The first push for gun rights in the upcoming Trump administration is already shaping up, and Trump hasn’t even taken office yet.
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA) was introduced a week ago today, on Monday January 9th. The bill is aimed at removing suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA), which requires an extremely difficult application process and a $200 “tax stamp” to “transfer” ownership from one individual to another. The NRA sums up the truth on suppressors and the HPA below:
The HPA would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and treat them as ordinary firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). As with other firearms, commercial manufacturers, dealers, and importers would still have to be licensed, and the items’ retail sales would be subject to the GCA’s background check and transfer form requirements.
Currently, suppressors (misleadingly referred to as “silencers” in federal law) are subject to the NFA’s cumbersome and lengthy application process and a $200 tax stamp. Lawful purchasers can expect a raft of red tape and months of waiting. This is so, even though the devices themselves are completely harmless and very rarely used in crime.
Contrary to their portrayal in movies and television shows, suppressors do not render firearms all but soundless. They do, however, make them safer and quieter to operate.
Suppressors have soared in popularity in recent years, as more and more hunters and firearm owners have discovered their benefits. Private ownership is legal in 42 states, and they are lawful for hunting in 40 of those states.
Ironically, regulation of suppressors is one area where American gun owners are at a relative disadvantage to their counterparts in other countries. In England – which has gone a long way toward eradicating private firearm ownership – suppressors are nevertheless encouraged for private firearm owners and mandatory for uses such as pest control.
I’ve previously detailed this exact point – suppressors are hardly the scourge the gun control crowd portrays them as. The sound reduction is in the 20-30db range, maximum, and that sound reduction is only achieved by attaching a large, bulky device to the barrel of a firearm. Given the fact that the sound reduction still keeps the firearm quite loud, even for a .22LR (generally considered the smallest widely available caliber), it is hardly practical for criminals to use them.
Take a look at the above chart – if you assume a 160db shot can be suppressed to 130db (still quite loud), the only real practical use for suppressors is to reduce the net effect of the deafening sound of a gunshot. The excessive noise of gunshots is a nuisance for anyone nearby (within a mile or more), makes building and licensing shooting ranges difficult due to NIMBY, and the same nuisance problems apply for hunting.
Just think – would you want to hear the constant sound of gunshots from a shooting range near your home? If firearm suppression were to become more commonplace, it would make the devices less of an auditory threat to the user and non-user alike. Would automobiles have become as commonplace as they are today without mufflers?
However, that hasn’t stopped the MSM from jumping in to demonize suppressors. Jeff Bezos’s blog, The Washington Post, recently released an article with the click-bait headline “Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that.” WaPo did manage to push another bit of fake news in the article with its quote from the gun control crowd:
The silencer industry and gun rights groups say critics are vastly overstating the dangers, arguing that Hollywood has created an unrealistic image of silencers, which they prefer to call “suppressors.” They cite studies showing that silencers reduce the decibel level of a gunshot from a dangerous 165 to about 135 — the sound of a jackhammer — and that they are rarely used in crimes.
But gun-control activists say silencers are getting quieter, particularly in combination with subsonic ammunition, which is less lethal but still damaging. They point to videos on YouTube in which silencers make high-powered rifles have “no more sound than a pellet gun,” according to one demonstrator showing off a silenced semiautomatic .22LR.
If you check out the video cited by the gun control, you’ll realize the firearm is still quite auditory. Not only that, the .22LR caliber is extremely weak, commonly being used to hunt animals of squirrel size, and the subsonic ammunition used for maximum suppression could have difficulty cycling the action of the gun. Take a look at the videos in my original article to get an accurate idea of what sound suppression in firearms is actually like.
Sebastian of PA Gun Blog detailed the way this battle will be won and suppressors moved out of NFA restriction:
You can hate the Washington Post’s ignorant article about suppressors, but I have to admit that tying it to the Trumps was an effin’ brilliant way to frame the issue if the aim is to derail the bill. Why? Because most people don’t really give a shit or understand this issue, but if you try to imply the Trumps have something to gain from it, you trigger all the lefty hate rage, and that gets people who otherwise wouldn’t care motivated to oppose it. If the Trumps want it, surely it must be the Worst. Idea. Ever. That’s exactly what I’m seeing around social media.
The key is to speak out in favor of the issue. Put a human face on it. A lot of the same folks who complain about this bill are the same types who complain about noise emanating from gun clubs. Imagine if clubs could encourage members to use suppression? Right now that’s not a reasonable request because of the regulations. Push the training angle, and how it makes it much safer during instruction if the person being instructed can actually hear commands. This is one of those issues where we have really good arguments, and the other side is stuck hoping people believe Hollywood portrayals of how silencers work, and are willing to jump in and ra! ra! team! in opposition is the issue is framed in a way that triggers an emotional response.
The easiest way to win the battle is to show people the truth about what these devices are, and what they aren’t. Listen to Sebastian and put a human face on the issue. In addition, put an inhuman face on The Washington Post – Jeff Bezos – and expose the ignorance and duplicity of the MSM and Hollywood’s portrayal of suppressors.