WASHINGTON D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was joined by five more Republican Senators as they introduced the Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act that would eliminate all federal regulations of gun silencers.
In a press release issued on Thursday, Sen. Lee said, “Suppressors can make shooting safer for the millions of hunters and sportsmen that exercise their constitutional right to use firearms every year.
“The current process for obtaining a suppressor is far too expensive and burdensome. Our bill would remove these unnecessary federal regulations and make it easier for firearms users to protect themselves.”
Suppressors are defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as “any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm…” and silencers were first regulated by Congress in the National Firearms Act of 1934. The NFA imposed a tax and registration of not only silencers but also short barreled rifles and shotguns as well as machine guns.
A silencer, or suppressor, is an attachment that is usually attached at the end of the barrel of a gun that slows the expanding gasses that propel the bullet forward causing a reduction in the noise caused by the gun firing. Their use doesn’t make the weapon totally silent, however, but can reduce the noise by about 30 dB which would be about the same as using typical ear protection.
This reduction lowers the sound “to about 130 dB at most, which is about the same sound level as a chainsaw,” Lee said in his press release.
Under current laws, in order for a person to purchase and own a silencer or any other NFA regulated item requires a petition the ATF by submitting two forms, getting a certification from a local chief law enforcement officer, obtaining two copies of fingerprints and mailing them to the ATF with a $200 check and then waiting for approval, which Lee explained can take up to a year.
“[This] bill, would eliminate this onerous and unconstitutional process and provide reasonable hearing protection for sportsmen and citizens,” Lee said.
A similar bill was delayed in the House in 2017 after the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas.