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Local hunters weigh in on gun debate; silencers

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GRAND FORKS—It's a modification designed to help hunters, but after the tragedy in Las Vegas has brought it to the forefront of a nationwide debate.

We're talking about silencers, devices used with rifles.

"The fun meter is pegged, and it has been ever since I started shooting," said Coby Dalgliesh, Forks Rifle Club.

Dagliesh shoots at targets 600 yards away.

"Breathe and trigger control and site picture," said Dalgliesh, "the mechanics of making a shot on an animal is the same as making one that in the x ring down there."

Those skills in the wrong hands sparked a discussion, in the wake of the Las Vegas Mass Murder.

Former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get."

But hunters say it isn't their fault.

"We're talking millions and millions of people that are affected by the actions of one individual," said Thomas Reiten, Forks Rifle Club.

Reiten has been shooting since he was a child.

To buy a suppressor, gun owners currently have to undergo a nine-month approval process that involves getting fingerprinted and submitting a photo, along with paying a $200 tax.

That could change and some fear mass shooters could hurt more people if it's easier to get silencers.

Some gun-owners disagree.

"Murder is against the law. Enacting another law is not going to change that because these people don't follow the law," said Reiten.

Reiten says suppressors are often used by hunters to help save their hearing.

"They cut it down to where the volume is less so that you're not damaging your hearing," said Reiten.

They say anyone wanting to learn more about their sport can simply ask.

"We got the best shooters in the world out here we compete nationally and we're a wealth of information. The information I've learned from the people at this range and the others in North Dakota is incredible," said Dalgliesh.

According to the FBI more than 11,000 Americans were killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2011.