Issue in Focus
Sep 22 2017
If you’ve ever looked outside an airplane window before takeoff, you’ve see ground maintenance personnel wearing protective earmuffs. That’s because the sound of a jet engine taking off, 150 decibels, is loud enough to rupture your eardrum.
The sound of a rifle being shot is an even louder 165 decibels, which is why hunters, sportsmen, and marksmen like to use firearm suppressors to lower the volume of their shots.
But suppressors don’t work like they do in the movies. You can’t make an AR-15 as quiet as using a stapler. At most, a suppressor can lower the sound of a rifle shot by about 35 decibels, down to about 130 decibels, about the same sound level as a chainsaw.
Nobody is going to sneak away from anybody with a chainsaw going full blast, but at least their eardrums won’t burst.
Unfortunately the federal government treats suppressors just as oppressively as they treat actual firearm sales. To buy a silencer a citizen must complete two copies of ATF Form 4, fill out TF Form 5330.20, obtain a certification from a local chief law enforcement officer, obtain two copies of finger prints, obtain two passport photos, and mail all of these items plus a $200 check to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Even after doing all that, the approved Form 4 won’t come back for 9-12 months.
This is a ridiculous, unnecessary, and oppressive process which only hurts the eardrums of millions of hunters, sportsmen, and marksmen every year.
That is why Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and I have introduced the Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act of 2017 (SHUSH). The bill would eliminate all federal regulation – including taxes, fees, and registration requirements – of firearm suppressors.
Unlike the Hearing Protection Act, a competing suppressor bill, SHUSH does not create a new federal background check for firearm accessories. The federal government knows enough about us already, another federal database isn’t going to help anyone.
Firearm suppressors are not lethal. You can’t kill anyone with one. And they do not turn criminals into James Bond like in the movies. They do make a perfectly legal sport more safe for millions of Americans and SHUSH will make it easier for Americans to protect themselves.