The National Rifle Association is shifting into high gear to shoot down federal and state barriers to buying gun suppressors, believing that the inauguration of President Trump will help to clear the way to easy and low-cost purchases of silencers.
“It’s going to be a new day, it’s a new opportunity to hit the reset button,” said Chris Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist and the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. “This is a fight we can win,” he added during last week’s annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
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. “There’s nothing bad about it at all.”
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He added that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would shut down gun ranges because of noise if the Labor Department agency had its way.
While countries in Europe approve the use of suppressors at ranges and while hunting, the gun accessory has been demonized in America, especially in movies where they are often shown as the tools of assassins.
To help lawmakers pushing the Hearing Protection Act, Cox and others at the NRA have stepped up their campaign against that image while making the case that it’s an extension of gun safety.
“Criminals don’t use them other than in movies,” 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.
“I ought to be able to protect my life without going deaf in the process,” he said. “Complacency and apathy will always be the catalyst to the degradation our rights,” he said. “You know who decides what normal is? The people with the loudest voice. So if you want to protect your freedom, take the suppressor off your mouth and put it on your gun.”