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Suppressor Easy to Buy? A Look at the Hearing Protection Act

Less Suppressor Restriction?

The Hearing Protection Act (H.R.367) has been proposed by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and John Carter (R-Texas) on Monday.  The act will effectively end all tax stamps for suppressors (silencers) sold.  The act will also allow suppressors to be sold the same as long guns.  In other words, if you are able to buy a rifle, you’ll be able to buy a suppressor.  If passed, it will end the months-long waiting period, fingerprinting, taxes, ATF form 4473, chief law enforcement signature and other obstacles.  

Some, such as Utah-based SilencerCo., are strongly supporting this bill in hopes of making it easier to buy/sell suppressors to the public.  Supporters claim suppressors will help alleviate hearing loss with hunters and their dogs, as well as sport shooters.
Gun control advocates oppose the bill, claiming it will be easier to commit violent acts as the gunshots are unrecognizable when using a silencer.  They cite the shooting spree of former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, whose shooting of a couple in a parked car in Irvine went unnoticed even though he shot 14 times.  Then, later in San Bernardino National Forest, his suppressed sniper rifle made it difficult for Sheriff’s deputies to locate him.

Same Old Thing

The argument between the two groups will likely be the same it has always been concerning the freedoms of the second amendment.  Proponents of the bill say that citizens should have the same firearm options as the military and that limiting legal purchases to citizens only limits those obedient to the law.  Opponents say that more gun freedoms = more violence and that suppressors will enable criminals to more easily commit violent crimes.

Suppressors were originally taken off gun shelves and restrictions added in 1934, when the law was passed to make machine guns and other tools used by mobsters illegal.  The $200 tax stamp was added back then and hasn’t changed since.  At the time, the $200 tax stamp alone would have made owning a suppressor nearly impossible.  This law, though it may have seemed reasonable at the time, just brings us back to the original argument between gun control and gun freedom.

The definition of a criminal is “one who breaks the law”.  The one question that we at Citizen Armor never seem to receive an answer for is this: Will making them illegal will stop criminals?

Why Restrict Sales?

suppressorIf one were so inclined, one could easily make a suppressor with a pipe, some washers and a threaded adapter.  The mechanics of a suppressor are actually pretty simple, so why should something that is so easy to make at home be so highly regulated?  Let me clear up one thing: Citizen Armor does not condone any violence and if we were presented with solid empirical data validating the claims of “stricter laws = less violence”, then we would back those laws 100%.  But, since the data shows the exact opposite of those claims, we have to strongly support the second amendment and all it stands for.

The issue of suppressors is just another subject in a broader, extremely passionate debate.

Our Responsibility

Law-abiding citizens will usually keep doing what they do: abide the law.  Part of our job is to watch out for tendencies and behaviors of others which signal the intent leading up to violence.  We need to be the sheepdogs who guard the rest of society from the wolves.  George Washington said, “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined”.  Many people want the freedoms of the second amendment, but we don’t see as many people advocating the responsibilities of the second amendment.  “A well-regulated militia” means well-trained and disciplined.  The founding fathers made it that way, it’s our job to keep it that way.