Gun-loving Americans across the country understand suppressors are nothing more than a firearm accessory. One that can save their hearing. And as we reported last month, there’s a bill in Congress that recognizes that fact. The Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing (SHUSH) Act (S. 1505 and H.R. 3139), drafted by the National Association for Gun Rights and sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA), corrects a number of issues with the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367).
Under the HPA, suppressors would be treated like a firearm, subjecting them to the same Brady background check system in place for firearm purchases, including the ATF’s 4473 form.
So while you wouldn’t have to go through the even more troublesome and incredibly time-consuming application process — and pay a $200 tax stamp — that’s currently required to get a suppressor, you would still be subjected to the same government regulations as buying a firearm.
SHUSH Act supporters argue that suppressors are nothing more than accessories, the same as a scope or magazine. When announcing the bills’ introduction, Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights, stated:
If we codify into law that suppressors should be treated like firearms, it sets a dangerous precedent if gun grabbers win back the White House.
Just imagine if someone like Elizabeth Warren becomes President in 2020 or 2024 and says, “Hey, gun rights supporters passed legislation regulating suppressors like firearms. Time to do the same for other firearms accessories.”
They would have the legal precedent to serialize and register every magazine or scope in America.
The National Association for Gun Rights is also running a petition in support of the SHUSH Act with the goal of putting pressure on Congress to pass this pro-gun bill. While there is huge support for this legislation across the country, not everyone agrees that legalizing suppressors is a good move.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) made the claim that suppressors,
“are used to commit crimes. They are used to conceal the fact that you are firing a weapon. There will be more crimes committed– more people killed– if silencers are legalized.”
Murphy’s claim doesn’t fit the facts.
Chicago has a lot of bloodshed, including 762 homicides and more than 3,500 shootings last year, but silencers figure in little or any of it. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, told me, “We seldom recover silencers. Sometimes you may get a gun with a makeshift silencer, but even that is rare.”
A report last year by the VPC cites a handful of shootings in which silencers were used. But the paucity of examples confirms that they are not of great interest to criminals. An earlier study by Paul A. Clark published in the Western Criminology Review found only two federal court cases involving the use of a silencer in a murder between 1995 and 2005.
While the SHUSH Act has a lot of hurdles to go through before becoming law, supporters are very optimistic. Right after his father’s election as President, Donald Trump Jr. made a very publicly advertised visit to Utah-based suppressor manufacturer SilencerCo.
While he was there, Donald Trump Jr. stated:
“[Regulating suppressors are] just another rule government wants to put in place for no reason,”
“If Europe can do it, American better well be able to do it. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
With Donald Trump Jr. voicing his support for deregulating suppressors, the SHUSH Act has a clear path to arriving on his father’s desk and becoming law.
The U.S. House sponsor, Congressman Steve King, had this to say about his bill:
“If pro-gun patriots stand strong and demand it, I believe we can get it done. With millions of pro-gun supporters and groups like the National Association for Gun Rights standing strong in support of completely deregulating suppressors, I like our chances.”
We’ll keep you updated on the bill’s progress. Watch this space.