While Senate Republicans horse-trade over health care, two Western senators introduced a bill Thursday that, if passed, would make a lot of hunters and recreational shooters very happy.
The Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing (or SHUSH) Act – introduced by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho – would eliminate the federal regulations surrounding firearms silencers, treating them as a regular firearms accessory.
The bill goes farther than a previous deregulation measure introduced by Crapo earlier this year.
“The current process for obtaining a suppressor is far too expensive and burdensome,” reads a statement from Lee’s office. “Suppressors can make shooting safer for the millions of hunters and sportsmen that exercise their constitutional right to use firearms every year.”
Earlier this year, The Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness visited the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, to get the details about what silencers actually do, how they protect hearing, and how heavily the they’re taxed and regulated.
Currently, the process of buying or selling a silencer, also referred to as a suppressor, is more taxed and regulated than buying a firearm itself, a situation that many find absurd.
Naturally, gun control advocates take issue with the push to deregulate the devices, often contending that quieter guns mean more dangerous streets and that the claims of hearing loss are negligible.
“There’s no evidence of a public health issue associated with hearing loss from gunfire,” Kristin Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told the LA Times in January over a similar House bill. “There is evidence of a public health crisis from gun violence, and we think that’s where legislative efforts should be directed.”
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, firearm use is a strong indicator of hearing loss and often results in “high-frequency permanent hearing loss,” which makes it difficult to hear certain speech sounds and pitches.
Furthermore – as any honest person who has ever used a suppressor or heard one in action will attest – these accessories do not fully mute gunfire, but simply lower the volume. This can also be observed in the video posted above.
“By properly classifying suppressors as a firearm accessory,” Crapo said in the same press release, “our bill would allow sportsmen to have better access to hearing protection and preserve the hearing of sportsmen, gun owners and those who live near shooting ranges.”