[1/10/17] Gun lobbyists are backing new legislation to make silencers easier to buy. Contrary to expectations the bill, which has the backing of Donald Trump, Jr, wouldn’t be fought as a Second Amendment issue but one of public safety.
The bill, Hearing Protection Act, HR 367 argues that silencers safeguard the eardrums of the nation’s 55 million gun owners. It would remove restrictions on the purchase of silencers for firearms under the National Firearms Act, and eliminate a $200 tax, lengthy paperwork and a nine-month approval process.
The bill was reintroduced in the House by Representative Jeff Duncan (R, South Carolina) and Representative John Carter (R, Texas).
“I’ve been shooting since I was a young child – beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my Dad,” said Duncan in a statement, acknowledging his hearing has been damaged because of gun noise over the years. “Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss.”
Silencers lower but do not silence the sound of a gunshot and are now being presented as safety devices in the new bill. Gun rights groups cite studies that show the silencers reduce the decibel level of a gunshot from a dangerous 165 to about 135, the sound of a jackhammer, and they are rarely used in crimes.
“It’s about safety,” Donald Trump, Jr, an avid hunter and backer of the bill said in September in a video with the founder of SilencerCo, a Utah silencer manufacturer, according to the Washington Post. “It’s a health issue, frankly.”