SHARE Act Passes Committee

Language in the bill, now headed to the House, drops suppressors from National Firearms Act regulation.

The bill deregulates suppressors and does some other good things for gun owners.
The bill deregulates suppressors and does some other good things for gun owners.web photo

We reported earlier in the week that the Hearing Protection Act had been rolled into the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement or SHARE Act, which was introduced in the past few days.

Today, various news outlets have reported that the SHARE Act has passed the House Committe on Natural Resources and is headed to the House for a vote. If it pased there, it would go to the Senate, which passed a similar package last year, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, though it didn’t address suppressor deregulation.

"The SHARE Act removes bureaucratic roadblocks that inhibit Americans' access to outdoor sporting activities on federal lands and reigns in federal encroachment on Second Amendment rights," said Committee chair, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah in this story from guns.com.

Language in the SHARE Act drops suppressors from National Firearms Act regulation, while also doing away with the $200 transfer fee established in 1934 and refunding stamps paid over the past two years. Technically, it mandates that suppressors be considered Title I weapons, like a firearm, enabling their transfer after a simple NICS background check.

Of course, anti-gun groups have slammed the legislation, again repeating the same unfounded fears that suppressed firearms are somehow more of a danger to civilians and police if they should fall into the hands of a criminal.

“Silencers distort the sound of a gun, and in the wrong hands, they put people’s safety at risk,” argued John Feinblatt, president of Everytown. “NRA leadership and their friends in Congress have gone behind closed doors to try to prop up lagging gun sales by making it easy for anyone to buy a silencer without a background check. This sham bill is a giveaway to the gun lobby, which cannot be allowed to use Congress to put profits ahead of public safety.”

Suppressors are hardly ever used in crimes, mostly because they make a handgun about twice its original size and extremely difficult to conceal, and they require specific features to be used with a firearm, namely a barrel with threads that match a given suppressor. Then, the proper ammunition must be used to ensure the gun cycles, and on top of that, most suppressors render handgun sights, and many iron rifle sights, useless because of the added height.

Additionally, anyone who has used a suppressor knows that, while they make a gunshot report quiet enough that you don’t need earplugs when firing the gun, they certainly don’t make them as quiet as they do in the movies. A suppressed gun shot is still easily distinguishable as a gun shot, for whatever that’s worth.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), the sponsor of the standalone HPA and is also the sponsor of the SHARE Act, said, “Sportsmen are the foundation of the conservation movement in the United States, yet some radical organizations seek to limit access to this pastime by restricting the Second Amendment, as well as land and game management.”

"Today marks an important step in protecting the Second Amendment freedoms of America's hunters and sportsmen and strengthening our outdoor heritage," said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA in a statement. "The SHARE Act will cut burdensome red tape that restricts millions of hunters and sportsmen."

The bill also:

  • Secures access to Federal public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting

  • Reforms the Firearm Owners' Protection Act which protects the lawful, legal transport of unloaded firearms

  • Strengthens protections for carrying firearms on land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers

  • Removes the undefined and antiquated "sporting purposes test," which opens the door to arbitrary ammunition bans. 

  • Returns wildlife management of the gray wolf back to states adversely affected by rising populations.