As a Republican president and Republican-controlled Congress take power, a new gun fight looms.
South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Texas Rep. John Carter introduced a bill last week, titled the “The Hearing Protection Act,” to make it easier to purchase gun silencers, also called suppressors, to help prevent hearing injuries suffered by shooters.
Purchasers still need a background check in order to obtain them but won’t have to pay a $200 fee or file mountains of paperwork with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, if the bill becomes law, Fox News reported.
“I’ve been shooting since I was a young child — beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my Dad. My hearing has been damaged because of gun noise,” Duncan said Monday at the bill’s introduction.
“Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss. This is a health issue, he said.
Donald Trump Jr. told SilencerCo in a video interview that he supports easing the restrictions on purchasing silencers.
“It’s about safety,” he said. “It’s about hearing protection. It’s a health issue for me. It’s just a great instrument. There’s nothing bad about it all. It makes total sense. It’s where we should be going.”
“I’ve had the privilege of being able to hunt in Europe where some of the strictest gun laws in the world exist, but guess what? Virtually every hunting gun there is suppressed,” Trump Jr. added. “They have silencers there, they don’t look at it as this military whatever, I don’t even know what the left tries to portray this as. It’s about safety.”
The National Rifle Association backs the legislation and asserted that silencers are “harmless and very rarely used in crime,” Fox News reported.
But critics contend that the measure has nothing to do with health.
“There’s no evidence of a public health issue associated with hearing loss from gunfire,” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spokesperson Kristin Brown told The Los Angeles Times. “There is evidence of a public health crisis from gun violence, and we think that’s where legislative efforts should be directed.”
The legislation was brought by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo and co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.
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