Hearing Protection Act Faces Opposition, Doesn’t do Enough
Russ Chastain 03.15.17
In a move that exemplifies ignorance in government, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) has released a statement pledging to fight against proposed legislation that would relax regulations regarding suppressors (a.k.a. silencers).
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 doesn’t deregulate sound suppressors, which I believe is the sensible thing to do. Instead, it treats suppressors (which are called “silencers” in the bill) as firearms, meaning you’d have to submit to a NICS check, do interstate transfers through FFL holders, etc. The proposed law would merely remove the $200 transfer tax and the need to jump through a few extra governmental hoops in order to own one.
But even at that, Gillibrand has decided to fight it. Why? Because she clearly believes that criminals obey the law.
Let that sink in for a second.
I’m not kidding; in the released statement, the misguided legislator had this to say:
Gillibrand said she would fight against legislation… to eliminate gun silencers from the requirements of the National Firearms Act, making it easier for criminals to obtain these deadly weapons, making it harder and more dangerous for law enforcement to catch criminals.
Well gee Ms. Gillibrand, I don’t know how many silencers you have used, seen, handled, or watched in use, but I can testify that I have never seen one of them that can accurately be described as a deadly weapon.
Furthermore, please consider the definition of “criminal” (someone who disregards the law) and then think about whether such individuals have any respect for current laws.
Conclusion: If criminals want silencers, criminals will get silencers, regardless of the law.
Aside from this foolishness, these so-called silencers do not make firearms silent. All they do is make them less loud.
Last deer season, a friend of mine hunted–legally–with a suppressed rifle. On two occasions, he shot game with that rifle while I was also hunting.
The first time, he fired twice while 645 yards away from me, with woods in between us. That’s more than one-third of a mile. And guess what? I clearly heard his rifle shots.
He later shot a deer while hunting 1072 wooded yards from me. That’s 0.6 miles, folks, and I heard both of his shots. Not as loud as an non-suppressed rifle, of course, but certainly not silent.
(I know these distances because as a surveyor and mapper. I have created a detailed digital map of our hunting property.)
My point is, silencers do not make guns silent. They simply make them less loud.
And how many criminals use suppressors anyhow? Very few. In fact, a thorough research paper concluded that there’s no real way to justify restrictions on acquisition and ownership, and certainly not the extra-stiff legal penalties that automatically accompany any silencer-related criminal charges.
Reducing the noise from gunfire can be said to be a matter of public safety, and I know that my own hearing would certainly benefit from the use of a suppressor, especially if we would actually get smart enough to deregulate them completely to the point where you or I could make one at home to save our ears from damage and to keep from bothering the neighbors when we shoot.