THE LAW: In Great Britain, detachable suppressors or "sound moderators" which are intended for use as accessories for Section 1 or Section 5 (prohibited) weapons are subject to Section 1 licensing controls and cannot be purchased directly by mail order. We can only deliver them to your nearset registered firearms dealer, but before that, purchasers are required to obtain prior authorization on a Firearm Certificate in order to possess, purchase or acquire a 7.62 firearm suppressor.
Before granting such authorization, the chief officer of police must be satisfied that the applicant has a good reason to possess, purchase or acquire a suppressor. For full-bore rifles, the most obvious "good reason" is that, where reasonably practicable, the use of a suppressor is required by law, namely Regulation 7 of the Noise at Work Regulations, 1989. Details of this and other relevant workplace safety regulations are available on the Health and Safety Executive website. Strictly, the above regulations only apply to employers, employees and self-employed persons at work, although this
would include most full and part-time stalkers, gamekeepers or pest controllers. However, for obvious reasons, most chief officers of police will be keen not to impede responsible sporting shooters who wish to comply as far as practicable with HSE workplace safety standards. Other "good reasons" might include reduction of recoil (approx. 30%) and reduction of environmental noise pollution as indicated in the following letter to Chief Constables from Assistant Commissioner James Hart QPM BSc PhD FIMgt on behalf of the ACPO Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee:
8 April 2001 Dear Chief Constable, At the March meeting of the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee there was an important discussion concerning the use of sound moderators with full-bore rifles. Kevin O'Callaghan, of the Forensic Science Service, spoke to the meeting concerning this matter and presented some recent evidence from Finland to guide our decision making. The research, which was commissioned by the Finnish Government, clearly indicates that sound moderators used with full bore rifles have a beneficial effect in reducing damage
to the shooters hearing and bringing the noise levels to within safe EU limits. There is also a beneficial effect in reducing environmental noise. As a consequence of this evidence ACPO have revised their guidance to reflect the above findings. This, of course, does not alter the ACPO position that individual applications should be judged on their merits and the final licensing decision rests with the Chief Officer. While the discussion centred particularly around the taking of live quarry, it is also the view of the Sub-Committee that the same argument may be extended to target shooting disciplines
and sound moderators would have the same health and safety benefit within this context. I have informed the Home Office of the ACPO view and requested that this view is reflected in any guidance that the Home Office produce. Yours sincerely, James Hart
We understand that the above ACPO view will indeed be incorporated into the forthcoming revised Home Office guidance to the police. In the meantime, in the unlikely event of any difficulty obtaining authorization to purchase a suppressor, we suggest that applicants should contact the BASC or other shooting association for advice and assistance. http://www.basc.org.uk/ http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/noisindx.htm