Almost uniquely among the developed world, the United States heavily restricts and discourage the use of so-called “silencers,” more accurately referred to as suppressors.
For example, even though Germany has far stricter gun control laws, suppressors are treated as a common and harmless accessory with no special restrictions. But here, they are subject to a $200 tax and classified alongside dangerous or unique weapons. That may be about to change though.
Hearing Protection Act moves towards passage, despite gun control group opposition
The Hearing Protection Act is moving towards passage. With an innocuous-sounding title like that, it’s unclear who could possibly object to the legislation introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-South Carolina.
Here’s the surprise: It’s about firearms. On such a topic, even the most sensible and common-sense proposal – such as are proposed by Duncan – brings out the partisan mobs. In this case, those mobs are gun-control Democrats.
And even the “hearing protection” in the bill’s title is not spurious, as some liberal Democrats have alleged. Hearing damage for those involved in sport shooting and hunting is a serious issue. A single gunshot without protection can cause permanent hearing loss.
That’s the same reason SWAT teams are often seen with suppressors: To protect their own officers from the hearing damage of the sound of a nearby shot being fired.
Public safety concerns cited in opposition to the bill are simply nonsensical. Groups like Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown For Gun Safety seem to have gathered their only knowledge of suppressors from James Bond movies.
The reality of firearm suppressors, not the Hollywood version of silencers
The idea of a gun truly being “silenced” is a myth. Suppressed firearms are still louder than a jackhammer or a jumbo-jet.
They are still too loud to shoot safely without additional hearing protection, with the combination of the two being the most ideal. The idea of criminals or mass shooters sneaking about firing suppressed shots that nobody can hear is simply ignorant of the physical reality.
Indeed, the classification of suppressors under the National Firearms Act was made decades before the modern knowledge of noise-induced hearing loss. The ban makes as much sense as when Congress, in another fit of legislative wisdom, responded to West Side Story by banning switchblade knives.
Advocates of gun control and stricter regulations should pick and choose the battles to fight according to those that make sense and those that do not.
(Photo of Daniel Craig as James Bond, using a gun suppressor in Casino Royale supplied by Capital Pictures.)