House Republicans on Thursday introduced a bill that would eliminate a federal tax on gun silencers and would weaken licensing requirements that currently make the devices more difficult to buy than most firearms.
The Hearing Protection Act of 2015, proposed by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and co-sponsored by 10 of his colleagues, would do this by removing silencers, which are also called suppressors, from the purview of the National Firearms Act, instead putting them in the same regulatory category as long guns. As its title suggests, the bill's sponsors are framing it as an effort to keep shooters from damaging their ears.
In 1934, in the wake of Prohibition-era violence carried out by heavily armed bootleggers and gangsters, sound-suppressing devices were included on a list of NFA weaponry and other hardware, alongside firearms like machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. Today, purchases of silencers are still subject to a $200 fee, which covers an extensive FBI background check that can take months to complete.
People looking to buy items covered by the NFA must also go through a specific federal registration process, which is more stringent than the one that governs gun purchases from a Federal Firearms License holder. To get a silencer, for example, a buyer must submit a certification from a local law enforcement official vouching that the silencer will be used for lawful purposes.
And the Republicans want to change that?
You know I watch a lot of movies, and I cannot think of one movie where a silencer was NOT used in the attempt to take a person's life.
There are already a number of products sold to help protect the hearing of gun owners.
This seems insane to me.