Arguing that it is “dangerous,” anti-gun Democrats reportedly have lined up against the proposed Hearing Protection Act, which would ease requirements for purchasing sound suppressors for firearms.
The devices, incorrectly but popularly labeled as “silencers,” are now regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). To buy one, a citizen must submit to a background check, registration, and pay a special tax/fee. And wait. It takes a while for the paperwork.
According to The Hill, the measure has been attached to the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act. Sponsored by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), the Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors from NFA regulation.
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But anti-gunners don’t like this one bit.
Fox News quoted Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a California Democrat, stating, “We should not make it easier for anyone to obtain these weapons of war.”
Representatives from gun prohibition lobbying groups are also critical of the proposal. David Chipman, a senior policy advisor for Americans for Responsible Solutions, contended that the bill “would make silencers more readily available to criminals because for the first time in 80 years private parties could sell these guns without background checks on the internet and in gun shows and this has never been the case before,” Fox News reported.
Chipman, according to The Hill, worked for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for 25 years. He argued that making suppressors more available would have “no possible benefit other than a negative undercutting of public safety.”
Other Democrats critical of the bill are Reps. Raul Grivalja of Arizona and Jared Huffman of California.
But Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) put things in perspective by observing, “Right now we are in a situation where it seems … that sportsmen have to choose between damaging their hearing and being able to hunt, shoot, target practice,” according to The Hill.
Attorney and firearms historian Stephen Halbrook noted that criminals can make their own, unregulated suppressors right now. They are not going to worry about the NFA, he said.
“The fact is we’ve heard a parade of horribles of issues that would apply to criminals and we have criminal misuse of weapons now,” Halbrook said, according The Hill. “This bill would simply make it easier for law abiding people to protect their hearing.”
Adoption of the Hearing Protection Act is one of two important measures gun owners would like to see from the Republican-controlled Congress. The other issue is national concealed carry reciprocity. Both proposals face tough opposition from anti-gun Democrats in the House and Senate.