Sens. Lee, Crapo introduce bill to loosen regulation on silencers

Stock image | Courtesy of Wikipedia commons, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Two U.S. senators have introduced a Senate bill that would remove “unnecessary” federal regulations currently attached to firearm suppressors, more commonly known as “silencers.” The legislation aims to make it easier for the general public to obtain the suppressors in order to protect the hearing of gun owners.

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced the “Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act of 2017,” (yes, the bill’s acronym is “SHUSH”) Thursday. The bill would remove suppressors from the list of firearms and accessories currently regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

Similar legislation, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

Suppressors can make shooting safer for the millions of hunters and sportsmen that exercise their constitutional right to use firearms every year,” Lee said in a statement Thursday. “The current process for obtaining a suppressor is far too expensive and burdensome. Our bill would remove these unnecessary federal regulations and make it easier for firearms users to protect themselves.”

Depictions of suppressors in popular media show it greatly reducing the “crack” of a gunshot and reducing it to something that could be comparable to the “pop” of a cork being taken out of a bottle. That’s not really what happens, Jason Schauble, chief revenue officer of Utah-based SilencerCo, said in a March NPR interview.

The suppressor doesn’t really silence the firearm, Schauble said. He described it as more like a muffler on a car.

The loud crack of a gun shot is caused when the heated and pressurized gases propelling a bullet escape the gun barrel and experience a sudden change in environment. The suppressor takes those gases and provides a space where they can cool and dissipate.

The resulting affect reduces the sound of the gun blast.

It’s still loud enough to hear,” Schauble told NPR. “It’s just not loud enough to do permanent damage to your hearing, which is what most people who shoot and hunt are looking for.”

While firearms advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association and others support the legislation, gun control supporters decry it as a public safety risk.

“Silencers are military-bred accessories that make it easier for criminals to take innocent lives and threaten law enforcement,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center.

“Existing federal law has kept crimes committed with silencer-equipped firearms rare,” Rand said. “Making silencers more easily available to the public would have deadly consequences.”

In its statement on the proposed legislation to remove suppressor regulation, the Violence Policy Center listed incidents of gun violence in which the perpetrator used a suppressor.

Over 900,000 suppressors are owned in the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Utah is home to 26,000 suppressors. The state with the most suppressors is Texas at 165,500 while Rhode Island is at the opposite end with 29.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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11 Comments

  • Sedona June 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    The Violence Policy Center also supported Obama phones, saying “that a decrease in crime will occur when people can call police more effectively….”

  • DesertBill June 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    What a year. I’ve thought about leaving the republican party because of who they elected. And his “performance” this year reinforces my fears. Mike Lee’s bill is the final straw.

    “Suppressors can make shooting safer for the millions of hunters and sportsmen that exercise their constitutional right to use firearms every year,” Lee said in a statement Thursday.

    I believe this another example of something the Founding Fathers were not thinking about when they drafted the Constitution. Wear earplugs.

    • ThatNewGuy July 1, 2017 at 1:01 am

      The Republican Party has its issues, no doubt. But I’m not sure why you’re offended by this bill. As someone who has lost the majority of my hearing, I’m not sure why anybody is opposed to anything that allows for better hearing protection. Why not allow suppressors AND earplugs without the unnecessary NFA fees?

  • Bender June 30, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    If only there was an inexpensive device a shooter could put over or into his ears to protect them from noise damage rather than a $500-$1,000 silencer.

  • hiker75 June 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Isn’t it a good idea to know where shots are being fired from? Especially, if you are the one being shot at? Wasn’t it the loud sound of the shots that quickly determined where the shots were being fired from when Scalise and others were shot?

  • 42214 June 30, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    This is nuts. It mocks the 2nd amendment and legitimate rights to gun ownership.

  • Proud Rebel June 30, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    And once again, we see idiot politicians, proposing idiotic bills, just to get their names out in front of their constituents.

  • Brian June 30, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    You guys have seen too many movies. Except for high end military grade suppressors there is still plenty of noise to know where shots are coming from. There are LOTS of suppressors out there and almost no crimes being committed with them. Why? Because they make no difference in crime. If they did then all gangs and cartels would use them left and right. They certainly have the money for it, and don’t care about the law.

    This is a good bill that will have no affect on crime.

    • DRT July 1, 2017 at 8:20 am

      How about you tell us just how this bill is supposed to be good? It’s just another needless bill that is extremely likely to have unintended consequences. Even if suppressors don’t muffle the sound “much” just the fact that they will be readily available, will mean that every gangbanger will find a way to get them, because they think they are”cool.”
      The only ones who this will be good for, are the manufacturers of them and the people who sell them.
      And should you decide to respond to this, will you please be intelligent with your response? There is no need to be insulting, to get your opinion across.

      • comments July 1, 2017 at 9:22 am

        “And should you decide to respond to this, will you please be intelligent with your response?”

        I keep hoping it will happen, but at the end of the day he’s a right-wing nutter.

  • Not_So_Much July 1, 2017 at 8:28 am

    GOD bless Senator Lee! If our EPA gave any consideration to sportsmen who enjoy firearms the ridiculous ‘roaring 20’s thinking’ tax of $200 would have been removed a long time ago. The 6 month wait to receive the $200 tax stamp that one must have with them when using a suppressor would come to a halt should this pass. Also, you may want to know that all kinds of sound reduction can be rigged up cheaply at home if one is so inclined to do so. The next item on the agenda should be a sane and sensible carry permit valid in all 50 states. Yes of course a permit that would not allow criminals to acquire one (although they carry now and just don’t care).

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