Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York is vowing to derail the Hearing Protection Act, which would remove suppressors from the requirements of the National Firearms Act.
Gillibrand has partnered up with New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio to contend that lightening the regulations on suppressors would make it easier for criminals to get their hands on them, according to this story from guns.com.
“Law enforcement already has a hard enough job putting their lives on the line every day to stop gun violence in our communities,” she said in a statement. “We can’t make it more dangerous and more difficult by making it easier for criminals to obtain deadly gun silencers. These deadly gun silencers pose a huge risk to our enforcement and our communities and I will do everything I can to stop this ill-thought-out legislation that would allow more criminals to get their hands on these dangerous weapons.”
Of course, a suppressor on its own is not a weapon of any kind. It’s merely a mechanism that slows and redirects the gases from a fired round as it exits the muzzle.
Currently, the process to buy a suppressor is lengthy, requiring background checks, fingerprinting, photos, and the purchase of a $200 tax stamp on top of the price of the suppressor.
If the Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act, introduced by GOP sponsors U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. John Carter in January, should pass, states like Gillibrand’s New York and the seven others that prohibit their residents from possessing suppressors would still be able to ban them. Anyone wishing to purchase a suppressor would still have to pass a NICS check to purchase one, as if it were a firearm.
The use of suppressors by sneaky underworld assassins to silently dispatch their victims is largely a myth invented by Hollywood. In reality, suppressors make firearms longer, heavier, and more difficult to conceal—and they don’t make a gunshot nearly as quiet as in the movies, merely tolerable for an unprotected ear.
Gillibrand also offers no evidence to support her claims that suppressors, if made as easy to purchase as a firearm, would be used against police officers in any way.
And if criminals were intent on using suppressors for illicit purposes, homemade versions, like one made from an oil filter in the video below, would be ubiquitous, but they are not, according to this story from bearingarms.com.
“I’m fighting back against bills (backed by the Trump admin) that’d make it easy for criminals to buy gun silencers,” Gillibrand said in a recent flurry of tweets. “Can you imagine if we allowed a criminal with a gun in New York City to attach a silencer to their weapon? It’d be a dangerous mistake.”
Again, under the HPA, suppressors would still be banned by New York state law no matter what, and it’s already incredibly difficult to own a firearm in New York City at all. Additionally, there is a lot more to the United States than one city in one northeastern state.
Currently, there are more than 1.3 million registered suppressors in the U.S., according to ATF numbers reported by freebeacon.com and they are rarely used in crime.
“The federal agency (ATF), which is tasked with overseeing the registration of the devices, said there have been 44 silencer-related crimes per year over the past decade. According to those numbers, roughly .003 percent of silencers are used in crimes each year.”
Gillibrand also contended, on Twitter, that suppressors would crimes harder to solve for police, because witnesses may not hear illicit gun shots.
“When someone gets shot by a gun with a silencer, it’s quiet. Witnesses might oto hear. Police will be less likely to track down the shooter,” she said.
“Senator Gillibrand’s statements clearly show that she lacks even a basic understanding of suppressors,” Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, told the Free Beacon. “Like most people, her only exposure to suppressors has almost certainly been on the silver screen. While entertaining, Hollywood’s depiction of suppressors has no basis in reality.”
“The National Rifle Association’s Lars Dalseide said that while gunshots fired through a silencer are less likely to damage a shooter’s hearing, they are still loud.
“‘Millions of hunters and recreational shooters risk a lifetime of hearing loss every time they pull a trigger,’ he said. ‘While shooting a suppressed firearm will decrease their chance of permanent hearing loss, the gunshot is still be louder than a clap of thunder.’”
“Williams invited the senator to shoot a silenced firearm and see for herself what they sound like. ‘The only way to create an informed and educated position is to hear them firsthand with your own ears,’ he said. ‘I would be happy to take Senator Gillibrand, Senator Murphy, and any of their colleagues who are interested, out to the range to see and hear suppressors in use. To choose not to is to remain willfully ignorant.’”