Illinois suppressor ban gets legal challenge

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Suppressors are NFA devices here in the United States despite being considered “safety devices” elsewhere. For some reason, we’re not allowed to have them without jumping through the same hoops we’d have to jump through if we were trying to buy a machine gun.


However, there are differences. For example, I can buy a brand-new suppressor, not one made before a certain arbitrary date.

You can also lawfully own suppressors throughout most of the nation.

One notable exception is Illinois, which has a ban on so-called silencers.

At least, they have one for now. A new lawsuit seeks to change that for folks in the Land of Lincoln.

Consumers can own suppressors in 42 states with Illinois being in the minority that arbitrarily bans the devices. That could change if a new lawsuit is successful.

The 17-page suit, filed in federal court on Monday by two Illinois men with the support of Silencer Shop and the American Suppressor Association Foundation, argues the state’s ban on suppressor ownership and possession is an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment. A host of state and county officials, with Attorney General Kwame Raoul in the lead, are named as defendants.

“The American Suppressor Association Foundation has always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding Americans to possess and own suppressors,” Knox Williams, ASA-F’s Executive Director, told “After last summer’s Bruen ruling, we knew it was time to get to work on a case that would apply the Second Amendment’s protections to the States.”

With over 2.6 million suppressors on file with federal regulators, only 3,297 are listed as being in Illinois. This sparse number is due to the fact that the devices are restricted to just federally licensed dealers and manufacturers, and law enforcement. Outside of those carve-outs, possession of an otherwise legal and registered suppressor can earn a consumer up to seven years in an Illinois penitentiary.


In this post-Bruen landscape, it’s kind of an ideal time to challenge this law, and I sincerely wish them well. I think there’s a solid opportunity here to overturn the ban.

If the federal court decides not to, this could end up before the Supreme Court, which would have an opportunity to remove suppressors from the National Firearm Act entirely.

And really, they should. As noted, these are devices that allow you to shoot with reduced noise levels. They’re not what we see in movies, a device that muffles a gunshot to the level of a whisper. What it does is reduce the noise levels to a point where they’re still loud, just not at the point of damaging people’s hearing.

SCOTUS isn’t likely to do so, mind you, but we can dream.

We’ll have to wait and see how this lawsuit goes, but suppressors should be available for the average Illinois resident to get.

What I’d like to see more, though, is buying them over the counter without having to jump through any NFA hoops and have that apply throughout the nation. This case has an outside shot at making that a reality, though it’s not the goal.


Either way, though, best of luck to the plaintiffs.

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