Been thinking of a suppressor for your favorite shooting iron, but have been deterred by the onerous Class III paperwork and fees? Relief may be on the way, for your ears and wallet both. Excerpt:
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) along with Rep. John Carter (TX-31) have introduced a bill called the Hearing Protection Act, which moves to eliminate a $200 tax and nine-month approval process on suppressors. Guns are loud, and these legislators are trying to spare some ears from permanent damage.
According to CNN Money, the federal government started restricting them in 1934 with the National Firearms Act, aimed at controlling gang violence. As gang violence continues to rise in today’s world, the legislation was clearly unsuccessful.
Current regulations are supposedly meant to keep suppressors out of the hands of criminals, but criminals, for the most part, do not even use suppressors. They can’t afford them, they are cumbersome to carry, and they don’t actually make gunshots silent.
For those who have watched too many James Bond or “Bourne” movies, and believe silencers actually “silence” guns, here’s a bit of perspective:
Your eardrum ruptures at about 150 decibels.
An unsuppressed AR-15 is about 165 decibels, and a suppressor will reduce that by about 30-35 decibels, to about 125 or 130. An unsuppressed shotgun sounds off at about 145-165 decibels, and a suppressor can bring it down to about 137 decibels. Meanwhile, a suppressed pistol is about 125db.
Many online sources state that the threshold for pain is about 120db, and that a nearby jackhammer rates at 130db, so how can anyone argue that a silencer actually enables criminals to get away with gun violence? Unless you’ve attended one too many rock concerts or lost your hearing aids at church, you’re going to hear the blast whether you try to or not.
Now, this bill doesn’t completely deregulate suppressors – it just removes them from the Class III/NFA list, making buying a suppressor just like buying a rifle, shotgun or handgun. You’ll have to go through the same background check system that you go through buying a firearm. So the “easy access for criminals” argument just won’t fly.
Neither does the “we should be more like Europe” argument. In most European countries, suppressors are freely sold, and their use is encouraged – in some places required – as a courtesy to one’s neighboring landowners when one is hunting or engaging in a little target practice. So why not here?
Crimes committed with suppressed firearms, even where they are are readily available, are so infrequent as to be almost non-existent. There’s no rational reason to oppose this bill.
But then, would-be gun-banners have never been long on rationality.