A handful of Republican senators are trying to make it easier for hunters and recreational shooters to get equipment to better protect their hearing, but don’t expect the anti-gun crowd to go along with it.
On Thursday, GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Utah, John Cornyn, Texas, Rand Paul, Ky., James Risch, Id., and Mike Crapo, Id., introduced the “Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act of 2019,” which would “ensure the elimination of all federal regulations of suppressors.”
“Suppressors can make shooting safer for the millions of hunters and sportsmen that exercise their constitutional right to use firearms every year,” reads a statement from Lee’s office. “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.”
Given that there aren’t 60 Republicans to prevent a filibuster on this and the House speaker’s gavel is currently held by the vehemently anti-gun Nancy Pelosi, this legislation realistically has less than a snowball’s chance of making it to the president’s desk during this session of Congress.
But bills like this also spark conversations and debates to move cultural needle on an issue. And there’s a lot of complete misinformation out there about suppressors.
Suppressors, colloquially referred to as “silencers,” are non-lethal gun accessories that lower the volume of a gunshot, which, the press release notes, goes from around the level of an airplane takeoff to that of a running chainsaw.
If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times, the term “silencer” is a gross and widespread misnomer. Suppressors don’t silence guns at all. They simply suppress the sound; hence the term. Don’t believe everything you see in movies. These devices aren’t as good at creating the kind of muffled “pew pew” sound that an international spy would need to discreetly assassinate someone outside a European cafe in broad daylight as Hollywood and the anti-gun lobby might lead you to believe. But they’re great at mitigating hearing damage for hunters and sportsmen who shoot on a regular basis.
If you don’t believe that, here’s some video of suppressors at work.
Despite this reality, suppressors are regulated much in the same way that fully automatic machine guns and short-barreled shotguns are. This means that there’s an extensive, expensive, and bureaucratic process to get hold of one legally. That process is what this bill is trying to end.