Politics & Government

SC congressman wants to protect hearing – with firearm silencers

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A South Carolina congressman is hoping the new Congress can make it easier for gun owners to buy silencers for their firearms – in the name of public health.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, is a co-sponsor of the Hearing Protection Act. The bill would remove silencers from the National Firearms Act – the same category as machine guns and grenades. The change would eliminate a $200 tax and a nine-month approval process.

“I’ve been shooting since I was a young child – beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my dad,” Duncan said in announcing the bill this week. “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.”

Silencer purchases would still be regulated by the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, through which other gun purchases are run.

Violence prevention advocates argue the legislation will make it easier for criminals and potential mass shooters to obtain devices to conceal attacks. But the legislation could have a shot at becoming law now that gun-friendly Republicans will control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Read more about the Hearing Protection Act here.