A plan to make it easier to buy gun silencers was scheduled to receive some attention in June, though the timing was less than ideal: work on the bill was going to roughly coincide with the first anniversary of the Orlando nightclub massacre and the second anniversary of the murders at a Charleston Bible study.
The bill was delayed, however, because of the mass shooting that nearly killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Three months have passed, however, and Politico reports that the measure, championed by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), is back.
Duncan included the silencer provision in a broader bill, the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” or SHARE Act. There are several gun-related items in the package, which is being marked up by the Natural Resources Committee this week.
Duncan argues that silencers are used by hunters and target shooters to limit potential hearing loss from gunfire.
The article added that while many police organizations oppose the bill, it remains “one of the top legislative goals for the powerful National Rifle Association.”
As for what, exactly, the bill would do, it’s an interesting story.
As we discussed several months ago, under current law, there are quite a few restrictions on silencers, including waiting times, a $200 transfer tax, and a record of purchases kept by federal law enforcement agencies.
Duncan’s measure would not only scrap those rules, it would also refund the $200 to any U.S. consumer who’s bought a silencer over the last two years.
When Duncan’s proposal was a stand-alone bill – called the “Hearing Protection Act” – it garnered 160 co-sponsors, including four Democrats.
As for what’s next, the Politico article added a Republican leadership aide believes Duncan’s measure could get a floor vote by early October.