Every time you fire an unsuppressed gun without hearing protection, you’re getting hearing loss. Medically, that’s just a fact. Most of us only know about suppressors, or silencers as they’re more commonly called from what we see in the movies. (Suppressed gun fire) But recently, these gun accessories have become a huge topic of debate, with some Republicans, and even President Donald Trump’s son, advocating to pass legislation that would make them more easily available to protect against hearing damage. “It’s about safety. If you had that kind of noise levels in any other industries as you do in shooting sports, OSHA would be all over the place, people would be going crazy, it’s about safety. It’s just another rule the government wants to put in place for no reason.” So, we are going where else but to the NRA Range… to try a few out and see what they are really all about. So, the actual term used in federal law is a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, but it’s a bit of a misnomer based on, you know, the way that people perceive them from Hollywood, “The silencer makes a whisper of the gunshot…” it really suppresses the sound of the firearm. It doesn’t actually silence it. James Bond: ” Yes… considerably…” This is a .22 pistol – unsuppressed…” *gunshot*
“Its REALLY loud.” *gunshots* Its loud, hahaha. I really can’t imagine someone shooting that gun without hearing protection, but now we’re gonna try it with a suppressor. *suppressed gunshot*
Much smoother” It’s definitely quieter, but it’s still got that recoil. What are the current laws regulating suppressors and why do you think it’s time for them to be changed? They’re way over-regulated, actually, because… the current laws regulating suppressors in the United Stated go back to 1934. They generally require registration, a $200.00 tax on every transfer of the suppressor and they require what is now almost, in many cases, an eight to maybe 12 month wait so that’s that’s how long it’s taking ATF to actually process these. And yet, it’s not a weapon in any way. It’s just a device that helps suppress the sound of the firearm. So… this little piece of equipment right here has a $200 tax? That’s right. Even though the firearm that it attaches to does not. To change this, the gun lobby is advocating for a bill called ‘The Hearing Protection Act’ which earlier this year, was introduced in Congress by Sen. Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho. Well, It’s very simple. Basically, it stops the current federal tax and very lengthy and cumbersome process of getting a permit and authorization to purchase a suppressor and treats suppressors like the purchase of a fire arm. Instead of having to pay $200 and wait eight months for a permit, and submit your fingerprints, You can purchase a suppressor like you purchase a firearm today. Namely you go in, you do a instant criminal background check, and if you pass the background check Then you are able to purchase the suppressor. I think a lot of people hear the name of this law, the Hearing Protection Act, and think that law makers and special interest groups are trying to disguise it in a way to help public safety when really there’s another interest involved. What do you say to them? It’s interesting and I can understand why sometimes people would think that it’s a law trying to characterize something as a safety or a health issue when it’s not, but over the last ten years I think the number of crimes that have involved a suppressor is something like 15, and the fact is that people don’t try to use suppressors in the commission of crimes. a woman from the Brady Campaign said there’s no evidence of hearing loss from firearms. Which is just insane. Every time you fire an unsuppressed gun without hearing protection, you’re getting hearing loss. Medically, that’s just a fact. Isn’t there an argument to be made that these regulations actually are working because there are not many instances of criminals using suppressors? I don’t think that’s the case because if you look at how suppressors are actually used in crime,when they are, it’s extremely rare. But, it’s also that the types of crimes that people commit with firearms are usually with small concealable handguns and suppressors aren’t useful for that. They don’t actually do anything that’s really particularly useful for a criminal. Like you saw, they don’t make the guns super qui et, so you can’t, you know, people aren’t gonna not notice the gun being fired, so so it doesn’t add anything and it actually detracts from a lot of the features that criminals are gonna want in a firearm. Sometimes I think that the movies and the TV shows about secret agents and shoot outs, create a false impression of what a suppressor is. It doesn’t silence the gun, it just reduces the amount of the noise so that it doesn’t cause ear damage. Do you think that you’re going to be successful in passing the Hearing Protection Act? I think it’s gonna be a very long fight. We still need 60 votes in the Senate. That’s not gonna be easy. I think the most important thing is as more and more people are exposed to suppressors, the educational campaign has really changed a lot of people’s minds. They understand that it’s not Hollywood, it’s real life… and all these are is actually just hearing protection.