles, bolt-action precision rifles and pistols, paying per ammunition clip.
Odessan Joe Olivarez brought his son, 11-year-old Seth Olivarez, to the range for Father’s Day bonding and a chance to educate his son on gun safety and self-protection.
Ben Herrera, of Crane, said the event is an opportune time to enjoy firing weapons and learn more about gunlaws.
“A lot of people don’t know the legalities of suppressors and fully automatics,” he said.
Instructors and gun experts, including Gary Hughes, vice president of sales for Silencerco, a suppressor manufacturer, placed a strong emphasis on firearm suppressors during Sunday’s event due to misconceptions regarding the firearm piece.
“Everyone thinks they’re illegal,” said Hughes. He offered much information regarding suppressor laws and regulations during the event.
According to information website Silencersarelegal.com, 39 of 50 U.S. states — including Texas — allow citizens to own firearm suppressors. In order, to legally own a suppressor, citizens must pay a one-time $200 tax for each suppressor and each one must be registered through the National Firearms Act branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Registration applicants must submit a Form 4 to the BATFE, which also must be signed by a chief law enforcement officer in the applicant’s home jurisdiction. Applicants can process a Form 4 without that officer by means of a Firearms Trust, which can be set up through an attorney.
Suppressors are commonly referred to as “silencers,” but Colisek said that term is misleading since a suppressor reduces gunfire sound and does not fully cancel sound.
Hughes said gun owners greatly benefit from a suppressor by removing “everything about shooting (a gun) that sucks.”
For starters, he said a suppressor decreases the risk of gunfire-related hearing loss. Any exposure to noise more than 140 decibels can cause irreparable hearing loss, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Silencerco’s website states that unsuppressed handguns and rifles generally create a muzzle report well above that threshold. Hughes said a suppressor can lower that muzzle report by about 30 decibels, generally falling under 140 decibels.
“You’re doing long-term hearing damage with every shot (of an unsuppressed firearm),” Hughes said.
Apart from hearing protection, Hughes said suppressors reduce gun recoil — or kickback — experienced after expelling ammunition from a firearm’s barrel, increasing the gun user’s comfort. The recoil reduction also reduces a tone of intimidation surrounding the firearm, boosting gun owner confidence in handling, he said.
Hughes said the U.S. does not need more gun control and he expects half a million citizens to legally own suppressors by the end of the year.
Colisek and Lucas shared the same belief regarding gun legislation.
“You can’t judge gun owners based on the actions of a crazy individual,” Colisek said.
In order to own a firearm suppressor, gun owners:
-Legally make their own suppressor in a state where suppressors are illegal.
-Travel to a suppressor-friendly state and purchase one to take to their state.
-Have someone who lives in a suppressor friendly state buy you one.
-Be a felon.
-A resident of the state where the suppressor is purchased.
-A citizen of the United States.
-At least 21 years of age to purchase a suppressor from a dealer.
-At least 18 years of age to purchase a suppressor from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws).
-At least 18 years of age to possess a suppressor as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation (contingent on state laws).