Print Posted 01/17/2017 in Second Amendment

The Silencer Controversy of the Hearing Protection Act

The Silencer Controversy of the Hearing Protection Act

Who WIll Suppress The Suppressor's

NRA-backed President-elect Donald Trump is part of a group moving to make gun suppressors more accessible to Americans. Since the election in November, the GOP controls the House and the Senate, and will soon control the Presidency as well. This has given Republicans the ability to move in with a proposed bill that would make it much easier for citizens to get a silencer or suppressor for their firearms.

The bill was introduced Monday the 9th by a couple Republicans, Jeff Duncan from South Carolina and John Carter from Texas. The bill is being backed by the idea that suppressors make guns safer in a health sense, by removing the danger of shooters damaging their hearing.

As a shooter who has suffered hearing loss thanks to firearms, I can say that a suppressor might have made a difference. But the debate over whether the health advantage of a suppressor is worth the advantage it gives someone with bad intentions is a tricky one.

Pro’s of Suppressor Availability

Could Protect Hearing

The biggest thing that the GOP is using to give credibility to its proposed bill is the idea that gun silencers would protect the hearing of responsible shooters. Sure, there is hearing protection that can be worn to protect from the loudness of firearms, but it isn’t the most practical thing to wear when someone is hunting or using their firearms out in the country.

As someone who has suffered slight high-frequency hearing loss in their left ear from shooting a .500 S&W revolver (when there was no hearing protection available to wear), I can tell you that the idea of a suppressor would have made sense. That is; if revolvers were made to be used with a suppressor.

Would Require a Background Check

 The interesting middle ground in the debate on gun control is that much of the time guns do require a background check to purchase (with the exception of gun shows). The same would hold true to the purchase of suppressors.  The Hearing Protection Act would remove the $200 fee that the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 imposes on the purchase of silencers, as well as the intensive background check that can take up to 9 months to complete.

Con’s of Suppressor Availability

Potentially Make Suppressors Easier for Criminals to Use

The only argument that those who are against this proposed bill really need is the idea that the Hearing Protection Act would make suppressors much more accessible to criminals, and that it would make violent crime much easier. It’s hard to argue that a suppressor wouldn’t make it easier for someone to go on a shooting spree. It would make it easier for them to get more shots of, and those who are a good distance away wouldn’t be aware that a shooting was taking place.

However, it’s not as easy to argue that criminals would find it easy to get ahold of silencers. They would need to have a flawless criminal record or obtain it on the black market. One of the biggest debates within the debate concerning this bill is whether or not it would make silencers easy to get for criminals.

At the end of the day, with the control that Republicans recently gained over Capitol Hill, there’s a reasonable chance that this bill could go through. It would certainly spike sales for the manufacturers of the noise-suppressing devices. The real question is whether or not this bill would make silencers easier to get for criminals to get if it is passed.  

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