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house Bill H.R. 155

Should Gun Silencer Regulations (Except Background Checks) Be Left Up to States?

Argument in favor

Silencers protect the hearing of hunters and recreational shooters, and this bill would make it easier for law-abiding people to access them while keeping background checks in place to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.

Bob's Opinion
···
04/17/2019
While the federal government should have no say in the sales of firearms or accessories, neither should the states. Shall not be infringed means shall not be infringed by anybody or for any reason.
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04/17/2019
You can tell a person is ignorant about guns when they use terms like “silencer”—there’s no such thing; it’s a “suppressor”. It’s not something that can be silenced. If all you know about guns you learned from movies and television, you have a lot to learn. That’s like learning English from song lyrics. Not smart......These left wing gun grabbing tyrants highlight the brilliance of our founding fathers—they are the people the second amendment was written to protect us from.
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Alex 's Opinion
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04/17/2019
It’s a safety device. That there is legislation concerning restrictions on safety is hilarious.
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Argument opposed

Federal deregulation of silencers would enrich the gun industry and make it easier for silencers to get in the wrong hands, thereby threatening public safety by making it difficult for first responders to identify active shooters.

Jim's Opinion
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04/17/2019
Advocates for silencers say it protects hearing but the only person close enough to be in danger of hearing loss is the shooter. They make ear plugs for that. In the event of a mass shooting a silencer would make it harder for responders to tell where the shooter is.
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Marylynn's Opinion
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04/17/2019
We need universal gun laws. It shouldn't be left up to the states to decide, it needs to be done nationwide. Stop playing around and tell your lawmakers to do their damn job and make our country safer from the whackos out there that want to harm as many people as possible with the guns they possess.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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04/17/2019
Now with the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre arriving in three days another person has died making threats against Denver schools. An 18 year old idolizing this horrible tragedy thought she’d do the same. I can honestly say in the 25 years I’ve been in Colorado we haven’t learned a GD thing about mass shootings and now you want to consider suppression devices ok. If you pass this think of the tribute you’ll be leaving the Columbine kids. Happy Anniversary. As a multi gun owner I wear ear plugs and muffs and would never need a silencer for any hunting or other legal reason. The problem with additions to guns is that they are portable. What good is a bump stock law if it’s ok in one state but not all of them? Same with a silencer. What good is it too have them be illegal in Colorado but not in Kansas? I’ll just conceal it over the boarder and now there’s silencers in Colorado where we specifically didn’t want them. We can’t seem to control the guns themselves. At least we can control the add ons. And for those screaming Constitution rights, just show me where it says anything about suppressors on black powder weapons in the well organized militia.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 155?

This bill — known as the Hearing Protection Act — would ease restrictions on the ownership of firearm suppressors (aka silencers) by treating any person who acquires or possesses a silencer as meeting any federal registration or licensing requirements for that silencer. Buyers of silencers would have to pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS). It would also eliminate the $200 transfer tax on silencers and allow any person who paid a transfer tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 to receive a refund. Additionally, the bill would preempt state or local laws that tax the transfer of silencers.

Under current law, individuals are required to go through a registration process with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) before acquiring a silencer which can take about nine months.

Impact

Individuals who would acquire and use a suppressor; companies that make suppressors; and state governments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 155

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

“The Hearing Protection Act is a commonsense bill that is important to all sportsmen and women across the country. Personally, I have experienced hearing damage from firearm noise, and I believe easier access to suppressors may have prevented much of this damage from early on in my life. Bottom line, this bill aims to fix this health issue that has already been addressed by many other countries. Now is the time to ensure sportsmen and women can have the safety and protection they need while hunting and shooting.”
In the previous Congress, Rep. Duncan introduced this bill to “make it easier for hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing” in states that allow the possession of firearm suppressors (aka silencers):
“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. 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 even recognized in Europe. It just doesn’t make any sense to regulate suppressors the way we do presently.  I think it certainly is questionable from a constitutional standpoint.  It’s striking that even Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has no restrictions on suppressors.”

In the previous Congress, lead cosponsor Rep. John Carter (R-TX) added:

“Suppressors do not make guns silent or dangerous, they are simply a form of hearing protection, both for the shooter and their hunting dogs. The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act is common sense legislation that increases safety while shooting, allowing people to easily hear and react to range safety officers and fellow hunters.”

The American Gun Suppressor Association (ASA), which supports this bill, says: 

"The Hearing Protection Act is a common-sense step that aligns with the 42 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 40 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. This legislation seeks to remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories."

Americans for Responsible Solutions expressed its opposition to this bill on the grounds that it “would make it easier for criminals to obtain these deadly weapons, escalating gun violence in American communities and allowing dangerous individuals to elude law enforcement.”

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) derided this bill as the "Gun Profit Protection Act" in a conference call with groups opposed to the bill, while his colleague Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) added:

"At a time when we should be doing all that we can to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods and law enforcement, deregulating silencers puts the public at great risk. The campaign to deregulate silencers is merely the latest attempt by the gun lobby and gun industry, in the wake of declining household gun ownership, to market yet another military-bred product that was designed for covert operations with little concern for its effect on public safety."

In the current Congress, this bill has the support of 42 cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans. Last Congress, it had the support of 166 House cosponsors, including 163 Republicans and three Democrats.


Of Note: NPR published an article that contains audio files of four types of commonly owned guns being fired with and without a silencer, listen for yourself here.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: deanmillar / iStock)

AKA

Hearing Protection Act

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to remove silencers from the definition of firearms, and for other purposes.

    While the federal government should have no say in the sales of firearms or accessories, neither should the states. Shall not be infringed means shall not be infringed by anybody or for any reason.
    Like (80)
    Follow
    Share
    Advocates for silencers say it protects hearing but the only person close enough to be in danger of hearing loss is the shooter. They make ear plugs for that. In the event of a mass shooting a silencer would make it harder for responders to tell where the shooter is.
    Like (82)
    Follow
    Share
    You can tell a person is ignorant about guns when they use terms like “silencer”—there’s no such thing; it’s a “suppressor”. It’s not something that can be silenced. If all you know about guns you learned from movies and television, you have a lot to learn. That’s like learning English from song lyrics. Not smart......These left wing gun grabbing tyrants highlight the brilliance of our founding fathers—they are the people the second amendment was written to protect us from.
    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
    We need universal gun laws. It shouldn't be left up to the states to decide, it needs to be done nationwide. Stop playing around and tell your lawmakers to do their damn job and make our country safer from the whackos out there that want to harm as many people as possible with the guns they possess.
    Like (56)
    Follow
    Share
    Now with the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre arriving in three days another person has died making threats against Denver schools. An 18 year old idolizing this horrible tragedy thought she’d do the same. I can honestly say in the 25 years I’ve been in Colorado we haven’t learned a GD thing about mass shootings and now you want to consider suppression devices ok. If you pass this think of the tribute you’ll be leaving the Columbine kids. Happy Anniversary. As a multi gun owner I wear ear plugs and muffs and would never need a silencer for any hunting or other legal reason. The problem with additions to guns is that they are portable. What good is a bump stock law if it’s ok in one state but not all of them? Same with a silencer. What good is it too have them be illegal in Colorado but not in Kansas? I’ll just conceal it over the boarder and now there’s silencers in Colorado where we specifically didn’t want them. We can’t seem to control the guns themselves. At least we can control the add ons. And for those screaming Constitution rights, just show me where it says anything about suppressors on black powder weapons in the well organized militia.
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s a safety device. That there is legislation concerning restrictions on safety is hilarious.
    Like (35)
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    With the rate of gun violence so high in this country (second only to nations at war), why make things even more confusing and potentially dangerous! Let hunters use ear plugs!
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    The folks at risk of their lives from shooters are Americans, not just residents of their states. This is a Constitutional issue, and requires guidance and oversight from the federal government!
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    Stop trying to take away our Constitutional Rights! I don’t support taking our guns away & I don’t support taking away silencers or any other gun related items! Their will always be bad people in the world, don’t punish the law abiding citizens!
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    For those who watched too much James Bond, a silencer does not reduce the shot noise to zero, rather reduces it do the shooter’s hearing can be protected
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    You don’t need a silencer to shoot a deer. This is absurd. As a resident of CO whose kid has been in 2 lockdowns this year and now has school canceled due to a credible threat of Gun Violence, we don’t need to make any part of getting a weapon or parts any easier. We need ACTUAL GUN REFORM. Vote it down.
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    All gun reform needs to be on the same page, therefore, it needs to be federally mandated (just like the drivers' license and seat belt laws and auto insurance, etc). We cannot trust the states to do the right thing. Take Chicago for instance. It's a "gun free zone" yet the gun crimes are over the top and that's because criminals and crazies can get their guns in Indiana which has irresponsible and lax gun laws and then bring them into Chicago and wreak havoc. When that happens, republicans irreverently blame the "gun free zone" rather than the abject stupidity of the irresponsible Indiana guns laws. Indiana (along with other red states with irresponsible gun laws) is not doing the right thing. Suppressors are dangerous, especially in the wrong hands, because there is only one use for suppressors and that is to kill human beings -quietly- making it very difficult to identify the shooter. (Don't make me laugh by telling me hunters need suppressors.) There is a great need to regulate gun suppressors and states, especially states with irresponsible and lax gun laws, should not be allowed to make that decision. Using the "protection of hearing for hunters" is a ridiculous, absurd excuse to deregulate the suppressor and is irresponsible as there are other measures to use such as ear plugs. Doesn't surprise me at all that irresponsible republicans are behind this bill.
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    What practical use would a person need one of these?
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    2A: ”right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” A silencer is not a weapon unless you use it as a club. Silencers are most effective in movie sets.
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    It’s a safety device. Just as 1 other person stated,the sound is not silent. This is not “ James Bond “ .
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    Leave it to the states to decide if it needs to be regulated. But overall I don’t have a problem with people using silencers. For vast majority is for recreational use and not criminal use. There should not be restrictions on the sales of silencers.
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    “They who will give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ― Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin
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    This nation needs sensible gun laws with restrictions.
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    We are The UNITED States of America. We need to unify many considerations as a Country, especially when it comes to Citizen’s safety. There needs to be minimum Federal Standards that also meet legal and ethical standards and requirements, and if individual states want to add additional restrictions or safety protocols above and beyond, then they can. At some point, if many states have adopted additional regulations, then likely they should be adopted Federally to unite the Country. Single Federal regulations = less overall regulations. It is more difficult to design products and market products to meet specific state regulations. Cost more too.
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    It's not a safety device. Wear hearing protection if the noise is a problem. They are a way to quietly kill people. The general public has no realistic need for them.
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