President Trump and his party have been extremely busy with issues such as DACA and North Korea. As such, there has been a significant shortage of ridiculous gun bills lately.
This is shocking, since most shooters were preparing themselves for a ton of ridiculous legislation aiming at gun owners right when the election got over. However, so far, shooters have not been seeing the legislation they were expecting.
On the other hand, it appears that the House is finally recognizing shooters’ needs for suppressors. The new bill, which will make it much easier to purchase a suppressor, is on the way to the floor for voting. This is a huge accomplishment.
As The New York Times says:
We’re talking about the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, adorably nicknamed Share. It has a bunch of hair-raising provisions, one of which would make it easier to buy armor-piercing bullets. (We will stop for a moment to contemplate the fact that it is not currently impossible to buy armor-piercing bullets.)
There’s also a section that would really, really discourage police officers in states with serious gun safety regulations from questioning people about whether they’re carrying a weapon.
And a section that would allow for the importation of 41 frozen polar bears. The bears — well the bear carcasses — belong to American hunters who killed them legally in Canada but failed to bring them home before an importation ban went into effect. This part of the bill hasn’t gotten much publicity. However, I think we can all agree it’s time the government did something on behalf of rich guys yearning to have the head of an endangered species over the fireplace.
And we haven’t gotten yet to the provision that’s causing the most outcry. That’s the one about improving access to gun silencers. This is a cause long championed by Donald Trump Jr. We have not really seen much of Junior lately, what with all those controversies over meetings with Russians during the presidential election campaign, and we sort of miss him. Pretty soon there are going to be so many members of the family testifying before congressional investigations that all we’ll have left is Eric.
The big argument by Junior and the other advocates is that the sound of a gun firing is so loud it endangers the hearing of hunters. “Right now we are in a situation where it seems … that sportsmen have to choose between damaging their hearing and being able to hunt, shoot, target practice,” said Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming. (Hey, somebody else we have not heard from for ages. And it is impossible to resist saying that Liz will do for gun safety what her dad, Dick, did for Iraq.)
On the other side, people who don’t want to improve silencer availability say there are lots of kinds of ear protectors hunters can wear, and that the loud sound is very useful for warning people who are not behind the trigger to get out of the way. If there aren’t many crimes involving silencers, they say, that’s probably because, happily, the current rules mean there aren’t all that many silencers. “This is why you don’t see gangs running around the cities with silencers,” said Mark Kelly, who founded a gun safety group with his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, after she was hit in the head during a mass shooting at a shopping center.
Think about the Giffords’ story for a minute. When you get down to the basics, Congress is now considering a bill to make mass shootings less noisy.
You can still get a silencer if you want one and you’re not, say, a criminal. It just takes a while, since there’s a fee, fingerprinting and a background check. And you can’t do an end-run around the rules by buying one at a gun show or on the internet. The silencer law, in fact, is exactly what the gun purchase law would be in a rational system.
So, obviously, the issue now is having to protect your ears while waiting for all the paperwork to go through for your new silencer.
Wondering why this became such a priority in the first place?
Things have been tough for gun manufacturers and dealers lately. Due to Republicans voting Trump into office, we no longer have a Democratic president (which is bad for the firearms business).
For instance, over a million guns were sold upon Barack Obama’s initial election. Gun dealers then sold two million more in the January following Obama’s re-election. And, finally, sales took another significant increase when it looked like Hillary Clinton was going to be our next president.
And, now, we are in the Trump era. But it isn’t all bad. According to The New York Times:
“Sales are declining, and the industry needs a new source of profit,” said Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the Senate’s top gun safety advocates. Silencers can cost as much as $1,000, and given the fact that there are about 300 million guns in the country available for silencing, we’re talking about quite a potential boom.