Want To Be Seen As “Cool” In Texas? Buy a Gun Silencer.


Being cool is different to different people.  To the very wealthy it’s how they can dispose of their excess wealth by being the first to buy a piece of modern art that cost more than many people’s job income each year, as Morley Safer showed us in a segment on last Sunday”s “60 Minutes”.   For other’s, being cool is all about peeing in your pants.    Here in Texas, never wanting to be outdone by anyone else, we have a combination of the wealthy arrogance and Billy Madison immaturity to convey what’s cool.

Nationwide, more than 22,000 [gun] noise suppressors were sold this year — 9 percent more than last year — and the most were sold in Texas for at least the third year in a row…

“People just want them,” Glen Furtardo said, … manager at the Winchester Gallery gun store in east Fort Worth.  “It’s like tattoos. … They have come out of the closet. Now everyone gets them.”

DeWayne Irwin, who owns the Cheaper Than Dirt gun store in north Fort Worth, said he has steadily seen sales of silencers rise, along with ammunition and guns, over the past two years.  “Ninety percent of the people who buy them just think they are so cool,” Irwin said. “This is Texas.”   SOURCE

For many of us who were born and raised in the Lone Star State we have slowly watched too many people in it devolve into a dysfunctional, undereducated caveman-like society.  Texas has a progressive legacy with such people as Sam Houston, John Nance Garner, Sam Rayburn, Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson, Molly Ivins and Ann Richards.

The state can lay claim to some of the music greats like Buddy Holly, Willy Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  Military heroes ranged from John Coker in Texas’ fight for independence to Audie Murphy’s Medal of honor action in WWII and carried through with today’s highly decorated William Harry McRaven, who currently serves as ninth Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command and who’s credited with organizing and executing the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

There was a certain pride Texans had that was the envy of many in the other 49 states.  We still project to many around the world an enduring mystique of the American cowboy that symbolizes the rugged west of an earlier time.  But over the last few decades Texas is becoming the butt of many jokes and is being represented by some of the most notable mental midgets of our time.  The disease that has festered was perhaps sparked by the infamous Texan who killed President Kennedy back in 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald.  Since then the state has gradually edged toward the ideological red of the political spectrum that now divides us as a people.

The rest of the world now sees buffoonery coming out of Texas either in the personal images of George W. Bush, his “turd blossom”, Karl Rove, or the current self-serving, coiffed governor, Rick Perry. It’s the state that wants to secede from the union, built an expensive, ineffective wall along the Rio Grande to keep their cheap labor force out, engaged in revisionist history in school text books affecting the rest of the nation’s school systems and along with several other red states, implemented a law requiring an intrusive vaginal sonogram for any woman contemplating an abortion.

We have the highest number of people without health insurance coverage and rank near the bottom in the important educational categories of science and math.   And even with the third-most millionaires of any state, with 381,165, Texas is still only #25 in Median Household Income, reflecting the low wage base for most working families.

So it wasn’t surprising, after watching Bill Maher’s “New Rules” segment last Friday to discover that Texas, along with several other states now allows you to buy silencers for both handguns and hunting rifles.  Evidently the law has been around for a few years and as a Texan who owns no gun(s) I was unaware of this law.  Maher’s revelation in his “New Rules” segment sent me googling for information on this subject which brought me to Anna Tinsley’s story in the Ft. Worth Star telegram published back in December 2010

Its’ a good story.  It doesn’t bash gun owners and even slips a comment in from a Dallas volunteer for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to question why a citizen who arms themselves for security reason needs a silencer.  Recent events in Sanford, Florida might provide a clue for this.  Texas too has a “stand your ground” law that allows you to shoot people who you suspect pose a threat to you anywhere away from your home.  A noisy handgun or rifle going off might disturb the neighbors watching the current episode of “Survivor”.


We may be dumbing down in Texas but we are considerate about disturbing our neighbors as suggested by Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson “if you’re getting rid of squirrels in your back yard”.  Patterson, a former state senator who shepherded conceal-carry legislation in 1995, hunts wild hogs by attracting a herd of them to a feeder and picks them off as they’re eating.  The silencer serves “a practical use if you want to shoot one without scaring others off”, he says.

What I found especially amusing in Tinsley’s story were those gun owners who might use silencers on them as they fire off rounds with other like minded people.

Some people take their silencers to shooting ranges. Others might take them to “machine gun shoots,” where gun lovers gather to fire at targets.

An un-cool person might purchase ear protection headsets where many are reasonably priced for around $50.  But only the cool Texan would spend between $199 to $6,000 for a gun silencer.

Who wants to look like this  

when you can look like this   


Those of us who have to suffer these troglodytes can only shake our heads and wonder how much further this state will recede into the shallow-minded abyss that thinks being cool entails using a weapon solely intended to kill and then shows concern that it’s use will exceed normal decibel levels.

17 responses to “Want To Be Seen As “Cool” In Texas? Buy a Gun Silencer.

    • Nope, they’re as legal as drilling natural gas well with carcinogenic chemicals for fracking.

      A lot of heavy rain and threatening clouds but north of Dallas where I live we avoided those nasty funnels Dr. Chuq

  1. We in Florida are working day and night trying to outdo you Lone Stars . . . just passed some laws in Tampa in advance of the RNC convention. Best part? In protest area (ONLY), squirt guns are illegal. Real guns are just fine.

    • Yes, the hurt and humiliation that can come from being squirted with some discoloring agent. The finality of death at the hands of a gun is the least of the GOP’s worries.

  2. It’s way scary. This is going on all over the freakin’ country, and the GOP wants to pass a law that allows you to carry your shootin’ iron across state lines as concealed if you got a permit in any state. I just wonder how many people you run into at the mall are packin’ heat these days. It’s utterly stupid and dangerous, and actually it produces more killings than any “crime” does I bet.

  3. I came across this article by accident, but I think there is a major misunderstanding here.

    First of all, most non-gun people think of Hollywood when they think of “silencers”. In reality, they do make a firearm quieter – but it isn’t even close to the “whisper” quiet you hear in the movies. The fact is that guns are loud, and suppressors make them safe to shoot without hearing protection. Trust me when I say that it’s a lot more fun not having to wear those $50 muffs all day – and it makes it a lot easier to communicate with the people around you as well.

    People act like it’s OK to play golf or go fishing; but, for some reason, it’s not OK to shoot targets or participate in other shooting sports. I guess that works as long as no one is messing with your hobbies right? Is that what it means to be progressive – that you can decide what people should do with their time & money?

    And, I’m sure it’s OK for a golfer to show up on the course with high-end clubs so his friends will think he’s cool. But, if a shooter shows up with a suppressor he’s really just a buffoon?

    Honestly, it seems like you’d be all for suppressors. They make the weapon significantly longer & harder to conceal. They prevent hearing damage that would have to be addressed by the medical system later in life. They don’t make the firearm so quiet that it can’t be heard. Heck, they’re sold over the counter in some European countries and it’s considered impolite to shoot without them.

    Here in the U.S. we have to pay an extra $200 tax and wait 6 months before we can own a suppressor. Most of the time it also requires a signature from your local Sheriff or Police Chief and fingerprints before the ATF will even look at the application. You can’t just walk into a store and buy one (or buy one from a private party) without jumping through those hoops.

    Anyway, I don’t know why I even bothered to write this since I’m sure you’ll just label me an uneducated moron…

    I truly hope that this doesn’t come across as argumentative. I just thought I would put in my 2c.

    • Hi Dave,

      thanks for leaving your comments and no, I don’t think you’re an uneducated moron. I don’t know you well enough to characterize you as such. My comments are generic in nature but with a purpose.

      I am familiar with firearms. Did some bird hunting before I entered the Marine Corps where I learned even more about weapons, including my M-14 I that I earned a Marksman rating with. But I had the disadvantage of using my weapon in a way that many people who are passionate about guns never have or most likely never will. I shot at other people with it and was shot at while serving in Vietnam. I don’t know that I actually ever hit anyone or worse, killed someone while shooting at them since my actual combat experience was more limited than a grunt who’s routinely out in the bush. But I was stationed on an isolated hill for nearly a year near the DMZ and would occasionally encounter enemy fire

      I have seen the damage that firearms do and because of that I have never owned a gun of my own after being discharged from the service. I honestly think they do more harm than good and I find no sport in killing animals with them. The need to kill our own food disappeared years ago. The “thrill of the kill” is, to me, not a humane response. There’s something extremely barbaric about it and I’d like to think we’ve advanced over the years where ancient survival instincts need not be acted out at the expense animals losing their lives to fulfill this unnecessary leftover from another time period.

      I understand that we live in a world where bad people can hurt us and some are so overwrought with this fear that they feel compelled to seek protection with a handgun. But the point of my post is that this fear has exceeded rational limits and there is an entire culture now that uses this reasonable exception for owning a weapon where they feel the need to own large arsenals of automatic weapons and their accouterments, like silencers, to go with them. They have become dangerous toys for otherwise normal people.

      Firing your weapon in an enclosed firing range is a good reason to protect your hearing but if you had read the story by Anna Tinsley I supplied a link to you would understand the jist of my comments. Not everyone who owns a gun buys a silencer for ear protection in an enclosed firing range. Most, according to one Ft. Worth gun dealer, buy them “because they’re cool.” It’s a part of a pervasive mentality in this state where people often think with their asses rather than their brains.

      Owning a gun is a serious business but you get the idea that too many want them out of some exaggerated fear for their life or to simply be part of an in-crowd. A strong indication that critical thinking is seriously lacking with them.

      You may be one of the few people that takes a common sense approach to owning a firearm but if you’re spending so much time firing off rounds where you need a silencer to prevent using the “medical system later in life” maybe you need a more healthy hobby.

      Yes, I know you have to jump through hoops to own a silencer. Again, had you read the article by Tinsley I supplied you with you would see this fact was pointed out. And though I could have gone in the direction that said silencers making it easier for dangerous people to kill innocent people and do so more unnoticed, I avoided this mainly because they are, on paper at least, difficult to acquire. You know of course that a truly dangerous person with malice in his or her heart would simply buy a silencer on the black market to circumvent any detection by the legal authorities, right?

      And please, don’t do the apples to oranges comparison with owning guns and other sporting events equipment. I’m sure there are those novices who pay for the the most expensive equipment in some sports who have the least skills but in their attempt to be “cool” a set of golf clubs or a high dollar tennis racket is not going to accidentally kill someone out of fear or over enthusiasm. They’re designed purely to entertain. Guns are designed to kill and can do so more successfully and permanently than being whacked with a 4 iron.

      If I hadn’t made my pointy perfectly clear, to be sure I’m not opposed to some forms of gun ownership. I am however opposed to the unlimited ownership of weapons and the ability now to carry a gun damn near anywhere people congregate and expect them to remain sane and rational at all times. When I see laws that promote these excesses, I jump all over them and hope that I can make them look foolish enough to some people who are contemplating purchasing a gun out of a heightened fear for their safety or because it a “cool” thing to do.

      • The US has very high accidental gun death rates (including many children) compared to European countries. I suspect the “protection” a gun provides is less than the increased vulnerability to accidental death or injury. Here in Maine there are many hunters, and I’m fine with that though I have no desire to hunt. Still, living out of town in the woods and having young kids, I always get a bit worried during hunting season.

        Good post and very thoughtful reply to Dave!

      • Thanks Scott. I don’t have any stats to back it up but I wonder if the accidental injuries and deaths from guns exceeds their “benefits” to defend their owners?

      • Larry – dont know if you got a pingback, but I posted this reponse to Dave at my place (with link of course). Again, so well reasoned and written..

      • Thanks for the response.

        Believe it or not, I actually agree with a lot of your points – and I do see where you’re coming from. I think, however, that our main misunderstanding centers around the fact that shooting firearms can be a hobby – and I’m not talking about hunting.

        Before getting into that, I think the main area where we agree is that our society tends to be paranoid about things that will probably never happen to us individually. (I call it the Oprah syndrome since she & others always talk about the 1 in a billion cases as if those are things we should be concerned about.) That goes for just about everything because of the way we are always being hammered with bad news. For example, we all worry about our kids getting kidnapped by a stranger, or being on a hijacked airplane; when, in reality, these things just aren’t going to happen to us. Sadly, as a society, we are willing to spend billions of dollars and give up personal freedoms in order to address these non-issues – and I think that’s a sad thing.

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on around us or prepare for bad things – I’m just saying the odds are extremely low for many of these types of events.

        You say that comparing golfing to shooting is an apples to oranges comparison – but I couldn’t disagree more on that point. Every weekend, ranges all over this country fill up with people at action shooting events. It’s a blast, and there are people from all skill levels involved. Some people are just there to improve their skill, while others are serious competitors who travel all over the world competing in these events. Believe it or not, this is actually a very safe sport – and the people who are involved are great people.

        For me, both shooting at targets to improve my own accuracy & speed, as well as action shooting events, are both fun & challenging. It really is similar to the enjoyment that golfers get from trying to improve their skill. Just like any other sport, you just can’t get better unless you spend a lot of time practicing.

        It sounds like you know this; but, I’m sure many of your readers (as well as many naive gun owners) don’t realize that you can’t just pick up a pistol and have it magically hit whatever you point it at. It truly takes a lot of practice – and, for me, that’s what makes it a fun sport. It drives me crazy whenever I hear somebody ask “why didn’t he just shoot him in the leg instead of killing him?”. Anyway…

        Because this tends to be a hobby for many gun owners, it also drives me crazy when people start talking about how many firearms I can own. If I want to shoot an M&P at the match this coming weekend, great! On the flip side, I may decide to shoot in a different division – in which case I may want to take an XD or even a modified “race gun”. At my next practice session, I may decide to shoot a short barrel carbine, or I may focus on my target transitions with a 9mm pistol. (I’ve never heard anyone complain that car collectors should be limited on the number of cars they can own…)

        I’m not saying there aren’t some irresponsible crazies out there; but, it’s similar to the crazies who own cars who just won’t stop texting or talking on their phones. I’ve never heard anyone say that cars should be outlawed – although they cause far more injuries & deaths than firearms.

        Even if you count murders in the number of firearms deaths, there is about 1 death/year for every 15,000 civilian-owned firearms. On the other hand, there is about 1 death/year for every 6,000 registered vehicles. If you discount murders from the number of firearms deaths, and only count accidents (like we’re doing with vehicles), then the number drops to only about .6% of the accidental deaths in the U.S. I’m not saying that’s not a sad thing, it is, I’m just saying that gun regulations are wasting their time if they truly are worried about safety. That same time, money & effort would be better spent on just about anything else other than hassling law-abiding & mostly-responsible gun owners. Far more people die from falls than accidental shooting deaths…

        Personally, I’m not the type that hopes to ever use a firearm to shoot someone. In fact, I keep my firearms locked up so it might be a challenge to get to them if I ever needed one… (Mostly because of the kids.) I also think there are a lot more people like me out there than you probably realize. At least the people I meet at the range seem very nice & reasonable in that regard.

        I realize I’ve hardly talked about suppressors during this response – mostly because I don’t think that’s really the core of our disagreement. When it comes to hearing loss, many people don’t realize that hearing loss is permanent and will never heal. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Whenever you are exposed to impulse sounds above 140 dB, you will have instant & permanent loss – and those little losses will accumulate over time. I am acutely aware of preserving my hearing (and that of my family) since I have a son who is completely deaf in one ear. I will typically do whatever I can to be sure we are all as safe as possible in any situation – including on the range.

        Sheesh! This has gone on way too long. Sorry for such a long-winded response; but, I am passionate about it – just like I’m sure people would be passionate if golf clubs were deemed to be unsafe. 🙂

        I do respect your opinion, I just want to make sure both points of view are represented.

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