A CNN story reported that "sales are booming for silencers." Regular people buying the gun accessories are up 37 percent in 2013 to nearly half a million. That steep increase was true in 2012 and 2011 as well.

Experts believe fears over gun control have lessened, inspiring fewer people to buy new firearms. Those with the money to make purchases are now buying accessories.

I didn't even know it was legal to own a silencer (also called suppressors). Turns out in many states it's legal to own them, but not use them! I did some research and in 2011 a law was signed making it legal to use them in Washington.

Purchasing one requires the same process as buying a firearm, however. They are sold as guns, not accessories. Also, they're usually more expensive than the guns they're for.

By the way, did you know that the silencer sound in movies is totally fake? Here's what they really sound like:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Z3VITZ6-CcY?t=1m27s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The other day the hardware store convinced me to buy "sub-sonic" bullets. Because they don't go the speed of sound, they don't make that loud pop. There's a little less gun powder in them. They still fire at enough velocity to be a usable bullet, but they're easier on the ears and the neighbors. I took them to the gun range and they make a kind of "pffth" sound. A guy saw me and asked if he could try them. "Kind of like a big air rifle," he said.