Suppressors have been regulated like machine guns since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934.
But under the presidency of Donald Trump, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is moving swiftly to remove federal and state barriers to buying gun suppressors:
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 is the vehicle for ending the federal $200 tax and waiting period for purchasing silencers, and it has won the full support of the NRA.
Critics have mocked the name as simplistic, but Trump’s son, Donald Jr., recently said the issue is all about hearing health. “It’s about safety, it’s about hearing protection, it’s a health issue,” he said in an a video talk with Silencer Co. “There’s nothing bad about it at all.”
The use of suppressors, particularly at shooting ranges, only makes sense; even countries in notoriously anti-gun Europe allow the use of suppressors at ranges and while hunting. But in America, suppressors have been largely demonized thanks to their depiction in media as the tools of assassins. The NRA is hoping to change that:
“Criminals don’t use them other than in movies,” [NRA chief lobbyist Chris] Cox said. He said Hollywood and the media are “intentionally trying to mislead the American people, scare ’em.”
The NRA’s Internet star, lawyer and gun rights activist Colion Noir, is also fighting the issue on his NRATV show.
“They should come with every gun like those cheap gun locks,” he said. “Would you buy a car without a muffler?”
Noir also argued, “I ought to be able to protect my life without going deaf in the process.”